This game was one of our major purchases at Gen Con this year. However, since August we only played this game one time. I used my pick to rectify that, and guarantee that we would get to play it at least twice. Since we have only played the game one time before, we are theoretically equally skilled at the game. So who came out ahead?
Brief Game Overview
Village is a Euro game where players will use workers and actions to get victory points. On a player's turn, they will take a resource cube (or a plague cube) and then they may take the associated action with that cube. There are a variety of actions. Some actions give points, others give resources, others are investments, and one allows goods to be sold for points. The idea is to use these actions in various ways to get points. One important resource in the game is time. Whenever a player's time track makes a "lap" then one of the player's workers dies. Depending where on the board they were placed when they died, they will go in the village chronicle if there is room. Meeples in the chronicle are worth points at the end of the game. If the chronicle is full, then the meeple goes to the graveyard. Once the chronicle or graveyard is full the game is over. There are multiple ways to get end game points, and the player with the most points wins.
In the first game, I was determined to get a lead in the church. Each round, once all of the cubes are taken there is a "mass", and the player with the most influence in the church will get two extra points. My plan was to make sure I was getting this bonus every round, so that those points would give me a nice buffer. With the exception of the first round, where we were tied I did manage this.
One of the areas on the board to get points is from traveling to other villages. I got a lot of my points from this. There are six total villages. Visiting one village is worth one point at the end of the game, where visiting all six is worth 18. In addition to that, six points can be earned from visiting villages (8 if coins are not spent). I managed to make it to five of the six villages. Finally, in the last round of the game, I focused on converting grain to coins for extra points.
My wife focused almost exclusively on getting points from making goods such as livestock, plows, and wagons to sell at market. Because doing this took a lot of time, she also got the maximum 12 points from the Village Chronicle at the end of the game. However, the extra points I got from turning grain into coins gave me the win. The first game ended 45 to 41.
The first game was really our opportunity to re-familiarize ourselves with the game, so in the second game we both tried to refine the strategies we employed in the first game.
I managed to control the church the whole game, as my wife mostly ignored it. I also got the same amount of points from traveling. In addition to that, I dabbled a bit more in everything else. For example, in the first game neither of us ended with anyone in the council chamber. This time though, I had someone in there who netted me four points at the end of the game.
My wife once again pursued the market with even more ruthless efficiency. She also tried to rush killing her people and get the majority in the chronicle quickly. She managed to do this very well and I struggled to keep pace. This caused the game to end quickly, and the last cube pull of the third round also ended the game. My wife got 27 points from selling goods at the market, and this propelled her to a 51 to 49 victory.
For the third game, we practically switched strategies. I guess my saw how well traveling and control of the church worked for me, and I saw how well the market worked for her.
We tied for control of the church for the first round, but after that she gained control. She also spent grain to move up in the church, including to the last window which is worth 6 points at the end of the game. She traveled to five of the six villages, and she managed to get someone to the highest place in the guild hall.
I got some points from the guild hall, the church, and even from traveling, but I focused heavily in the market. As my wife showed, in the previous game using time to make goods is a quick way to get people dead and into the chronicle. I managed to get the majority in the chronicle this game. I also got a total of 32 points from selling goods. The final score was 60 to 56.
Village: Sean wins 2 to 1
Season Record: Sean 4 Abigail 3
I enjoyed playing a deeper game that we are less experienced at multiple times in close proximity. I am very pleased that each time we played, our scores went up. We also continue to trade wins back and forth. My wife will pick the next game. I will be looking for an upset, while she will hope to keep the pattern going.