Thursday, June 12, 2008

Princes of *Teh Suck* (Goa, Princes of Florence)

It all started innocently enough...

Goa was the carry-over game from last week. I had mentioned last time that I would try to see what could be done by advancing the money and ships track, since I never seemed to use them much. With the extra money, I was able to make a couple of very strong bids. Of course, the money goes to another player, so I'm not convinced it's a good strategy in the long term.

It was a ridiculously close game. 35, 35, 35, 34. Kozure won the game with the most money as the tie-breaker.

Next we played Princes of Florence. Well, it may be more accurate to say we played some game using PoF game pieces. What it was we actually played is anyone's guess.

You see, we couldn't find the rulebook. PoF is one of m favorite games, and we've played it quite a few times as a group, so it shouldn't have been such an obstacle. Little details were hazy, though. We weren't sure what the starting money was. We figured it must have been roughly 1800 florin. We were wrong (it's 3500). Things went downhill from there.

In the first auction, everyone felt poor and Luch picked up his Jester for 200 florin. We should have packed up then and there, but we didn't.

During his second turn, Kozure realized he had made a mistake. He and I spent a considerable amount of time trying to reconstruct his previous turns, though in the end neither of us were really sure our conclusions were correct. Again, we should have just started over, but we didn't. Incidentally, we discovered later that our calculations were entirely off.

I normally do very well at PoF. This night I sucked. I was constantly having to spend prestige points to be able to afford my actions. I couldn't set myself for future actions to save my life. On the 5th round, I won a jester in an auction on purpose, just before I remembered that what I NEEDED was a park. That move meant I couldn't satisfy one of my prestige cards and couldn't complete more than one work over the next 2 rounds. I briefly calculated I lost 22 points.

Lastly, Bharmer realized (in a weird flurry of activity) that he was both miscalculating his prestige score AND scoring works as though he had features he didn't. It was at this point we came to the conclusion that the results of this session were entirely fictional and that it was impossible to determine the real winner. There was a fit of slightly maniacal laughter amongst the group as we tried to understand what had gone so wrong.

I *think* Luch played the whole game correctly, and so we declared his second place finish as the win.

We will be playing Princes again next week, if only to redeem ourselves.

Oh, and just to rub salt in the wounds we found the rules as we were putting away the game...


  1. Anonymous12:46 PM

    In my defence, I was scoring according to the method I was told to score by. The fact that no one else scored that way is incidental, though par for the course last night. But my scoring of a work without its associated building (and therefore unable to do the work) was entirely my own fault.


  2. What happens in Florence stays in Florence.

    Let us never speak of this horrible, horrible game again.


    Now Goa...

    I haven't really commented on Goa before. Goa is a game that, like Phoenicia, I seem to be pretty good at without liking it terribly much.

    Then again, I think I've only played it three times, so maybe like my initial dominance at El Grande, it's just my mediocrepower (it ain't a superpower) of learning and adapting to new games quickly but then fading in the home stretch.

    Goa is a good game system, I can't deny that. The auctions are interesting - the consequences of being first or last player are important, and the choices for player mat optimization are difficult and interlinked without being overwhelming.

    That said, I never feel like I'm doing what the theme is supposed to be about; that is, founding colonies, making plantations and trading goods.

    I feel like I'm collecting cards to be able to get other combinations of cards or little wooden marks to put on my mat, which I can sell for gold or not, or trade for things, or not.

    Now, I know that's exactly what 95% of Euro type games are about, but for whatever reason, it feels especially artificial in Goa.

    I think the issue is trading. You're never actually trading with other players, and you rarely seem to want to trade goods for money (although I did do that a few times). You're trading goods for "upgrades", which doesn't seem to fit the theme.

    I guess the other thing which reduces dramatic tension is that there's no easy way to judge your relative position in the final scoring aside from seeing where people's cubes are on the upgrade tracks, and how many plantations they have. I mean, you can tell, if you take a moment to do the math, but it's never as simple as just a glance at a scoring VP track.

    I actually am a little tired of VP tracks as a mechanic in Euros, so maybe that's a bad criticism, but my general feeling is that it lacks "drama".

    I can appreciate that it is well done, but it doesn't float my boat.

  3. I haven't read your blog very long, but the "Posts by Subject" section on the left side is very useful. Every game blog should have that!
    Nice work.