Posted by: gschloesser | August 5, 2011

Logistico

Design by:  Cornel van Moorsel
Published by:  Cwali
3 – 5 Players, 60 – 90 minutes
Review by:  Greg J. Schloesser 

Note:  This review also appears in Counter Magazine #23
 

Cornel van Moorsel has developed into quite the designer, with a wide range of games under the Cwali label to his credit.  Several of his games have garnered nominations for the International Gamers Award, and Zoo-Sim, his design from last year, has been re-issued by Zoch as O Zoo La Mio.  

Like Friedemann Friese, for me he has the reputation of a designer whose games I must try.  This year was no exception, so while at the Spiele Faire in Essen, I made an appointment to play his new game Logistico.  I enjoyed the game and parted with some precious euros to purchase the game. 

The premise of the game is to deliver goods to their destinations using three modes of transportation:  boats, planes and trucks.  Players move their vehicles about the board, picking up goods and making the deliveries to their required destinations.  Deliveries yield a profit, but the greater the distance traveled, the greater the costs.  The payoffs for deliveries increase as the game progresses, and each player has three secret destinations that provide even higher yields.  The idea is to set up routes and coordinate the movements of your vehicles in the most efficient manner possible so as to minimize costs and maximize profits. 

Continuing the trend of recent Cwali releases, the components in Logistico are top-notch.  In addition to a large, two-piece interlocking board, the game contains an abundance of wood:  cubes, disks, planes, boats and trucks in assorted colors.  The only sub-par component is the deck of secret destination cards, which is printed on thin cardstock and not laminated.  Fortunately, they aren’t a central component of the game and are not handled much.  

The board depicts five continents, each further subdivided into numerous territories.  The continents are separated by several oceans, which are also divided into segments to regulate movement of the ships.  The continents are connected at a few points by bridges, facilitating movement of the trucks from continent to continent.  Along with a scoring track that rings the edge of the board, there are tracks depicting the financial cost of movement, which increases exponentially with each space moved, and the yields of successful deliveries, which increase with each passing turn. 

The commodities are represented by those ubiquitous wooden cubes, four each in nine different colors.  There is a matching set of colored disks, which serve as the destinations for the commodities.  Commodities and their delivery locations are set out randomly, as are the starting locations for each player’s vehicles, which should make for a different feel each game.  Some have concerns that this random set-up could unduly favor certain players and hinder others.  However, since the payoffs for deliveries escalate substantially as the game progresses, an early advantage can be fairly easily offset by careful planning and the establishment of lucrative routes.  

Game play is quite simple, yet the “thinking” involved in order to carefully arrange trade routes and make profitable deliveries is quite challenging.  All players move their boats, then their planes and finally their trucks.  Trucks move via roadways, but can travel off-road at an increased cost.  Boats move across the water, while airplanes can only move between airports, of which there is only one per continent.  Trucks and boats MUST be moved at least one space per turn, but airplanes do not.  At any time, players may sell their boat or truck, but it is then removed from the game and may not be re-purchased.  Thus, it is usually wise to not sell a vehicle until very late in the game. 

A player may move each vehicle as far as he desires, but the cost to move each vehicle gets progressively more expensive.  Deciding just how far to move each vehicle is tough … and one of the key decisions that must be made on each and every turn.  The cost of continuing movement must be weighed against the payoff for completing the delivery.  Each delivery must produce a profit, so these costs must be weighed carefully and routes planned efficiently.  Maximizing profit is the ultimate objective of the game. 

Commodities may be picked-up by vehicles and transported by land, sea and/or air in order to reach their destinations.  Each vehicle has a different carrying capacity, but players are best advised to resist the temptation of grabbing a bunch of commodities and storing them on their vehicles.  Why?  At the end of each turn, players must pay a holding cost for each good they are carrying.  This gets very expensive very quickly.  Try to avoid holding too many commodities from turn to turn. 

When a commodity is successfully transported to its destination, the player receives a payoff. This payoff begins relatively small, but increases with the passing of each turn.  So, deliveries made later in the game are far more lucrative than early deliveries.  Further, each player begins the game with three “secret” destination cards.  If the player makes a delivery to one of these locations, the payoff is even higher.  These increased payoffs help overcome any advantageous start-up positions players may enjoy and should soothe the fears of those who have complained about this random set-up feature. 

Once a delivery is made, the commodity cube and destination disk are removed from the game.  Thus, the number of commodities and destinations will decrease steadily as the game progresses.  When there are six or fewer destination disks remain, one more round is played and then the game ends.  The player with the most money is victorious. 

Although decidedly dry, I find the game quite stimulating, with the planning required to establish efficient routes and deliveries challenging and mentally stimulating.   Players must coordinate the movement of their three vehicles in efforts to establish efficient and profitable delivery routes.  Deciding when to continue moving at increased costs versus ceasing movement, but paying the “holding” costs can be tough … and is always critical.  Choosing which goods to pick-up and where to deliver them also cause dilemmas.  A sense of urgency is added to these decisions based on the potential actions of your opponents.  It can be quite frustrating to watch an opponent scoop a good or make a delivery to your planned destination prior to you being able to complete yours.  Frustrating, yes … but it is a sweet frustration and part of the beauty of the game. 

Logistico is a mentally challenging game, requiring careful planning, good decisions and optimal coordination and execution.  It is another winner from the gaming Dutchman.

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Responses

  1. Hard to visualize the routes until you have played a few times. Good game, if you like pick up and deliver games or working out logistics. 7/10


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