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Ordered from ginger Games on 18/8/2018 First game 4/9/2018 rating 7.5. Took a few turns for everyone to get into their stride Enjoyed the blind bidding and having not played the previous edition, would imagine it being a less forgiving game without the investment bank.
There are no guardrails here. No catch-up mechanisms. This is no engine-building heads-down eurogame. There are no rules preventing you from destroying yourself and the game's entire economy while you're at it. Container is a game that asks its players to create an economy from scratch, and govern it according to their own behaviors. Container is, I think, the best example as gaming-as-art that we have in board gaming. It puts players into an incentive-warping system that, played at its highest level, best captures the corrupting influence of changing incentives when the end goal is simply: Have the most money and you win! It's an interactive tabletop art installation functioning as a critique of greed inherent in economies of trade. Corruption? Collusion? Cartels? Price-fixing? It's all here. Quite a statement about a board game. So why such a middling rating after such lofty words? The game requires a deep and nuanced metagame to thrive. It's the type of game that needs a group of 5 to play it once a week for a year to unlock its secrets. The exploration of this mechanically simple game is an exhilarating experience, but only in the aggregate. Individual games can be frustrating as you get frozen out by other players. Figuring out how to manipulate their behaviors to avoid that from happening to you [i]is the game[/i]. Which, of course, requires commitment from the players to actually play their part... in other words: they have to [i]get[/i] that this is what the game is about and they have to [i]care[/i] about participating within that framework. The idea of Container is ingenious... the experience of playing a single game can be uneven. Like a negotiation game without negotiation, an individual game of Container is only as good as the least-engaged player at the table. The fact that it's essentially a 5p-only game complicates the gaming experience even more. Find a group of four others willing to explore this space with you? Then it's a 10. And consider yourself lucky. Now onto Mercury's tragi-comic production of this game. I have no idea why Mercury thought this game would appeal to the Kickstarter Bling Brigade. It is an opaque economic game along the lines of the stock-and-rails Winsomes, 18xx, or Indonesia. The game can literally be created as a PnP with Legos and a printer, and the gaming experience would suffer not one iota. Furthermore, rather than create an upgraded reprint, Mercury changed the game by eliminating components from the box, causing much facepalming from Container fans who have been anticipating a reprint of this unique game. "The game is better shorter, and it doesn't change the game," claims Mercury. Meanwhile, Container adherents shoot a cockeyed look, one such BGG user wondering if the game's lead developer (and third credited designer in the new edition) has ever even actually [i]played[/i] the game. (Note: I understand Nesbitt was the original edition's developer, and instrumental to the original edition's final incarnation. My point is he sees a very different game than Container's most skilled players.). If you want to play the game by the first edition rules, you'll need to proxy the containers some how because extra ones were only made available to backers and pre-orders... and also download the first edition rulebook from BGG, because there isn't a single mention of the original rules... not even tucked in the back as a variant. And the MSRP for all this? $120! At that ridiculous price, why not just try to track down a copy of the first edition on the secondary market? ...And yes, shortening the game [i]does[/i] fundamentally change the game. Maybe in a way that some people prefer, sure, but not to acknowledge that as a fact is simply obtuse. As for the Investment Bank... it tears down the framework that makes Container Container and adds in a sort of AI/dummy-ish thing that injects money and containers into the game and removes a significant portion the responsibility of the gameplay from the players. Will never play with it again.