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Subject: Session Report rss

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Doug Adams
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A fan of new Knizia games
Present: Liz, Moray, Dey, Roger, Doug, Bernie, Alan, David, Julian, Jarrod

Doug Adams writes:

Another great turnout tonight, with new members (welcome to Jarrod, who found the webpage and came along) making up for those absent.

We had six players keen to play something so we hauled out Medici, the new Rio Grande version that Roger picked up recently. The rules were explained to Bernie, Moray and Liz (Moray and Liz had played before, I suspect) and off we went.

This game is among my very favorites, even though I am certifiably awful at it. That's not entirely fair, as I had been getting better at it. All that went out the window in this game, so I'll just report on what the real players were doing.

This is a Reiner Knizia bidding game, where you are attempting to bid for, and build up a holding of, different types of goods. The object is collect the most valuable holdings, and/or hold a majority in goods types over three rounds. It's not easy knowing when to bid, and how much to bid, as you are paid bonuses at the end of each round, and if you bid too much you lose money, not make it. Not making money is something I was very good at.

In this game Moray appeared to be the cagey one, patiently crouching over his ship card (a nice innovation from the Amigo edition) and making excellent bids. The other four players, in fact, appeared to be all in contention, however it was Moray, Dey and Bernie (who picked up this game very well for a first time player) who appeared to have the upper hand. This is pretty much how the game played out, as Roger, who was also doing well, bid himself out of contention by not realising he wasn't going to reach the top of the tree and that magical 20 bonus spot.

Dey writes about Medici: This was Bernie's first game of Medici, though the game at least looked new to everyone else: Roger had brought along the Rio Grande version for us to try.

It soon became apparent that it was:
a) very difficult to distinguish between the different types of resource cards, and
b) some of us had difficulty with the lack of numbering on
the alternate scoring squares around the edge of the board

Moray got off to an early lead and maintained his distance from the rest of the field for the entire game. Roger seemed to be going to nab second place, but a late run by Liz saw her snatch it from him. There was quite a deal of competition between Liz and Bernie, who were collecting the same resources, and Bernie was a little frustrated by Liz having the later bid on all but his turn as auctioneer. Doug got left behind early and didn't ever seem to have the opportunity to catch up, and I played a fairly middling game.

Moray 100
Liz 81
Roger 80
Bernie 71
Dey 63
Doug 45

Doug back again:
Thoughts on the new Rio Grande version, compared to the older Amigo version? Well, basically not good I'm very sorry to say. The person in charge of art in this game appears not to have played it. We all found the different types of commodities very hard to distinguish. So much so, that I moved the wrong marker at the end of round one and didn't realise until half way through round two. This effectively killed my game as I was unwittingly into a fourth commodity - suicide in this game.

If the commodity logs on the board were colour coded to the cards, then it would have been so much better. We were reduced to pointing at the appropriate log on the board when the cards were flipped up, which shouldn't be necessary. Also, the numbers on the cards are nearly invisible from across the table. Lastly, what are those things in the four corners of the scoring track? It looks like something from Monet! :)

When I got home I hauled out my Amigo version to double check - it is just so much clearer, even with the blue/silver card difficulties under bad light. While the Rio Grande version looks beautiful, it's not very good from a playability angle. Sorry, Jay, this is meant to be constructive, not destructive. The game is superb, as always.

Doug's rating: 8
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