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SR: GSG 10/2

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  • Mark Edwards
    GSG: 10/2 Roll Call: Bob, Bill, Len and Mark Schoko & Co: Bill mentioned that it’d be an ideal time to play this, given that we had exactly 4 and 2 of the
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 3, 2001
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      GSG: 10/2

      Roll Call: Bob, Bill, Len and Mark

      Schoko & Co: Bill mentioned that it’d 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 couldn’t match up the colors exactly
      (I don’t have brown or rose meeples) it didn’t 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 don’t 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 he’d dug himself a nasty hole on turn 1, but
      he remained determined to continue. He’s weird that way. ;-)

      I think Bill took the first big contract, mostly by waiting us out in
      the first or second turn’s 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
      hole.

      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 worker’s 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
      didn’t slow me down too much. And with this group there was still
      plenty of screwage to be doled out even if your target wasn’t in the
      lead.

      Final Scores:
      Mark: $678k
      Len: $401k
      Bill: $368k
      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. There’s a couple of simple auctions at work;
      blind bidding for the cocoa and then “fixed price” (ala Modern Art)
      auctions for the contracts. I didn’t 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
      group think.

      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
      very meager.

      There’s 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 Solko’s 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 you’d like learn more about the game I highly recommend
      Derk’s 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.


      High Society:
      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
      win.

      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
      company!

      Mark



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