tim Tim TIm TIM TIMMY!!
Costa Rica
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Hey All,

So living in Costa Rica I have no chance of thrifting games, but I love the idea of it and when I hit the states I always spend way to much time thrifting cause I love the idea of finding cool games for cheap. I have bought 25 or more games over the years but most of them are games for the collection and not games that will get played much. I think I find more kids games then anything else, which is great cause I play a lot of games with kids and give them out all the time. So basari I found this year on my yearly GenCon trip for $3 in Shrink no less. I had never heard of it but was very excited to figure this one out. Turns out I really like it but most of my friends where just OK with it.


photo thanks to

Randy Wilburn
United States
New Alexandria
Pennsylvania
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I have a volunteer program for our botanical gardens and I turn most of the volunteers into gamers. I just got in 2 new volunteers, Carlos & Ryan, and taught them Coloretto which they really enjoyed and where amazed how much strategy was involved in a simple game. After 3 games of that they wanted to try something new and I asked if they wanted a light game, a medium game, or a harder game. They both said medium or medium to hard. So I pulled this one out and since I have only played it a few times and a while back at that I had to read the rules to us and figure it out myself. Its an easy enough game and it came right back to me, but they where both rolling their eyes and wondering what they had gotten themselves into, lol.

Ryan was the slower to learn and almost wanted to resist it, but I explained it will take a game to grasp what is really going on. Then it will take a few more to really figure it out,and then depending on the game up to a lifetime to master, but assured him this is a easy enough game and he will understand it in a few more turns. Explaining how the bidding work was the toughest part of the game and I would say they got it by the end, but it will take a few games till they really have it figured out ( being a gamer and wanting to really figure things out has its advantages in life to some point but has huge advantages when playing games ninja )

So the first couple of rounds was basically me over explaining the game but more the concept of how it works - I got a whole lot of lost looks at this point. So the 3rd turn I tell Ryan he will probably not want to choose the Numbers Action where you get the points on his spot cause it is the lowest possible, 4, but that the Gem Option would be great for him. We flip our action cards over and Ryan and I both have the Numbers Action. I say I don't understand why he would pick that, but it is ok. He looks at me like I am a bit nuts, but I basically ignore it cause I am way deep into trying to teach the game and give them all the options and mechanics of the game and the strategies involved ( I usually lose the first teaching game from helping others so much and not paying enough attention to my own game ). The next round I am over explaining the best choices for all 3 of us to make for actions based on where we landed after our die rolls. Ryan looks at me and says " You can pick what action you choose " - now it is my turn to roll my eyes and wonder if I am any good at game explaining. Carlos laughs and says Tom explained that one early bro. So now Ryan gets it a little better and I offer to start over or finish this turn and start over. They want to just keep going, but I was in last place at the time & figured this would be better also.

For those of you not familiar with this game you have a track you go around by everyone rolling a D6 and moving that many spaces. Your spot will have a a combination of different gems ( there are 4 diff. color gems and at the end of the round who ever has the most gems of each color turns 3 in and gets 14 points for red, yellow 12, green 10, and blue 8. If there is a tie you only turn in 2 gems and split the points. Anyone who has made a complete lap also gets a bonus 10 points. After you move you each pick one of 3 action cards and place it face down in front of you and then everyone reveals them at the same time. If you are the only one who picks that action you get to perform it. If 2 people pick the same action you start bidding gems on who will get to perform the action and who gets the gems from the other guy. This is the part of the game I really enjoy - you are both going for different combos of gems and you have to decide what colors are worth getting rid of and what you must keep so you have the most gems of anyone in the game. Ryan took a while to grasp this concept and Carlos was better at just going with the flow. If 3 or more ( it is a 2-4 player game but works best with 3 or 4, and I am guessing it really designed for 4 player so there is more of that figuring out what the others will choose and not picking what is best for you but what action you will be able to perform, or what you need to pick to block the other guy from getting to many good gems ). So the 3 actions are 1) get the gems on your spot 2) get the points marked on your spot ( 4 - 7 ) 3) roll a dice and move that many spaces then subtract that number rolled from 6 and get that many points. So if I roll a 6 I get to move really far and this will help me lap the board first and get the bonus 10 points at the end of the round, but I get no points. If I roll a 2 I don't move far but those 4 points will help me win in the long run. I think the game has great choices and you really have to be paying attention to what everyone has gem wise and where they are on the board to figure out what action is best for them to do.



photo thanks to

Ketty
Chile
Santiago
RM
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So after the first round I was in last place and commented that it is hard to pay attention to my game when I am helping them so much and teaching the game. Ryan says I am making excuses for losing and says he now understands the game and I do not need to help him anymore, oh those simple newbs. Ryan was in the lead from being the only one to lap the board. But I was sitting very well with lots of gems and was not that worried. The 2nd round went very well and they did pretty well - but on the last turn I realized they where still a bit lost. I was really explaining to both how the card for the extra roll to move would help them to get the bonus - on the 2nd to last round (I was trying to point out to Ryan on the 2nd to last turn that the Die Action would put him in place to lap the board but he was not paying enough attention. That round we all picked the same action so no once got to do anything which actually helped me the most I think ).. Carlos was a bit lost here and cost himself the game in reality because they both took the Die Roll Action on the last turn- he didn't need it and Ryan was to far back for it to help him get the lap completed Carlos wanted to win the action and gave up 4 gems in total and I just sat dumbfounded. After their bidding was done I explained what he just did and why it did not make sense to me. The round was over and I caught up a lot and was still in third but the gap was closed and I was right on their heels, but was sitting on a giant pile of gems and knew I would own the 3rd round.



photo thanks to

Rick Baptist
United States
Highland
California
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The next round was very good for me. We had a couple of hands where we all picked the same action so we all lost our turn. The red gems are worth the most and I had a lot of them but Ryan was close behind. It came down to only 3 red gems left in the bank and if Ryan got them he would beat me and if I got them I would remain in the lead for the red points. So we are both on spots with red gems and our bidding got up to 6 gems - Carlos was googlely eyed saying wow - that is a lot of gems, this is serious. I actually messed up and bid to many of my red gems and we would have tied for red, but Ryan made a higher bid and I took it knowing now I would take the Red but also the green ( I did explain to him after the bid how I messed up and he should have taken my bid ). I was way ahead on lapping the board so the last turn I took the Die Action to end the game faster and the points where counted. I ended up winning this one - but both of them want to play it again now that they have a better concept of the game.

I enjoy the choices in this game. The game is about points and gems, but your first few plays for the average person the gems will seem like the important things to get ( like in stone age when you think the resources are key, when it is the best cards and huts that win you the game - but with out the resources you can not get the cards and huts). So there are some very important choices to be made, but unless your paying attention to what the other players options are you are not going to make the right choice.


Thanks for reading

Game On'



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Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Nice report of a great, overlooked game. We play a variant that reduces the luck of the dice rolls. Instead of each player rolling a die at the start of each round, we just do one common roll which everyone moves by. Of course, if you pick the die action, you get your own roll.
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tim Tim TIm TIM TIMMY!!
Costa Rica
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thanks Martin,

I have no problem with the luck factor in this one, I figure if you roll low then you should give more weight to the Die Action - when the Gem Action is usually the best.

But always great to hear about variants - something to think about and if one of my friends says I won cause I am luckier I will keep this variant in mind.
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