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Francis Drake» Forums » General

Subject: Played at the Gathering rss

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Mike Fitzgerald
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I had a chance to play this at the Gathering of Friends. What a great game. Beautiful components with smooth and strategic gameplay and lots of fun. A very accessible game for everyone with plenty for the strategic gamer.
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Jacob Lee
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Time for a full review!
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Matthew Mayes
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I agree, a review with pictures would be great. There may even be some.. in it for you.. whistle
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Jonathan Franklin
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I can give a bit more, but am probably not the best person for a full review.

There is an elegant two part structure to each of the three voyages that make up the game. The first part of each voyage is the provisioning phase. This has about 14 cards in a row. The order of the cards changes for each of the three voyages, but the cards remain the same. You cannot go backwards, so if you jump ahead to a card you really want, you cannot slide backwards to pick up more crew or cannons. This creates quite a tense selection process. Once you have finished with the provisioning phase, you will all have barrels, crew, trade goods, cannons, and/or special abilities.

In the second phase of each voyage, you will place markers (with a secret value of 1 to 4) on the board. The more barrels, the farther you can sail. The more cannons, the more galleons and forts you can attack, etc. After all markers have been placed, they are turned up and resolved in turn order. Although late-comers to a site can achieve the goal, they do not get the silver, gold, or jewel, which are one of the keys to big scores.

After all four of each ships actions has been completed, they return to harbor to provision for the next voyage. After three voyages, the game is scored and the winner declared.
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Jon Ben
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Of course I've been up all night! Not because of caffeine, it was insomnia. I couldn't stop thinking about coffee.
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I have written up a detailed overview of the rules and my thoughts on the game based on the rule book if anyone is interested in that. It's in the review section: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/959534/why-euro-gamers-s...


It would be nice to hear in more detail what those who have played it thought about the game. Was it fun? What are the pros and cons in your opinion?
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Jonathan Franklin
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I enjoyed my play - if there is a downside, it is that like Powerboats, it is really three very similar rounds with little arc or carry-over from one round to the next. Provisions not used on a voyages are discarded before the next one and all forts, cities, etc. are refreshed between rounds.
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Sean parmenter
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Agreed, each voyage is a new challenge. I asked the designer about this at Cancon earlier this year and he said since the game was meant to mimic Drake's three voyages, he couldn't have supplies and crew waiting around on a boat for 8-10 years between voyages. Drake had to raise the funds from scratch, to mount each of his expeditions. He even had to petition the Queen when her support was withdrawn following Spain's accusations of Drake being a pirate.

This works and I feel this game is all about the challenge of racing through Plymouth, judiciously making your purchases. Because the order of the locations changes each time I find myself confronted with a whole new puzzle on each voyage. How do I get my crew, guns and supplies efficiently this time now that they are placed thus.

However, I find the arc is still present in the quest for commodities. You can get one commodity each turn fairly easily but getting four different types is difficult and there is fierce competition in the 3rd round. I was out-manoeuvred on the third voyage in two different games. I made sure I got indigo on voyage one and just needed tobacco on turn three. I placed my disc 1 at Santo Domingo and found the owner of the Golden Hind came there as well and took the tobacco before me. It pays to see what other players need to complete their sets.
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Will DeMorris
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We found Francis Drake to be good fun. I was surprised at how quickly the game played. Our game lasted 90 or so minutes with 4 new players and a rules explanation. Also I give the rulebook a big thumbs up. I read it before our session and I was able to teach the game and answer all rules questions that popped up easily. Concise rules writing is an underappreciated art.



-Will
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Ralph H. Anderson
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I have had several opportunities to play the game, all at The Gathering.

In terms of the arc of the game, this is carried through in the scoring to a significant degree. Each voyage players collect trade goods, jewels, gold and silver and are able to score for accomplishing missions (raiding forts, towns and galleons). There are points awarded for these AND you score additional points if you accomplish 1, 2 or all three missions.

At the end of the game there is bonus scoring for accumulated trade goods, jewels, gold and silver as well. So there are many routes to victory and success will depend on how well you outplay your opponents in each round.

Full Disclosure: I am a friend of Peter's and have play tested the game extensively. In addition, I just recently joined Eagle Games and Gryphon Games as Public Relations Manager.
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