Date: 5th March 2010
Game played: Macao ( Rio Grande Games ) BGG Id: 55670

This week, there were six of us so we split into two groups of three. My group's first game was Macao, another excellent game designed by Stefan Feld and published by Alea / Rio Grande. The game features a nice dice mechanic to allocate action cubes. The number rolled shows the number of cubes you gain but also how many turns you have to wait to be able to use them. So if you choose to take six blue cubes, they only become available for use on the sixth action round after drawing them, whereas if you draw 1 red cube, you can play it on the next action round. Your actions are used to activate cards that give in-game or end-of-game benefits, take possession of city quarters, promote your turn order marker or move your ship towards the trading ports. You also get to trade in gold coins for victory points at a constantly evolving exchange rate. After 12 rounds, whoever has accumulated the most points wins.

We all enjoyed this one immensely as there is a lot going on in the game. At times, you are forced to put aside any strategic goal in order to gather the correct cubes to activate cards. Ignore this and there is a hefty penalty for having too many cards in your store or failing to activate by game end. Nige suffered from this by taking powerful cards that he then had difficulty collecting cube combinations for activation. Both Steve and Nige thought they would do things differently on a second playing and I agree that I had an advantage through having played before. That said, Nige gathered a nice collection of cards that saw him raking in points towards the end of the game. However, the penalties he picked up were too severe and I had also collected a couple of cards for nice end-game bonuses to ensure I grabbed the win. A very good game that we need to play again soon now that we all know how to play.


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