Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Thoughts on Leonardo da Vinci

Thanks to Brian, Rob, and Al/Michael for helping me try out my newest acquisition, Da Vinci Games' Leonardo da Vinci. The drawing by the Maestro at left bears a striking resemblance to my expression as I counted up my final score and realized how totally I had been trounced.

To me the mark of a good Euro is one where it is simple to learn and play, but it takes you 5-10 plays before you really feel you're understanding how the various mechanisms all fit together. This game has several: the pre-game favor picks; the worker allocations; picking your council options; when/how to upgrade your labs; when/how to save money; and which inventions to pursue.

This is not the typical game in my collection, as there's no killing involved or even implied, but fortunately there is real resource conflict. In fact, I think the real crux of the game is the bluffing and screwage that goes on during the worker assignment phase. I found it very tempting to forget about the real work to be done back at the lab when there's so much to be done out in the city. Still, you can't be everywhere at once, so you need some form of a plan to prevail.

Anyway, I won't get too longwinded in my rambling thoughts... what did everyone else think about the game?


At 11:47 AM, November 14, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

PS: Nuclear War was a blast!

At 12:07 PM, November 14, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

I liked the game from the get go. The different starting setups per player are pretty sweet. And yes, it is shockful of options for every round. Would definitively play again anytime.

A couple of things though that I got perusing the manual:
1. The resource cards under the lab are supposed to be completely hidden from others.
2. You can only place workers ONCE in each section of the board, but you can place more than one when you do.... but then the next line says something about being able to add apprentices to your master builder (?). Will check it again today.
3. Still reviewing to see if there was anything else.


At 2:24 PM, November 14, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Hmmmm.... I think point #2 is a key rule I missed. I'll have to re-read tonight, but I think it will change the way the worker allocation phase works in major way.

At 3:00 PM, November 14, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Another interesting point raised on Brian's blog is the fact that you can start working on an invention that has yet to be revealed. This seems a bit weird to me (speculative inventing, I suppose), but it does make the council power where you look at the top 4 cards on the invention deck much more appealing.

At 3:08 PM, November 14, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Leaving early last night wasn't a total loss, since when I arrived at home I saw I had a huge package from Boulder Games waiting for me. Inside were two candy packets and a pile of games. I suppose the bigger the order, the more candy you get...

New stuff (for me at least):
Mission Red Planet
Taj Mahal
El Grande (dicentennial)
Wings of War Recon Patrol
Mag-Blast 3rd edition
Ticket to Ride 1910
Lightning: North Africa

I think I have enough new games to last through 2007... of course the one I'm really waiting for is Marvel Heroes...

Anyway, I'll bring a few next week.

At 3:29 PM, November 14, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

I didn't play Lightning NA, but did get to mess around with a copy during the con... and it looks like it has some very interesting concepts. The demoer also pointed out that it was the first of their games with 4 pages of rules (ie more complex than the rest).

At 3:52 PM, November 14, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

I figured it might be a nice appetizer for Shifting Sands...

At 4:11 PM, November 14, 2006, Blogger Simon said...

Man, it sucks having your Mondays and Fridays continually tied up. Next semester is going to be just as bad, too. I remember the good ol' days of having control over my schedule.


Hint: More Saturday gamefests!

At 8:31 AM, November 15, 2006, Blogger Jeff said...

"no killing involved or even implied"

So, you guys weren't playing with the 'mechanical men morph into Terminators at the end of round 5' variant?

I really need to play this.

At 10:33 AM, November 15, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

The mechanical men actually do look a little like little Terminators... or perhaps little Benders.

At 8:56 PM, November 15, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Had a quick improptu session of this today with Jon and Michael, and learned a few more things:

1. Power to the Meeple:
YOU NEED meeples. I got gently butchered because I didn't have enough early in the game. Granted it was a 3 player game, so it's easier to gangbang the same player (I was the gangbangee, Michael the gangbanger), and my brain was in standby mode because I was post-call, but meeples are essential. Not only to do more actions in 1 round, but to LIMIT the options for your opponents. I ended up paying lots of Florins to get the resources I needed because I couldn't win the bidding war for the resources (ie very rarely got free resources).

2. The Leonardo can be a great offesnsive, and defensive weapon. Michael, by being last and having the most meeples, was always having the last laugh when placing the extra meeples Jon and I didn't have, taking free resources, and making others pay for them at the same time.

PLUS, you NEED to control the Leonardo before the last 2 research rounds of the game when there is more frantic building. Logic states that this is the moment in the game where there will be more ties in the race to build inventions, and the Leonardo gives you the tie-breaking edge (in case of a bidding tie to control the invention).

By the way Ben, with the Council, you can look at and rearrange the top four cards of the deck.

At 9:02 PM, November 15, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

I can't wait to play again... this time with 100% correct rules!

At 11:30 PM, November 15, 2006, Blogger Michael said...

I made several crucial mistakes in that game. I didn't really stop to consider what I would be able to build over the last couple of turns before they happened so I ended up spending 5 extra dollars than necessary. Plus the whole letting Jon "free" his slaves for free fiasco earlier in the game.

BTW, Simon, you should give Jon your login for BGG so he can go ahead and rate games like this a three for you and get it out of the way.

At 11:33 PM, November 15, 2006, Blogger Simon said...


At 7:55 AM, November 16, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Yes, Simon. Its time for you to be confronted. On Monday a group of your concerned friends met to discuss our growing dismay with the changes we've noticed in your gaming tastes. Wargames, eurogames, any game lasting more than 60 minutes... all have been shot down by you in recent weeks. We want to intervene before you slip down into the hopeless gutter of party games!

At 8:27 AM, November 16, 2006, Blogger Simon said...

"...all have been shot down by you in recent weeks."

Sweet zombie Jesus, I've been gaming in the last few weeks?! Why didn't someone wake my sleep walking body to inform me?!

Curse you all!


Did I win anything?

At 9:58 AM, November 16, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Simon: You won in Die Macher

Et al: Passing the Leonardo to Jon for the last 2 research rounds was the dumbest thing I could have done:
1. I ended up tied with michael to control 1 invention card, he won because he's closer to leo.
2. There was a 3 way tie on the last round for card control, for a card that wouldn't have helped either Jon or Michael's score, so I HAD to bid at least one to beat their expected zero cards (I actually bid 2 to be ready for their devious ways)....again I was the furthest away from Leo. I won the bid, but that cost me to victory points in the end: paying zero and winning that bid by controlling leo would have increased my score by 7, instead of 5.

At 2:22 PM, November 16, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Dangit! I missed Die Macher. Oh well... Maybe I can catch German politics on C-Span some night at 3 AM.

At 2:32 PM, November 16, 2006, Blogger Simon said...

Ha! I beat you all at Die Macher in my sleep?!

Wow, you guys have really let yourselves go...


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