Saturday, April 12, 2008
Well, I finally got to play this cool Splotter game. Indonesia is an economics game where players grow good companies and shipping lines. Depending on the success of the companies, the cities around the companies can grow, allowing for more growth and so forth. The key "interesting" feature of this game is the merger mechanism, whereby a player can call for a merge of two companies (his own or otherwise) into a large single entity that anyone can bid for control of. Its a very interesting game that falls into the Age of Steam category of longer brain burner with lots of math - which doesn't make it sound fun, but its pretty good. In all fairness, its probably better than I'm thinking it is, but I've been playing a lot of econ games like this lately and I may have had my fill for a bit. Mike Garrett and I had been wanting to get this in for a few weeks now, so I invited some friends from work over - Steve Wicklund and John Davis. I went over the rules, which really doesn't take all that long. Since none of us had a clue, we jumped in and started playing. I grabbed a rice company, Steve a spice, Mike and John grabbed shipping companies and extra company slots were researched all around. It didn't take long to work out some of the dynamics of the game, and I'm interested to see this game in action again. In our game, the focus was on the individual companies and making cash for your own pile. As a result of this more singular focus, we only had one city ever grow in size until nearly the end of the game. In addition, Mike brought out a rubber company immediately in the B era, and it was in a place such that no growth was likely to happen anywhere. We also didn't have mergers until halfway through the game. Now, in fairness - the game was over after Mike created a Siap Faji (SEE-op fa-GEE) company (and no, it never stops being fun saying that). Because of our lateness is getting merger tech, nobody ever had the ability to merge more than two single companies. Mike's Faji was safe in his hand making money hand over fist. By the end of the game, Mike was so far ahead we had no hope of catching him. I eeked out 2nd place by a hundred or so over John and Steve. Mike had over 1700 (I had 1260). For some fairly simple mechanics and rules, there is a lot going on and a lot to take in. Its really a good game.
Now, being that this (and most Splotter games) have this notion of being "fiddly" I'll chime in on that. THIS GAME IS FIDDLY. Each shipping/operations phase takes a while to show where goods were delivered and to correctly pay the shipping companies. A calculator is really nice to have, even if you can do math in your head - its just faster as there is a lot of "un-intuitive" math involved (5/13 of 481 anyone?). Its not terrible, but its not fast either. I thought about it a bit, and I just don't see any real way to speed up the process. It is what it is. Also, you must have poker chips. A lot of them. At any rate, this is a pretty fun game overall and one I do want to play again.