Thursday, May 01, 2008

April 2008 Game of the Month

This month, the game of the month came down to two choices for me - one great game I finally got to put through its paces, and another that has now hit 20 plays on the year for me. I decided to give the nod to the Splotter beauty - Indonesia. Besides introducing us to Siap Faji, Indonesia is a really great economic/planning game. Its a game that plays out differently depending entirely on player choices. City locations, company growth and even player/company abilities earned through "research" will all conspire to make a fairly different experience each playing. The game itself isn't overly complicated to teach or learn, though understanding how all the moving parts will interact takes a little bit of playing. It is a bit on the long side and even with a group that knows what its doing, it still probably takes some time, as the game is fiddly - there is a lot to keep track of as players move their goods and earn money each turn during the operations phase.
As far as the game itself - the map is good sized, beautiful yet muted and is a pretty accurate representation of Indonesia - maybe too good, as some areas on the map are a bit tiny and even with the tiny goods chits, its easy to have a hard time figuring out where pieces reside on the board. I replaced the nice but far too large glass stones for cities with smaller ones to help with this issue. The chits are small, but are seriously the best tool for the job they play in the game - other bits would have been a hassle I think. I think they could have done something different with the ships, but that's a pretty minor quibble. Overall, the game and rules are pretty decent (though this game still is a bit pricey for what you get, but nothing you can do about that since its still an import).
I didn't even go into game play, but at its core, its a stock manipulation game with company mergers and such. Its a really good game with some interesting mechanics and I look forward to getting it to the table again (though I hope to do so with experienced players as inexperienced players could get steamrolled).

1 comment:

Matthew Frederick said...

I quite enjoy Indonesia as well. I think we've only played it twice around here, maybe three times, but it's really well done.

The map, beautiful as it is, should have been modified somewhat for better gameplay, but still, nice.

I'm right with you.