April 2, 2004

Session Report for March 25, 2004

by Susan Rozmiarek

Tonight we were happy to see the return of Clark. Clark and his wife, Milena, had attended a few months ago before the birth of their new baby. It was good to see him back and hopefully Milena will be able to come soon as well. Itís amazing just how much a baby can turn your life upside down for those first few difficult months.

Hansa

I immediately started pushing for Hansa, while it was still fresh in my mind from my first playing of it last week. Since I described the rules pretty thoroughly in my last report, I wonít repeat them here.

Iím not so sure now if there is much long-term strategy in this game. A few general strategies did start to become apparent to me. For one, keeping in mind that you score at least two points at the end of the game for each city in which you have a market, I often found it better to use good tokens with a single barrel to establish markets, rather than saving them to sell (also two points). I tried to sprinkle markets all over the board, not only for the endgame scoring, but also so that no matter where the ship was, I would have a market close by in case I could sell goods. I paid more careful attention to what goods people were collecting, so I didnít get burned when and if they sold them, and also to look for opportunities to prevent or delay them from doing so. There is an element of luck with how the goods are distributed among the cities, but not to the detriment of the game in my opinion. It adds to the temptation to refill the board on your turn, hoping a good you need turns up close by. The short-term tactics give a puzzle-like feel to the turns, a feature I dearly love in a game. So far, this is the best of the newest releases.

Jon was able to buy and sell a lot of good tokens with three barrels and beat us all soundly. The rest of the scores were pretty darn close.

Results: Jon 49, Susan 25, Clark 33, Robert 32

Hansa with Jon, Clark, Robert and Susan.

Oasis

My second playing of this one and it did nothing to change my lukewarm opinion of it. The luck in the trade offering mechanism still bothers me and overall the game just doesnít grab me. Chris Farrell has an excellent session report of the game in his blog and my feelings mirror his. Many of the mechanisms in Oasis feel similar to other, older, Moon titles, games that I enjoy much more. However, had I met Oasis first, Iíd probably be going crazy over it and not be nearly as critical.

Chris also brings up another interesting point. This game could practically be played without the board. The blocking plays on the board seem to play only a minor role in affecting the card trading decisions of the game. Of course, itís hard to make sweeping judgements with only two plays.

Once again, I did poorly, perhaps helping to color my opinion of the game. It always seemed that the cards I needed were the ones I turned over for others to choose.

Results: Doug 103, Ed 97, Mike 72, Jon 65, Susan 47

Susan, Mike, Jon, Doug and Ed finish off the night with another playing of Oasis.
Other game played: Santiago, Marco Polo

Santiago end game with large pepper and potato plantations.

The Marco Polo board as we head out, trying to be the first to reach China.

For more pictures from this gaming session and others, see our Gaming Picture Gallery.

Posted by Susan Rozmiarek at April 2, 2004 2:00 PM

Comments

Nice web page. I'd love to hear about Marco Polo.

Posted by: Clay Blankenship on April 2, 2004 4:30 PM

Thanks, Clay :-)

We realized after playing Marco Polo that we'd gotten a rule wrong which really affected the gameplay. I've since played it again with the correct rule and will be including it in the next report.

Posted by: SusanR on April 2, 2004 4:40 PM
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