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Subject: Give me reasons not to buy this game (or convince me otherwise) rss

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Eric Pietrocupo
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I am tempted to buy this game, but I am not sure. So I want people to give me reasons why I should not buy this game. I made my homeworks and looked at the negative comments. I accumulated these comments:

No Replay value, repetitive : many people have complained that after a lot of game, you only have a few strategic options which are always used in all games.

Come cards are abusive and broken or gives you the game (remove library in a 2 players): Some cards seems to be more powerful than other and could break the game.

People prefer race for the galaxy but I hate it (too complex):Most people prefer race for the galaxy, but I found that game way to complex. So san Juan could be better for me.


Role system is less fun and important in san juan: Others says the role system is less important and fun because some buildings can negate the advantage of a role.

Dominant strategy: There is not that many path to victory. So when you know the right combos, you should stick to it.

Not much decisions, the game plays you.: Some say that there is a lack of strategy and that you do not have much decisions during the game, the game plays for you.


Could there might be other games in the same style which are now better (excluding race for the galaxy)

Is there some variants that fix some of the bugs listed above? (ex: maybe setting some cards aside before the first reshuffle.


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Chris Gray
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Re: Gives me reasons not to buy this game (or convince me otherwise)
Race for the Galaxy (yes, I saw "excluding Race for the Galaxy", but sometimes people need to be hit over the head)
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Runcible Spoon
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larienna wrote:
People prefer race for the galaxy but I hate it (too complex):Most people prefer race for the galaxy, but I found that game way to complex. So san Juan could be better for me.

...


Could there might be other games in the same style which are now better (excluding race for the galaxy)



You ruled out your best alternative so you should probably just go ahead and buy San Juan.
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Caleb
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Runcible Spoon wrote:
larienna wrote:
People prefer race for the galaxy but I hate it (too complex):Most people prefer race for the galaxy, but I found that game way to complex. So san Juan could be better for me.

...


Could there might be other games in the same style which are now better (excluding race for the galaxy)



You ruled out your best alternative so just buy San Juan already and be done with it.


I strongly prefer San Juan to RftG. All of the criticisms above about San Juan ARE somewhat valid, but unless you spend time reading the strategy forums it should take you many, many games to get to that point. Good value for the money.

RftG does have better replay value, with all its expansions, but I found the game to be dull and the secret role selection to be much less fun than open, sequential selection in San Juan.
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Doobermite
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San Juan is fun but has been surpassed by Eminent Domain. Eminent Domain uses deck building combined with role selection and makes it a more streamlined, modern experience. I played San Juan on the iPad recently, and while it brought back memories, it feels kind of "old school."
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Charlie Theel
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Man, it's a shame Race for the Galaxy isn't your thing - amazing game and what I was going to recommend seeing your thread title. Personally, I don't think the game was that complex once you've played it once or twice. I watched a good youtube video explaining the rules (didn't even read the manual) and then played against Keldon's AI before playing with my group.

Glory to Rome is a good recommendation as well.
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Chris Wood
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The main reason I traded san juan was the lack of a captain phase; having the ability to convert goods into VPs. The dual role of goods in Puerto Rico and RFTG is not there in San Juan, and man did it make it feel incomplete. I just couldn't shake that feeling when I was playing it. If San Juan had a captain phase like RFTG, then it would be tops.
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Wil
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Runcible Spoon wrote:
You ruled out your best alternative so you should probably just go ahead and buy San Juan.


Quite true and if you end up liking San Juan, you should then buy Race for the Galaxy.

Seriously, it's not a complex game at all. Yes, the iconography is intimidating as heck to new players, but once you understand it, you end up realizing that it's actually pretty clear and well done. The key point though is that learning the iconography is just an initial hurdle to overcome as the gameplay is actually on the easy side of a medium complexity game in my opinion.

All that said, I do think that starting with San Juan is the way to go based on what you shared. This will get you a fun and worthwhile game, plus you'll end up learning 75% of Race for the Galaxy as well. Then it's just those darn icons to learn and there are great player aids for that (and by the third game, you'll know the vast majority of them).

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Wil
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My opinions...

larienna wrote:
No Replay value, repetitive : many people have complained that after a lot of game, you only have a few strategic options which are always used in all games.


The key words here are "after a lot of games". I personally haven't hit a point where I feel the game has no replay value or is repetitive. I do imagine that once I've played it 50+ times, I will drop it into a lesser rotation for this reason, but that's really true with every game in my opinion.


larienna wrote:
Come cards are abusive and broken or gives you the game (remove library in a 2 players): Some cards seems to be more powerful than other and could break the game.


I don't see this at all or at least I haven't discovered this on my own yet. One big piece of advice I have on gaming in general: NEVER read strategies or session reports about games on BGG.

In my opinion, discovering your strategy in a game is more that half the fun of gaming so hearing about other's strategies and such is akin to someone telling you how a book or movie ends. Sure, you'll likely finish the book or movie, but it's nowhere near as exciting any longer.


larienna wrote:
People prefer race for the galaxy but I hate it (too complex):Most people prefer race for the galaxy, but I found that game way to complex. So san Juan could be better for me.


I like both games.


larienna wrote:
Role system is less fun and important in san juan: Others says the role system is less important and fun because some buildings can negate the advantage of a role.


Blech. I've never felt this way. If I did, I'd say that the same is true in Race for the Galaxy and Puerto Rico as well. If anything, this is a strategy to play the buildings that negate the need for you to focus on a particular role so you can focus on the other roles. That's a good thing.


larienna wrote:
Dominant strategy: There is not that many path to victory. So when you know the right combos, you should stick to it.


I must be a crappy player, because I don't know the right combos and the ones I've discovered are hard to reproduce as they are dependent on having the right cards at the right time.


larienna wrote:
Not much decisions, the game plays you.: Some say that there is a lack of strategy
and that you do not have much decisions during the game, the game plays for you.


This one I strongly disagree with. There are tons of decisions in this game from hand management, to role selection, to what to build.

Would you feel that a game like Dominion plays itself or do you make the calls? If you feel you make the calls, then San Juan is a king here as you make a LOT more decisions then you would in a deck building game.


Personally, I think you should buy it. It's inexpensive and has decent trade value. That said, if the thing you disliked about Race was role selection, hand management, and producing and consuming, then you should pass as that's all quite similar in San Juan.
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Jonathan Schindler
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I didn't like San Juan. It was very dry, and while it's based on Puerto Rico, it didn't feel as interactive. Also, bad draws are more crippling in San Juan than, say, Race for the Galaxy, because generally the cards in RftG are situational--good if you follow a certain strategy, not so good if you follow a different one. In San Juan, the good cards are generally good no matter which strategy you follow, so if you don't get them and your opponent does, it's frustrating.

I prefer Glory to Rome to the other two, but there are more moving pieces than either of the others. (After a game or two, though, it moves much better.)
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Ben Bateson
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Goatcabin wrote:
Also, bad draws are more crippling in San Juan than, say, Race for the Galaxy, because generally the cards in RftG are situational--good if you follow a certain strategy, not so good if you follow a different one. In San Juan, the good cards are generally good no matter which strategy you follow, so if you don't get them and your opponent does, it's frustrating.


This is nonsense. San Juan, like Race, is all about card turnover. You shouldn't be letting bad draws fester in your hand.

Personally I prefer SJ over Race. It's cleaner, quicker, plays better with 4, and can be picked up and played straight away. Yes, it may get a bit same-y after a while, but for £/$/E15, who cares?

GtR (and I'm very happy with my pre-Black Box edition) is a great game, but I think I'd pick SJ over that most times. Mostly because my regular gaming partners know GtR inside-out and that tires me.
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Fernando Robert Yu
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@Eric, I think in your heart you've already decided. It seems that you have done your research, have uncovered some "negative" comments, yet STILL posted here. If you were truly convinced with all the negatives you should have said "forget it" and not have posted, yet you still did.

So..go buy it already. I have, and have NOT regretted it one bit. I was lucky enough to get the Treasure Chest cards, and the game has gotten even better.

I just played my copy of Glory to Rome a while ago (the I.V. version, the one with the brighter and thus cooler art) and while I like GtR's gameplay, San Juan is a simpler beast and scratches a different itch for me..GtR is more of a gamer's game, while San Juan is more casual, and there are times when I need just casual play...
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Ben Bateson
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If anyone around here is tired of San Juan and wants to give away their Treasure Chest cards...whistle
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Chris Wong
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I say just go get San Juan. There's only so much you can determine by reading reviews and comments. Great thing is SJ is not an expensive game and it's a great size for travelling so for those reasons alone you should get it.

I really enjoy the game, and even if I can somewhat agree with the criticisms you list, each of those only occur on instances and not every game. On the other hand, I'm sure you have a list of positives too which you should make sure you don't discount. One of my greatest experience is playing speed SJ - we finished a 3 player game in 15min, which made it very exciting.

Based on reviews, I picked up RFTG. Played the computer version several times and played a game with our group and ever since then we've never opened it again. Some games work for people, some don't. Won't know until you try, and SJ is not a big financial risk.
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Caleb
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ousgg wrote:
If anyone around here is tired of San Juan and wants to give away their Treasure Chest cards...whistle


I've only played twice with the cards from the treasure chest...not too impressed. I prefer my San Juan vanilla. But the folks I play with enjoyed mixing in the new cards, sigh.
 
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Christian Nold
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While Race certainly feel like a better and more subtle game, I really enjoy San Juan because I find I actually look at my fellow players rather than stare at cards! San Juan feel like a game with people, while Race often feels like a delicious but slightly autistic panic.
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Ben Bateson
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softhook wrote:
... a delicious but slightly autistic panic.


Otherwise known as an Alton Brown cookery show.
 
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Chris Wood
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With a little idiot savant thrown in (I'm the idiot, he's the savant)
 
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ackmondual
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Consider getting the expansion! It GREATLY revitalizes the game IMO! These days, I can't play SJ without it. Adds new angles and strategies that made the game relatively stale. SJ with the exp is still easier to teach than base game RftG, so I don't feel bad about including it.

FWIW, in SJ, there's really only a few strategies, but at least the tradeoff is the game is MUCH faster than RftG, and EVEN MORESO tahn PR.

.

ldsdbomber wrote:
Glory to Rome (current shitstorm about black box edition notwithstanding)
easy to pick up in trade or marketplace
Those woes are mostly passed... I got my kickstarter edition 3 days ago. Those who want the 2nd edition I.V. edition, or black box edition (without the kickstarter promo extras) can now do so through any FLGS or online.

As for GtR itself, I still remember my first game.... it was after playing RftG. I was impressed how I got the core mechanics down within 1 day (as opposed to Race which took a few more games). However, I fear GtR may still be too complex for the OP. For comparison's sake, they have the same BGG game weight.

.

wgerken wrote:

larienna wrote:
No Replay value, repetitive : many people have complained that after a lot of game, you only have a few strategic options which are always used in all games.


The key words here are "after a lot of games". I personally haven't hit a point where I feel the game has no replay value or is repetitive. I do imagine that once I've played it 50+ times, I will drop it into a lesser rotation for this reason, but that's really true with every game in my opinion.
If you like a game enough, you'll play it ALOT. It won't be hard to hit 50+ or even 100+. I can't pinpoint when SJ become one of those "games that I'll play, but only if there aren't other games" (e.g. people won't be able to handle Race For The Galaxy, there's an overwhelming preference for it), but it was ALOT sooner than other games (e.g. Ticket To Ride US and Europe maps, Settlers Of Catan with dozens of f2f games and 300 online)

.

Myoman wrote:
The main reason I traded san juan was the lack of a captain phase; having the ability to convert goods into VPs. The dual role of goods in Puerto Rico and RFTG is not there in San Juan, and man did it make it feel incomplete. I just couldn't shake that feeling when I was playing it. If San Juan had a captain phase like RFTG, then it would be tops.
When people make a triangular comparison between the 3, that is an important distinction to me....

In a nutshell...

PR and Race are similar b/c of that, and other more complex mechanics

Race and SJ are both card games that use cards to pay for other cards

PR and SJ have the same theme.
 
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larienna wrote:
I am tempted to buy this game, but I am not sure. So I want people to give me reasons why I should not buy this game.

I can't think of any great reasons why you shouldn't buy SJ. The negative factors you identified won't happen every game, and unless you play it into the ground over a short period of time, they may not appear at all.


larienna wrote:
Could there might be other games in the same style which are now better (excluding race for the galaxy)

You could check out London, which adds a spatial element to the card play, although it's considerably more expensive than SJ.

 
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Dundy O
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cannoneer wrote:
Runcible Spoon wrote:
larienna wrote:
People prefer race for the galaxy but I hate it (too complex):Most people prefer race for the galaxy, but I found that game way to complex. So san Juan could be better for me.

...


Could there might be other games in the same style which are now better (excluding race for the galaxy)



You ruled out your best alternative so just buy San Juan already and be done with it.


I strongly prefer San Juan to RftG. All of the criticisms above about San Juan ARE somewhat valid, but unless you spend time reading the strategy forums it should take you many, many games to get to that point. Good value for the money.

RftG does have better replay value, with all its expansions, but I found the game to be dull and the secret role selection to be much less fun than open, sequential selection in San Juan.


I agree with this assessment. There are such a variety of cards that finding the right combos will take time. That's good replay value.
 
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Rick Culler
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larienna wrote:

Come cards are abusive and broken or gives you the game (remove library in a 2 players): Some cards seems to be more powerful than other and could break the game.


There is rule to address the library in a two player game that's easy to miss.

Note: in a 2 player game, the owner of a library may only use
it once per round! Thus, when the governor uses his library on
his first turn in the round, he may not use it on his second
turn in the round! Of course, if he does not use the library on
his first turn in the round, he may use it on his second turn.

It's a good game. I like the fact that it's easy to teach and enjoyable to play. I just wish the expansion were available separate from the Treasure Chest for a decent price.
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Eric Pietrocupo
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First of all, thank for the comments.

Quote:
Glory to Rome (current shitstorm about black box edition notwithstanding)
easy to pick up in trade or marketplace


I find race for the galaxy and glory to rome to be very confusing. I have an hard time seeing how the cards moves on the the board. Glory to rome is worst because cards get reinterpreted differently according to the position of the card on the board. Finally, I don't like race for the galaxy simultaneous role selection.

Quote:
San Juan is fun but has been surpassed by Eminent Domain.


I read the rules of eminent domain recently and it's true that the games looks somewhat similar. But I don't know why, I was not attracted to it. I might have to play first to really know if the game would hook me up.

Quote:
@Eric, I think in your heart you've already decided. It seems that you have done your research, have uncovered some "negative" comments, yet STILL posted here. If you were truly convinced with all the negatives you should have said "forget it" and not have posted, yet you still did.


I only had the chance to play 1 game which I liked. But I was not really sure since you cannot really evaluate this kind of game in one play since there are so many different cards in the game and one of the idea of the game is to know the cards in the deck. This is why I wanted comment from more experienced people.

Quote:
San Juan is a simpler beast and scratches a different itch for me..GtR is more of a gamer's game, while San Juan is more casual, and there are times when I need just casual play...


I think that is my problem, considering all the games above seems to have confusing game play for me, San Juan beign the easiest to play seems to be more accessible to me than ROTG, ED and GTR.

Quote:
Great thing is SJ is not an expensive game and it's a great size for travelling so for those reasons alone you should get it.


Yes, apparently, if you strip it from it's box, it's pretty small. It still takes a small amount of table space.

Thanks again for the comments. We were making a group order and I was hesitating to add San Juan (sold at $21.95 CAD). But I think it could be a good idea to buy it. I might play a lot of 2 player games which is apparently still good if you remove the library.

Still, in case of trouble, considering that I design a lot of variants, I could probably fix most problems I want. I cannot change the cards, but I could change the roles or add new components.
 
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Master of the Waz
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larienna wrote:
I might play a lot of 2 player games which is apparently still good if you remove the library.



I have played this a ton 2 player, and library is fine. You do have to use the rule that was pointed out above.


rculler wrote:

There is rule to address the library in a two player game that's easy to miss.

Note: in a 2 player game, the owner of a library may only use
it once per round! Thus, when the governor uses his library on
his first turn in the round, he may not use it on his second
turn in the round! Of course, if he does not use the library on
his first turn in the round, he may use it on his second turn.
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Caleb
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Jastin wrote:
larienna wrote:
I might play a lot of 2 player games which is apparently still good if you remove the library.



I have played this a ton 2 player, and library is fine. You do have to use the rule that was pointed out above.


rculler wrote:

There is rule to address the library in a two player game that's easy to miss.

Note: in a 2 player game, the owner of a library may only use
it once per round! Thus, when the governor uses his library on
his first turn in the round, he may not use it on his second
turn in the round! Of course, if he does not use the library on
his first turn in the round, he may use it on his second turn.


FWIW, this is how 2-player games are implemented in the iOS app by Ravensburger. I consider this definitive.

-cannoneer
 
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