The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Archive for February 2009

In which I get pedantic

Larry (in his 2008 Designer of the Year article) writes:

Age of Scheme’s reception can’t really be easily determined, due to the firestorm over its extremely unfortunate name, but again, there are mostly positive reviews.

Earthquakes are unfortunate. Snake eyes are unfortunate. It’s tough to evaluate competing legal claims. But the designer/publisher named Age of Scheme, not random chance.

As for Larry’s pick for DoY (Martin Wallace), I haven’t played any of his recent games…


Written by taogaming

February 27, 2009 at 8:38 pm

Posted in Rant

“The Claw is our Master!”

Pick and Pack is another two person complete information abstract. I played it anyway. It has a clever idea, both players control a claw to grab apples. from a grid. One player gets to move it horizontally, the other vertically. Besides taking the item on the grid where you land, you can take one of two special action abilities tied to that row/column.

Another cromulent abstract that seems playable. If you like that kind of thing.

Written by taogaming

February 24, 2009 at 8:10 am

Posted in Reviews

Tagged with

Nothing … I haz it.

So your discussion question for the weekend is: Given recent history and releases, Tao needs to use his additional spare time playing [BLANK].

Written by taogaming

February 20, 2009 at 8:03 pm

Posted in Open Thread

Year in Review — Secondary Thoughts

You know, since I was happy to play BSG multiple times this week, I may as well call it my game of the year.

Written by taogaming

February 11, 2009 at 9:00 pm

Posted in Battlestar Galactica

Tagged with

Others writing so I can sleep in

Hey, I played in that! Which saves me from writing a session report. Not that I was going to.

Written by taogaming

February 8, 2009 at 7:59 pm

Posted in Session Reports

Le Havre strategy

Finally getting around to answering some comments in the last thread

One thing that I touched upon, but that Alexfrog explicitly called out, is that having a loan provides a cash infusion (if you manage your entry fees). This is definitely troubling. I agree that the cokery is where to aim. You only need to go there once, and then you have plenty of energy, a nice income boost (15-25 can happen, 10 is pretty easy).

[In fact, my flirtation with the courthouse last game was me trying to delay the cokery for as long as possible and see what happens. Since I was playing for no cokery to show up, I spent 5-8 coal on energy early, which narrowed my margin of victory].

Regarding Larry’s question (“Is the player the one who always takes out lots of loans?”) I don’t have enough data to answer. So far, every game I’ve played the winner had lots of loans. But … it’s been me.

I can see Uwe’s point … if two players are taking out loans then the 3rd player should be able to get food cheaply … but just because I’m taking out loans doesn’t mean I’m giving up on fish. (Among other things, fish pay entry fees), just that I’m not desperate for it. I won’t take 3 or 4 fish (unless there’s really nothing to do, which sometimes happens on the first round or two). I’ll happily take 6+ (until the late game). But that’s not because I’m worried about loans; Taking 6+ fish is efficient. Just like taking 6+ wood. Or 3+ Iron.

The lack of various routes to efficiency is somewhat disturbing. Take a luxury yacht. It’s 30-38 points. But it costs 3 Steel + 3 Energy (call it a coal). Well, you could use that coal to ship 3 Steel for 24. And you could ship other goods (if you had more goods, energy and boats) for more money. In other words, depending on what you’ve got, shipping may be more efficient than a yacht (but since you can’t ship twice in a row, it may be best to ship/yacht/ship). That’s the thing about the cokery …. it provides energy (for shipping, processing steel, etc) and a good commodity to ship, and income. Whereas building steel is strictly limited, costs energy. and often doesn’t get money. You’ll need some steel for steel ships, but it’s a definite limited thing.

When I said

I’m not positive there’s a dominant path to victory in Le Havre, but I wouldn’t need much convincing.

I was thinking about shipping coke. Seems like I’m not the only one.

Slaughtering cows gives you furs, but you can only process them a few at a time. [And cows ship for more than meat, which saves actions]. Ditto fish. Baking bread isn’t bad, but costs energy. Maybe some special buildings mitigate, but the base buildings practically force you towards coke. And you can’t stop people from getting into buildings.

(Consider a variant where the harvest rounds that build the cheapest building just remove the cheapest building. Now suddenly something might not get built and be missing for the whole game! Or that each special building also had a building it removed from the game (unless already owned by a player. Now in this case you’d have to worry that the cokery wouldn’t be built. But even if it’s buried at the bottom of a stack, it will probably still show up early enough …)

Alex’s discussion of the Coal strategy is here.

Written by taogaming

February 5, 2009 at 7:20 pm

Posted in Strategy

Tagged with

Spidering Around

I’ve got some real life happening, so a quick look around the web…

I’ve been meaning to mention that Linnaeus has some Race strategy articles [1, 2, 3] …

The inside scoop behind the Wii Fit.

Some free online courses that may be of interest.

Written by taogaming

February 3, 2009 at 9:51 pm

Posted in Misc