Recommend
36 
 Thumb up
 Hide
5 Posts

Blueprints» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Small Review rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
J P
Germany
flag msg tools
mbmb
I picked this up at Essen and after about 12 games with three or two players I would like to share my thoughts:

How it works:
The players take the roles of architects who are given the task of constructing a building using six dice. Each player is given a blueprint he is suggested to follow. Construction takes place in secret behind a cardboard screen. The precise details of one's blueprint and arrangement of dice remains hidden from other players.
A fixed number of dice determined by the number of players (around 8) are drawn and cast from an opaque sack containing green, black, orange and translucent dice (8 each). The players now take turns choosing a die from the pool and adding it to their building, the only placement restriction being that no die can have lower face value than a die underneath it. Each die removed from the pool is replaced by a randomly drawn and cast one from the sack until each player has had to chance to place 6 dice. The turn then ends and the players reveal their buildings which are then scored and awarded with victory point cards.
The score each individual die adds to the building score is determined by its colour. White dice are worth their face value, orange ones two for each directly adjacent die, the value of green dice depends on the total number used in the building (the more the better) and that of black one on the hight level they are placed. In addition, if a player followed his blueprint, the building score increased by another six.
The players with the highest scoring building get medal victory point cards. Further victory point cards are awarded if a building meets specific requirements, e.g. if it contains five dice of the same colour, if it has a height of at least five or if each face value, 1-6, is represented exactly once.
The player with the highest number of victory points after the third building wins the game.
The two player game has an additional rule. After adding a die from the pool to their building, they remove (and replace) an additional die from the pool.


How it plays:
The game is essentially a draft game. You generally want to have the best option to yourself while leaving inferior ones to your opponents. The usefulness of an individual die to a player depends strongly on the strategy he pursues. This leads to interesting choices:
"The player to left has already taken 4 transparent dice. Do I take the die that would be best for my building or shall I take the last remaining translucent die to prevent him from gaining extra victory points?"
"There are many black dice in the pool and some players have started off with a high value white one. Should I abandon my blueprint and go for the tower instead?"
"My opponents are seemingly trying to get the one-of-each face value bonus and both are still missing a three. Should I take the only three in the pool or keep on forcing green dice?"
"Do I try to keep my options as open as possible or should I go for the higher risk, but higher reward route?"
In my opinion this works quite well. While there are turns where the statistically right decision ended up being the bad one (e.g. your efforts to make your opponents' lives more difficult get blanked by a lucky replacement die), there is a surprising amount of control and very little luck for a dice rolling game. Most turns are filled with interesting choices and paying attention to what the other players are doing definitely pays off.


Is it fun?
I certainly think so. The game manages to achieve remarkable depth with very few ingredients. Tough choices, good player interaction, simple and clean rules, accessibility - the design is impressively tight. Funnily, this is also somewhat mirrored by the packaging and the components. Dice, cards and victory track fit almost perfectly into to the sturdy box which adds to the aesthetic appeal of the game. I definitely recommend it.


A few caveats:
While usually working well, the screen could have been a bit higher. The packaging would have allowed for 2-3 cm more. It can be quite difficult to build a skyscraper and not have the other players notice when you place dice on higher levels.
As far as balance is concerned, I cannot make any definite remarks yet. So far I'm under the impression that green dice are useless in a two player game. Once I start taking them, my opponents remove them from the pool without taking any for themselves, this wrecking any prospects for a high score.






24 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
William Bekking
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar

Great review , thanks very much. Looks like a fun game.

thirteenthirtyseven wrote:

As far as balance is concerned, I cannot make any definite remarks yet. So far I'm under the impression that green dice are useless in a two player game. Once I start taking them, my opponents remove them from the pool without taking any for themselves, this wrecking any prospects for a high score.

I appreciate you're qualification, however, would green dice not have the same (or better) likelihood of being available in a 2 player game? To be assured of getting two green dice, there would have to be 4 in play:
I take one on my turn
P2 takes one and discards one
I then take the 4th.

in a 4 player game, is it not worse:
I take one on my turn
P2 takes one
P3 takes one
P4 takes one
for me to collect one more, there would have to be 5 (I realise dice are drawn from the bag).

I have never played the game, so I could be totally unaware of what I am talking about.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J P
Germany
flag msg tools
mbmb
Aiken Drum wrote:


I appreciate you're qualification, however, would green dice not have the same (or better) likelihood of being available in a 2 player game? To be assured of getting two green dice, there would have to be 4 in play:
I take one on my turn
P2 takes one and discards one
I then take the 4th.

in a 4 player game, is it not worse:
I take one on my turn
P2 takes one
P3 takes one
P4 takes one
for me to collect one more, there would have to be 5 (I realise dice are drawn from the bag).

I have never played the game, so I could be totally unaware of what I am talking about.


My thoughts are the following:
There are a total of 8 green dice in the bag. Let's assume that no green die has been removed as a tie-breaker "rare material". In a two player game, if your opponent is paying attention, he should be able to keep you off getting 5 dice (without taking any for himself) of the same colour, including green. Four green dice are worth 15 points which amounts to 3.75 per die. You can still get an ok score (around 30) by including well place dice of the other colours, but in my experience, 3.75 per die is not always enough.

The situation dramatically changes if more players are involved as the only way to remove a die from the pool is to take it for yourself. In addition, your actions are typically better spent on doing what is best for yourself rather than what is bad for one other player as the remaining players will be those who benefit the most. If someone starts taking green dice, the others are thus discouraged from also forcing green. From what I've seen once someone pronounces "I take green", other player will only really be interested in a green die if it helps them get secondary achievements (e.g. they are missing a four and the only die with that value available is a green one), so in a 3+ player game it can be quite realistic to have 5 or even 6 green dice.

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Sinden
United Kingdom
Chertsey,
Surrey.UK
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
thirteenthirtyseven wrote:
"The player to left has already taken 4 transparent dice. Do I take the die that would be best for my building or shall I take the last remaining translucent die to prevent him from gaining extra victory points?"
"There are many black dice in the pool and some players have started off with a high value white one. Should I abandon my blueprint and go for the tower instead?"
"My opponents are seemingly trying to get the one-of-each face value bonus and both are still missing a three. Should I take the only three in the pool or keep on forcing green dice?"

Just a comment on this. The game includes screens with the idea that dice towers are hidden until scoring... in the games I've played so far I'm not sure (unless you're taking notes) how easy it is to remember each dice that opponents have taken, and so this aspect of the strategy feels less that a focus on how to maximise your own dice.

I'm wondeirng if the game was played without screens whether this would change the dynamics as the 'screwage' factor would become a lot stronger if you could see waht others were building... ?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J P
Germany
flag msg tools
mbmb
jamessinden wrote:

Just a comment on this. The game includes screens with the idea that dice towers are hidden until scoring... in the games I've played so far I'm not sure (unless you're taking notes) how easy it is to remember each dice that opponents have taken, and so this aspect of the strategy feels less that a focus on how to maximise your own dice.

I'm wondeirng if the game was played without screens whether this would change the dynamics as the 'screwage' factor would become a lot stronger if you could see waht others were building... ?

If you play a two player game with the intention to win, then you should know exactly what the other player took. With three or more player it becomes more difficult, but it is still very possible to pay attention to what the others are doing. The screen hides the blueprints, so you don't know a priori how many orange or black dice a given player might want. You also can't see directly if someone decides to go for the tower. The information of what dice were taken, however, is open provided you pay attention.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls