The Games We Play

The Games We Play

A repository of reports on the Wednesday night sessions of the club and anything else related to the club or boardgaming in general, which may be of interest to anyone who may be passing by.

Friday, 13 July 2007

Session Summary - 11 July 2007

After the long & delayed report from last week, this promises to be somewhat shorter, despite having 2 games to talk about, as I have to be honest and confess I can't think of much to say.

Il Principe 90 mins
Player Posn. Points
Richard B 1 53+
Matt 2 53
Steve H 3 49
Dave D 4 45
Mike 5 41

Steve mentioned this one in his Rosliston report and I'm inclined to agree with what he says. There is a lot to think about here with multiple ways to score Victory points. The basic mechanism of the game is a series of auctions (of the round the table type) to acquire buildings of 5 different colours which are used to build cities (granting Victory points) and when laid in front of a player, allowing the majority and second place holders in a particular colour to gain roles in the 5 colours, which give an immediate special privilege and also the opportunity to gain VPs when other players build cities using buildings of that colour. There are also pieces to be placed on a board (due to building cities and one of the colour roles) which give VPs using an area majority system at game end.

In this game Steve seemed to be running away early on but was hauled in at the end when all the sundry end game VPs were given out. I was in a position at the end of the game of having quite a lot more money than the rest, probably an indication that I had been a bit too thrifty earlier on, but it did get me a bonus 2 VP at the end, and I was also able to get a role for another couple. At this point I must say that I have discovered an error in regards to money, apparently (according to a post on the geek by the designer) it is not open. I don't know what it says in the rules, but it seems a bit crazy when the currency is in the form of cardboard coins of different colours and sizes and no player screens are provided that this should be the case.

Verdict - interesting game, must play again, jury still out regards longevity.

Medici 75 mins
Player Posn. Points
Matt 1 120
Richard B 2 95
Steve H 3 92
Dave D 4 84
Mike 5 73

This is a game I've only played sporadically (make that 3 times including this one) and always find myself in the position of having to remember what I'm doing at the beginning. The theme of the evening was obviously auctions as this is just really one auction after another, this time of the once round type, with the player initiating the auction having the last bid. The clever part is deciding what to bid on as there are 2 goals, getting the highest value and accumulating majorities in the different commodities on offer that are often contradictory. This game seemed to go on a bit long compared with memories of the previous 2 games, but maybe that was due to more players than previously and possibly faulty memory.

There was some discussion comparing this and Ra and opinion is split. I can see that this game is popular (it must be or it wouldn't keep getting reprinted), but to me Ra is considerably better.

Verdict - OK, I can't see that I'd ever refuse a game if it was all that was on offer, but there are a lot that I'd play in preference.

Anyway that was quite enough auction action for one session. I think I need to steer clear of auctions for a bit, unless they're in a Power Grid context (or may be Ra).

Until next week


  1. I like this game, but it's quite intense as there's an awful lot going on - cash, buildings, roles, territory - and one bad slip in any of them can be very punishing in a (for 5 players) 5/6 turn game. There was some discussion about why, in an auction for main role, the loser gets nothing. I guess it's just part of the general tendency to suck money out of the player's treasuries at every opportunity. I suspect that if the loser simply got the minor role then auctions wouldn't get past 1 ducat - the special actions are identical so all the loser suffers is 1,2 very occasionally 3 VP down without the card flip penalty, so why compete? If the difference was more - say, doubling the special action for the major role - then roles would become too useful, almost the be-all-and-end-all of the game. I echo Dave's concerns - I'm not sure of the game's longevity, not because it's bad but because it's not as fun or pretty or atmospheric as a game such as, say, Amun-Re. 2007's Mediaeval Merchant or Attila perhaps, though I hope not. I also agree on secret cash - totally pointless.

  2. Yes I forgot that discussion, again the designer has commented on the geek but he only says that there is a reason for this which avoids some bed (I assume he means bad and this is a typo) situations. Regardless of the longevity or not of the game, this I heartily congratulate Emanuele Ornella for supporting the game on the geek.

    Regarding secret cash, while it is nice to be agreed with, what I thought was a bit silly was the production, if there was to be secret cash. Many of the role auctions in this game were predicatable just by looking round the table, allowing the optimum bid to be calculated exactly, using secret cash would have stopped this and I think this would have improved the game.

  3. I guess I've just never seen the point of information being 'kept secret' when, by note-taking, a player would have complete knowledge anyway.

  4. Il Principe: Given the very small amount of money supplied and that the contents of the bank is open knowledge - coin counting should be pretty easy. there's enough going on anyway, without having to memorise running coin counts.

    Medici vs Ra. There is considerably less player interaction in Ra which is why you may feel it is considerably better Dave. I disagree with that assertion to a considerable degree. All things considered.

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