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We noticed this game in Essen last year, and it looked very attractive to us. In fact, it looked so attractive to us, that we wanted to play this game at that specific moment. Unfortunately there were also a couple of dozen other people wanting to play this game. We continued our tour at the fair, but the game stayed in our minds. We were happy that on the gaming clubs, new games list for February was this game. But what? O no, we would return the same day from Lisbon, as the day the gaming day was held. We said to each-other, that if the plane made it in time, we would do the one hour drive to Geel. That way we could play this game. Of course, we could ask if the gaming club would bring this game next month, but there are so many new games every month that we want to try, that we could do that, if the plane was late. But the plane was in time, and we left for Geel. Goal for the night was to play this game.
All of the above isn’t that interesting. What might be a little bit more interesting is what we think of the game. As nobody at the gaming club could explain the rules to us, we started to read the rules. What we thought would be done in something about 30 minutes, took a little more time. As attractive as the game looks, as unattractive is the rulebook. Writing a good rulebook is a job which requires special skills, but while reading, it seemed to us, that there was some essential information missing in the book. Other things which are pretty important, are mentioned only sideways. Once the rules became a bit clear, we started to play, and try if we could make it work.
In basic this is a pretty simple game, with lots of possibilities. The simultaneous playing of the cards together with the rule of the 3rd action, makes this an interactive game. And that, we liked a lot. After playing we were overwhelmed by the game. This is a game of strategy and thinking. If we would have to place it on a difficulty level, we would think about El Grande or Caylus. Games that are not that hard to explain, but are hard to play and not suitable for families.But this game is on a lower level as the both mentioned.
Finally found some time to play this one. The rules aren’t that hard, and are pretty clear, but they will have to be read carefully, as a mistake is easily made. The game will take 6 rounds to play. Round 1, 3 & 5 will have 3 phases each, and round 2,4 & 6 will have 4 phases each (if you call the end of the round a phase as in done in the rules, you’ll have to add 1 to the numbers).
1. Place family-members on the province spots.
2. Pick movement cards.
3. Move prince and set family-members at work.
4. Scoring (only round 2,4 & 6).
1. Each player places 1 of their family-members on a colored spot on the side of the board. Then the next player places 1, and so on until all players have placed 5 family-members on the province spots.
2. A player can pick a movement card, which is placed besides the colored province spots. After picking a card, it is replaced immediately by a new card. Als can the player choose to pick a dragon (joker) card, he’ll have to take one of his family-members out of the game. Players pick 1 card in turn-order. When a players has 5 cards in his hands, he can’t pick a card anymore.
3. Using the movement cards, a player can move the prince. When the prince stops moving a player can choose to place 0-3 family-members in the area the prince has stopped.
4. Scoring. When a player has the majority in an area, he can move 2 family-members to the city, number 2 can move 1 family-member into the city. For each family-member in the city he will get a colored tile (corresponding to the color of the province). When he has collected 6 different colored tiles, he will score points (round 2,4 & 6). He also scores points for family-members left in the city (round 2 & 4). He also scores points when a family-member has moved into a cloister (round 2, 4 & 6). After round six, it’s also possible to score for a set of 5 different colored tiles. All the other tiles left, score one point.
The theme on this game is thin. Very thin, maybe as thin as ming porcelain. You’ll never have the idea that you’re trying to get in the Chinese empire. All you do is moving wooden pieces and try to have the majority at the end of a scoring round. But is that a problem? In our eyes it isn’t. Although this game has very little and easy rules, it’s a brainteaser. There is a bit too much luck in picking the movement cards, but one can also call it part of the challenge. The age-limit can be on the low side we think. Age 12 might be better. But after all, we enjoyed playing it, and that’s the most important of it all.
J.A.S.E. (Just Another Standard Eurogame), which for us means it's fun to play. Or as we use to say: "What's wrong with standard?" In this game, you'll have to built towers. To do that, you will have to collect building stones, that are placed onto cards on the main board. During a turn, a player can do the following:
1. Draw a card (required) Each player, has to pick one of the cards on the board. First card is free. 2nd card costs one building stone. 3rd card costs 2 building stones. Etc. Paying is done, by placing one building stone, onto each card that is skipped. The building stones, that are placed on the chosen card, goes into the players stock. Depending on what kind of card it is, the card has to be fulfilled immediately, or can be saved for later times.
2. Exchange building stone (optional) A player may exchange three of his building stones, with one of the stones, that are left on a card on the main board.
3.Build tower (optional) A player can build as many towers of a color as he wants. All the stones in one tower has to be of the same color. Placing the first 2 building stones is free. Each stone that a player wants to build more, will cost him extra building stones.
4. Breaking down towers (required) When a player started building a tower, but in his current turn, he didn't continue with building the tower, the tower has to be broken down. The biggest half of building stones, goes back into the pouch with building stones. The rest of the building stones, goes back into the players stock.
5.Complete assignments (optional) This is where the game is about. When a player has built (for example) a red tower of 6 floors, and the red tower, 6-floor spot on the main board is still available, then he can complete the assignment. He places one of his tokens on the corresponding spots on the main board, and he gets the points that the particular floor is showing.
6. Check limits (required) At the end of his turn, a player may hold 10 building stones, and 5 cards. When he has more, it has to be discarded.
The game ends, when a players places his last token onto the main board. He gets 5 points. Cards that are in players hands are scored. Player with the most points win. Because players has to pay for the cards the skip during phase one (paying by placing stones onto the cards that are skipped), bad cards can become interesting. While there is nothing new in this game, this is still a fun game. Some interesting choices has to be made during the game, you can gamble every now and then, but don't trust on luck during the game, because then you won't make it. You'll also have to look what's left in the game, and do some calculations. Graphics are nice, and for a change, the theme fits the game, but Florence might be the wrong name. San Gimignano would have been better, because that town is known for his many towers. Florence has other great attractions to offer, which could be turned into other games.
When you want to explain somebody what a Euro-game is, you’ll just have to show them Village. This is a Euro-game from beginning to the end. Player interaction. Take a cube, do the action that comes with it. Collect cubes. Once you collected enough cubes, sell them to get points. Nothing new to that. But in Village, comes death to the board. Also that’s nothing new. There a tons of games, in which people die on regular base. But in Village, they don’t die as the result of combat. They die because of age. And that’s pretty new to us. Aging meeple! It feels a bit like playing God. You can live. You’re too old and not of any use anymore: Bye, bye… Die. The theme of death is nicely placed into the game. Not too strong. This is a very good euro-game. Nicely balanced, enough interaction. Plays smooth with two, three or four. Just a lot of fun. And the dead meeples? They are alive again the next game you’ll play.
Visually this is an attractive game. The wagon trains are very nice wooden meeples, and after reading the rules, it sounds like an interesting game. Too bad, it just sounds as an interesting game. There are some heaps in the rules, and therefore this game just doesn’t work. After playing this one, we were a bit disappointed. We were expecting more from a game designed by Leo Colovini. It just felt, like this game doesn’t have been tested enough, before it hit the market. Back onto the shelf, which it probably never will leave again.
The cards which are changing order and might disappear, sounded like a fun mechanism. Unfortunately it didn’t work for us. In the game, there are 8 cards with goals for the final scoring. This means in a 2 player game, there are 50% of the goalcards in play, and with 4 players 100% of the cards are in play. While playing, it becomes pretty quick clear, what the goal is for your opponent. Why, just because he keeps one card in front of him, and doesn’t change that card with a card at the pool. That’s too bad. A solution could be, that you add the rule, that everybody has to trade the cards after playing, even if it doesn’t have the trade symbol on it. Also the goalcards aren’t balanced very well. With one goalcard you can get 12 VP’s easily, while with another card, you’ll get with the same effort and investments, barely 6 VP’s. Normally we would place such a game, back onto the shelf, which it would never leave again, but with this one it feels different. This game has pottentials. The settings are nice. The theme fits the game. The only problem with it, is the fact that it is unbalanced.
And that’s a pretty big problem.
Every mechanism this game offers, is seen before. Place your servants (workers). Get your gold and seals, and invest them, to get extra bonusses and/or victory points. Because there are a lot of possibilities, it is clear, that you can’t do this in less then a minute. And that’s the main problem of the game. The downtime, between two turns, can be very long. Especially, when you will play this game with more then two players. Futher, it’s a nice, above average, game. Nice components, many possibilities to get victory points, and when the game is finished, still everything is possible due to the end-scoring. A very fun game, but as said, with long downtimes.
A game designed by Stefan Feld, normally means, that you get a lot of possibilities to choose from, but very limited opportunities to play these choices. New element in a Feld game, is the duel stage. Each player has to ‘fight’ for a card, which both players has chosen during the first stage. This ‘fighting’ takes place by flipping cardboard tokens with two values on it. Total of both sides is 5, so you’ll have ’0-5′, ’1-4′ & ’2-3′ tokens. Player with the highest flipped value of the tokens wins the fight (=card) and looses one token. The cards are balanced pretty well. It doesn’t matter much whether you build the castle or the cathedral. Only ‘problem’ with this game, is the dueling element. This involves a bit of luck. Maybe just a bit too much.
A fun game to play with two. Plays pretty fast and you will have the feeling that you’re really involved in a duel to finish your building first.
We hold this box a lot of times in our hands. We knew that this one is high-rated on BGG. We know that this is a 2-player game. But every time we just placed it back, looked at each-other and said ‘Next time’. We’ll next time was here today. Read the rules, which are really easy to understand. I think you can read and understand the rules within 10 minutes, and explain it to somebody else within 2 minutes. This game will really play within 30 minutes. It’s simple, it’s fast, can it be interesting at all for some-one who plays games a lot? Yes, it can. It’s a very tactical game. What will your opponent do? Shall I pick just one card, and increase the number of cards in my hand that way, or shall I trade more cards from the market with some cards in my hand? Decisions, decisions, decisions, you’ll have to make them all the time. At the end of the round, the counting of your earned money starts. Player with the most money earns the Sultans seal of appreciation. First player who has two of these seals wins the game. This is a great game in a litlte box.
Ouch, my head was hurting after reading the rules of this game. As beautiful as the art of the components are, just as unreadable are the rules of this game. Also the chosen font and the size of it on the tiles, are making those pretty hard to read. Setting up the game for the first time is a tough job. The rules speak about Sages & Pashas, but you won't find anywhere in the rulebook how they look. Ans so it goes with all the components. After we managed to set up the game, it was time to to play. Another tough job according to the rulebook. In real life, this game is very easy to play, once you understand the mechanics. Another big minor point, is the fact, that the prices on the card are almost impossible to read. This could be solved, by just printing a thin black line around the numbers.
This is a game that is, once understood, fun to play. But we wouldn't recommend this one to anybody. The poor rulebook, the hard to read tokens, and the high pricing of the game combined together, makes this a game that just misses too much.
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