The color of the dice indicates the type of good and the number, the quantity required. There is a value marker on the board in สล็อต, indicating the amount of victory points you receive for each good delivered to the ship. This marker is initially set to 2 and for each time the car passes from the port (yellow star) without stopping there the marker is moved one flag to the right. However if the marker moves from the value 4 to the checkered flag, the ship leaves immediately even if it’s not full. Once a ship has all items loaded, it leaves the port and another one arrives.
At the beginning of the game, buildings and Cubans tiles are shuffled and placed on the board, each player chooses a color and the first player is decided. Each player is dealt 3 coins (pesos), 2 victory points and one sugar cane, one citrus fruit and one tobacco. All goods and money are hidden behind special player screens. The car is placed at the port and the first ship arrives. The player to the right of the first player rolls the five dice to determine the ships cargo. Each round a player must use the car to go to a location moving clockwise by moving as many “star” spaces they like. Only the first step to a new place is free. For every space beyond the first one, the player must pay 1 peso. By stopping in front of a Cuban, you usually get goods, money or victory points.
Then you immediately visit one of the buildings of the color indicated by the flower icon on the Cuban’s tile. In buildings, players do certain actions that help them advance in the game such as exchange different types of goods, get victory points or load goods to the ship. By stopping on the yellow star (last stop in the loop, port) players trigger a delivery round, during which all players can deliver goods to the ship. Players get victory points (the exact number is indicated by the value marker mentioned earlier) for loading the ship. Wood can always be loaded to the ship instead of any one other good but players receive only one victory point for each wood loaded. The game ends when all 7 ships leave the port. At that point any remaining goods are converted to victory points (1 vp for every 3 goods) and victory points are counted. The player with the most victory points, is the winner.
The only complain I had is about the number of players that can play the game. While four 30-card decks are included in the box, allowing four players to play, only 2 threat counters are included. I think that it would be appropriate to give full components for four players as only two threat counters would be required. Of course one can easily track threat in a piece of paper but it still seems a bit awkward. Fantasy Flight preferred profit over efficiency stating in the rulebook that “a one to two player game can be played using only the contents of this core set. (Up to four players can play the game cooperatively with a second copy of the core set.)” 9/10
Gameplay is well thought of. The game has a lot of depth and allows many different strategies giving players the privilege of adjusting their decks as they please even combining different spheres in them and play according to their style. The game provides absolute immersion, through the beautiful artwork and interesting text on cards, not only quest cards that describe the mission of the party of adventurers but character and enemy cards too.
The third major problem with the flood of PvP games, is the real-world affects of them. These games create an enormous amount of competitive behavior. We are all aware of the ‘gaming addictions’ that can affect people. Competition is an addiction in its own right. The combination creates something akin to digital crack. I would be willing to bet good money that if a survey was ever done, it would reveal that the vast majority of gaming addicts are hooked on multiplayer FPS games. I personally know many people that spend nearly every waking minute glued to the screen trying to climb from #375 to #374 on some leader board.
So why not some one player games? Take the newer Fallout games for example, great graphics, cool environment, and intense game play (at higher difficulty levels). And you get it all without being chased by packs of teenagers you’ve never heard of, or the constant flood of infantile remarks in the chat. Just straight up gameplay without the garbage. Games such as Fallout, Skyrim, Anno, Civilization, Final Fantasy, they all prove that there can be great, innovative, one player games.
Many people are only interested in these games. Myself, I have spent many hours playing many multiplayer games. But after a time I found that the garbage out weighed the play. I’ve since sworn off multiplayer. I know a number of people personally that have done the same, or had no interest in multiplayer to begin with.
But there is a problem for us lovers of solo games. Each year there seems to be less and less good games made for us. It doesn’t have to be that way though. There are a couple things that we can, and should do. First, don’t pirate your games. If you’re a lover of one player games, buy them! Show the game creators that there is still a market there. And if you’re really passionate, do what I do. Whenever a new multiplayer-only game gets released, I email the company that made it and say something like,
“Can you please, please please make this playable in single-player?”
Try it! You likely won’t get a response. If you do it will be a brush off. But if enough people do it, for enough games, it just might get these companies to reconsider releasing these games as multiplayer only. So take a few minutes and do your part. No one else will.