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Subject: A gamer's perspective. rss

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Mark Wong
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My first impression of this game was that, while it looked aesthetically pleasing, it did not seem like a fun game to play despite it having won an award. I mean Niagara won an award and it looked great but game play wise fell flat for me. Elfenland was another award winner that just did not make it for me either so I tend to take “award winning” games with a little pinch of salt. So saying I eventually managed a game of Torres as the café I was working at brought in a copy and just this one game was enough to convince me of my erroneous view. I will not be explaining much of the game rules here but rather just a personal reflection of the game.

The game last for three years (game years and not literally three years and I would not have finished the game to be writing this now if it did *grins*) which are divided further into several turns and at the end of each year, the scoring is done. Points are awarded to players who have knights on castles and the formula for calculating points is as such – height of castle multiplied by the castle’s base. Interestingly enough, players are limited in certain ways that they are not allowed to build castles higher than its total base and in each phase of a game year, they could only chose to build anywhere between 2 – 3 tower stacks, more if they declined to build anything during their previous turns. By the end of the game, the plain and flat board would have literally transformed itself into a 3-D play field and I don’t know why but it just it a very pleasing sight to look at. I guess after getting used to playing games with just wooded pieces that goes around the board, Torres is proving to be a very refreshing change indeed. If you are wondering if the points would ever go beyond the incredulous 250 as printed on the board, my answer is “Hell, yes it does”.

Since no castles strictly belong to any players, anyone could just “borrow” an existing castle base and build upon it and if they are careful planners, place a knight upon the tower they have just built. Each player’s limit of five action points meant that careful planning is needed each turn and among players who are prone to analysis paralysis, this game does provide ample excuse for such players to exercise their abilities. Even so, a game of Torres should not stretch more than 2 hours (my games took no more than 1½). There are many tactical options a player can make and in my last three games, I have seen players come up with a new move each time. For example, you don’t have to build 11 ascending towers just to be able to climb up to the twelfth tower floor, a simple placing knight action would do the trick (ok ... this has proven to be an error on my part but it has been the way I've played it. I guess its time to change it now ). Certain knight placement can also obstruct an opponent’s knight from moving. To me the key phrase would be to think out of the box.

Torres is a very engaging game to be playing and your actions influences, in a way, the actions that the next player takes so in my opinion, this game does have a lot of player interaction. My gripe with the game however is that Torres can be very unforgiving to players who do not plan or capitalise on opportunities can find themselves left far behind in the game. Once a player takes a big lead in the second year, it is often difficult to catch up again unless by some means (which I’ve yet to find) you manage to knock your opponent’s knight off the high tower they had been occupying.

I have tried the variant rule of mixing all players’ action card into one pile. While it does change the game play a little, I find that the game becomes a little more luck base as some players might be lucky enough to get some useful cards twice (or thrice in some cases) and hence gain a tactical option that no other players have. I have yet to try the master cards so I cannot really comment on that.

In all, Torres is a game well worth getting and for gamers who like something engaging, this would be something to consider. To me this would get somewhat a medium weight rating.
 
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Mark Wong
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generalpf wrote:
Great review, but one thing I didn't get was this:

Quote:
For example, you don’t have to build 11 ascending towers just to be able to climb up to the twelfth tower floor, a simple placing knight action would do the trick.


The rules I've read -- and the rules enforced by boiteajeux.net -- state that a new knight must be introduced at the same level or lower than an existing knight. So, placing a knight wouldn't work, unless you already had a knight at the 12th floor and an empty 12 space was adjacent to it.


By Torres! You are absolutely right! So much for 2 people reading the rules Hmmm this changes things a little for our gaming group and I can already see new options and limitations opening up. Hmmm ... but on a side note, being able to place a knight on a higher level did open up some interesting moves.

 
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