Hooray! I bought a copy of Duck Dealer right after Essen 2008. It took couple of months to arrive, I think, as it was delayed, as were some other games in the same order. Still, I’ve had the game for almost year and a half, unplayed on my shelf. Now was finally the time for it. I knew there were three of us, so I took Greed, Baltimore & Ohio and Duck Dealer with me and eventually Petri and me decided to play Duck Dealer, with Klaus joining us.
Duck Dealer is a strange game. Actually, now I’ve played it, it’s not that strange. It’s just like Neuland! Get stuff, move it elsewhere, process it into better stuff and eventually score big points with the developed stuff. Basic logistics.
This one’s a bit difficult, though. Our game started with three clueless players with very little idea what to do. It took us a while to figure out things, but eventually it dawned to us that most of the points are in the big factories and flipping consumer tiles — those big 50 point blasts.
So, off we went, collecting energy and setting up trade runs. Klaus and I got a swifter start, but Klaus eventually lost some momentum — he went the whole game with the starting ship, which meant his energy collection was slower. Me and Petri upgraded our ships more, so we could collect more energy.
Still, it was a fairly even game. I was the first to build a 50-point factory and I think I managed that and two customers or so. I even made a 30-point customer run in the end and almost got another. I won, with the final point spread being approximately 330-290-260 — so fairly close.
Our game took 2.5 hours, which is pretty well. I don’t like the flow of the game: quick energy rounds, lots of thinking and calculating (should I run, do I have enough energy? and then after minutes of thinking it’s no, let’s just take some energy) and eventually when someone runs, it takes several minutes to figure out what happens. Lots of waiting, that is, and like in Neuland, the turns other people take tend to mess with your plans, so your advance calculations may be in vain.
So, I don’t want to play this game with just about anybody. However, with reasonably swift players this game isn’t complete torture. Also, this is one of those games were newbies and experienced players don’t really mix (but all newbie games aren’t likely to be completely satisfactory either). So, it’s a bit complicated, but I believe the game is worth it. I’m glad I finally played it and I would like to give it another go. When I was waiting to fall asleep yesterday, I was still thinking about Duck Dealer strategies…