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Subject: My non-review of Castles of Burgundy rss

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Ron Olivier, Sr.
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North Smithfield
Rhode Island
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Finally, after 6 plays, I’m actually beginning to appreciate Castles of Burgundy. Don’t get me wrong…I’ve really liked playing this game since the first time I played. It’s a deep, ‘thinky’ game that give you lots of options and lots of points. What’s not to like? I’d spend two hours immersed in this game, but once it was over…nothing.
EVERY TIME that I play Puerto Rico, Hermagor, Power Grid, it’s followed by a feeling of accomplishment, with table talk among the players about their strategy, or one particular turn, people second guessing themselves over this move or that. CoB never seems to inspire that kind of table talk. I find that there is little – if anything – that happems during the game that’s noteworthy.
I found this to be very disconcerting at first. To me, a great game stays with you after the board and the bits have been boxed up and put back on the shelf. I can’t describe “I’m the Boss” without telling the story of how one of the craziest deals took place. I can’t describe Puerto Rico without saying how splendidly all the aspects of the game come together so elegantly. I can’t tell someone about Moai without describing how brutal it is to face off against other tribes while your ecosystem crumbles around you.
Castles of Burgundy? Yeah that’s a fun game…pretty deep. That pretty much sums it up.

My Biggest Problem
So every time I sit to write a review on this game, I realize that after about ½ page that I have very little to say except the specifics that’s already been mentioned in 30 other reviews…separate player boards…muted color scheme…worker tiles…etc.
So, how am I beginning to ‘appreciate’ the game if I still can’t stir up enough initiative to write a review on it? It’s because, despite the lack of passion about this game, I’m drawn to the way the game plays. In Puerto Rico, and other games, there are moves that good logic dictates you should do. You plan a strategy, and if you take role A to perform action B, it fits perfectly into what you’re doing.
In CoB, doing move A will get you 6 points, move B will get you 8 points, and move C will give you zero points right now, but put you one move away from a 21 point bonus. Or you could use a worker to change the value of a die, giving you a new pallet of options. I like that kind of challenge….REALLY like that kind of challenge. But none of it is memorable in any relational way.
So do I recommend CoB? Wholeheartedly!! If you enjoy deep strategy with opportunities to score lots of points, this should be in your collection. Why? Because it’s “a fun game…pretty deep. That pretty much sums it up.”
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Tomello Visello
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Reston
Virginia
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rantinronrevue wrote:
I find that there is little – if anything – that happems during the game that’s noteworthy.
I'm reading this with curiosity because I am a one-time player with very {shrug} memories of this game. Playing time lies outside my usual preference but I tried it anyway (and I even won - uncommon in this situation). I remember mechanisms in multiple places but it seemed that a workable game that met my own interests could be achieved by dropping some of them out to allow focus on the others.

 
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Yours Truly,
United States
Raleigh
North Carolina
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There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
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Nice write-up, I feel similarly. I enjoy the game, I'll never turn it down, but it's not one of my favorite games, not even one of my favorite Felds (and I'm a big Feld fan).

It's just... a "pleasant" game.
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Mike Collins
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I've only played a couple of games, but I know exactly where you're coming from. Like you, I've enjoyed the process of playing, and found the decision-making engaging, but, like you, it's hard to think of a particularly memorable aspect of the game afterwards, apart from that non-specific sense of having enjoyed it.

I can think of two principal reasons for this. Please note that, as I said, I'm new to the game, so I'm sure there's plenty that I have yet to learn and understand about it; these are very much my early impressions:

1) It seems to be largely a game of small, incremental gains. There aren't many "big moves", and nor do there seem to be any big strategies that hang on a knife edge until a clever play pays off. I can't remember any particular single move that turned out to be notable, or significant turning points, or the sudden culmination of a great plan. It's just the slow accumulation of elements that inch you further along whichever path you're focusing on.

By comparison, we can all remember that moment in Puerto Rico where we managed to finesse the sequence of actions perfectly to ship all our goods while leaving our opponents shut out. Or that time in Caylus where our strategy finally paid off and allowed us to buy the high-scoring building we'd been planning for. Or that game of Tigris where we pulled off that huge conflict that netted us a ton of points while leaving our opponents devastated.

I guess what I'm saying is that there seems to be less of a narrative to CoB than there is to some other classic games.

2) It's not the most focused, coherent of games. It almost feels like a collection of subgames. Rather than everyone working towards the same goals, competing for resources and finding ways to outplay their opponents, it feels more as though each person selects which subgames they're going to concentrate on. Everyone spends the game playing their chosen subgames, and at the end of the game we discover which person has gradually accumulated more points than the others.

Now, as I said, I may be completely mistaken in these impressions, and as I play more, I'll understand more about strategies and see more coherence in the game. But, at the moment, these are my thoughts on it.

And, let me emphasise - I have very much enjoyed the games I've played of CoB. None of the above should be taken as an attack on the game.





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The root of all evil... but you can call me cookie.
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I love love love CoB.

However. I really don't like it with 4 players. I feel it takes away a huge element of the game. I actually think I prefer it at 2 but will play 3 sure. Reasons are a simple. Each player add exponentially to game play (and consequentially downtime between turns) as each player much make move A/move B/move C decision mentioned by the OP.

More importantly however in a 4 player game you are guaranteed to see every single one of the yellow "bonus" tiles come out. So from turn one you can fully plan on scoring points for a certain building and know without a doubt the tile that will score bonus for for said building will in fact come out and if you are playing boats you can even make certain you are able to get it.

In a 2 player game only half the yellow tiles come out each game. In fact it could be less than half because there are yellow tiles in the black tiles and as you are pulling fewer black tiles too you may encounter that THOSE tiles don't come out as well. This forces you to play more creatively to find ways to score points that will in fact bring end game benefits. You can't count on a tile. It also makes buying a yellow tile that maybe doesn't score a huge amount of points for yourself a much more interesting decision. I mean yeah I may only score 4 points off the tile that gives me one point for each sold good but you over there you've got a stack of 12 sold goods right now...and let me tell you those kinds of plays are big and are very memorable.

Further more I highly suggest playing with the new boards. Both the ones the came in the Spielbox issues as they have new rules about tile placement that make it harder to get tiles on the board forcing you to plan better. I have also played with the new ones in the BGG store and while they aren't as interesting as the Spielbox ones they do add a neat new little feature to work towards. The basic boards are just that...basic.
 
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Rusty Patterson
Saudi Arabia
Ras Tanura
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Mikey Boy wrote:

I guess what I'm saying is that there seems to be less of a narrative to CoB than there is to some other classic games.



Well said. This, I think, is the crux of the matter.
 
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Scott Nelson
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I find the amazing part of this post is that someone admits to liking hermagor
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