Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Macao : More dice rolling!

Interesting windrose Mechanism

On a quest to play more of Stefan Feld's game since I have taken a great interest in him this year (due to his prolifict offering of games), I am trying out all the other Feld games which I have not try before.Luckily Dion had a copy of Macao and he was happy to bring it over for me to give it a go.
I won't go into much details as this is not a new game and there are quite a lot of reviews on it already. I will just go into my feelings about the game.

Component wise I see where the tiles in Castles of Burgundy had their roots from. Setup is ok i guess as compared to the rest. Not as tedious as Bora Bora though so that's a plus. The neat mechanisms are choosing the card to add to your tableau, the abilities in the cards as well as the wind rose system. It feels as if this was Trajan in reverse. In trajan, you are moving your cubes around to activate action. In macao, you are rotating the wheel around the cubes. I am surprised there isn't a lazy susan type of cardboard piece for players to place the cubes and then rotate the windrose but players could probably create their own easily.
I am also surprised at the penalties involved in the game when you cannot do any action (which requires cubes) during your turn and also the mandatory action to take a card (if you cannot put into your tableau you get penalised too) as well as at the end of the game if you cannot clear your tableau you also get penalized. So there are quite a lot of points that will be deducted IF you did not manage the cubes properly and that can be really painful if you did not get the game right at the get go.
The element of luck is actually rather high in this because you are dependant on what cards are available at the start of each round and also the dice roll. Sure you can make wise decisions to ensure you won't screw up but with quite a lot of luck arranged against you, that can be tough.
Finally, the sequence of play seems, from 1 play, to be straightforward. Build up your cards to allow you to get goods which you can deliver near the end of the game. Probably with more plays we can try different routes to victory but for us 4 at least it feels pretty similar.
So in summary, this is a medium weight euro-style game with quite a bit of indepth thinking because you can somewhat plan ahead but you are quite dependant on how well you can have your engine because of the randomness of the cards and dice each round. Try before you buy!

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