Welcome back everyone, today I am bringing you Part 2 of the sneak previews for Nippon. In Part 1, I already covered a lot of information, so I would suggest reading that first if you haven’t already.
In this part, I’m going to be telling you a bit more about some of the other actions in the game. If you remember from Part 1, you have 9 actions to choose from in your turn (or you consolidate). I already covered a lot of those actions earlier. Building a new Factory, running that Factory to produce Goods, and then either supplying those Goods to a Japanese city, or exporting them to fulfill overseas contracts.
The next two actions I’m going to explain are building more mines and increasing your technological knowledge, because they work in a similar way.
Mines and Knowledge
This is a picture of your Player Board. Except yours wont have all the red text on it. On the far left of your player board is your Coal track. You start with a marker on the bottom slot of this track and it indicates how much Coal your mines produce when you consolidate.
On the far right of your player board is your Knowledge track, and again, you start with a marker on the bottom slot, representing you have a knowledge level of 1. If you remember from Part 1, you need higher knowledge levels to build bigger and better factories.
You can increase the markers on these tracks by choosing the appropriate action and spending lots of Yen. Increase these levels early in the game is useful, as you will get more benefit from them. However, there are lots of other things you want to be doing too.
You will also notice some star symbols at certain points on these tracks. These are relevant during endgame scoring.
Trains and Ships
The Meiji period was a time when railroads really took off, and the railroad network gradually spread across the country. Also, at that time, the four leading Zaibatsu directly controlled one half of Japan’s shipbuilding.
This is represented in the game by your Train and Ship tiles; you have 6 of each at the start of the game on your player board (see earlier image). When you take the “Trains” action, you can build up to 3 of your Trains, at a cost of 5,000 Yen each. You take them from your Player Board and place them in an empty slot in one of the regions on the Game Board. If you place more than one Train at the same time, they must be in different regions.
The Ships are built the same way, through the “Ships” action. Again, you can build up to 3 of them at a cost of 5,000 Yen each, and you place them on the Game Board in different regions.
Both Trains and Ships are relevant during the Scoring phases, but in different ways. Trains increase your Influence in a Region (as long as you already have Influence there), and Ships will score you extra VP if you have the most or secondmost Influence in a Region. More challenging choices of what to build and where.
I’ve mentioned this a couple of times now, so I think I should explain it a bit more. Remember that on your turn, you have two options. Take a worker and perform an action, or consolidate. Your player board has a maximum of 6 spaces for workers, so once you have performed 6 actions, you must consolidate on your next turn. You may however, choose to consolidate sooner.
The first thing that happens when you consolidate is that you reset your Coal and Money depending on where the markers are on your Coal and Money track. And by this, I don’t mean that you simply gain more Coal and Money. If your Coal level marker is at 5 for example, and you currently have 2 Coal, you will only gain 3 more Coal. If you had 6 Coal when you consolidate, you would lose 1 Coal. So, you want to try to consolidate when you have no Coal and no Money to be the most efficient as possible.
The next thing that happens is the Emperor’s Reward, and rewards are always nice
On the Game Board, there are a number of Reward Tiles, in columns depending on the level of the Reward (from 2 to 5). In each column, there is a choice of 3 different Rewards. As you can see in the image, the front side of the rewards are the same no matter which column it is from, but on the other side of the tile is a multiplier, which is equal to the level, and higher multipliers mean more points at the end of the game, so you generally want to try to get the highest level reward you can.
The number of workers on your Player Board indicate what level of Reward you can take. For example, if you consolidate when you have 5 Workers, you can take a level 4 Reward.
The Reward does two things. First, you gain the bonus printed on the Reward Tile, which is either 5,000 Yen, 2 Blueprints or 2 Coal. The tiles are limited (2 of each in a 4-player game), so as the game goes on, you will have less choice over which tile to take.
The Reward tile is then flipped over to reveal the multiplier side and placed onto one of the achievement spaces of your Player Board. I will explain these more in Part 3, but it is endgame scoring.
That’s all for now, but tune into Part 3 for details about how to score VP.