Happy Fourth of July, to those who celebrate.
Due to a communications foul up our plans were canceled. In an attempt to make the best of the day we did what we always do, play games and that is where things went off the rail in only a way that Machi Koro can. Without a doubt Machi Koro is a fun game to play. However, our boy has a strategy that makes Machi Koro not fun. We call it the leech or vulture.
Here is what he does: pick up a quick restaurant, such as the Cafe. Purchase a few money making properties for both ends of the game that have the same die roll value as restaurants and major establishments. Quickly get his Train Station open. Then watch. What is he watching for? The properties that people have with die roll values equal to restaurants. Good example: Die Roll 8 where there is the Furniture Factory, Hamburger Stand, Mackerel Boat, and Tax Office. If someone rolls an 8, he collects from the restuarant and when he has a mackerel boat he also collects. If he rolls an 8, the tax office collects, the furniture store and mackerel boats collect.
That was just one example. His strategy works and works well. Often he wins without having to invest in more than a few non-restaurant, non-major establishment cards. Once his machine gets up and running, which can take some time due to cards available for purchase and die rolls, players either emulate what he is doing, hope for good luck on their turn and bad on his, or spend as much money as they can so they have nothing to give him should his tax office or other major establishment (purple cards) come into play.
Last game we played, I dropped out after he purchased restaurants that had the same die roll values as the majority of my properties at the time. Nothing is more discouraging than rolling a 3 or 8 and watching all of the money go to another player. Then he picked up the tax office and I was done.
To their credit, Barb and our girl kept playing. They used the same strategy as our boy and here is what happened…
Each turn someone would generate money and either not be able to spend it or not spend all of it, pass the dice…
…that person rolls the dice and pays out money to other players, collects money, and collects money from other players, but is unable to get rid of the money, pass the dice…
…third person rolls the dice and rinse and repeat.
For six passes of the dice they played, with no player able to accumulate more than four dollars before that money was taken from them. On their turn they were able to generate money, but due to the restaurants in play, much of the money went out as payments. It was very sad to listen to. Essentially they created a loop where money was passed around from player to player, but never in a large enough quantity to break the loop.
The leech strategy works great to win games. It is not fun and when more than one person is following the same strategy Machi Koro gets depressing.