Date: 25th June 2004
Game played: Goa ( Rio Grande Games ) BGG Id: 9216

There were only three of us this evening so I decided to give Goa a first outing. This was designed by Rudiger Dorn, who previously produced Traders of Genoa, and the link is pretty obvious. The game is about Portugese merchants involved in the spice trade and the aim is to grow your business in various aspects as quickly as possible to gain the most victory points.

The game is played over 8 rounds and in each round there are a series of auctions followed by player actions. In the auctions, players bid for the right to be first player in the next round and for tiles that appear on the game board. Many of these are plantations in which you can produce spice, but other tiles give a variety of benefits, such as awarding additional ships or allowing additional actions. After the auctions players then have 3 actions (or more, if they have acquired them at auction). These allow players to build ships, produce spices, gain money through taxation, embark on an expedition or try to found a colony. They can also choose to use their spices and ships to progress on their development board. This last action has two benefits: it gives VPs at the end of the game and it increases the resources they receive or can use for the other available actions. After 8 rounds, players count up their VPs from progress on the development board, the colonies they have founded, the expeditions they have embarked upon, having the most money and tiles they have bought that display additional victory points. The player with the most VPs wins.

This is a tricky game to get into as there are quite a lot of different elements at play and multiple ways of scoring points. Progress on the development track is important but the tiles you buy at auction can dictate which areas of progress are most beneficial to you. Ships seem important as you need them to progress but I managed to do fairly well with only a small fleet supplemented by some expedition cards that gave free ships or allowed progress by only spending spices. Nige concentrated on his development board but only founded two colonies and this made a big difference. Mark K and I both made sure we had all 4 colonies and this made the difference. However, I took the 3 VPs for most money and that was enough for me to grab the win. We all thought this was a very good game and all believed we would improve on the next game. It should be a strong contender for the Deutsche Spiel Preis as this is certainly a good gamer's game.

Mark K

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