The weekend is over and I finally have time to write about the games I played. The first thing we tried was the game I was most interested about: Fifth Avenue. And yeah, it was interesting. After one game, my initial rating is eight, which is pretty good considering Fifth Avenue’s a bit low average rating of 6.5. I think the game deserves better ratings, really.
Why? Because it was fun. There’s nice tension — you’d like to get cards so you can buy skyscrapers, but getting cards prevents you from doing something else that’s potentially interesting. What comes to the problem of people placing businesses and thus ruining the game, well, that’s kind of true. Raija and Ismo placed more businesses than I did, so I suppose it is tempting. I placed perhaps one business during the whole game and dominated the skyscraper scene. That secured my victory, too. We all got the first skyscraper bonus, but only I got the later ones. Thus, there’s an incentive to not place businesses before you have enough bonuses to score the bonuses.
Somehow it felt we did something wrong. There’s a huge stack of black cards and we hardly ever got them. We only used the scoring action once, on the first turn. It’s very hard to score your own best area and when someone scores about 10 points from an area, there’s little temptation for others to score it. Perhaps with less businesses on board areas would score less and thus it would be easier to take the scoring action. I don’t know, but we were kind of missing some of the game’s potential.
Still it was a fun game and I’m looking forward to play it again. Next time, with new people, I’ll probably say something about the business thing. What, I’m not sure yet, but something, because I think the game can be pretty unsatisfying if everyone just plonks down businesses like there’s no tomorrow. It is easy to see the temptation, but it’s harder to see that placing skyscrapers is in the end the better way to go.
We played some St. Petersburg, too, of course. I won three games of four and lost the one, but that was a downhill fall from the beginning. I kept records for the last game, jotting down the money and VP production for each player in the end of each round. It was interesting: Ismo and I gained money at a similar pace, I had just a bit more than him. I had more VP income than both of them. My mother had better VP income than Ismo, but lower money income than either one of us.
If I get more VP and more money than anybody else, it’s no surprise I win. But which is more important, money or victory points? It turned out to be money. Ismo was second, with his large collection of aristocrats. My mother made the mistake of placing down a building in the early game. I’m more and more thinking that the only building you want to place down on the first round is Observatory and that only if you’re not first in line for aristocrats.
Another thing was demonstrated several times in the games: one should never play a card in the wrong phase. Taking a trading card to your hand in the trading card phase is a good move. Buying it and playing it right away is practically always a bad move. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you can’t afford to buy a worker. Never.
We also played two games of Puerto Rico. One was a major victory for me, the other was really a bad job. But hey, that’s what you get when you deviate from your basic strategy. Corn screwed me, that’s it. I just didn’t get the money machine rolling like I did in the first game, in which I just ruled. Even the masters make mistakes sometimes =)