Friday, March 31, 2023

Go Goa is vacation planning the R&W

Go Goa is a Roll-and-Write about planning a vacation in Goa, a coastal state of India. While I didn’t find it particularly challenging, I did think it actually evoked the feeling of a vacation evem though it’s just a hex grid.

Here’s the basic pitch. You’re drawing a line on a grid map of Goa that has thirty different tourist locations. Each turn, three dice are rolled. One will be what direction you will go in. One will determine how many hexes you go. The last one determines if you can change directions one or two times.
Rolling dice to figure out what direction you are going. Why does that seem familiar? Oh yeah. Avalon Hill’s Outdoor Survival used that. You know, the game whose infamous first scenario was really seeing how long it took you to die from thirst, starvation or exposure.

Honestly, the fact that you can change directions at least once a turn makes a huge difference. I’m fact, it makes the game possibly too easy. But I still have flashbacks of all the deaths from Outdoor Surivial so I’ll take it.

You have to stop on a tourist hex for it to count. No just passing through. You get points just for landing on one. You also get points for collecting sets of the same type of tourist hex and collecting sets of one of each type. You also get points for completing itinerary cards and bonus points for reaching Dudshagar, the most distant point on the map.

Okay. I found that a fairly basic strategy of making sure I ended every turn on a tourist hex and priorized completing the itinerary cards reliably gave me a high score. And because I could always make at least one turn, it would take really bad dice and particularly poor decisions for me not to pull that off.

So I don’t find Go Goa to be very challenging as a game. However, I think it does work as a casual gaming experience. If you are looking for a rough puzzle, Go Goa doesn’t deliver. If you’re looking for R&W vacation, I think it pulls that off.

Now, I’ve only played it on Board Game Arena and I’ve only played it solitaire. In multiplayer, each turn has an active player who locks a die for direction just for themselves. But the ability to turn makes picking a distance dice the most important choice so I don’t know how big a deal locking people out of a direction is.

Go Goa isn’t a brilliant game but I do think it makes really good use of its theme, enough to be engaging.

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