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Subject: My first experience of Medici rss

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Merric Blackman
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I played this game as a four-player: Randy (yellow), Mel (purple), Rich (red) and me (green). It was my first game, and I played badly. However, I was also quite frustated by the way so many tiles were (blindly) removed from the bag before each round, thus giving some swinging advantages to players who had gained certain tiles in previous rounds. If I play this game again, I want it to be with five players, so that there isn't such a swing for missing tiles.

I was pretty happy with my position at the end of the first turn's bidding - even though I had the lowest value tiles, I was first place for two different goods, and likely to maintain that. How little I knew!

One thing was certain: Randy had an astonishing lead at the end of the first turn.



The second round was (ahem) worse. Randy maintained his lead, I maintained my last position and now I and Randy were competing for the same resources. Rich took some gold, which allowed him to get away from me, but otherwise our relative positions were mostly maintained.



The last round showed how stunningly badly I could play this game: I failed to take a set that I really should have and allowed Randy to take it instead. Thus, I gained hardly any points for the final turn. Woo - I finished with 82! Mel hardly did better, although at least she got all five goods (if not always worth a lot). Mel just paid more than they were worth, and so finished the game on 101.

Rich played like a man possessed, however. He got an astonishing set of goods - enough to catapult him into the lead over Randy. His final score was 151 to Randy's 148. Not bad for a first-timer (and Randy has played the game before!)



Looking back on Medici, it's a game that I really didn't quite understand how to play - or more correctly, how to value the goods - on this first play. I understand the valuation in RA. Medici? Very little clue. I do think I'd prefer fewer tiles being removed - so a five player game would be preferable - and more games would allow me to see what tiles are actually worth.

Not a bad game, but one that is hard on this newbie (if not Rich!)
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Laszlo Molnar
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MerricB wrote:
Looking back on Medici, it's a game that I really didn't quite understand how to play - or more correctly, how to value the goods - on this first play. I understand the valuation in RA. Medici? Very little clue.

My wife has the same problem with Medici (and Medici vs. Strozzi). She knows how to valuate things in Modern art but not in this one.
Of course it goes something like "find the average of how much the goods value for you and how much for your opponent(s)" but it can be hard. it's a very simple game but not with easy decisions.
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Todd Redden
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There are many different strategies, some work better than others. The BOAT strategy, trying to get the biggest boat EVERY ROUND (grab that gold) can work if other strategies aren't more effective in that game. Another strategy I've seen works well (sometimes) is the CHEAP strategy, paying only minimum for any set of cards (hold out and get free cards in the end, or pay 1 for sets nobody else can take, etc.) Going for only 2 kinds of goods can work well if you're lucky enough, but I can see where, with fewer players, the missing cards can really MESS YOU UP. If you can get a bonus (we play with 5/10/15 point bonuses on every pyramid) and the most goods bonus on 2 goods in the first round you'll be very hard to beat, as long as you didn't pay too much for that muffler. I agree, the game is really best with 5 or 6 players, and with a full deck provides the best strategy game.
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Eric Brosius
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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This is a game that plays fine with 4 to 6 players, but it has less luck as you add more players. I am happy to play with 6, even though some people don't like the fact that all the cards come out and consider this makes the game too subject to calculation. It plays fast enough that 6-player gamers are (in my experience) still finished in no more than an hour if you don't have slow players.
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Sight Reader
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MerricB wrote:
Looking back on Medici, it's a game that I really didn't quite understand how to play - or more correctly, how to value the goods - on this first play.

What I tell newbies is this:

"For your first round, I recommend bidding roughly the sum of the tiles. Of course, adjust their worth if there's a matching set or if all of them concentrate high or low.

"After this first round, you'll naturally adjust your bids depending on what commodities you're concentrating on".


Almost every time, the newbies bid well in the first round, and have little trouble adjusting their bids in the following rounds. It's just that first round that's tough. As a final piece of newbie advice, I say:

"Keep in mind that, if you want to win, you'll need at least one - probably two - of your commodities to get into the bonus zone, so don't get too spread out".
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Paul Edgar
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Hi Merric,

a great session report as always.

I've got an article on bidding strategy in Medici. I'll have to sort it out and upload it.

Medici's a good game. We often use it as a filler at the end of the night - but best with 5 to 6 players.
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