Recap: Arkwright Second Edition First Impressions

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It’s been a while since unclear rules lead to a disaster in play. After that happened last time with Arkwright, though, I went on the boards and got clarification straight from the designer. This week, I grabbed three enthusiastic economic players and we decided to do it up with the entirely correct rules. And the game was fantastic.

Arkwright. It was a first play of a very heavy game. So I decided that my goal would mostly be to pull various nobs and levers and see how they worked. Sure, I did it in a coherent way that ultimately advanced my position, but I also wanted to see how the nuts and bolts worked. And I especially wanted to try a shipping strategy since the rules related to shipping were the ones that we totally fouled up last time.

The nice thing about the shipping strategy is that it keeps your stock price low while hoarding up your reserves. So I was able to gobble up 29 of my shares at very good prices. In the final two rounds, I pivoted toward bumping up my stock. Unfortunately, I had restricted myself to just two factories – bread and clothes. And only producing twice a turn, I only got my share price to 16. Not enough for the win, but a respectable second place.

In the future, I think I’d push the shipping a little more. The most I ever shipped was 6. But if I would have been able to ship 8 at a time, the payouts would have helped me open and operate a third factory by the final rounds. With a third factory, I could have gotten my share price up to at least 20ish and that would have put me closer to the lead.

The player who won did the opposite strategy. I don’t think he ever shipped, but he ran his factories until they were extremely profitable. By game end, he had level IV factories for both cutlery and lamps and was making a net 70 pounds or more when running them. Even though his stock price was comparatively high (about 22 pounds), he made so much money that he was able to buy 28 of his shares before the game ended.

I’m really interested in the variant that allows you to invest in other players’ companies. The shifting and organic alliances and different incentives that creates seems really interesting to me. The only negative with our play was that it clocked in at about 4 hours. Sure we were new to the game, so I’m sure that playtime will decrease with experience. But once I’m talking about committing that chunk of time, you’re competing with greats like Mage Knight and Through the Ages. Arkwright is awesome, but perhaps not quite in that category.

Also Played. Vikings on Board.

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