It has been a wonderful week of gaming achievements. I got caught up with The Dice Tower podcast and played 5 different games this week. Including 5 games of Hive and a second play of Yomi.
I recently acquired Shanghai as it has been on my wish list for the greater part of 2010. I have purchased and played Chinese themed games this year in preparation for my trip to China this coming March. It was designed by Sid Sackson and published by Ravensburger in 1997. It is a re-implements Maloney's Inheritance that was also publish by Ravensburger in 1988. Maloney’s Inheritance was a re-implementation of Holiday. Holiday was publish in 1973 by Research Games Inc. The box cover declares that it a “glorious game of world travel.” Holiday plays 2-8 while Shanghai plays 2-6. Holiday is a very rare gem that is a “grail” for many Sid Sackson fans. Cash is very tight in both Holiday and Shangai while not so in Maloney’s Inheritance. Shanghai differs from Holiday as it contains a random event deck. In addition, Shanghai’s theme is Chinese in nature while Holiday is more about traveling around the world. Shanghai won the Vuoden Perhepeli which is the Finnish Game of the Year in 1997.
Shanghai is the largest (population) city in China. The city is located in eastern China, and sits at the mouth of the Yangtze river. Players bid for the right to chose which of three locations that Lang-Tsu will travel too thus enabling the player to bribe him for information. The game turns are played during the course of a day, and kept track by a clock with Chinese symbols. The goal is to overtake the Junk that is moving throughout the harbor. Each round begin with an auction. A key mechanic is that even if you loose the auction, but have cards that match Lang-Tsu’s location, you can gain free information (victory points.) Thus this game can be very interactive. Loosing doesn’t mean you can’t make a gain.
Shanghai's production is beautiful. However Holiday rates better. After playing both games back to back, I agree that Holiday should rate better. While both games have a wide open bidding/auction mechanic, Shanghai has a very random element that detracts from the game. Who ever wins the auction either takes of choose another player to take a event card. The effects are either positive or negative, and the negative can be REALLY negative. During our game this evening, Andy won a heated auction, played two location cards, had the points double, but all in vain as the event card deleted the points he had earned. Ouch!!! I could see it on Andy's face, his enjoyment thus far evaporated just as quick as the points he had just lost.
Are you a fan of or newcomer to Sid Sackson board games; Acquire, Focus, Can't Stop, Holiday/Shanghai, Buy Word, & I'm The Boss? If so, please join me in celebrating these wonderful games as I will be hosting an event at GenCon. Multiple copies of these games will be available for play. Rules will be taught if your a new comer. Prizes/swag for all participants. Game ID: BGM1119613