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Subject: What it's like to play Navegador rss

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George Ramos
Canada
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What’s It’s Like to Play Navegador
So many games, so little time, how does one decide?

My name’s George. I play games and I love talking about games. There are lots and lots of great reviews and reviewers on BGG. I’ll add my voice to the chorus and talk about what it feels like to play a game. Why? I don’t need rules re-explained, nor do I want to know what a game’s like after 20 plays. Instead, I want to know which game to play next. That’s what I hope to do for YOU. I’ll try to be brief, and honest, and hopefully help you make that difficult decision: what’s next…...?

*************************************************************************

We played our first game of Navegador last week. We had a great time playing the game and will definitely play it again in the future. At first it seemed like a “filler” game, but that turned out not to be the case…

SETUP: There were 4 of us and setup took about 10 minutes. Like any good euro-style game there lots of little wooden pieces to put on the board, which I had organized in Plano boxes to make setup quick.

WHO I PLAYED WITH: My core gaming group of three 30-40 year old males: the shrewd Brit, the unassuming German, and the friendly Canadian who “just does what everyone else does”. I’m the talkative American.

THEME: Exploration and economics at the dawn of Portugal’s trading empire! Sail ships, discover new lands, and use them as markets for your goods. You can also gain favors from Portugal’s leading figures. The theme could actually apply to any 15th/16th century empire (I didn’t feel particularly Portugese during the game), but is nicely implemented with a great board and nice artwork.

QUICK RULES: You choose one action each round from a list of 7 actions (a rondel makes 3 of those free each round, while the others get very expensive). Sailing lets you move your ships, possibly exploring a new part of the world; Market lets you either sell goods to your colonies (and drop the sell price as a result) or produce goods with your factories (thereby raising the sell price). The Privilege action lets you gain a favor from a Person of Note, giving you a small cash bonus at the expense of worker (and also increases your victory points at the end of the game). You can also build ships, or hire workers, or buy colonies. As ships move from left to right (more or less linear) across the oceans, the game passes into it’s second and third phases, which replenishes the Privileges and also makes ships faster, workers more expensive to hire, and ships more expensive to build. Each player has a board on which he keeps his factories, colonies, and Privilege tokens. These are used to tally victory points at the end of the game.

HOW TO WIN: Game ends when either all the factories are built or (more likely) when someone sails into Nagasaki with at least 3 ships. After one final round, players get 1 VP for each ship on the board, 1 VP for each worker, and 1 VP for every 200 gold. Players then add up the number of favors they got as Privileges and score that many points for each token in each category. For example, Vasco De Gama gives you a square blue token to place in the “explorer” column of your player board. At the end of the game, sum the numbers in that column and you get that many VP’s for every round, sky-blue “discovery” token you got during the game.

WHAT IT FEELS LIKE: I explained the rules in about 20 minutes. Everyone looked scared. The market aspect of the game seemed daunting, but in actuality was quite simple to play. After about 2 turns everyone thought the game would be over quickly. As things moved, however, we realized there was still enough time to get a few things done. The game moves fast and makes you wish you had “just one more turn”. For a while it became a race to get from one side of the board to another, only to realize you need more ships than usual to get into Nagasaki. That gave our winning player just enough time to maximize his Privileges and end up winning the game.

MOST UNIQUE PARTS OF THE GAME: The rondel is fairly unique, though many games have a rondel at this point. I like the fact that multiple players can occupy the same rondel spot and the same ocean spot. The scoring of the Privileges was very nice. You can increase how many VP’s your pieces are worth at the end of the game, and you can do this as the game progresses. In other words, you aren’t penalized for a bad guess at the beginning that (for example) you’re going to build lots of churches.

WHERE THE GAME SUCCEEDS: You have a full-fledged economics engine in the game without much complication. It’s as simple as moving the “current price” marker up or down depending on whether you produced or sold a good. It reminded me of the market price management in Power Grid: elegant and effective. The whole is like that, in fact: elegant mechanics and a non-cutthroat race to maximize your victory points.

WHERE THE GAME STUMBLES: It doesn’t. I suppose people that don’t like euro-style games might not like this, but it doesn’t have any of the “worst of euro” features: it’s not fiddly, it’s not a heads-down multi-player solitaire, and yes, it’s possible to calculate how many VP’s you’ll get before the game ends.

WHO WON: The game lasted 2 hours. The shrewd Brit won with 72 points! Our unassuming German came in second with 57 points, I ended up with 54 points, and the friendly Canadian gathered only 49 points.

CONCLUSION: This is a solid game, beautifully produced. I’m not sure if it’s a “filler” game or a short “full” game. At 2 hours for our first play, however, I expect our subsequent plays will clock in at 70 or 90 minutes. It’s nice to have a full-featured board game to play in under 2 hours. We’ll definitely play this one again.

Thanks for reading!
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Craig Hallstrom
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Navagador is a favorite in our group as well.

Be aware though that reporting having Nagasaki explored as the most common end condition is very much a group think thing. In our group that is by far the least likely end condition. All of the buildings being bought out much more common for us.

The winning score is also greatly affected by how the game ends. Games with all the buildings purchased have higher scores than one where someone (everyone) races to end by exploration.

One of the joys of this game is how you can accelerate the end-game if you choose, hopefully to give yourself just enough actions and make your opponents wishing for more.
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Hahn Arama
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I had a guide, a Bedouin man, who called me 'Abu el Banat'. And whenever we'd meet another Bedouin, he'd introduce me as Abu el Banat. And the Bedouin would laugh and laugh and offer me a Pint of beer. (cont below)
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And I'd go to pay them for the beer and they wouldn't let me. "Abu el Banat" means "father of daughters." They thought the beer was the least they could do.
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This use to be one of my favorites until I discovered that you can win the game without ever setting sail form Portugal. The last 4 games I played I did just that and I won 3 of 4.

IMO sailing should be mandatory in a sailing game. Maybe I should re read the rules to see if you actually have to sail.
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Laura Creighton
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Play this variant instead if ypu want to encourage sailing.
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/796046/kings-privilege

But Navegador is a 'win by doing what other people are not doing' game. If your group has made the mistake of thinking that it is a sailing game, well, the first person to master the factory strategy should do very well. But as more people learn how to do this, it stops being the obvious way to win. So I am not sure you are best served by trying to require sailing. What you need is a good thrashing by somebody who plays the factory strategy better than you do.
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Hahn Arama
United States
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I had a guide, a Bedouin man, who called me 'Abu el Banat'. And whenever we'd meet another Bedouin, he'd introduce me as Abu el Banat. And the Bedouin would laugh and laugh and offer me a Pint of beer. (cont below)
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And I'd go to pay them for the beer and they wouldn't let me. "Abu el Banat" means "father of daughters." They thought the beer was the least they could do.
Avatar
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lacreighton wrote:
What you need is a good thrashing by somebody who plays the factory strategy better than you do.


Factories??? It's all about Cathedrals BABY!

And NO BODY does it better, cue the Carly Simon, than me!
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Chris Talmadge
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REFEREE MADNESS
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Not sure where the confusion is coming from. The game is about exploration, via sailing. It's listed in the description, the rulebook AND back of the box. The name of the game is Navegador, not Factory Manager!
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George Ramos
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Perfect, I now have new ways of trying to win! It's great that there are 3+ winning strategies to explore in what SEEMS like a simple game.
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Laura Creighton
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hahnarama wrote:
lacreighton wrote:
What you need is a good thrashing by somebody who plays the factory strategy better than you do.


Factories??? It's all about Cathedrals BABY!

And NO BODY does it better, cue the Carly Simon, than me!


Ok, then what you need is a beating by somebody who is playing the Church strategy.
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