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Subject: First Play, 3-Player Cargo Noir rss

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Patrick Reynolds
United States
Vermontville
Michigan
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Players: Patrick, Kristie, Claire

Sat down to play a (slightly chaotic) game of Cargo Noir this morning after breakfast with my wife and daughter. Most of the chaos came from our 8-month-old son, who was being fed during part of the game, and our daughter, who was trying her best to ignore our instructions on how she should play her tiles and where to keep them. Of course, she's a (very bright but stubborn) three-year-old, so that's to be expected.

We found that with three players, the game moves at a good pace. There were bidding wars at one or two ports on every round, with each player usually getting at least one port without being contested.

We had lots of activity at the Casino and Black Market. Usually after a turn of heavy bidding and winning, we'd send two or three ships to the Casino to reclaim some gold, and maybe one ship to the Black Market to trade a tile or draw a random tile.

Claire and I both ended the game with all five of our ships, while my wife Kristie had four, but she had invested in two VP cards while Claire and I each had only one pure VP card at the end.

As this was our first play, strategies and tactics were still being developed, and we didn't have a firm idea of what amount of gold would usually win a port, although it seemed that the number of goods there plus one was the average winning bid, and if someone else went higher (usually by one coin) then the original bidder would pull out rather than spend goods+3 or more to secure the port. Although there were a few instances where a bidding war would last three turns, with two raised bids before a withdrawal. Generally this happened at ports with duplicate goods that two of us were collecting.

We had fun with the game, even Claire, who enjoyed sending out her ships but obviously needed help with the spending of her goods (which we were happy to give; whether she took our advice or not, though, is another matter...).

We ended with a tie between my wife and I at 65 VP, and Claire with 55. I imagine as strategies develop the scores will get higher and the competition will become more fierce. Overall, though, I enjoyed this initial play and look forward to trying the game with 2, 4 and 5 players.
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Patrick Reynolds
United States
Vermontville
Michigan
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One thing that I neglected to mention is that my three-year-old, who loves to play all kinds of games, was able to easily and immediately grasp the bidding mechanic used in this game thanks to its visual component. "My stack of coins is taller than yours" is easier for a younger player to understand that "I bid five to your three."

Also, I played a two-player game with my wife tonight and she kicked my butt 100-75. The game played very quickly with two.
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