Sunday, July 7, 2013

Indonesia: Glad i played this holy grail game....

wow took us 3+ hours...
One of the holy grail games and something I have been wanting to try just to see what its like. So when Bill came over, I asked him to bring it and we managed a 5 player game just after dinner. It took us almost 4 hours to learn and then play the game. I must say all the explaining that Bill did was very helpful because we could launch into the game quite quickly with out any issues.

I won't go into the details of the rules because this is not a new game but I will just provide my thoughts and how the game went. Components wise its a Splotter game but since its out of print, the game now costs quite a lot of money and for the components they are providing I don't think its worth it. The beads that represent cities are too big for the map, the font is hard to read and the various lines that denote provinces and sea areas on the board are quite faint and can be a bit hard to discern.
I started off telling myself not to go into shipping because with such economic games, I realise I tend to go to the sidelines and thus miss scoring the main points of the game. However, lo and behold, I find myself with a shipping company to start off with lol. I guess some spots can't be changed.
Throughout the game, Jean and me were the shipping magnates and everyone else had to pay us for goods. However as the game progressed further, we realise we probably won't win and the 3 of us (Jean, Jillian and me) were now fighting not to be last. I "sold" most of my shipping companies to Jean and that was my mistake because it gave her an opportunity to actually fight for 1st runner up when previously she couldn't.
We also had a chance to end the game earlier but Jillian decided she did not want to be last so prolonged the game for 1 more round in hopes of earning enough money to beat me. However because Bill was threatened by Jean and her shipping empire, Bill decided to try to ship as much as he can via me and thus gave me that extra $ to beat Jillian in the end.
I realised that the game doesn't allow for catching the leader. Once the leader has a comfortable lead, its quite impossible to prevent the leader from winning so the rest of the players are reduced to trying to fight to not be last. In addition, the shipping operations actions is the most tedious. Because you had to figure out how to ship EVERYTHING when you can and at the same time, trying to ship such that you have optimised and don't waste too much money on shipping. Playing with poker chips is a must because the money that came with the game is really very tiny and unwieldy.
So all in all, I am quite glad I have managed to finally play a game of Indonesia. I know now that I probably won't want to get a copy for myself. Its kinda fun but without a means to catch the leader the last few rounds seems a futile exercise. What's the point except to see who will be the ultimate last place in the game? Its not a bad game but with all the fiddliness I think I will pass on getting a copy for myself. Try before you buy.


  1. The game certainly does allow for catching the leader. Hint - it's all in the mergers.

    Newcomers to this game (and even some regular players) fail to grasp just how much power rests in merged companies. I've seen this more times than I can count.

  2. yea i had a hard time seeing how mergers will enable me to gain on other players... but i doubt i will be able to spend the time again to play lol..