Nov 092011
 

Image courtesy of Days of Wonder

Just recently had this hit the table.  Truth be told, when I first read about the game I wasn’t overly thrilled.  Wow, another bidding game.  Knowing that they changed it from the original concept of it being Phoenician traders, well, that gave me some hope.  I was still a bit let down when I played it though.  It was by no means the worst game I have played recently, but it was an ok game and I had a little fun.

Image courtesy of Days of Wonder

The quality of the components I was a little mixed on.  The artwork is fine, the gold coins are a nice touch, but the game board bugs me.  You have a main center board surrounded by smaller add-ons.  The only reason these outer pieces are separate is because in certain games where you have lower numbers of players, some of the ports are closed.  I am not a big fan of loose game boards unless it is a central part of the game, like say, Carcassonne.  The board could easily have been made a single piece, and then have the game come with several tokens to signify a port being closed.  It isn’t a deal breaker for me, just a minor annoyance that I think could have been avoided.

Image courtesy of Days of Wonder

So each player picks a faction.  Here is another area I think the game fell short.  Aside from the faction name and the artwork on the card, there really is no big difference between them.  It would have been great if each faction had some special ability that set them apart from the others.  I think that would have also helped one other flaw the game has, a lack of replayability.  You really only do the same three things over and over again, with no much difference in the outcome either.

The whole object of the game, visiting different ports or the black market to obtain goods that you can then trade in for victory cards is nothing really new.  I wish that the goods had differing values too, but gold is exchanged at the same rate as cigars, uranium, or guns.  I like quick, simple games, but this one just seems to have gone the simple route when something a bit more complex would have been better.

I still liked some aspects of the game, despite it’s flaws.  If someone plopped it down on the table, I would play it, but I can’t see myself buying the game.

Image courtesy of Days of Wonder

But, you do get a bunch of these cute little plastic boats.

Time to see how it stacks up on the d20 scale:

Components  4:  My only real complaint is the loose board pieces.  The boats and gold coins are nice.

Rules 3:  The game is just too simple.

Replay  2:  Because of a real direct lack of strategy, this won’t hit the table very often.

Cost  3:  With an MSRP of $50 ($36 on Amazon), you don’t get much of a game for your buck.

That would be a grand total of 12.  The numbers reflect a bit worse than the game actually is, and some of these numbers are close to being higher, but I decided from the start that I wouldn’t be doing any fractions.  I think it is worth a play or two, but not really worth owning.  If you are really looking for something very lite and simple, maybe you’ll enjoy this one.

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