Mark Gritter (markgritter) wrote,
Mark Gritter
markgritter

Cargo Noir

Kevin brought "Cargo Noir" to our Easter celebration, and we played it as a 5-player game. It's a reasonably simple auction game built around a "smuggling" theme. Unfortunately that is about the limit of player-to-player interaction--- no trades or conflict. But it goes reasonably fast.

We had one rule question which BoardGameGeek forums say is answered in the printed rules: when you're out of tiles (trade goods) the discards are recycled back into the draw bag. So there is a limit to the benefit of card-counting, but no way to prevent random draws on the last turn. (We had a ton of people sitting in Macau on the last round since they were out of coins.)

The setting is supposed to be 1950-ish. I was sort of bothered by the stereotyped depictions of all of the "player characters"--- Italian, Arabs, Mexicans, Chinese, and Indians. I'm not sure where the line between "lighthearted" and "racist" is here, but I think the "Ti Pot Tong" card was over it. But I was also bothered by what was "OK" to smuggle and what got left out. #1 thing that gets smuggled in the real world? Drugs. But we can't have a game where kids play drug smugglers. So we got ivory, Blood diamonds (OK, "jewels"), alcohol, cars, weapons, gold (?), art, uranium, and cigars. Because all those are *perfectly* ethical things to trade in. Cigars seem very American-centric, but tobacco certainly gets smuggled--- even within the U.S. (Also missing: human trafficking and counterfeit goods.)

Due to a failed bidding war I was the last person with any amount of coins, so I was able to snap up three locations on the last round and almost stage a big comeback with a large "run" (group of all different commodities.) But Kev had booked a big set a couple rounds earlier, and his lead proved unassailable after that.
Tags: games
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