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Subject: Masons end game... rss

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ralf gutzeit
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After a few more games of Masons, I'm wondering if there is a better(different) way to end the game. In all our games we burn through the Tower pieces and the game ends. Burning out the supply of Palaces seems unlikely. Maybe we could play to x-number of points has been achieved. Our group refuses to play with the rule that once the Tower bits have been used the game ends. Why? It's seems just alittle too easy to do. It gives too much power to the weaker players. This offends me for some reason. A player who is doing poorly, then throws in the towel(or miscalculates) and starts the game badly and effectively throw in the towel and build Towers at will. Then that poor player declares he had no choice. Ugggghh. As for walls, I wish there were about 8 more of them in the game.
I may also want to reduce slightly the number of palace pieces. I'm also considering using a web of power like draw pile. I like the idea of having some information and more control. I also think that at the start of the game, face down vp chips(homemade) should be spread randomly in each province. Two in each area(non coastal). Once a walled city is built around this area extra vps are achieved. Those are my thoughts. My main concern is defense against players who accelerate the game artificially when they start poorly. I'd also like to add more control to the game.
 
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Mik Svellov
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In my games we have burned out of Towers (most frequently), Walls (happends every-so-often) and Palaces (once in a while). We haven't even been close to running out of Houses.

I see no reason to reduce the number of Palaces. Players can decide which color house whould go on which side of the wall, and also control which walls to remove when merging. So it is actually possible to influence how many Palaces should be built.

 
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Nick Fisk
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This is really odd.

Most of our games end due to the palaces running out.

The towers start to run out pretty quickly, but slow down at the end of teh game, as there are only one or two places to put them.

We have seen the game end due to walls, towers, and (mostly) palaces. The one that seems very unlikely is houses.

Are you returning towers from merged cities to the supply ?


N.
 
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ralf gutzeit
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Thanks for your response,Mik. I respect your opinions. All of this begs the question: how do you motive players who are off to a bad start to continue to fight to the "bitter(or not so bitter) end? How do you keep these players interested enough to continue on in the game in a "city building mode" instead of the easier roll over and build towers by the sea mode(which accelerates the pace of the game greatly) and makes comeback marches unlikely. My intial reaction to Masons was comeback charges were suppose to be a fairly regular and common feature of the game. Players could lay back and very patiently collect(and save) better scoring cards and build up a high scoring positions. Lately, weaker players who get off to a poor start, simply throw in the towel and build towers by the Sea side. Games can end in less than 40 mins! I'm not sure if the designer intended this.
As for palaces, you're probably right. There is a control element there. Before I close, thanks for your previous work Mik at your old web site as it was excellent and well ahead of it's time. Thanks. db3000
 
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Steve Oliver
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We usually run out of palaces first. Early in the game, the towers go quickly but as the cities merge there are fewer opportunities to place 2 towers at a time, but we did have one game where the towers forced the ending. As noted above, are you remembering to return towers to the supply if they become enclosed within a city?

Another point about your post that I find surprising is when you ask how to keep the trailing players motivated to finish the game. Masons has a wonderful mechanic for helping out the player in last place by allowing them to swap their cards. Rather than trying to "fix" the game with more towers, I'd try suggesting to the players how useful it is to swap your cards. You can't do well in the game without managing your score cards because each card is valuable at a different point in the game. If it's early in the game you might want to swap out a card that scores heavy on palaces in the hopes of a tower card, but later in the game you might want to do the reverse depending on how things are playing out on the board.

The "towers by the sea" card can indeed be powerful. In my last game, one player got 18 points from that card! Ouch. But they went onto lose in last place out of four players! So that card (and indeed a towers-only strategy) is not necessarily a sure thing. If you see a player placing two towers on the coast for a few turns in a row then you can be fairly sure that's the card they have. But those towers can't score more than once after they are part of a city so you can reduce the value of that card by closing off a small city on the coast. The other player can hold onto their card in the hopes it will score more later, or play it now for a reduced score.

Most of the cards can be valuable at the right time. That's the key to this game. If you see a player who is trying to play a lot of towers, another thing you can try is to take advantage of it yourself by holding back and swapping out in the hopes of some a good tower card for yourself.
 
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Seth Jaffee
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Yeah, there's nothing wrong with the number of towers. Our games end someties with Towers, sometimes with walls, and sometimes with palaces. I can't recall if we've had a game end due o houses or not. It all depends onhow the game plays out.

Try merging cities to make bigger cities, this tends to create palaces. I've seen games where there's 1 big city that takes up almost the whole board!

 
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Mik Svellov
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db3000 wrote:
Thanks for your response,Mik. I respect your opinions. All of this begs the question: how do you motive players who are off to a bad start to continue to fight to the "bitter(or not so bitter) end?


I tell them that I have seen players comming from behind in the last stages of the game every so often. It all comes down to finding the proper cards - which is easier when you are behind (as you can dump your entire hand).

But I must admit that some players in my group don't like the game.


Quote:
How do you keep these players interested enough to continue on in the game in a "city building mode" instead of the easier roll over and build towers by the sea mode(which accelerates the pace of the game greatly) and makes comeback marches unlikely.


Every move has a counter-move. If they build at the waterfront do they most likely have one of the Tower cards, so I build cities there - unless I of course have the other card - in which case I will try to build as many open towers there as possible.


Quote:
My intial reaction to Masons was comeback charges were suppose to be a fairly regular and common feature of the game. Players could lay back and very patiently collect(and save) better scoring cards and build up a high scoring positions. Lately, weaker players who get off to a poor start, simply throw in the towel and build towers by the Sea side. Games can end in less than 40 mins! I'm not sure if the designer intended this.


I wouldn't say that!
My first game of Cartagena was with Leo Colovini and another designer from Venice Connection, and that game ended in 15 minutes with moves so fast that I didn't dare blink my eyes! Mind you, we played the Tortuga version where you pick cards from a face-up display. At home this version takes forever, but not with these guys. So I cannot imagine they don't know how fast this game can be.

Besides, 45 minutes is the NORMAL time for this game according to Hans im Glück

Thanks for the kind words.
I will begin writing again soon.
 
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