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Subject: PRAETOR – sneak preview rss

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deeug deeug
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I have always been fascinated by the speed up shootings. Whether I see on fast forward a building being raised, a vessel being built or a flower growing from a small bump on the ground till a magnificent explosion of colours, it’s not so important. What matters is the unfolding speed of the event: something that is usually of a quite considerable extent in time is reduced to a few seconds on the screen. If you dare to look away for a moment, it is highly probable to miss something of relevance for the concerning topic.
It’s something...magical!

But what could be the connection with the title above? (somebody might ask ...)
Well, the connecting link is that I have been a discontinuous witness to a board game growing up, from Essen 2012 until now. I have seen it in various moments of its growth and I had the smallest contribution to its development. I don’t even know if it’s worth mentioning...
And it has been somehow the reverse of the speed up shootings: instead of watching the entire process, I only turned my attention to this game 3 times from its conception to the final stage.

At the above mentioned fair, among the „Exodus” galactic fights presentations and next to the western wild joy of the „Wild Fun West”, the guys came there for NSKN Games were chatting here and there. Not that much, because there was no time for this.
Andrei Novac, the ringleader at that moment and ever since, told us bits of his future plans. Among these ... a game with worker placement and tile laying.

After several months from the fair madness, Andrei travelled to Romania on business but also with a first draft of the game. It was a homemade „baby”: printed, cut and glued by his own handy hands. My eyes weren’t too excited when presented with the hexes and other components. But that was not a surprise to anyone! This happens with all prototypes, in their early beginnings, right?
We played it in 4; we all liked it - roughly speaking - but we all agreed the game needed fine tuning on the details. Andrei seemed to care about what we were saying … .

In summer I rejoined the „baby” with Andrei on top of it, of course . It grew up in a few months as others in several years. It was in its teens and had concerns on the ideal body and proper manners. The tiles lost a bit of weight: the initial 6 corners were reduced to 4.
My eyes slightly glittered in surprise when seeing the images created by professional illustrators, even if the printing was far from perfect. I would say that no one can produce a game of the highest quality at home, no matter what others are thinking.
The leap of progress was consistent. It was „running” much better, even if it needed some small adjustments here and there. I was so deepened in the game that I completely forgot to take pictures at that time. Only after Andrei left my place I let myself struck with the idea...Too late, obviously. Otherwise you would have already been reading the presentation

In January I met the adulthood. Not mine, cause I will be an eternal child at heart. Of this game, of course!
It came in its ball gown, tailored by the best illustrators and this time the materials and prints had a quality lacking in the previous edition. My eyes got too big for their sockets! The photos I didn’t remember to shoot on the previous meeting were completely forgotten!
But enough with all this snow job! Let’s see what is all about. Today, maybe… if possible...
I am sure that up to now everybody has a clear idea what game we are talking about ... . As if it wouldn’t have been obvious from the title...



I will leave the game’s brushed up narrative to the minimum. It will be written in the manual if anybody would be interested. Briefly, we are some higher citizens of the Roman Empire, with engineering skills, with some influence and responsibilities and we have to develop some hamlet into something bigger: small town, city or metropolis , upon everyone’s know-how and imagination. From my point of view, it’s not relevant whether it happens in the Roman Empire or elsewhere, farther or closer.
The game is a genuine euro. I already mentioned the mechanics: worker and tile placements. Nothing new under the sun. Or moon. Or stars. There are piles of games falling into this description.

Why would anyone pay any attention to another game from this category?
Well, let’s see!

In order to fulfil its urbanistic vocation, each „praetor” disposes of its workers. In the beginning, there are 3 for each player and during the game you can add up to maximum 8. Only if you can afford it. Everybody is acquainted with the meeples from euro games. Well, „ Praetor” is a little bit different because its workers are like Dalmatian dogs with a twist: the spots are organized! Yes, you are right if you think… dice!
This is the reason why it belongs to a more high-class and limited family. Stefan Feld rings a bell?
And to have an even more customized view of this game, let me present you, ladies and gentlemen, in this international sneak preview, the workers that get experience during the game and are not afraid to use it! Yes, you got it, they are in „ Praetor”!

The 3 initially available workers have various level of knowledge: we have a primary school graduate, the novice (die 1); the skilled worker, a high school graduate (die 2); and a postsecondary graduate, also known as the expert (die 3).



Later in the game there will be vacancies for faculty graduates (die 4), even for master’s degree graduates (die 5) and doctorate graduates (die 6). It is obvious that when you become a doctor in any field (besides medicine) it’s time to retire, isn’t it? (What would a PhD thesis in breaking rocks look like!? – it would be interesting to read it... ; anyway, after graduation, one less skilled worker could address the question: „Doc, I have a rock in pain at my entrance door....What do I do with it? Do I give it antibiotics?”)

Each player takes his/her turn, with a die once, and performs an action until he/she finishes his/her workers. When nobody has any more dice, a round is over.

The workers can go in various places and make various actions (deep philosophical thinking ... ):
• they can go to a building and perform a specific action
• they can build one of the available buildings by paying the necessary resources

And now let me get into details a bit.



PLACING THE WORKER ON A BUILDING

Each tile is open for a single worker and, once it is occupied, it can’t be used by any other player in that specific round.
Action spaces on the tiles are red or green:



The red spaces, as well as building an edifice, raise the workers level after he returns to the player’s board. The green spaces do not have the same effect.
There are spaces for which the worker level is important. When gathering resources, the higher the level the more resources you get (a worker of level 5 gains 5 resources). Or, when you exchange resources, the worker’s level gives the maximum number of actions you can perform.




It is very important to pay attention to the worker’s level, as they retire once a die turns from 5 into 6. At this stage, the worker doesn’t have to work anymore and he simply enjoys the outcome of a healthy retirement plan.
However, there’s a building in the game that allows the retirees that feel energetic and that get bored otherwise to perform here and there. This is the reason why one can see dice of 6 on the game board.



When the worker retires, he brings victory points, more in the first era and less in the second. I forgot to mention that the game has 2 eras, based on building power? Luckily it was a problem that just got fixed!

Sneaky bastards those Romans!!! I completely believed that the idea of retirement appeared only in modern times... How was I supposed to imagine that modern society is not that bright as we’d like to believe and that we only reinvented the ancients’ discoveries...?

At the end of a round, the workers and retirees have to be paid. If they are not paid, they will change their mood, marked accordingly on the specific track. Downwards, of course…The more active and retired workers you have the more the wages expenses will be. Surprisingly, isn’t it?
This track makes a difference at the end of the game, when it brings you or takes away from you a certain number of victory points. Everybody’s happy? Good, in this case happiness is maximum and shared. Did the workers laboured for nothing? Well, it’s time to also share the misery!
What kind of society is that in which all share the ups and downs? I can’t imagine...





BUILDING TILES

At the beginning of the game, only the following are available:



In order to erect another building, you send your worker to an available tile, pay the cost shown in the left side (various combinations of resources: wood, stone, marble, weapon, money) and afterwards put it next to the ones already built. Each building has a certain number of victory points listed on it and, based on how many corners you match with the ones already lied on the table, you can ad more or less victory points.



The corners have 4 different colours, in various combinations, specific for each tile. When you add a new building to the city, you gain additional victory points from matching the colour of the corners from the new tile with the ones already placed.


In the previous image, if I would have placed the building on which the blue die 6 is lying, I would have gained another 7 points besides the 4 points listed on it.

The new building belongs to the player that built it and other players can use it by paying a tax, listed next to the action space.
Buildings come with various abilities, one more appealing than the other. They allow you to extract materials/resources necessary during the game (the mines); they allow you to exchange resources for money (the market); they allow you to exchange resources between them; they give you victory points for active workers, for the possession of certain resources or for the level of “happiness” of the population; they can give you money for active workers or for the tiles you already built etc...

Victory points are scored immediately after you gained them and the positions from the scoring board establish the playing order at the end of the round. The player with the fewest victory points is always the first to perform the actions at the beginning of the next round , a very important thing, given the fact that each building accommodates only one worker each phase.



The right side of the scoring board shows the playing order, based on the victory points scored until that round.
When you deeply like a certain space, due to its extraordinary payoff, it’s advisable to be the first to perform the action. Otherwise it is highly possible for that space to yield even better for another player.
The game ends when the last building in the second era is added to the mighty city you contributed.


CONCLUSIONS

I don’t know if I gave any hints up to now, but now I say it: I really like this game! And it’s not just because it’s the first game I brought a (minimum) contribution to.

„Praetor” has a lot of strengths: innovative elements, simple rules for which you don’t need half a day of explanations, strategic complexity, good integrated mechanics, excellent graphics. On top of it, players’ boards come in 2 sides: one for the beginners– the same for all players– and the other for the advanced players, different for each „campaigner”.
Some of you may ask: How hard is it? I say that the game is neither too light nor too complicated. It heats your brain without charring it and so making it attractive – I think - for a large number of players. Speaking of numbers, the game can be played in maximum 5 players.
For me it’s a really good game and I definitely recommend it!

Post scriptum: This is a pre-production copy of the game. Apparently the final game will be in stores sometime in April.

And latest news: the game just finished a successful kick-starter campaign in Korea. That must mean something, isn’t it?




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Robert Manore
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Colorado Springs
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Warlord beats Troll, Troll beats Elf, Elf beats Water Sprite, and basically everything else beats Enchanted Bunny.
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Thanks for the preview! Much appreciated.
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deeug deeug
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You're welcome!
Thanks for reading!

I forgot to tell that this is a translation from romanian.
If it'a easier for somebody to read the original, here it is :

http://forumboardgames.ro/viewtopic.php?f=6&p=50922#p50922
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Angel Eye
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Thanks for the preview, this is a must have in my collection.
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Sergio Macias
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Nice. Way to pique my interest! laugh
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Paul Incao
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I was fortunate to playtest this game. It's a solid euro which should appeal to many gamers. Nice preview. thumbsup
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deeug deeug
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Thanks for reading!
I'm glad we are thinking alike!
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Daryl Unwin
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deeug wrote:
You're welcome!
Thanks for reading!

I forgot to tell that this is a translation from romanian.
If it'a easier for somebody to read the original, here it is :

http://forumboardgames.ro/viewtopic.php?f=6&p=50922#p50922


Translation or not, I found this a really engaging read. Thank you.

Game seems really intriguing - a good mix of familiar, and not so familiar, elements.
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