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Subject: 4 newbie players, close game down to both tie-breakers rss

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Ori Avtalion
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Game night started with a 3-player game of Splendor. One of the players, Raanan, was brand new to gaming, and really liked it, going as far as asking how to get a copy. The other player, Dany, had already played a few games.

When we were done, we waited for the fourth player, Ofer, who also experience with a few games. As we were setting up for Village, and I started explaining the rules, comments that the rules were much more complex than Splendor and hard to remember made me wary, but everyone seemed to have a good grasp of it by the end of the game.

I think I did reasonably well explaining the rules. Would certainly improve for next time, based on the questions and clarifications during gameplay.

The first few rounds everyone tried to figure out the rules and the available actions. After a while choices were more assertive, and towards the end of the game turns became slower as people analyzed all of their options and planning ahead to maximize points. I took this as a sign that everyone were enjoying themselves.

The spots for the Crafts in the village chronicle were the first to be filled up. I'm guessing this happens in most games since it's possible to only pay time to gain the goods tiles without spending any cubes.
This made the end-game interesting, as everyone took the Marriage action to try and bring Crafts meeples back into their farm in a race for the last available spots in the Chronicles. Alas, not everyone had their time track in the right spot for a quick death

I focused mostly in travelling, and managed 5 cities. This was at the expense of only servicing one customer in the market. I also had a few lucky draws from the Church bag, and ended up having majorities a few times.
Dany also did well in travelling and the market. He got 4 cities, 5 customer tiles, and got some free cubes and goods from a meeple in the City Hall.
Ofer took the Market action and had several rounds where he was the only one to sell several items. Ended up with 5 high-scoring customer tiles.
Raanan managed to get a meeple into the last place in the City Hall, and took several turns converting his stash of coins to points. He also had surviving high-ranking monks in the church by the end of the game.

At the end of the game, I also managed to get a meeple into the last point of city hall, but I had too few coins and cubes. I ended up paying 2 cubes of the same color plus a coin, to convert another coin into 3 points. That's just a 1 point net gain, but I didn't have anything better to do. Raanan did the same once. We probably could have eeked out a few more points if we collected the correct cubes earlier, but it was hard to plan ahead.

When it came time for the final scoring, we were surprised and excited to see that Ofer, Dany and myself ended up tied with 46 points, with Raanan having 44. I quickly checked if the rules had any tie-breakers.
The first tie breaker was for customer tiles. Still a tie, with both Ofer and Dany having 5! The last tie-breaker sealed the deal with Ofer having the most living family members: 3 to Dany's 1.

I believe all of us could have won if we made 1 choice differently during the game, which makes me cautiously optimistic for a rematch. As the game with rules explanation lasted more than 2 hours, and it was late, I didn't have time to ask everyone what they thought, but I'm sure it can be marked down as a success, and future game nights will be welcome.
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Adam Meney
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Glad you enjoyed it.

This is an incredibly good game. With players who are familiar with the turns you can knock a game out in an hour. There are plenty of ways to win and you can try something different each time you play.

I highly recommend the Inn expansion too. Even more fabulous options to choose from without changing the game too much. Also going to the Inn for a drink to meet the townsfolk is pretty awesome. Just remember, drinking yourself to death at the pub is fun in this game but it's not such a good idea in real life!!

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