Roll Call: Bob, Bill, Len and Mark
Schoko & Co: Bill mentioned that itd be an ideal time to play this,
given that we had exactly 4 and 2 of the players had previously played,
so I went and dug it out of my game room. We opened it up and
discovered that my copy was missing a few of the little wooden cubes
used to represent the employees of the factory. No problem, I have just
the meeples for the job! While I couldnt match up the colors exactly
(I dont have brown or rose meeples) it didnt effect game play at all.
The meeples are ideally suited for this game (heck who wants wooden
cubes to represent your employees when you can have the realism of
finely crafted meeples?!?). So after we wrapped up the game I left the
meeples in the box for future playings (the good thing about having too
many meeples is that you really dont miss a few when you leave them in
one game or another). How many more times can I use the word meeples
in this report? Apparently one.
Anyhoot, we got off to a slow start, and there were a few strategy
mistakes made early, but we pushed on. We even asked Bob if he wanted
to start the game over as hed dug himself a nasty hole on turn 1, but
he remained determined to continue. Hes weird that way. ;-)
I think Bill took the first big contract, mostly by waiting us out in
the first or second turns set of sales meetings. He then tried to ramp
up production at his factory by going on a hiring spree. His payroll
zoomed from $62k to $114k over a couple of turns. Meanwhile Lenny and I
remained where we started employee wise, and stuck to fetching 2
contracts a turn. Bob diligently strove to dig himself out of that
On the 2nd or 3rd turn I roped in 2 contracts for around $240k, which
gave me a nice surplus that allowed me to start investing in those
weirtung(?!?) papers. This remained my strategy for the game, go for 2
of the larger contracts, perhaps not for the most profit per ton of
chocolate, but for the most profit overall on volume.
The last couple of turns were funky. The next to last turn saw the
random event where no raw supply of cocoa was available on that turn,
and the last turn saw worker production go from processing 3 tons of
cocoa to chocolate down to 1 ton. So without any cocoa or chocolate in
their factories everyone but me laid off their entire workforce. They
then tried to collude and prevent me from getting any cocoa that turn so
I would have to eat my workers salary for no profit. But I managed to
get some cocoa and turn a small profit.
It was clear from about midgame on that I was in the lead, but even the
Express (read Screwage) cards played on me by the rest of the players
didnt slow me down too much. And with this group there was still
plenty of screwage to be doled out even if your target wasnt in the
Bob: $137k (not a good result considering you start with $100k)
A very interesting game and much simpler than I thought it would be from
glancing at the rules. Theres a couple of simple auctions at work;
blind bidding for the cocoa and then fixed price (ala Modern Art)
auctions for the contracts. I didnt mind the blind bidding at all
since there are 5 lots available and each one had a separate bid. So
you kind of got the idea of the going price from the first lot and went
from there as a starting point on your later bids. The latter auction
for contracts had a neat game of chicken element combined with a bit of
I can certainly see where play with a different set of players could
result in a very different outcome. We tended to have plentiful supply
of cocoa, and folks waited until the profits were pretty hefty (at least
$20k per ton of chocolate) before jumping on contracts. But I can see
where with a bit of collusion cocoa could become very scarce and profits
Theres a certain amount of bean counting that might turn some folks
off, but it is a business game so that aspect comes as no surprise.
Both sets of auctions elicited a great deal of tension and were quite
fun. The Express cards introduced enough screwage to keep this group
happy and the random even cards added a nice bit of chaos.
I read Derk Solkos latest SR on it on the Board Game Geek and I can see
where there could be problems depending how things play out. The
salesmen/sales meetings aspect feels like it should be tweaked and the
amount of group think could lead to breakage, or at least very screwy
results. If youd like learn more about the game I highly recommend
Derks review on BGG as well as his last session report. He does an
excellent job detailing the mechanics, psychology and possible stress
points in the game.
One question we had was what is the mechanic to decide whether you were
going to attend a sales meeting? Do players decide in turn order or
some other way?
I have some reservations about the bean counting involved, but it is
well worth trying if you like financial games and I look forward to
playing it again sometime.
Schoko & Co. took a good 3 ½ hours with rules explanation, so we wrapped
up with one of my favorite fillers. The first game was a learning
lesson for the newbies (everyone but me) and I took the easy win. The
second game was much more intense and Bob pulled out the well deserved
Thanks to Bill and Len for showing up and saving me from being alone
with Bob. I owe you guys a cookie or two (Bob could you bring some more
next week?). ;-) Special thanks to Bob for the cookies and the
Home of the Guy Stuff Gamers & the XFFL!
If you're interested in board games and are located in the Eastern Mass
area, check out Unity Games!
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