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Subject: It Takes A Village to Write a Cliched Review Title rss

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Joe V
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Village is an interesting game. I have played it once and I won the game that I played. It, along with its five player expansion, was introduced to me by a couple at the store where I game (7th Dimension Games, near Philadelphia). I don't have the rules to refer to, but the gist of the game is this: Players go around the table taking different colored cubes from different (and not correlated to the cubes) colored circles on the board. The colors of the cube represent resources (different colors may be used for different things) while the colors of the circle where they were located (having been placed there randomly) represent an action associated with the circle you are taking the cube from. One circle, for instance, allows you to harvest crops. Another gets you another meeple (it's a worker placement game), and another still is used to manufacture various equipment you will need.

You achieve victory via obtaining victory points (obviously), which you can do through several ways. You can trade, which involves trying to obtain the specific cubes you need to move your merchants around the trade map. You can get involved with the Church or the City Council, which involve investing meeples in one place for long periods of time. Or you can spend equipment to buy victory points from market stalls during the "Market Day". You also get points at the end of the game for having your meeples be among the first meeples to die in that profession. They are placed in a history book. Certain numbers of meeples achieve certain numbers of points.

I liked the mechanics of the game. Essentially, you're going to have to lose meeples at some point because time is a resource you will have to spend to achieve your goals. A fellow player summed up his struggle as "The reason why I'm performing badly is that the concept of being incentivized to lose workers in a worker placement game is baffling to my gamer consciousness." The game challenges hardcore gamers to get over the concept of maximizing your production with meeples or what have you.

I also like the game because there are multiple routes to victory. And some games say that and then don't deliver. In this case I have proven it because I won without doing any trading or putting a single meeple into the Council Chamber. I achieved the lion's share of my points through Market Day purchases and involvement in the Church. I fueled both of these by having my farming infrastructure (an ox and a plow) available early and always having a full granary.

A couple question marks about the game. My friend and I, who are both heavily interested in economics and thereby game-economics, pointed out that the purchasing mechanism for horses and oxen was skewed. Essentially, if you have a horse and a plow on your farm, each time you farm you can produce three grain instead of two. If you have an ox and a plow then you can produce four grain instead of two. But to purchase a horse or an ox costs three grain either way. There are some specific market tiles that will come up that you can only use horses for, but the same is true for tiles that you can only use oxen for, so that's a wash. It didn't make sense, in terms of game economics, that the cost of a horse and an ox should be different. Because if a player were blind about random events in the game (e.g. they did not know what the market tiles would be), an ox would always be more valuable than a horse. Other than that, I thought the economics of the game were solid and very intuitive. The most valuable commodities in the game are time (in terms of it being a resource in the game) and your actions (which you will always be limited by). And that appeals to me as a gamer for some reason.

All in all, I give this game a 9/10, and would consider purchasing it to add to my collection. I'm just not sure if it's "hardcore" enough for me to want to shell out for it.
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Mathue Faulkner
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As far as the oxen vs the horses are concerned, the value of the horse at the market is more even if the same number market tiles exist for each:
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Trevor Schadt
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terminus467 wrote:
My friend and I, who are both heavily interested in economics and thereby game-economics, pointed out that the purchasing mechanism for horses and oxen was skewed. Essentially, if you have a horse and a plow on your farm, each time you farm you can produce three grain instead of two. If you have an ox and a plow then you can produce four grain instead of two. But to purchase a horse or an ox costs three grain either way. There are some specific market tiles that will come up that you can only use horses for, but the same is true for tiles that you can only use oxen for, so that's a wash.
But as Mathue pointed out in the picture that he posted, the customers are always willing to pay 1VP more for a horse than they are for an ox. So the ox will get you more grain from farming, but when you decide you want to get rid of it at the end of the game (which is a smart play, because resources don't get you any VP), you're not going to get as many VP for it. So therein lies the question: is the extra grain you're going to get from the ox over the course of the game going to be worth the 1VP that you're going to lose (because you got an ox and not a horse)?

terminus467 wrote:
Because if a player were blind about random events in the game (e.g. they did not know what the market tiles would be), an ox would always be more valuable than a horse.
Well, you don't know what the market tiles will be, because they're shuffled and dealt randomly, and unless everyone is pursuing a heavy-market strategy, you probably won't get through them all by the end of the game. That being said, unless you're planning on going very resource-light and ignoring the market altogether (which is usually a bad plan), you can't be blind to the random events in the game; you have to take into account how that's going to affect your gameplay.
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Christian K
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Nice review, I am looking forward to playing village.
 
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Joe V
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ryudoowaru wrote:
terminus467 wrote:
My friend and I, who are both heavily interested in economics and thereby game-economics, pointed out that the purchasing mechanism for horses and oxen was skewed. Essentially, if you have a horse and a plow on your farm, each time you farm you can produce three grain instead of two. If you have an ox and a plow then you can produce four grain instead of two. But to purchase a horse or an ox costs three grain either way. There are some specific market tiles that will come up that you can only use horses for, but the same is true for tiles that you can only use oxen for, so that's a wash.
But as Mathue pointed out in the picture that he posted, the customers are always willing to pay 1VP more for a horse than they are for an ox. So the ox will get you more grain from farming, but when you decide you want to get rid of it at the end of the game (which is a smart play, because resources don't get you any VP), you're not going to get as many VP for it. So therein lies the question: is the extra grain you're going to get from the ox over the course of the game going to be worth the 1VP that you're going to lose (because you got an ox and not a horse)?

terminus467 wrote:
Because if a player were blind about random events in the game (e.g. they did not know what the market tiles would be), an ox would always be more valuable than a horse.
Well, you don't know what the market tiles will be, because they're shuffled and dealt randomly, and unless everyone is pursuing a heavy-market strategy, you probably won't get through them all by the end of the game. That being said, unless you're planning on going very resource-light and ignoring the market altogether (which is usually a bad plan), you can't be blind to the random events in the game; you have to take into account how that's going to affect your gameplay.


A bag of grain is the difference between what a horse and an ox will get you. A horse and an ox cost the same. A bag of grain is exchangeable for a victory point in the form of a coin. So even with what you're saying taken into account, the ox is still significantly better. Because the one-time difference of one victory point will be paid for after one harvest. That more than compensates for the mere CHANCE that a horse COULD get you one more victory point.
 
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Mathue Faulkner
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terminus467 wrote:

A bag of grain is the difference between what a horse and an ox will get you. A horse and an ox cost the same. A bag of grain is exchangeable for a victory point in the form of a coin. So even with what you're saying taken into account, the ox is still significantly better. Because the one-time difference of one victory point will be paid for after one harvest. That more than compensates for the mere CHANCE that a horse COULD get you one more victory point.

With the ox route that you're proposing though, you're pigeon holing yourself into exchanging grain for coin which is one of the least common actions in my experience (although very useful in certain strategies I'm sure). You're taking an extra action that you wouldn't normally take.

Regardless, if there are a bunch of oxen in the future market, then go ox. If there are a bunch of horses in the market, then go horse. If you're more concerned about grain, then go ox.
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Joe V
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mfaulk80 wrote:
terminus467 wrote:

A bag of grain is the difference between what a horse and an ox will get you. A horse and an ox cost the same. A bag of grain is exchangeable for a victory point in the form of a coin. So even with what you're saying taken into account, the ox is still significantly better. Because the one-time difference of one victory point will be paid for after one harvest. That more than compensates for the mere CHANCE that a horse COULD get you one more victory point.

With the ox route that you're proposing though, you're pigeon holing yourself into exchanging grain for coin which is one of the least common actions in my experience (although very useful in certain strategies I'm sure). You're taking an extra action that you wouldn't normally take.

Regardless, if there are a bunch of oxen in the future market, then go ox. If there are a bunch of horses in the market, then go horse. If you're more concerned about grain, then go ox.

So Ox is more valuable, via your admission. Which makes me... correct? Weird. Anyway, I won and I made that exchange frequently. It's like I said, you were exchanging two grain for two victory that could be used for things normal victory points couldn't be used for. With an ox, three actions netted you four victory points. Which is an excellent ratio.
 
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Mathue Faulkner
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terminus467 wrote:

So Ox is more valuable, via your admission. Which makes me... correct? Weird. Anyway, I won and I made that exchange frequently. It's like I said, you were exchanging two grain for two victory that could be used for things normal victory points couldn't be used for. With an ox, three actions netted you four victory points. Which is an excellent ratio.

Did I admit that? And I wasn't necessarily arguing that the horse was more valuable...but you took it that way anyway? Weird. Anyway, there are differences between the two outside of just grain production even if your review implies that there isn't. You questioned the differences. I pointed them out. Who cares if you won your game?
 
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