Mark Johnson's occasional & opinionated podcast about family strategy boardgames

Sunday, April 16, 2006

BGTG 56 - April 15, 2006 - All About Vinci (with David Arnott)

I was on vacation last week. No, not at the Gathering of Friends, I was in Hawaii with my family. I thought I might catch up on a little podcasting backlog or at least spruce up the web page. Instead, I ended up doing what I should've planned on all along--relaxing! That's why this show recorded at the end of March is just being posted now.

But here it is, the All About Vinci show. I announced this ahead of time with the thought that people could play the game, review the rules, etc. This is a longer show--as all of the All Abouts turn out to be--and I figure that level of discussion makes the most sense when the listener is already familiar with the game. And if that's the case, then maybe we don't need to go over the rules in such depth? I ask that question in the opening of this podcast, something I'd like to hear back about.

By the way, if you want to skip past the rules, just scan your CD or MP3 player forward to about 30:45 after you get through my intro. You'll miss a little commentary & analysis that squeezes its way in amongst the rules overview, but not too much.

Anyway, that's Dave and I recording the podcast in the photo, of course. I'm on the right, and we're using the simple headsets + audio splitter setup that costs less than $50. (Ok, you need to have a computer already, but the recording software is also free.) We're at an upstairs table during SoCal Games Day 25, at the Burbank Moose Lodge. Really!

BGTG 31 - All About Medici (with the Dave Arnott bio)
Play by Web Vinci (on Ludagora, at Online-Vinci)



Blogger ekted said...

Fantastic show, guys. You've got me excited to play again. Do you ever play "live" games using Ludagora/Skype?

Also I have a question that I'm not sure was ever officially answered on BGG (it's down as I write this so I can't check). I forget the exact details, but it's something to do with the rule about not touching your own civ, one of the civ tiles (powers), and perhaps starting a new civ. Does this combo ring any bells?

12:48 AM  
Blogger ekted said...

Here's the link related to my question(s):

10:11 AM  
Blogger Jasen said...

Great show once again guys. I hadn't had a chance to try Vinci yet but the show certainly made me want to. I'll be trying out my first game on Ludagora. Wish me luck!

3:13 PM  
Blogger Rob Cannon said...

I think you should discuss the rules in the all about shows. Vinci is a game that I played when it first came out, but since I don't have access to a game group where I can play 2+ hour games (I am limited to a lunch-time group at work), I haven't played in a while. It's good to get a rules refresh. It's certainly helpful for someone who has never played but is interested in the game.

Plus, it's all very entertaining, so I don't care how long the shows are.

4:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ekted, thanks for the kind words.

The only online boardgame play I do is at BrettSpielWelt, but I could be tempted into a Ludagora "live" game if it were, truly, real-time. Maybe. I don't care for those drawn out, turn-based games.

As to your question...

I have *my* answer for you, but the 2nd edition English rules has, in my opinion, an unfortunately worded sentence:

"The active civilization and the declining civilization of the same player may not come in contact."

I've always assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that what this sentence *really* means is that there is a consequence (penalty) for having your active civ take a territory adjacent to your declining civ. And not the actual literal meaning - you cannot attack yourself under the few circumstances in which this option is available.

Later, this sentence comes along from the Heritage tile explanation:
(Heritage allows you to be adjacent without having to remove your declined civ tokens)

"If the player wishes, they may expand into their own declining empire's province following the normal rules of conquest."

So the real question is this:

Does Heritage break *one* rule for you, or *two*?

If you want to come onto the board with a new civ, can you start on one of your declined spots? Or, if you have Astronomy (allows sea attacks to be adjacent), can you cross the ocean into one of your declined spaces?

I play that you can. I don't really have anything to back this up - I just like it this way.

Partly I feel like the designer/publisher never figured people would try this, as they'd be taking points away from themselves (usually), but mostly, well... the game just feels “cleaner” to me this way. A declined civ loses it’s “rights,” if you will, and is kind of a sitting duck for the active empires. You want to take points away from yourself for position..? Go ahead. I think that strategic option should be available to you.

But… more importantly, in not one of the *many* games of Vinci I've played has this ever come up. Ever. Meaning... I don't think it makes a difference how you interpret this. If you want to take one of your declining spaces out, more power to you. I don’t see this “rule” being better either way, so just decide beforehand and play it how you like.

FWIW, I'd play that that attack would have the normal cost, and then you'd remove any adjacent declining pieces. But I can certainly see where "may not come in contact" would prohibit this. Not without Heritage, anyway.

Yeah, that doesn't really answer your question, does it? Actually, I’m wrong - I think the rule as written is quite clear. You can’t make that move without Heritage.

But I wouldn’t play that way :)


4:47 AM  
Blogger Ed Rozmiarek said...

Again, another fine show (even though it did overrun a cd :) ). I have started two Boardgames To Go games at Online-Vinci ( using Mark's standard password for his listeners.

6:41 AM  
Blogger ekted said...

Thanks for the feedback, Dave.

9:12 AM  
Blogger Flieger said...

great show, as usual. I haven't tried Vinci yet. I usually shy away from games that take more than 90min.

As for the rules question: I think it is important to have a rules overview in the show. Since there a probably more listeners out there who haven't played any particular game, i believe adding the rules overview would certainly be appreciated.

You could, provide the rules portion of the show in a separate file. Or, during the intro, just simply mention the approximate time marker within the show, where the discussion proper begins. That way listeners can just fast forward past the rules.

Either way, I hope you continue to include at least a brief overview of the rules in your all-about shows.


11:32 AM  
Blogger ekted said...

I will listen to all BGTG episodes without question. But for podcasts in general, I am more inclined to listen to those talking about a game I haven't played before. Therefore, I really appreciate the rules being covered, even if only in the context of the meandering discussion.

11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark & Dave:

I've not tried Vinci yet, but the show convinced me to fix that.

More importantly, though, I just got Dave's movie "The Last Man" from Netflix, and look forward to watching it. I have only gotten as far as the scene where Dave is giving a lecture to nobody in an abandoned theatre.

It sort of reminds me of a video podcast that way...


Hank Alme
Los Alamos, NM

1:17 PM  
Blogger E R Burgess said...

I like the All About shows including rules since they sometimes cover games I don't know (both Vinci and La Citta are now on my list to try). I also think it sometimes helps with clarifications and it brings up interesting side notes (like other games with similar mechanics). I'm a little over halfway through this show after my drive home and already Vinci sounds interesting.

That last post reminds me that I, too, had an Arnott experience the other day. I walked in on my wife watching "Mad About You" on cable and was stunned to see Arnott stalking around in a lovely Christmas baseball cap while trying to get Paul Reiser to double-date with him. I had a good chuckle over it, especially since neither of us have seen that show in a decade.

Arnott was, as you might guess, quite good, although he didn't manage to slip any game references into his lines.

6:45 PM  
Blogger Mark Johnson said...

Thanks for the votes of confidence, everyone. It sounds like--once again--I shouldn't worry so much about the show length, that I should leave the rules description in.

Still, the request that I give the time to skip the podcast forward past the rules is reasonable. I did that THIS time, but it was in the blog entry. Did anyone make use of that info? Including the same tip in the audio file itself is trickier, since I'd have to paste that in later (in post, I guess it's called!). I'd start doing that if enough listeners used the tip, but otherwise I'd rather just use the shownotes.

I'm certainly glad to hear some folks are now going to try this great game.


7:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hank and Eric,

You haven't had the true weird Arnott experience until you happen upon either my episode of Facts of Life or my episode of Amazing Stories :) Enough time has gone by now that even *I* do a double take when I see how young I was then (and how much hair I still had... oh, the pain). Also, how much better I got later on :)

10:21 PM  
Blogger Brent Mair said...

Your rules explanation was good but unclear on a few points. I'd appreciate more thorough rules coverage.

8:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent episode, as always...

Any clues as to where to pick up a cheap copy of Vinci (I can't find anywhere selling it for close to $20)?

3:52 AM  
Blogger Mark Johnson said...

I recommend using the to price-shop at mail-order shops within the US.

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A good show. I have not played Vinci before, and prefer that the rules do get covered in some detail. You've already made the concession not to discuss the rules in the session reports. And I think that is fair. But I think that they belong in the All about shows.

A longer show every once in a while is not that big a deal to me. I guess it is up to you though.

Also, I'm not sure, but I don't think that this show is actually in the RSS feed. Or maybe my podcatcher is flaking out on me, but I couldn't get this show automatically and had to do the automatic download.


3:47 PM  
Blogger Mark Johnson said...

By the way, play by web games of Vinci are waiting for BGTG listeners at both Ludagora and online-vinci. The former now offers another homemade expansion map, Asia.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The passwords on Ludagora are case sensitive. Uppercase worked for the game I just joined.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Bay said...

A great, great show. I really like the interplay between you two, a very good combination.

Chalk me up as another "include rules" vote. The coverage of rules in this episode was just right. I don't even mind hearing rules for games I'm familiar with; as another commenter mentioned, talking about the rules inevitably brings up other related discussion.

Off to read more about Vinci...

7:59 PM  
Blogger hikeandshoot said...

Excellent show ... don't worry about the length ... an interesting show like that always passes so quick that you never have the feeling of it being too long ... and in times of car-radios with MP3 capability that's a relative problem ... though mine doesn't even play the burn audio cd's properly ... but that's another story ...

Thumbs and toes up for that show ... if Daves schedule allows it bring him on more often ... you two have some nice interaction going on ...

Greetings ... Andreas Resch (Gonzaga@BGG)

11:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>> Anyway, that's Dave and I recording the podcast in the photo, of course.

"Dave and _me_" you mean. Don't make me come after you like I did Joe and Tom. :)

Nice show, enjoyed listening to it. The best part was catching my voice in the background.

5:19 PM  
Blogger Mark Johnson said...

Arg, you caught me. I just ran that sentence past Candy and she said I make that mistake ALL the time. And that she tells me, but I never listen.

Me will try to get that right in the future.

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please continue to go over the rules in the all-about shows. Most of the games I know little to nothing about. There's no better way to figure out if I'm going to like a game (short of playing it, of course) than listening to an all-about show.

All-about La Citta is a great example. Going into the episode, all I knew about the game was its name. After the episode I had a pretty good idea about how the game worked, and now I'm trying to find a copy.

You don't have to go into great detail about every single little rule. Just give a basic summary of how the game goes. For example if you were talking about Tikal you would say "it's an action point game". No need to go into great deal about every possible action.

Another great episode. Keep up the good work.

8:23 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Just played for the first time and loved it. You show made playing even better and so am now going back to listen to the show again.

6:27 PM  
Blogger Mark Johnson said...

Wow, that's fantastic! I'm glad that some listeners are finding my old episodes still interesting and helpful.

8:12 PM  
Blogger Silverisis said...

Though not out yet when this podcast was made, while listening to the explaination of the rules the game sounded almost exactly like Small World game that I played for the first time last week. Though there are some minor differences in the mechanics, the main difference to me is the fact that Small World is a fantasy theme while Vinci sounds more historical. I wonder how you would compare and contrast these two games.

1:00 PM  

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