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Subject: I really love this game, but do have a single criticism rss

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Travis R. Chance
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Fishers
Indiana
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So, I finally picked this up, after playing it back in March and loving it. I really like the game then, and after playing it today, this sentiment was entirely reinforced. However, in both sessions, there was one thing that did bother me a tad: it seems that if one has the opportunity to hire a master, they often will take it as soon as possible (money permitting).

Now, I can think of cases where this would not happen--esp. toward game end, but in the early turns, it feels almost implicit. Now, admittedly, I have only played twice, but it was something OTHER people mentioned as well at game end--without me pointing it out. In both sessions the game was adored, so, to that end, kudos to the designers/publishers. I was wondering if perhaps this was just a coincidence based of new players not able to accurately value actions in the game, etc. Thoughts? Comments?
 
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J M
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The masters do let you claim the better spots in the halls, but all of their bonus actions are relatively weak. We find the journeymen more appealing (make extra dresses, get decorations cheaper).

If someone is hiring a master for L5 every turn, you can hire a potentially more useful tailor for L3...
 
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Travis R. Chance
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True enough, but often cycling some coins and one master to get another, esp. in the early game (as your starting masters have no bonus) is a top option, if not THE top option. So, in this case, as you get upgraded masters, you are getting a bonus AND maintaining action count (though at the cost of priority on other actions). Just odd that EVERY player in both games, when going first, would buy a master EVERY time except the last turn (and even then, the person going second did--which incidentally helped him to win the game).
 
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Gillum the Stoor
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If you look at Bannoran's analyses (here and here), you will see that he does not strongly recommend hiring Masters, at least not in the first two turns.
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Travis R. Chance
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Thanks for the links! Interesting indeed, though I think the masters being able to place in the top spaces in the halls. That action availability is soooo crucial at so many points in a game. I think the designer's response to some of these (esp. in the second link) speaks volumes about the accuracy of the appraisal in some instances. Yes, the bonuses of the lower ranked cards are better, but that rank difference is pretty important, in terms of positioning, etc. In the game I played today, I had the least opportunities to acquire masters, and I feel it def played a part in my final score--though it was indeed only 8 points (and I made an oversight that was a 6 point swing against the winner).

I guess my point is, I have played this with someone who has played it numerous times: they bought a master with their first action, when possible. I played with people who have never played it: they have done the same. I caught the last couple rounds of a game at a meetup with some different people playing: same thing. Maybe something is in the water here in Indiana? In truth, I found that when I had the opportunity to do so, from my vantage (though limited still in terms of specific experience with this game), this seemed the option. It really strikes me as odd.

 
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Kai Mölleken
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I think during the first turns the higher flexibility you have when acquiring a master outweighs the fairly poor advantages of the other cards. But in the long run the bonuses get much better so that it becomes a better choice to get those lower ranked cards with better bonuses and thin out your deck (unless you're playing a large deck strategy).
 
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M Van Der Werf
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The options to hire turn 1 are quite close in quality I think. That makes hiring early not so interesting imo, as i rather save some bucks. More importantly other actions are much more important to do first.
The best opening move I think is just the apprentice that grabs a resource. Take a spot in the fountain and grab a resource that builds the best dress available. Getting on the fountain early saves money and being able to build the best dress saves money / gains points and gives you an option for the best spot in the halls. Second player probably should do the same I think but go the other fountain spot. For third player there are some options then I think, queen is pretty good but if another great resource is available that matches a dress he probably wants to grab fountain plus grab that resource as well.
Basically I prefer doing other stuff first and then grab a worker for less money, the difference in quality among them seems fairly low. Grabbing it early not only means you pay more for the hiring, you also pay more for the fountain and get a worse dress / decoration. I think this trend actually continues mostly throughout the game, hiring is very good but other actions are more important to prioritize. Hiring gives extra costs for being first while dress making and decorations are actually cheaper if you are first. Also often the worker that is good for you is only good for you so there is no need to rush it as there is little hatedrafting. Only occasionally a worker is the best choice for you and for someone else that I feel rushing it is important, usually the workers involving dress making which multiple players want (journeymen that make dresses with discount or workers with points per dresses).

 
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