3rd Nov 2022 - Macao

by RobinWed, 25 Jan (Updated at Wed, 25 Jan)

Every year that I’ve played in the tournament so far, it has introduced me to at least two really great games that I’d not played before; and one dud. For this year, 2 of the 5 games were already known to me. The new ones had so far delivered one great one and one dud – so the pressure was on for Macao to keep up the good record.

It didn’t disappoint. In the tradition of Stefan Feld games, it revolves round an interesting central mechanic – I can see the influence of the dice-on-the-wheel idea in many later games. And there’s enough diversity in the painstakingly-balanced actions to offer many different ways to win.
It feels like there’s quite a big element of luck involved: in order to do well, you need to pick a vague strategic direction early on, but the combination of the cards and dice will dictate how well that works out. The two games I’ve played have played out completely differently; and Ian reported the same on the other table. But it’s still a great tactical challenge, as you’re constantly having to improvise to align what comes up with what you need.

Most important for me, though: with the ships and cities on the map, this game also has a decent thematic side. So definitely my favourite Feld game so far. Sorry, I know everyone loves his bigger titles, but there just aren’t enough castles in Castles Of Burgundy – or enough wine :-).

Macao seems to be hard to come by: there were 3 tourament games planned for this week, but the entire club could only offer 2 copies of the game. So it looks like I’ll be depending on James or Paul to bring it in if I want to play again. Having lost to James by 1 point in our practice game, and then beaten him by 1 point in the tournament game, I’m hoping there’s scope for a playoff there someday.

Elsa’s group were playing Lords Of Waterdeep – preventing a Feld clean-sweep – and the group that couldn’t play Macao ended up playing Root. But David-K was in tune with both the Feld theme and the season by bringing in Bonfire. So we still managed 3 tables playing Feld games in one week. I see that we’re already up to 3 Vital Lacerda games planned for this week – can we go one better?

Finally a shout-out to Ed for the website, which has been spruced up nicely this week following my rant about the poor maintenance of the tournament pages. Feast your eyes on the league table that’s actually a table now, rather than a picture – and “TBC” has finally been replaced by Macao for the final round; so the website is returning to the glory of the David-M era. Thanks Ed!