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Monday, May 09, 2005

 

Scratch one unplayed game. Add two.

First things first. A gamer-friend of mine's 11 year-old son took a fish hook to the eye. Prognosis isn't good, although they determined he still has some sensitivity to light. If you do such things a prayer would be appreciated, I am sure.

As promised, got to play McMulti on Friday evening. Only had 3 players. McMulti is an oil development game with quite a bit of luck. I would estimate the luck factor to be about the same as in Settlers, but as in Settlers players can manage the luck factor.

Each player has an island. The island has a 6x6 grid superimposed over it. Each row and column on the grid corresponds to a number on a red or blue dice. Players place drilling rigs, refineries, gas stations, and pumping stations on the grid. If the row or column that facility is on is rolled it is activated. A pumping station produces 2 barrels of crude, a refinery refines one barrel of crude into gas, and a gas station allows the player to sell one barrel of oil to the consumer. If a facility is on both the row and column it produces double. Each player also affects his neighbors with each roll of the dice. The red die will activate one entire row or column to his neighbor on one side and the blue die will activate one row or column of his other neighbor.

If a drilling rig is on both the row and column of the dice rolled, that represents striking oil and the player may exchange the drilling rig with a pumping station. The first pumping station in the game costs $10 million, the second $20 million the third $30 million, etc.

The game has some interesting mechanics for market forces. There is the consumer market, and international and domestic crude and gasoline markets. Players may sell on the consumer market if their gas station is activated by the dice roll. Players simply place one barrel of gas in their possession on the consumer market track and take the amount indicated. The next barrel sells for $1 million less.

Players may buy and sell on the international and domestic market in the first phase of their turn (before the dice roll). The different markets are numbered sequentially and players simply place a barrel on a number to sell and collect that amount of money from the bank. To buy, the player simply takes a barrel from the track and pays the amount the barrel sits on to the bank.

Another market force simulated in the game is the overall strength of the economy. When doubles are rolled the economic situation changes. The card with the current economic situation has a guide on it that stipulates the new economic situation. For example; if the current economic situation is Rapid Growth, and double ones are rolled the new economic situation will be Expansion. If double 2s, 3s, 4s, or 5s are rolled Prosperity is the new situation. Double 6s leads to Down Turn. Double 1s, 3s, and 6s also force an economic event to take place. In the game we played there was an event that caused no player to be able to buy crude oil on the international market, and one that caused the 5 cheapest barrels of gas on the domestic market to disappear each time doubles were rolled.

When the economic situation changes, so do the prices of the oil facilities. The better the economy the more expensive the buildings. Players can also sell facilities from their island. The selling price is also affected by the economic situation. Also, the price of gas on the consumer market is reset to a higher number each time the economic situation changes.

After one game I have no real strategy insights, other than the obvious ones. Try to get facilities in a diagonal line in order to increase your chances of getting both rows and columns activated when your neighbors roll the dice. After one game, I do wonder why this game has achieved collectors status. The bits are pretty good, not exceptional. There is really nothing here to justify the prices that the game commands. Kind of like an Edsel, or Depression Glass, I guess. There is no rhyme nor reason for collection fads, I suppose.

After McMulti we switched to 4-player Merchants of Amsterdam, an under-appreciated Knizia area-control game that I have played many times.

Two games were also added to the unplayed list. Picked up Niagara and Wings of War: Watch Your Back. Should be able to get Niagara to the table this week at the Boys and Girls Club, though.

Good gaming,
Coldfoot

Comments:
How awful! I had to take a deep breath after reading that. Keep hoping things turn out for the best. My cousin shot a firework rocket into his eye and was not blinded. He lost some sight, but can still function perfectly normally.
 
I should have made two separate entries. After reading it again everything after the fishhook seems kind of insignificant.
 
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