29th March - H20lland

I couldn't make it this week, here's a write up from Steve:

After playing a lot of familiar games recently, to introduce them to Ben, I fancied trying something new and chose H2Olland as being the biggest 'big box' game in my collection that had a chance of finishing in an evening. I was a lttle concerned that it might not work well with 3, as the player starting in the 'middle' has no adjacent areas that only he can reach quickly, but the rules about where new farms can be started fix that, as long as the middle player is also the start player, as by chance he (Richard) was.

The biggest problem with the game was that the resource production rates and the building costs do not mesh together very well. Everyone starts with the same selection of 'seeds' and no reason not to plant them all, so everyone then gets the same 'income' during the harvest, and pretty much has to buy the same stuff with it to avoid being left with unusable resources - as Matt pointed out, this is a 'rich get richer' game, so stockpiling isn't a strategy. Later in the game, everyone found that they were producing a lot more resources than they could spend, but were prevented from saving them because of the limit of 5 items that can be carried over. By the end everyone had placed all of their farms and windmills, and all of their workers were employed, so there was no potential for strategy decisions there, and the winner was simply the one who had fortuitously placed his windmills to give him a monopoly over the most valuable tulip fields.

Perhaps if you had to maintain your buildings each year by paying, say, one resource of the type needed to build them for each one, and if you had to feed or pay your workers, then there would be more decisions to make. The issue of 'shared fields' also needs to be addressed, perhaps by requiring players to move workers to them before they can claim the resources, a la Keythedral.

Anyway, the final scores, for which the players can claim neither credit nor blame, were:

Steve 71, Matt 68, Richard 50

No comments: