We finished up our gaming evening with a game of Goa. This was the third time Marisue had played, my second play, while Dan and Esther were playing for the first time.
After a semi-brief rules introduction, which included a bit of re-introduction to some of the game's mechanics (it had been a while since we played) we got into it.
Almost immediately Dan proclaimed that he loved the game and that we'd have to play it a lot more from now on. Esther was a bit slower to catch on to the mechanisms of the game, much like I was the first time that I played. It wasn't until about halfway through the game that the "Aha!" moment hits you and you realize what you need to do and what you SHOULD have been doing.
The nice thing about the game is that there isn't really one set strategy that you need to follow. You can do almost anything you want, and adapt your strategy as needed based on the auctions and what you manage to win (or lose).
As always, spices were in short supply, and everyone struggled to get the ones that they needed. Marisue and I both fell into the trap of thinking that with our selection of colonies and the plantations that we had that all avenues of spice development were covered. We then realized that our ability to have two distinct desperately needed spices at the same time was curtailed because the same plantation made them both, but only one at a time.
Fortunately this happened to be a bit earlier in the game than her and i was able to recover. Marisue didn't realize this until almost the end of the game, and had to radically adapt her strategy. In the end she managed to get around the problem and win anyway. If she had noticed the situation earlier she would have won by a far larger margin than she eventually did.
Nearing the end of the game we were all feeling the crunch of having a brilliant plan for advancement but not nearly enough actions to pull it off. Dan in particular was hurting a bit in this regard because he didn't realize until a few rounds into the game how important the extra action cards can be to your strategy.
In the last round, Dan used the espionage tile to found a colony with a 100% success rate by using my colonists, which I had up to the 6 colonist level.
In the end the scores were quite close, and Marisue pulled off the win against Esther. We'll definitly be playing this one again against Dan, using his new found knowledge of the spice trade!