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Subject: Archipelago first impression rss

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Iron James Rackham
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Thanks for the write-up!

Have you tried it with different numbers of players? If so, do you have any opinions about the scalability?
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Son Do
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Have you played Olympos? How does this compare to Olympos?
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that Matt
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Stony wrote:
The Gaslight wrote:
Have you played Olympos? How does this compare to Olympos?
About 10 seconds of research would reveal to you, that I have rated over 500 games, which I think sends a signal that whatever I play I also rate. Another 10 seconds of research would reveal that I have not given Olympos a rating.
I'm sorry about the somewhat bitchy response, but you could probably have done this yourself faster than typing the question.

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Global Nomad
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The 16th century São João Baptista, also known as Botafogo (Spitfire) was a Portuguese galleon warship considered the most powerful warship in the world at the time.
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very impressed, but maybe he prefers the interaction instead of some clicks ?
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Itai Perez
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I played both and the answer is there is not much to compare. They are two great games, but completely different.
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Mark M
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Quote:
About 10 seconds of research would reveal to you, that I have rated over 500 games, which I think sends a signal that whatever I play I also rate. Another 10 seconds of research would reveal that I have not given Olympos a rating.
I'm sorry about the somewhat bitchy response, but you could probably have done this yourself faster than typing the question.


I can't believe I wasted 20 seconds reading that rant. Nothing to say that he has to research your profile and nothing that says you had to waste precious seconds of your day to answer him.
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Rafael M
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Stony wrote:
The Gaslight wrote:
Have you played Olympos? How does this compare to Olympos?
About 10 seconds of research would reveal to you, that I have rated over 500 games, which I think sends a signal that whatever I play I also rate. Another 10 seconds of research would reveal that I have not given Olympos a rating.
I'm sorry about the somewhat bitchy response, but you could probably have done this yourself faster than typing the question.


You're not sorry because you posted it. Embrace your acidity.
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Karl
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Stony wrote:

The possibility for revolution may also be the achilles of this game. If a player goes behind, he may decide that rather than letting someone else win, it would be preferable to aim at a revolt, making everyone lose. I don't have enough experience to predict if this may be an issue with the game, but I hope/think it won't be.


Having played a demo being the separatist that wants the revolt to happen as his secret goal I can say that this wasn't easy at all. As long as the remaining players care one player won't be able to have it happen easily. Also you often don't know who is on front anyhow due to the secret goals.
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André Oord
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Stony wrote:
The Gaslight wrote:
Have you played Olympos? How does this compare to Olympos?
About 10 seconds of research would reveal to you, that I have rated over 500 games, which I think sends a signal that whatever I play I also rate. Another 10 seconds of research would reveal that I have not given Olympos a rating.
I'm sorry about the somewhat bitchy response, but you could probably have done this yourself faster than typing the question.


I dont want to flame, but typing "nope" could have been faster than typing a bitchy reply
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Dave F.
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I recently got a copy, but haven't had a chance to play it yet.

To me it feels a bit like a game from the Anno 1602/1503/1404/1701 series, certainly the exploration bit and how the hexes look with the fish symbols and the whales swimming around.

Well, I loved those games and I think the art in this game is spectacular, so my expectations are quite big.

But it's a semi-coop and semi-coops always have to solve the same problem: What if one player is so far behind that he doesn't want to play anymore and just tries to make everybody lose?

This game tackles that problem in two ways:
- The first is that every player has a hidden card with end game conditions and scoring aspects; so you never know when the game will end and what's going to be worth something in the end. So it's never clear you are far behind unless you are actually far behind and just have very few stuff in general.
- The second is that one player may have the victory condition: "Make sure there is a revolution" So if the last player causes everyone to lose, another may still win and so he hasn't achieved his goal and made everyone but the winner really mad.

Are these measures sufficient? Hard to tell, but it also depends on your group. If your group includes players who don't like to play well with others and are prone to harakiri everyone if they don't like it, then maybe this isn't the right game. Don't get me wrong, there is negotiating and backstabbing in the game, but in general players should keep the natives in check.....unless you're the guy that wins on revolt of course.

All in all it seems very interesting and I can't wait to try it out.
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that Matt
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Fluffy James wrote:
I'm sad to read that player order is decided by an auction. Alas. Removed from my wish list.

My father, too, was killed by an auctioneer. ninja
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Randolph Bookman
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tumorous wrote:
Fluffy James wrote:
I'm sad to read that player order is decided by an auction. Alas. Removed from my wish list.

My father, too, was killed by an auctioneer. ninja


whistle
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Fabrice Wiels
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Fluffy James wrote:
Stony wrote:
When bidding for player order, the player that bids the most will win the right to decide player order for all players. This right may come at a price, but then he may auction the second and third place slots or just hand them out as he sees fit.


I'm sad to read that player order is decided by an auction. Alas. Removed from my wish list.


Ahem...

You really shouldn't.

See, in this game, there is a lot of ways to make money, and not so many to spend it. You typically spend money buing character or progress cards, to hire new men and to bid for first player. Sometimes you also buy a resource you can't harvest yourself, and that's about it.

In my experience, bidding for first player is better than spending an action to become first player (cf. Agricola).
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Here the truceless armies yet / Trample, rolled in blood and sweat; / They kill and kill and never die; / And I think that each is I. // None will part us, none undo / The knot that makes one flesh of two, /
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Good review! How does this game compare to Olympos? I really like that game.
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Dan Williams
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Does Olympos have auctions?
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Jonathan Challis
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Posters being able to remove their content is ridiculous.

So Stony has removed his review (which I read a couple of days ago), and this entire thread is a waste of space. Grr!
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Steen Bang-Madsen
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Kelanen wrote:
Posters being able to remove their content is ridiculous.

So Stony has removed his review (which I read a couple of days ago), and this entire thread is a waste of space. Grr!
Sadly yes. As people kept beating a dead horse, I decided to end the farce by nuking my entry. Henceforth I will probably just enjoy this otherwise wonderful site from the backseat and refrain from contributing content myself.

If you're quick, I think you can still catch the original entry in the Google cache.
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Itai Perez
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What dead horse ? I really don't see anything in the comments which could motivate you to delete your very good review...
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that Matt
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Kelanen wrote:
Posters being able to remove their content is ridiculous.

So Stony has removed his review (which I read a couple of days ago), and this entire thread is a waste of space. Grr!

whistle

Stony wrote:
I've had the good fortune to get Archipelago on the table a couple of times, so I thought I would drop a line or two about my first impression.

Components:

Both box and components have fairly good quality to them. The box is a fairly standard-sized, like the FFG square boxes like the one A Game of Thrones comes in, though slightly thicker. The quality of the cards seems fair, but they won't see that much use/handling, so I think the quality/thickness is adequate.
Inside the box, some effort has been put into making the box insert practical, with separate compartments for each type of goods cube, explorations tiles etc. but sadly it's only almost there.
There is a separate insert for the hexagonal land tiles, which is handy and functional. You may need to break it in though, as initially the tiles won't quite fit in. But after taking about half the tiles, and gently squeezing them in, they all fit just fine afterwards. In the main insert, you will find several compartments for the various game components, but is seems like the round ones for the discovery tiles are just too shallow. They won't fit. But IMHO it doesn't matter, as I would rather not have the entire gamebox on the table during play. So I've ziplocked them, and during play I pile them neatly next to everything else, so I can get the game box out of the way to save some precious tablespace.
Finally when I received the game, I also got a separate sheet with an overview of the game ending and victory criteria for both short, medium and long game duration. But for some reason it was just a tiny bit too big to fit into the box. I've had no problem cutting off a wee bit of both top and bottom, and now it fits like a glove. But odd to see the measurements somehow has gone awry on this one.

The Game:
Already before the game was published, I had my eyes on it. It certainly seemed to hold a lot of the right ingredients to scratch my boardgame itch.

The game is simulating the colonization of an archipelago, and the players try to expand and exploit the resources of the land - harvesting/mining/fishing ressources and building towns/markets/ports/churches - while also trying to not upset the native population. This is a balance act, and to some extent the game is (semi) cooperative. I would interpret the term "cooperative" rather loosely. The players need to agree not to upset the native population, but beyond that it's every man for himself. If the native get upset, they will fight for indepence, and the players will collectively lose the game. Except if one player has just that endgame objective, in which case he will win. In your first game, you will most likely blunder straight into a rebellion, but once the players get to terms with how to cope with that, I don't think it will be a problem to keep them under control. But to prevent things from getting too easy, there may also be another player with the opposite objective, and if the native population is completely under control the pacifist may get bonus points in the endgame.
(To keep things simple, I would recommend firsttime players to leave these cards out of the loop. Where's the fun of winning by revolution, when in a learning game, you are fairly likely to blunder right into one?)
All the other endgame criteria are more "standard". A game could end when a number of goods run out. Or when a given number of towns have been built. Or when a number of explorations tile piles are used up. etc. etc. There are a number of these endgame criteria in play matching the number of players, and each player will be dealt just one of them. On the same card is also a specification of something that will yield points in the endgame. This could be the player with the most churches getting 3 victory points, second place getting 2 and third place getting 1. Same thing with number of town, ports, market, money, explorations tiles, goods of a specifc type etc. etc... This leaves each player with only some knowledge about what will score points, but you are still able to secondguess from the other players' actions. ("So he just built a second market, even though he doesn't seem to be in need of it... Maybe I ought to build an extra market too..?")
Apart from these there will also be an open card specifying some criteria that will yield points in the endgame. This could be the player with the most of some specified good.

During the game you will need to explore the land. Doing so the natives will give you gifts/resources, and you will earn explorations tiles, which can be converted to much needed goods. Gathering these goods, you may either sell them on the domestic market, export them to Europe or use them to build something. Each of the four buildings will provide you with some extra abilities. The demand for the various goods will fluctuate up and down, and price will adjust accordingly. It will also influence the employment level of the natives, which in turn influences their discontent level. So on one hand you would like to harvest ressources in order to sell them on the market to get some needed cash, but you can't overdo it, as this will cause discontent. You need to keep the markets from flowing over with goods, or the game will come to an end sooner rather than later.

Finally the players may obtain some Progress/Character cards that will provide special abilities. Some will only be available to the owner, while other may be open for use, but will require the user to pay the owner for the use of it. This could be something along the lines of "If you harvest this type of this resource this turn, you will get double amount of goods" or "When you bid for player order, this character will add 3 to your bid")

The game tries to encourage the players to negotiate a great deal. When bidding for player order, the player that bids the most will win the right to decide player order for all players. This right may come at a price, but then he may auction the second and third place slots or just hand them out as he sees fit. This may happen again when a crisis comes along, and the people of the land are demanding a certain goods type. If there is a lack of that type of ressource, the life of the First-in-player-order is good, as he is in the driving seat to decide who should get what, and once again has a chance to auction off the goods. You may go for different strategies in this aspect, either going for gold and purchase the rights to be starting player, or you may opt to be self helping in regards of goods, and not needing to worry about scratching the starting players' back.

This game seems to offer plenty of strategy. You will see players moving in on specific land areas, if that land is the only place you can harvest a specific ressource. Or try to move in on a land, where other players has erected buildings only to see you attempt a hostile takeover by building a town. (A town can control other buildings and the ressources on that tile.)

This seems like a fairly solid game. Nothing truly groundbreaking about it, but everything seems to be blended to provide high replayability. It is to some extent providing a breath of fresh air with the negotiating aspect. Based on your preferences, you may want to play the game without the negotiation aspect, and tweak the "bid for player order" to be simply decided that second place goes to the player that bid second most, but it certainly won't be the same game.

Another breath of fresh air would be the natives that may revolt. In most economy games, you need to focus solely on building the most efficient moneymachine, but in the game this is complicated/spiced up by the potential revolt if you get too greedy.

The possibility for revolution may also be the achilles of this game. If a player goes behind, he may decide that rather than letting someone else win, it would be preferable to aim at a revolt, making everyone lose. I don't have enough experience to predict if this may be an issue with the game, but I hope/think it won't be. I'm fairly certain that players with a little experience can manage the level of native discontent, and the seperatist has been added for that very reason to spice things up, and the pacifist has been added to keep players from running the discontent level into the ground. Everything needs to remain balancing. This may not make much sense thematically, but it's a decent attemt to implement it thematically. Overall I feel the game mechanics and theme support each other nicely, which is always a big plus for me.

Overall for me this is currently an 8 on the BGG scale. This may go either up or down with more plays.

Enjoy.
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Jonathan Challis
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Itai wrote:
What dead horse ? I really don't see anything in the comments which could motivate you to delete your very good review...


Agreed. Nothing overly critical, just normal forum debate in my view.
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