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Trajan» Forums » General

Subject: Trajan vs. Castles of Burgundy rss

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Christopher Clark
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Illinois
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Hi all,

I think there are some other threads similar to this, but I thought I would start this one to see if there are any fresh perspectives.

I am interested in both of these games. Most of my game-playing is 2-player. Many have said that Castles plays best with two. But, for some reason, I am a bit more drawn to Trajan. Since this is a Trajan forum, do any of you have any perspectives specific to 2-person play that might be helpful in my decision.

Many thanks!


 
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Jack
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I like both games a great deal and am a big fan of Feld in general. CoB is best for me with 2p because it's hard to tell what's on everyone's tableau at a glance - especially buildings - when there are 4p.

Trajan is also very enjoyable with 2p, but scales upwards very nicely as well because of the varying turn tracks.

Personally, I prefer Trajan over CoB, but it's pretty close. I suppose your decision could come down to whether or not you ever plan to play with more than 2p. If that's the case, then Trajan is the way to go.
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Bill Kunes
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In my experience--I've played Castles 101x and Trajan 30x as a 2p--I'd say they are both great games. You can't go wrong with either. Trajan is a bit heavier. Most folks probably started with Castles and moved on to Trajan based on when they were released or going off the Feld popularity rankings. Both are great with 2p, just to be clear.

For a little more details from my wife and I, see BK's His & Hers Stefan Feld Rankings

meeple Keep playing...
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Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
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I'm sure that none of the previously offered perspectives have since been updated.
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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senorcoo wrote:
Trajan is also very enjoyable with 2p, but scales upwards very nicely as well because of the varying turn tracks.
Trajan is best with 2! It becomes a dance between the two players as they try to time the ending of rounds. You want to set yourself up to be the first person to be able to go to the forum in the new round so that you can scoop the good tiles there, especially if you have extra action tokens and/or modifiers. Or you'll want to be first in the later rounds so that you can ship before the other player.

As you add more players, that timing dance becomes a bit more of a random thing as multiple players will play before it comes back to you. With two players you have much more control over it and it really becomes constricting for players to try and force the other to end the era while still preserving your mancala so that you can take the desired action in the following round.

CoB is also a great game and plays very well with two as well. I prefer Trajan of the two, but it's a close thing. I think the deciding factor for most people will be whether they want a heavier (Trajan) or lighter (CoB) game.
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Rollo Tomosi
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I rec'd Trajan as a much-wanted Christmas present a few years back and had super high expectations (based on all the BGG hype). The wife and I played a few games and I quickly realized that it was a game where you make one single move and try to make that the biggest point-score possible.

Yeah yeah yeah I KNOW there are ways to string together 2 or, if you are really adept maybe 3 moves to create a higher score from your single turn but all-in-all I thought "This thing is rather lame-its just a hodge-podge of different mini-mechanisms and you try and maximize one single turn." (this is opposed to say an 'engine builder' or any other game wherein one has that exquisite choice between higher points more immediately or lower points, but creating something that will pay high dividends for the remainder of the game).

Each of the moves, admittedly with a few exceptions, is a singular shot to get as many points as you can from 1 move.

I thought to myself "I think this blows BIGLY. Who designed this PoS? I don't want any more games from this cat."

And thus was introduced to 2 new vocab words

1-Feld
2-Point Salad

I pretty much vowed then and there to boycott anymore games from Feld. Traded my almost pristine copy of Trajan for some really lame stuff (see current BGG thread "Math Trades you Have Regretted") and etc etc...

Then I played CoB. Great game. Really. Great game-lots to think about, great mechanisms, plenty going on (modified dice-roller/make-a-map).

And I thought-this is a really great game-who made this? I was truly shocked to see it was the same designer that I had just sworn off of. I consider CoB to be Felds masterpeice (but I have heard good things about Luna too).

Two weeks ago at our regular Tuesday night game-up I saw two gamers who 1) are top-notch players and 2) have been around for a LONG time (10 years plus) playing Trajan.

I could not stop expressing my disbelief that the 2 of them were playing Trajan.

So...there you go. I think Trajan blows BIGLY. I think CoB is a worthy member of anyones permanent collection and have seen 2 gamers that I respect play Trajan (and APPARENTLY enjoy it) 2 weeks back.
 
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Stephen McHale
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Trajan is my favorite game ever and I think it works great at 2 player. However COB is great and I also love it 2 player. Both are awesome.

If money is a factor go with COB as it is cheaper.

If how it looks is a factor go with Trajan as I believe it "pops" more.

If you have any sight problems go with Trajan. The tiles in COB are a little small for us old people.


Let us know what you decide, you can't go wrong with either one.
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Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
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Dark_Knight wrote:
Then I played CoB. Great game. Really. Great game-lots to think about, great mechanisms, plenty going on (modified dice-roller/make-a-map).

And just as much a game where you try to maximise your score every turn. Even it takes several turns to do this. Really weird how for you the aspect is not a problem in CoB, but is in Trajan.
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Rollo Tomosi
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In CoB you are constantly building the entire map-and it all has meaning in terms of final game score. Trajan is just a series of "one-shots"="cymric"]
Dark_Knight wrote:
Then I played CoB. Great game. Really. Great game-lots to think about, great mechanisms, plenty going on (modified dice-roller/make-a-map).

And just as much a game where you try to maximise your score every turn. Even it takes several turns to do this. Really weird how for you the aspect is not a problem in CoB, but is in Trajan.[/q]
 
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Jack
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I think it could be because the scoring is...more direct in CoB? Sometimes people get stuck on some of the long-term planning in Trajan.
 
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Christopher Clark
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What are your thoughts on the two games Maarten?
 
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Maarten D. de Jong
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Dark_Knight wrote:
In CoB you are constantly building the entire map-and it all has meaning in terms of final game score.

If you think that Trajan is just disparate point grabbing as opposed to CoB's 'natural tendency' to push for complete areas thus having you focus a bit more, then you're in for a world of hurt when playing against a competent player.

In Trajan, the various major aspects military, construction, goods, and senate together do not have a topology like the map in CoB, true. You also cannot really 'complete' the areas in the same way. Instead, the game pushes you hard to find ways to minimise the impact of having to take actions which do not align with your chosen point paths... but this is much the same as in CoB, where at times the dice simply don't work out in the way you intend and you have to resort to plan B or even C for a bit.

Even though the games use quite different methods to do so, they will ask of you, as player, to strive hard for point maximation per turn. In Trajan however this process is definitely more insidious because you can invest in speeding up the process which in itself will take time; plus that you are your own worst planning enemy on the Mancala wheel. CoB is much more straightforward in this regard.

TL;DR: When comparing to CoB, I can understand not liking Trajan because of the wheel where you become your own worst enemy; I can not understand not liking Trajan because of it supposedly just being about min-maxing the VPs.
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Maarten D. de Jong
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RoccoTerrier wrote:
What are your thoughts on the two games Maarten?

Trajan is by far my favourite because of the utterly controllable nature of the Mancala wheel. You can quietly plan as far ahead as you can manage, even in the other players' turns, and it has a je ne sais quoi which suggests that even better planning is just around that corner over there, after which you decide that no, it's behind that further corner, etcetera. In CoB each turn is solving the puzzle of the 2D6 result. This is a skill in its own right, especially in dealing with results which have you follow plan B or C for the time being... but not in the same way that the Mancala is.

While I don't really dislike CoB, I never feel engaged by it as Trajan manages, to the point I actually prefer the cardgame version of CoB over the parent game. It retains much of the feel of making do with a simple random input, but is over and done with in half an hour or so. Of course there are some regrets in that appealing complexity is lost (for example the specialisation introduced by yellow action tiles) but at the same time it is but a short game.
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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Dark_Knight wrote:
Yeah yeah yeah I KNOW there are ways to string together 2 or, if you are really adept maybe 3 moves to create a higher score from your single turn but all-in-all I thought "This thing is rather lame-its just a hodge-podge of different mini-mechanisms and you try and maximize one single turn." (this is opposed to say an 'engine builder' or any other game wherein one has that exquisite choice between higher points more immediately or lower points, but creating something that will pay high dividends for the remainder of the game).

Each of the moves, admittedly with a few exceptions, is a singular shot to get as many points as you can from 1 move.
If you're not playing it to get a +2 modifier on an action, or more, and using bonus action tiles to get 3 actions in a row and setting up scoring combos then you're not playing it correctly. Playing to maximize each move without setting up big combos is a losing plan.

Dark_Knight wrote:
Then I played CoB. Great game. Really. Great game-lots to think about, great mechanisms, plenty going on (modified dice-roller/make-a-map).
I find this amusing given your critique of Trajan seems to stem from the fact it isn't an engine builder. This isn't either.
 
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Christopher Clark
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Wow -- a lot of great commentary. I really appreciate everyone for taking the time to share their thoughts. I was looking for some confirmation from those who like the game that it plays well with two players. And, the fact that it also plays well with more (and maybe CofB is less successful on that front) is making me lean toward Trajan. Also, while I know that these games are not known for being truly thematic, I am a big fan of Roman history and Roman-"themed" games. I am still mulling it over, but I think I may get Trajan.
 
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Mathue Faulk
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As noted, both play very well with just 2p. I don't really have much to add on that topic.

From a gameplay standpoint, however, I much prefer Trajan to Castles. I loved Castles my first few plays, and I've continued to bring it out every once in awhile even after my opinion started to turn...but that's only served to reaffirm my opinions on the game. This is just my opinion, and I would wager that 95% of people may disagree with me...but I feel luck ultimately plays too important of a role in Castles. In my experience, with two skilled and competent players, scores are generally VERY close. It's kind of amazing that we can slowly gain a few points at at time, score 170-190 points, and then we somehow still end up within a couple of points of each other. Almost every single game of Castles has been this way for us. As such, I can't help but feel that the difference in our scores is just dumb luck. For the most part, I'm not talking about dice luck (although those can screw you over as well). It's usually the random draw of tiles that kills it for me. Sometimes players are waiting on a couple of key tiles...and they just never come up. It may be animals. It may be building types. It may be something else. I always seem to finish Castles thinking that we could've just rolled a die at the beginning to see who wins.

IMO Trajan can yield a much larger disparity of scores. This may be because of the decision making. In Castles, I'd argue that there are generally 2-3 good decisions on a given turn, and they'll yield about the same amount of points in the end. In Trajan, there is just more to think about...and there is just a larger disparity in good and bad decisions.

Again, most don't agree with me. So feel free to ignore my little rant.
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Nick McClure
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What I get from this thread is that most people find both Trajan and CoB to be great games, and it's really just a matter of personal preference. I prefer Trajan, but you can't go wrong with either.

Here's a thought: why not try both? Check out boiteajeux.net. It's a site that lets you play both of these games for free (though there isn't a tutorial so you'll have to learn the rules on your own). Then you can make an informed decision based on your own tastes.

Or you could do what I did and buy both of them.
 
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Rich Charters
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I prefer Trajan. The mancala allows for non-stop planning so it feels like zero downtime.

Also, the tiles in The Castles of Burgundy (and the setup of the tiles) are a little fiddly. I prefer to play it online.
 
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I consider CoB a lighter game than Trajan although I wish it was at least one round less for an entire game.
 
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Christopher Clark
United States
Illinois
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Hi everyone,

I thought I would follow up and let you know "what happened." I ended up purchasing Trajan.

I love it. We have played three times so far and I feel like we have barely scratched the surface in terms of playing it well or strategically. During our first game we did very few multiple actions in a single turn because we were just trying to understand how the various mechanisms worked. Now, I have a better appreciation for how important it is to string together multiple actions. There also appears to be different paths to victory and, even when one person gets off to a big lead, the other person can catch up by setting themselves up for a big turn or two.

Although this is a bit heavier than some of our other games, we did not find it to be too difficult to learn. And, I was pleasantly surprised that it does not take too long to play a game.

There are a lot of pieces in the game and I am curious if any of you have invested in the storage solution offered by Meeple Realty and, if so, what do you think of it? Any other storage ideas?

http://www.meeplerealty.com/store/p37/The_Roman_Forum_%28_co...™_%29.html

Thanks again for the comments -- they were very helpful.

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Jack
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That's excellent. Glad to hear you're enjoying it. The discovery of how the mechanics work is part of the fun.
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