Recap: Shipping Dominates Macao and Smash Up First Impressions
This week a very dear friend who has been living in Tokyo for the past few years was in town. We got together and he wanted to play some new games, or at least games that were new to him. We brought several games down that were exciting and new, including a play of Sentinels of the Multiverse. But ultimately it was Macao that dominated the evening.
Macao. Macao continues to be one of my go-to euro style games. I love the tension between taking fewer resources now vs. more resources later. It’s a great efficiency mechanic. Plus I really enjoy the way that you have to plan well ahead during the game or suffer punishment.
In the past, my plays of Macao have generally been pretty close, with the winner eking out a victory by just a few points. This time the victor won by a wide margin. In the early game he was actually very far back in last place. He used his Beggar card to continually generate more cubes for himself, and he had several offices that gave him coins. At about turn seven (of 12) he had yet to spend a single coin and had a substantial pile. Then it all came together.
First, he started spending his stockpile of coins. Every turn, even when the exchange rate was less advantageous, he was able to buy points. Then he got a card that allowed him to move his ship four spaces for the cost of a single gold coin. With his stockpile, that gave him extreme maneuverability around the board.
From there, he bought several city quarters (connecting a chain of six of them together) and then started delivering goods like a madman. When all was said and done, he had completely smoked the rest of us. Lesson learned: do not underestimate the value of a strong coin strategy. Several cards exist that make coins more versatile.
Smash Up. Since my first play earlier in the week, I’ve already gotten in several additional plays. I think that speaks well of the game. Smash Up seems to be less about the actual mechanics of the game and more about individual clever plays allowed by unique combinations of the cards. It’s really a trip to combine Wizards with Tricksters (a powerful display) to be able to play many of the Trickster’s action cards at once. Or to use Zombie powers to get cheap scores from continually playing Invaders.
While there doesn’t appear to be a “best” combination, I think that Ninja Dinosaurs is the only one I’ve seen so far that is a little lackluster. The dinosaurs, in general, seem to lack a lot of the utility that other races bring. That said, when combined with a utility deck, they can be pretty darn devastating.
My first play was extremely enjoyable. Stay tuned for a full review in the very near future.
Also Played. Sentinels of the Multiverse (a victory against Spite) and Piece o’ Cake.