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Subject: Viva@Dockers - Greed is Good! rss

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Dan Hutch
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I managed to get a 2nd play of this in at Gamers@Dockers this week. We'd played last week with 5, and got 7 people this time. Two of us had played before (myself & Emmence), and 5 were new (Paul, Carlos, Peter, Anton & Mr Natural) - not that it helped me much.

After setting up the board and explaining the rules there was a few guys looking blank & confused - mostly as this game is quite different to anything else we've played - but within one round I think everyone was pretty sure what was going on and having fun.

The round by round sequence is a bit hard to recount with so interaction and yelling going on (and Carlos whining - its his meta-game strategy) - however the beauty of the game is there is still a lot of strategic planning & plotting going on. Some of the group spent a lot of time planning where to put their researchers and generally they were the ones who did well.

Some of the high-lights for me:
- Myself & Mr Natural blending our gaming group's first Rainbow blend, getting shafted by someone playing a Re-Do flavour card, and popping another Rainbow back out right away
- People whining about rainbows being overpowered, only for it to get nuked two rounds later by another rainbow
- The 2nd rainbow getting nuked by a flavour card almost instantly
- A Greed flavour card vote where almost everyone was greedy and gave RP to the eventual winner (Red - Anton)
- Fickle Investor getting played a few time to nuke people's scoring
- Some of the total failures to blend anything useful
- Lots & lots of table talk whilst retaining a sense of strategy and thoughtfulness compared to other very social games

Anton (Red) went on to win on a tie-breaker having made good investments, getting a lot of points from Greed, and filling up 4 of his research tracks to end the game. He also lurked at the back of the PP track for most of the game so was in a good spot based on player order. From memory he only blended once or twice.

After the game, everyone seemed pretty happy with the experience including the guys into heavier Euros & those a bit more into theme & dice style games.

I think the game played very well with 7 with no down-time, and a decent pace. It should fill a gap in the group where was have odd numbers of people that other games cannot hold, which generally results in playing something mindless.

*


Some thoughts on the mechanics of the games so far:

Blending vs Research
It seems to me you need to do a decent amount of research to win. The bonus points at the end-of-the-game jump you a long way up the board and you get to stay high on the player order this way. Getting out ahead early does you no favours... maybe an early lead needs to get plowed back into RP.

Rainbow Blends
In round 2 or 3 myself & Mr Natural got together to blend and managed to pump out one of these suckers. We scored 2 PP the first round, and due to degration we got 3 PP the next round.

Next round another team made another Rainbow and ours was removed from the board

This seems like a great mechanic - I think people thought we had won off this single blend - but they prove fragile and soon shot down.


Flavour cards
This play most people took at least 1 or two of these. Some of them with some really fun effects though I should have policed their use a bit better as I did not check people were reading the entire card - for whatever reason people neglect to read some of the caveats on the card.

Quick Switch
This got used pretty quickly on the 2nd Rainbow Blend and taking the bean off reduced it to worthless... on checking today this usage was not allowed. Was pretty funny at the time though

Fickle Investor
This got used to great effect to blow the leader off the Top Cup (3pp) space. I do think we forgot to move the investor token onto something else though

Re-Do
Got well use one out of two times to force a team with a Bold Blend (4-of-a-kind) down to a Half-Caf (2+2)

Greed
This was the killer. Anton playing Red used this and 4 out of 6 other players took greed handing him a bunch of extra RP.


Research Tracks
Grow
I would say this is significantly less powerful in a 7 player game as the bean supplies often ran out

Select
Unpopular in both my games so far - might need to be combo-ed intelligently with something else

Invest
Seems awesome if played well. Rubbish if not.. well balanced!

Brew
Seems very useful all the time

Flavour
Mixed bunch - the flat 2pp card seems weak - might be situational and just not found a good use for it yet. Some of the cards seem very powerful indeed in comparison (especially when not played properly!)

*

Some quirks and things we noticed
Game-end scoring (Edited per feedback below)
Scoring in player order for final scoring in a 508 player game, as opposed to the final intern negative scoring in the 3-4 player game has quite different implications for a tie-breaker.

Flavour card timing
It is quite crucial to control when these get played. We had a few laggards we let play them late and it might have changed things a little.

In addition we had a few times when people gained enough RP to take a new flavour card at what seemed to be an odd time - specifically this was when someone blending got 1 RP "after blending", and got a card that could be played "after blending". We weren't sure if the intent was you could use it right away but we did allow it.


Red/brown beans
The colour blind guy in the group really struggled to tell the difference between these... in fact everyone did... I am going to have to investigate doing something with this...maybe just just a white mark somewhere on each red bean


Bean Exhaustion
Much more prevalent in 7 player... changes ths strategy quite a bit in my opinion

Player order
I think the stacking of score counters might have got messed up a few times for people spending PP to get RP - more vigilance next time to do this in player order! The rules clearly say you should - just needs some control

Being in the lead on points is a significant problem if you are there for too long!


Tie breaker rule
Both games so far have ended in a tie. No-one understands the logic of the rule or felt it made sense. It's not a huge deal but we are a competitive bunch.


*

Anyway another very enjoyable play and looking forward to more and possibly winning at some point!
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Kareem Koh
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I believe the reverse turn order scoring is only for the Intern Inspansion.
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Dan Hutch
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You are right. Thanks

So usually the tie would go to the player higher in the player order since they score first. With interns it would be whoever is lower in the order I think. I am sure there is some rationale but no-one in my group got it
 
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Bill Grant
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wozzit wrote:
You are right. Thanks

So usually the tie would go to the player higher in the player order since they score first. With interns it would be whoever is lower in the order I think. I am sure there is some rationale but no-one in my group got it


I completely agree. Here's how it reads to me in detail (based on the 1.0 rulebook):
- At the end scoring is done in turn order (which means last place first) and ties go to the lowest. If playing with more than 4 people this means the trailing player gets the benefit of the doubt
- After that reverse player order (or best first) is used to subtract PP's. The rules don't clarify but I would assume the bottom (best before this scoring) will win.

These rules do seem contradictory to me. Would love to here from T. C. or Chris on the thought process here. (Of course it doesn't really matter that much who wins at that point but I would expect it to be consistent.)

EDIT: Made it clearer I agree with previous poster.
 
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TC Petty III
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Billgrant wrote:
wozzit wrote:
You are right. Thanks

So usually the tie would go to the player higher in the player order since they score first. With interns it would be whoever is lower in the order I think. I am sure there is some rationale but no-one in my group got it


I completely agree. Here's how it reads to me in detail (based on the 1.0 rulebook):
- At the end scoring is done in turn order (which means last place first) and ties go to the lowest. If playing with more than 4 people this means the trailing player gets the benefit of the doubt
- After that reverse player order (or best first) is used to subtract PP's. The rules don't clarify but I would assume the bottom (best before this scoring) will win.

These rules do seem contradictory to me. Would love to here from T. C. or Chris on the thought process here. (Of course it doesn't really matter that much who wins at that point but I would expect it to be consistent.)

EDIT: Made it clearer I agree with previous poster.

I actually played more than one game with 3 players that were so close that when we scored with the Interns it flip-flopped the lead position. I guess it was personal preference, but when two players tied exactly in points, then tied in interns, or when a player was in the lead in points, then lost a point or two more for interns and became tied, it was like a big fake out. "Yay! I win! Oh wait, for some arbitrary reason I don't actually win because instead of being at the bottom of the stack, now I'm at the top of the stack." Something about that irked me and some playtesters.

So, it was really a choice between "surprise, you win!" and minor rules confusion. But, I felt the focus here should be on positioning, not intern count. The decision will probably only benefit a select few, but at least it wasn't just a misprint!
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Dan Hutch
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Thanks for the response TC - makes sense now you've put it that way.
 
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