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Kyle Mann
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Played a two-player game on Friday 11/9 with a playtesters' copy.

First round: I targeted the economic and special decks for my first draws. Managed to get a couple islands out and a bunch of the basic resource cards (woodland & farms I believe they are called). I also played a Holy Site worth 6 points (though this proved to be a mistake). I managed to get 10 points or so on the first turn.

My friend went immediately for military cards as well as economic. He also picked the god card that let him attack. A first turn assault on my islands destroyed my Holy Site as I was nearly defenseless. Blast!

Second round: I went for the economic and military decks this time, trying to at least get more islands for defense purposes and some military defense cards. My opponent backed off the military deck in order to build up his economy (I believe he drew from the points or special deck also).

I tried to attack this round, but was beat down by a defense card he had held onto. We both bought some VP and played a bunch of resources. Both ended around 15 VP or so.

Third round: We BOTH went for military gods, strategies, and draws this round. There were multiple attacks from both sides. When the dust settled, a couple islands and resources were killed on my side while his cards remained safe. I fell behind in VP, I think he was around 25 or so.

Fourth round: Sorry I did not take detailed notes (obviously) so I cannot remember if the game ended here or on turn 5. I may have skipped a round. BUT the final round was very intense. I went for a god or resource (or both?) that allowed me to buy VP very cheaply. I had a ton of resources at this point, so I managed to buy up above the 32 target all the way to 33.

My opponent however managed to both buy some cheap VP (5/ea. was his price I think) AS WELL AS launch military attacks. His razed cards pushed him over the top with 35 VP! Blast. Final score 35-33.

Thoughts & Criticisms

The play time and depth really hit the sweet spot for me. Too many games outstay their welcome in relation to how many meaningful decisions there are to make in the gameplay. Polynesia does not have that problem. It manages to capture the feel of a society-building Euro while retaining the mechanisms of a take-that card game. I like that. I also like the physical setup of the islands in a row, and the relation that has to the range of enemies' attacks.

The game feels well-balanced insofar as the VP track goes. Military and economic paths (whether buying points flat out or playing lots of high VP point cards) seem similar in strength.

Military attacks are a lot of fun. I would like to go this route more, as razing cards is worthwhile for the VP and it forces your opponent to build carefully.

I am undecided on whether I like the build pace in this game. The players get a ton of cards on turn one alone, and most common resources and islands can be played all at once. I guess it feels as if it gives less "weight" to the decisions early on in the game, since there is little incentive it would seem to NOT play a free card. I need to play more to see if this holds true. HOWEVER, I am not sure whether the game could preserve the light-ish weight and 30 minute play time without this.

The economic deck is almost a no-brainer early on in the game, for what it's worth. No other deck quite feels like as obvious of a choice to me.

The "Draw X, keep Y" rule helps negate some of the random luck elements due to card draws.

I will think of more and I will play again to update. Thanks for the opportunity to playtest.
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michael brown
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p4warrior wrote:
Played a two-player game on Friday 11/9 with a playtesters' copy.

First round: I targeted the economic and special decks for my first draws. Managed to get a couple islands out and a bunch of the basic resource cards (woodland & farms I believe they are called). I also played a Holy Site worth 6 points (though this proved to be a mistake). I managed to get 10 points or so on the first turn.

My friend went immediately for military cards as well as economic. He also picked the god card that let him attack. A first turn assault on my islands destroyed my Holy Site as I was nearly defenseless. Blast!

Your friend made the standard move here - any easily accessible sources of points should be quickly destroyed if you are able to. Obviously you recognized this and won't do it again
p4warrior wrote:

Second round: I went for the economic and military decks this time, trying to at least get more islands for defense purposes and some military defense cards. My opponent backed off the military deck in order to build up his economy (I believe he drew from the points or special deck also).

I tried to attack this round, but was beat down by a defense card he had held onto. We both bought some VP and played a bunch of resources. Both ended around 15 VP or so.

Third round: We BOTH went for military gods, strategies, and draws this round. There were multiple attacks from both sides. When the dust settled, a couple islands and resources were killed on my side while his cards remained safe. I fell behind in VP, I think he was around 25 or so.

Fourth round: Sorry I did not take detailed notes (obviously) so I cannot remember if the game ended here or on turn 5. I may have skipped a round. BUT the final round was very intense. I went for a god or resource (or both?) that allowed me to buy VP very cheaply. I had a ton of resources at this point, so I managed to buy up above the 32 target all the way to 33.

My opponent however managed to both buy some cheap VP (5/ea. was his price I think) AS WELL AS launch military attacks. His razed cards pushed him over the top with 35 VP! Blast. Final score 35-33.

Thanks for the play by play! It seems as if you understood the rules and played everything correctly. I am glad of that since the rule document has had the least critical review of any part of the game.
p4warrior wrote:

Thoughts & Criticisms

The play time and depth really hit the sweet spot for me. Too many games outstay their welcome in relation to how many meaningful decisions there are to make in the gameplay. Polynesia does not have that problem. It manages to capture the feel of a society-building Euro while retaining the mechanisms of a take-that card game. I like that. I also like the physical setup of the islands in a row, and the relation that has to the range of enemies' attacks.

Cool. I was trying to make a game strategic enough for me to enjoy it and still short enough for my wife to be willing to play it with me. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed that balancing act.
p4warrior wrote:

The game feels well-balanced insofar as the VP track goes. Military and economic paths (whether buying points flat out or playing lots of high VP point cards) seem similar in strength.

You can thank my friend Andrew for that. The game suffered real bad balance issues until he forced me to rewrite it (almost completely) three times in a row by breaking the game (through finding tricky holes in it)
p4warrior wrote:

Military attacks are a lot of fun. I would like to go this route more, as razing cards is worthwhile for the VP and it forces your opponent to build carefully.

True - building the islands in a defensive manner is one of the points of the game that a lot of my playtesters like. (And attacking defended positions is pretty popular as well.)
p4warrior wrote:

I am undecided on whether I like the build pace in this game. The players get a ton of cards on turn one alone, and most common resources and islands can be played all at once. I guess it feels as if it gives less "weight" to the decisions early on in the game, since there is little incentive it would seem to NOT play a free card. I need to play more to see if this holds true. HOWEVER, I am not sure whether the game could preserve the light-ish weight and 30 minute play time without this.

A good point. In my attempts to make the game fast I did make it come up to speed really fast. The only economy cards that I would likely hold on to are woodlands (so that other players do not know how likely I am to win the game), and I would only hold on to them if they didn't provide me with enough goods to buy points. Once players have seen them, you can assume that they will remember that you have them, so you gain no benefit from holding on to them.

I should look into the pace of the start of the game more. Perhaps I can make the initial choices seem more pertinent.
p4warrior wrote:

The economic deck is almost a no-brainer early on in the game, for what it's worth. No other deck quite feels like as obvious of a choice to me.

The economy deck is never a bad choice on the first turn, but if you have Ao (+4 to look) and stingy (+1 to keep) drawing from the culture deck can be an amazing strategy. Players that want to kill other players outright are advised to draw from the military deck repeatedly (including on the first turn), and then hit with everything that you have in one horrible stroke.
p4warrior wrote:

The "Draw X, keep Y" rule helps negate some of the random luck elements due to card draws.

Thanks I really hate games where randomness wins are common. If you can't win through strategy alone it really dampens the fun for me.
p4warrior wrote:

I will think of more and I will play again to update. Thanks for the opportunity to playtest.

Thank you for your post. I hope that you continue to enjoy it

By the way, I was wondering what strategies you guys were picking.

Locally people pick stingy friendly a lot, but Ryan
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said that stingy and discerning were the default strategies when they played.

Also, do you think that the game should have fewer strategies (perhaps 6 instead of 12)? Ryan thinks so, and so I was wondering if you had any thoughts about it.
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Kyle Mann
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I can't remember the names of all the strats off hand, but when going for a military attack, the one that grants capture of cards was common (or was that a god?). Ones that allow cheaper VP purchase and ones that allow extra goods generation seemed popular.

I do agree that 12 can be overwhelming, but the nuances of all strats may be more obvious to experienced players. Maybe the rule book ought to differentiate between simple and advanced strategies and suggest new players play with only 6? Though I don't think simplifying to 6 would hurt the game much.
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michael brown
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p4warrior wrote:
I can't remember the names of all the strats off hand, but when going for a military attack, the one that grants capture of cards was common (or was that a god?). Ones that allow cheaper VP purchase and ones that allow extra goods generation seemed popular.

Invader allows for capture of island cards - that must be what you are talking about.
Impelling was the cheaper VP purchase strategy. That is a good one especially in concert with the god that does the same.
Fruitful is the strategy that produces more goods. That is especially good if you want to attack but have to weak an economy. (or want to play a yellow card).
p4warrior wrote:

I do agree that 12 can be overwhelming, but the nuances of all strats may be more obvious to experienced players. Maybe the rule book ought to differentiate between simple and advanced strategies and suggest new players play with only 6? Though I don't think simplifying to 6 would hurt the game much.

When I play with new players I do actually point out the basic strategies (impelling, discerning, stingy, fruitful) to simplify their first turn. When you have played enough games the strategies are not too confusing, but since I am not always present, perhaps an aside in the rule book would be useful.
I will look into simplifying the strategies anyway.
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