Wednesday, May 07, 2008

1960 and Puerto Rico

1960 is ok

Nadine and I played 1960 on shabbat and I won at Nixon with 315 or so points. After my second game, I find the game to be ok, but not much more. Yeah, the decisions are fun, but there are too many mechanics around to pay attention to the theme, so we just end up pushing the same cubes back and forth.

I like the decision making on what to play and what to keep for the debates, but then the debates are just an ugly and boring mechanism.

And it's long, which subjectively means that the mechanics begin to repeat before I feel like the game has moved to the next stage. Despite the debates in round 6, the game has little story arc; it looks and plays the same at the beginning and at the end.

Still, it's not too too long, and the cards give you different cubes to push in different places, so it's not too too repetitive. Luck is not too too big a factor. And it's fun and tense. I wouldn't pick it over some other two player games unless I was an election or history buff.

Puerto Rico

Nadine, Rachel, and I played Puerto Rico, and I invited our friend Joan to join us. She is not a gamer and never expressed any interest in gaming, but she thought it would be fun to join us for a few hours.

Nadine explained the game to her in a way that boggled my head. It seemed to me to be the most convoluted method of teaching, more strategy information than rules information, and not in any order than made sense. When I told her this, she said that I have more experience in teaching gamers how to play while she has more experience in teaching non-gamers how to play. By round three, said Nadine, Joan would be up to speed. I was highly skeptical.

Nevertheless, by round three Joan was up to speed, which was even more head boggling. Of course she wasn't "up to speed" up to speed, playing against the three of us; it was still her first game. But Joan was smart enough and able to make a few of her own decisions. We helped here and there along the way.

Joan had a coffee monopoly during the early game, and then Factory, Harbor, and Wharf, and Custom's House to round it out. It wasn't a slaughter only because we're good players, but it was pretty obvious that she was going to win, although Nadine also looked to be in good shape mid-game. In the end, Joan had 60 points, one for each year of the State of Israel.

Nadine also had Factory, plus tobacco and a late Wharf, and ended with two big buildings netting 57 points. Rachel had a Harbor and a big building, but didn't think she was going to win fairly early on, and netted 55 points. I was first player and had a Large Market, the next coffee, an early quarry, and an early Small Warehouse. Not nearly enough, and I netted only 50 points.

It was fun. Joan said that she enjoyed the experience, but didn't sound like she'd be back to play on a regular basis.



Seth Ben-Ezra said...

So, can you give an outline as to how Nadine explained Puerto Rico? I'm curious to see the logical progression and compare it to how I teach Puerto Rico.

Anonymous said...

I first explain the 5 goods and how the boats and shipping works, including the goal - to ship the most of your own and the fewest of other people's. Shipping is really the only complicated part, much easier to understand right off than after hearing about all sorts of other things. Then I explain how to produce a good, which they want to know by then - you need a plantation, building and colonist except Corn. That covers most of the roles, then there's what you can do with a good - ship which they know, and trade which is straightforward. I have them read the roles and priviliges on the board because now they can understand them, and they reference those for a while. I explain that you also get victory points from buildings, that money is more important in the early game, and how the governer works. Evrything else, including Quarries, is easy to explain as we go. First two rounds I make suggestions of what to take and why. In this case, Joan had Corn, and Tobacco and Coffee and something like Indigo were left. I told her she could pick between the two trade goods, she asked if she could use non-game reasons and we said yes, she liked Coffee better than the idea of smoking. After two rounds I suggest an immediate goal such as save up enough money to buy a Coffee Roaster, and by then they have an idea of the roles and can see what they need. We explain which buildings they need as they're ready to buy, and need to remember to explain big buildings and how the game ends later. This is good for non-gamers, real gamers want the full explanation in an organized fashion. Joan also asked people to explain why they were doing what they did as we played, which is a good way to learn.
-- Nadine