Robert Zaleski
United States
Wintersville
Ohio
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Having had this for almost a year now, I thought it'd be good to post some hints on whether or not you really want this.


The good

1) It adds a 5th player - I think this was the main reason I grabbed this. I have so many 5 player games, I don't think it was a really good reason, but if I have a super hankering to play, and we have 5, I can still bring it out. 5 Players works as well as 4 I think, which isn't as good as 2 or 3, but it's still something. The 5th dot being a 2-point chip, and nothing else isn't great, but it works.

2) Card Parity is improved - Some of the cards such as the Mistress and Observatory are nerfed and have their costs increased. This with the fact that the new uber-aristocrat, the Judge now has 3 in the deck, makes the game better. There's also 3 slum cards now, which is kool.

3) The New Farmer - The New farmer is the new worker class added. It reminds me of the 5pt Market in that the first 1-2 don't kill you, but 3-6 make you wince as you don't want them, but they are great for the guy collecting it. Overall I like the worker changes, the Czar cost was also changed making it less of an eww when you have to take him.

4) Longer Game - With the additional cards a game can go longer. I don't think this is a must as one of the things I like about the base version is the length, but if you really want another 20-40 minutes added on, you'll like having more cards in the decks.


The Bad

Alas, it couldn't be all good, now could it.

1) The Debtor's Prison - It's a bit disheartening that they went through the trouble of balancing the cards just to throw another overpowered card in. Maybe we play it wrong, but the ability to pick something out of the discard pile is just too strong. Especially because upgraded workers and aristocrats end up here.

2) It is longer - A game being long for the sake of being long is generally not considered good. Some games you're so engrossed in you don't notice the 3 hours go by, some drag. I don't think this drags so much as it just feel longer than you're used to if you've played the base game quite a bit.

3) Color differences if your base is old - It's noticable when you compare the difference of expansion and original cards, at least in my set. For aristocrats and buildings this isn't such a problem, but you may just be able to tell if a new farmer is on top.

Neutral

1) The special cards - There's some one time use purple cards in this. They are OK, I don't have a reason to love or hate them. It's certainly not a must have, but others may really like them. There's not really enough for me to feel good about them being there though.


Final Decision

I could certainly live without this expansion now that I have a good feel for it. It's not a Must have like some expansions in other games. It does have some pluses though which may make you want it, so I hope this review helps you have a good feel for what you're getting.
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Walt
United States
Orange County
California
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I don't think the purple cards add much; and if you take them out, the game will be a bit shorter. I kind of like the longer game, myself.

I have to agree that if Debtor's Prison comes out early, it's a bargain. It can be less powerful if all the other players are careful about what they upgrade, but it's still a significant advantage to, for instance, upgrade a Mistress knowing you'll be able to take her back in the last round of the game.
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Hank Meyer
United States
Greenbelt
Maryland
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The Debtor's Prison is a pretty darn good card...so good its use should be limited in some way...because the holder of the DP has many 'fishing' options later in the game that give that player a lot of latitude and more ways to correct mistakes.
For example, you can recover/recycle your Potempkin village after an upgrade and take it for another spin around the block, giving that player more opportunities for efficient building upgrades
Or upgrade Aristocrats with impunity, knowing you can also go back and 'rehire' that warehouse manager or secretary
Or just snatch an unemployed fur trapper after an opponent promotes him...
Holding the DP means you can try a lot of different avenues to victory almost 'on the house.'
In my two handed games with my wife, we have increased the price of the DP by 2 rubles, AND require a 1 R payment to the other for each 'dumpster dive' through the discards.
We do the same (though we did not increase the price) for the Observatory....each usage costs 1R to the opponent (unless we each have one, in which case it no longer matters).
Taking the single VP is free, however, with either card.
I think the purple card that allows one 'dumpster dive' is actually the better way to go...one has to time one's decision a bit more carefully.
The 'Away With It' cards are handy; the rest are not all that meaningful nor stimulating. We often leave most of the rest out.

The slightly different colored inks on the green cards is a bit disconcerting...
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Craig Hebert
United States
Goodlettsville
Tennessee
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Old review but here goes anyway: I agree with just about everything you said other than how the game scales. I think this is just about the only game I have or have played where the number of players 2, 3, 4, or 5 doesn't matter. The game scales well period and I find it just as good with 2 as with 5. If I were forced to choose just one - I would go with 4.
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Nathaniel Hobbes
China
Guangzhou
Guangdong
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Thanks for the review, and sorry for bringing this thread back from the dead. St. Petersburg is one of my favorites, but I hardly ever get to play with 5 players. I always use the re-balanced cards, and I removed my Debtor's Prison from the deck. I have never played with the purple Banquet cards.

The 5th player was the reason I got this expansion. It turned out the re-balanced cards are more valuable to me than the 5th player, but I still think this is a killer feature. Unfortunately, I don't feel like the 5th token is balanced with the others. Do you think the money/points granted by this token is a worthwhile counter to not ever being able to purchase first? For us, the 5th token is a liability—is it the same for others?
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David desJardins
United States
Burlingame
California
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hobbesvii wrote:
Unfortunately, I don't feel like the 5th token is balanced with the others.


Well, the other 4 tokens aren't equally good, either. And, in a 3-player game, one player gets 2 of the 4 tokens; that's definitely not balanced!
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Walt
United States
Orange County
California
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hobbesvii wrote:
...I don't feel like the 5th token is balanced with the others. Do you think the money/points granted by this token is a worthwhile counter to not ever being able to purchase first? For us, the 5th token is a liability—is it the same for others?

It sounds like you're not rotating tokens after each round? And I tend to forget to rotate by 2 in a 5 player game.
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