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Re: Session Report - December 28

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  • Dave Wilson
    ... his copy ... to try it ... I thought I might try interspersing my commentary as well, just to see what comes of it. :-) ... to the ... to load ... I
    Message 1 of 7 , Dec 30, 2005
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      --- In trivalleygamers@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Pardoe"
      <RPardoe@p...> wrote:
      >
      > A quiet evening as only Dave managed to show up bringing with him
      his copy
      > of Merchant of Venus. So that is the game we decided to play just
      to try it
      > out with 2 players.

      I thought I might try interspersing my commentary as well, just to see
      what comes of it. :-)

      > We had last played the game on April 29, 2004 - so
      > refer folks to that post (Yahoo Archives:
      > http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/trivalleygamers/message/651 (or) BGG
      > Entry
      >
      :http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geekforum.php3?action=viewthread&articleid=587
      > 81) for details on the game itself. Basically, this is a pick-up and
      > deliver game where players operate space ships trying to increase their
      > initial cash of 40 to the game winning total of 2000.
      >
      > Rich started first and headed towards Colony World, while Dave went
      to the
      > Interstellar Biosphere to discover the Zum (Culture 7A) and managed
      to load
      > Chicle Liquor on this transport vessel.

      I loaded both holds with the stuff, and then spent some time searching
      for someone who'd buy them. I was worried this would set me back some.

      > Richard finally
      arrived at the
      > Colony World to discover the Graw (Culture 2). Dave headed over to the
      > Cloud and found the Yxklyx (Culture 6) who pleasant as they were,
      were not
      > in the market for Chicle Liquor. Dave continued exploring the
      interstellar
      > void finding the Eepeep (Culture 7B) and then peeking at Waterworld,
      finally
      > headed to the Inhabited Moon to find Cholus (Culture 9A) to sell the
      Chicle
      > Liquor. Dave then combined the proceeds of this sale, the IOU for
      > discovering the Cholus and all his cash on hand to by a spaceport at
      minion.
      > Dave's strategy was seen the next turn when he then moved to the
      spaceport
      > to sell his remaining chicle liquor which also garnered him the
      commission
      > on the sale, so a 10% bonus for Dave.

      I do think that this is a pretty important tactic in the game. Rarely
      is buying a spaceport a bad thing from an investment perspective, and
      the 10% commissions really can add up, if you can visit the spaceport
      often (and I ended up visiting this one three or four times in the
      game). The only real concern when considering buying one is cash
      flow. I really spent down my cash on hand (at one point having
      (*nothing*), which could really slow one down when hitting the penalty
      ovals. Thankfully, my next routes didn't have any of those.

      >
      > Rich had also managed to uncover a few cultures and finally sold
      space spice
      > to the Niks at the Giant Plant, but could only afford to buy a
      shield for
      > his ship. Rich then headed over to Jungle World and stayed a few
      turns to
      > stock up on Melf Pelts. Rich sold the Melf Pelts and used the
      proceeds to
      > buy a Clipper hoping to move a bit faster around the stars. While the
      > clipper did keep Rich in the game, Dave was the first to upgrade to a
      > transport and the faster combined drive enabling Dave to carry more
      and move
      > faster throughout the stars. At that point, it was catch-up for Rich.

      I'll agree that the transport was a good move, as at first it let me
      ship three goods, and then when I got the drive I was able to still
      ship two goods (like the scout) but pretty darned fast.

      >
      > Several trends could be seen in the game at this point. With fewer
      players,
      > the game plays a lot more like solitaire as we rarely competed for
      the same
      > goods and sales ports. Also, there was no need to use another players
      > spaceport most of the time. So the game very much had a feel like
      solitaire
      > as the interaction was minimal.

      I think that the demand cup didn't play as much of a factor in this
      game as it would with more people. The game needs people competing
      for goods, and with more people more of them would be bought and sold,
      taking them out of circulation for a while. That never really
      happened here. The couple times goods were sold out (immortal grease
      and rock videos, IIRC), they reappeared pretty quickly (luck of the
      draw). But I do recall that any player after the third might have a
      disadvantage at the game's start due to the proximity of three
      cultures to the Galactic Base (starting point), meaning the fourth
      player would have to travel farther/take longer to get that first IOU.
      I'm not sure how that'd work out.

      >
      > Also, Dave's experience with the game was quite evident. He made a
      couple
      > of nice small trades to build up cash which was invested into
      spaceports.
      > The spaceports were key as the 10% commission earned on sales was a nice
      > accelerator to Dave's cash flow.

      I also was the first to build factories, which provide a good with
      better payoff from the culture (and usually at a lower purchase price,
      too). Combining the two activities (building the factory and buying
      the factory good at my spaceport) was a double bonus.

      > Rich was a bit slow to adopt
      the spaceport
      > options making sales directly at the surface cities. Also, several
      turns,
      > Rich appeared to be "doing nothing" in that he waited for something
      better
      > or a chance to load more goods. While the second option might not
      be bad,
      > it is the first that is probably critical. This game rewards
      maximizing the
      > benefit from every turn (or couple of turns). Doggedly sticking to
      a plan
      > probably costs more than it gains in most cases. One must be
      prepared to
      > shift plans and optimize well.
      >
      > In the end, Dave easily had $2163 to Rich's $863. Boy, looking at the
      > scores from last time - pretty similar. A bit better for Dave and a bit
      > worse for Rich. It was Dave that managed to accelerate his income
      the best
      > and capture the win.

      I think this illustrates the problem of having 14 months between plays
      of this game. It's hard to remember what to try to improve upon for
      that long of a time, especially if many different games get played in
      between.

      >
      > Until next week,
      >
      > Rich
      >
    • Richard Pardoe
      Thanks Dave - good comments that I will incorporate when I upload to the geek. As well as a few more I may think of when I get to that later today. But first
      Message 2 of 7 , Dec 30, 2005
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        Thanks Dave - good comments that I will incorporate when I upload to the
        geek. As well as a few more I may think of when I get to that later today.
        But first - time to take the girls to the movies....

        Rich

        -----Original Message-----
        From: trivalleygamers@yahoogroups.com
        [mailto:trivalleygamers@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Dave Wilson
        Sent: Friday, December 30, 2005 10:58 AM
        To: trivalleygamers@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [trivalleygamers] Re: Session Report - December 28

        --- In trivalleygamers@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Pardoe"
        <RPardoe@p...> wrote:
        >
        > A quiet evening as only Dave managed to show up bringing with him
        his copy
        > of Merchant of Venus. So that is the game we decided to play just
        to try it
        > out with 2 players.

        I thought I might try interspersing my commentary as well, just to see what
        comes of it. :-)

        > We had last played the game on April 29, 2004 -
        > so refer folks to that post (Yahoo Archives:
        > http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/trivalleygamers/message/651 (or)
        > BGG Entry
        >
        :http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geekforum.php3?action=viewthread&articleid=587
        > 81) for details on the game itself. Basically, this is a pick-up and
        > deliver game where players operate space ships trying to increase
        > their initial cash of 40 to the game winning total of 2000.
        >
        > Rich started first and headed towards Colony World, while Dave went
        to the
        > Interstellar Biosphere to discover the Zum (Culture 7A) and managed
        to load
        > Chicle Liquor on this transport vessel.

        I loaded both holds with the stuff, and then spent some time searching for
        someone who'd buy them. I was worried this would set me back some.

        > Richard finally
        arrived at the
        > Colony World to discover the Graw (Culture 2). Dave headed over to
        > the Cloud and found the Yxklyx (Culture 6) who pleasant as they were,
        were not
        > in the market for Chicle Liquor. Dave continued exploring the
        interstellar
        > void finding the Eepeep (Culture 7B) and then peeking at Waterworld,
        finally
        > headed to the Inhabited Moon to find Cholus (Culture 9A) to sell the
        Chicle
        > Liquor. Dave then combined the proceeds of this sale, the IOU for
        > discovering the Cholus and all his cash on hand to by a spaceport at
        minion.
        > Dave's strategy was seen the next turn when he then moved to the
        spaceport
        > to sell his remaining chicle liquor which also garnered him the
        commission
        > on the sale, so a 10% bonus for Dave.

        I do think that this is a pretty important tactic in the game. Rarely is
        buying a spaceport a bad thing from an investment perspective, and the 10%
        commissions really can add up, if you can visit the spaceport often (and I
        ended up visiting this one three or four times in the game). The only real
        concern when considering buying one is cash flow. I really spent down my
        cash on hand (at one point having (*nothing*), which could really slow one
        down when hitting the penalty ovals. Thankfully, my next routes didn't have
        any of those.

        >
        > Rich had also managed to uncover a few cultures and finally sold
        space spice
        > to the Niks at the Giant Plant, but could only afford to buy a
        shield for
        > his ship. Rich then headed over to Jungle World and stayed a few
        turns to
        > stock up on Melf Pelts. Rich sold the Melf Pelts and used the
        proceeds to
        > buy a Clipper hoping to move a bit faster around the stars. While the
        > clipper did keep Rich in the game, Dave was the first to upgrade to a
        > transport and the faster combined drive enabling Dave to carry more
        and move
        > faster throughout the stars. At that point, it was catch-up for Rich.

        I'll agree that the transport was a good move, as at first it let me ship
        three goods, and then when I got the drive I was able to still ship two
        goods (like the scout) but pretty darned fast.

        >
        > Several trends could be seen in the game at this point. With fewer
        players,
        > the game plays a lot more like solitaire as we rarely competed for
        the same
        > goods and sales ports. Also, there was no need to use another players
        > spaceport most of the time. So the game very much had a feel like
        solitaire
        > as the interaction was minimal.

        I think that the demand cup didn't play as much of a factor in this game as
        it would with more people. The game needs people competing for goods, and
        with more people more of them would be bought and sold, taking them out of
        circulation for a while. That never really happened here. The couple times
        goods were sold out (immortal grease and rock videos, IIRC), they reappeared
        pretty quickly (luck of the draw). But I do recall that any player after
        the third might have a disadvantage at the game's start due to the proximity
        of three cultures to the Galactic Base (starting point), meaning the fourth
        player would have to travel farther/take longer to get that first IOU.
        I'm not sure how that'd work out.

        >
        > Also, Dave's experience with the game was quite evident. He made a
        couple
        > of nice small trades to build up cash which was invested into
        spaceports.
        > The spaceports were key as the 10% commission earned on sales was a
        > nice accelerator to Dave's cash flow.

        I also was the first to build factories, which provide a good with better
        payoff from the culture (and usually at a lower purchase price, too).
        Combining the two activities (building the factory and buying the factory
        good at my spaceport) was a double bonus.

        > Rich was a bit slow to adopt
        the spaceport
        > options making sales directly at the surface cities. Also, several
        turns,
        > Rich appeared to be "doing nothing" in that he waited for something
        better
        > or a chance to load more goods. While the second option might not
        be bad,
        > it is the first that is probably critical. This game rewards
        maximizing the
        > benefit from every turn (or couple of turns). Doggedly sticking to
        a plan
        > probably costs more than it gains in most cases. One must be
        prepared to
        > shift plans and optimize well.
        >
        > In the end, Dave easily had $2163 to Rich's $863. Boy, looking at the
        > scores from last time - pretty similar. A bit better for Dave and a
        > bit worse for Rich. It was Dave that managed to accelerate his income
        the best
        > and capture the win.

        I think this illustrates the problem of having 14 months between plays of
        this game. It's hard to remember what to try to improve upon for that long
        of a time, especially if many different games get played in between.

        >
        > Until next week,
        >
        > Rich
        >





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