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Subject: Baycon 2009: Part XV (The Quest Awakens with renewed vigour) rss

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Peter Clinch
United Kingdom
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# Last game previous day Um Reifenbreite

After a huge breakfast we decided to go for another more challenging game (it’s better to get them in early, especially when the bar opens), so out came Cuba.

What a wonderful game. Out of the box it has a beautiful (& practical) board, the wooden components are nicely finished and suit the feel of the game. The produce could have been shaped, but its easier to remember them as cubes, hexes and goods. The cards and buildings are also of the high quality you’d expect from such a game.

As it only lasts 6 turns (in which up to 120 actions could be taken), it is very focused, and feels more like a sprint rather than a marathon. From turn 1 you have to develop your strategy, otherwise you’ll get left behind, you may not start with a lot but you need to be grabbing those buildings.

There are many strategy articles on the merits of rum & cigars ( a path to victory of course!), influencing the government, manipulating the shipping or even building the biggest reservoir. The beauty is, this game appears so well balanced that there isn’t a single dominating strategy, obviously a more experienced player will know where to squeeze the extra vp here and there. And sometimes you have to take a gamble on the acts of parliament, but mostly you are in control of your destiny and need to choose the action with the highest priority.

During your turn you will choose a role from your own hand of 5 (being worker, architect, etc). These each perform a different action like building a factory or buying from the market. This mechanism is similar to Peurto Rico, but has the advantage that you are choosing from your own hand rather than what is left. With this in mind you can forward plan, up to the point where another player takes the item, space, building etc that you wanted as all actions are finite (except maybe buying/selling has no limits).

It is an entertaining game to play, whilst it has no direct back-stabbing conflict, it has scarce resources (in terms of buildings & shipping) that cause you to re-evaluate and re-prioritise every turn, trying to accomplish the most vp’s from your actions.
If you like “worker placement” based games, you’ll love it and if you’ve not tried it yet I would thoroughly recommend it.
Our game was fairly close at the top, with Carl’s rum factory churning out the stuff like it was prohibition, and earned him enough vp’s to take a well deserved win.

We were still in the mood for a ‘biggie’, so El Grande was suggested
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