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Subject: First Impressions - Interesting Game, Odd Design Choices rss

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Matthew Chan
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So I had the opportunity to be taught this game at an event this past weekend, and while I had an okay time, I may have left the game with more questions about it then when I knew barely anything about it at all.

Issues with the Temple of Mercury aside, I just have to wonder at some of the graphical and game design decisions:
- Why have two of the colors on the corners of the tiles (blue and bluish-white) look so similar?
- I found that the play area got very cluttered as the game progressed, due to the constant addition of more tiles, wooden disks, and tiny dice. Isn't there a better way to illustrate the function of the tile, while also demarcating ownership and whether the building has been used or not?
- Serpentine score/player order tracks. Hate em. Especially ones that are crowded.
- The game ends when either the building tiles or the wall tiles are exhausted. But unbuilt wall tiles are scrapped at the end of each round, while unbuilt buildings are not. Just left wondering at the purpose of the idiosyncrasy.
- Why have a variety of resource producing buildings when the Market allows you to easily convert more valuable resources into less valuable resources?

And probably a few more that I don't care to articulate right now. Mind you, the game plays fine, and I'm sure there are reasons why everything in the game is exactly as it should be. I'm just left wondering what those reasons might be.
 
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Ben Wand
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After first 3 plays, I agree with many of your points. However, the market tile I have found to be very important and valuable. If only because of the lack of resource tiles and turn order. Using the market can be very efficient, especially if you have a worker with low experience. The resource tiles are better for more experienced workers and used to help build a stock, or if the market has been used already that round.

We've only had the wall tiles trigger game end once. Using it as a "game timer" seems to have worked out well, especially because of the lack of resource tiles, generating the specific resources needed to build the city tiles that are available becomes challenging. There are plenty of times when a city tile hasn't been built in an action phase, or only one. Because of the shuffling of the city tiles in the stack, it may take a couple of rounds to obtain the appropriate resources.
 
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Deathworks
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Hello!

m22chan wrote:
- The game ends when either the building tiles or the wall tiles are exhausted. But unbuilt wall tiles are scrapped at the end of each round, while unbuilt buildings are not. Just left wondering at the purpose of the idiosyncrasy.


Well, if you scrapped unbuilt buildings as well, you would have two fixed-length timers competing with each other. So, walls run out after 14 rounds and buildings after 10 rounds, each game will end after 10 rounds, and the rule for walls doesn't matter. And the other way around. Of course, you could have both end after 14 rounds, uniting them in a way, but this would be a fixed game length.

By having two end conditions, the game basically offers you a variable game length of up to 14 rounds (or how many wall tiles there are). On the one hand, this allows players to influence game length and build strategies around it, on the other hand, it ensures that you don't get endless games dragging along in the fight for that one victory point advantage. Personally, I think that is a very good approach to the issue of game length - both flexible and reliable at the same time.

Yours,
Deathworks
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Matthew Chan
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Great point, but I'm still wondering whether you couldn't achieve the same variable game length effect by discarding the remaining revealed buildings at the end of each round, and then when the buildings run out, shuffle and deal out of the previously discarded buildings.

I only ask because it seems strange that while some information is known about what will be required to build the building tiles, nothing is known about what will be required to build the wall tiles. Is there a thematic reason why that should be the case?
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Ben Wand
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The difference with scrapping unbuilt buildings is that scrapping those buildings would basically prevent the game from being played, because there is a limited number of resource buildings available, so you would likely have a building like the stone mason building being scrapped, which would have a significant impact on everyone's ability to build or do anything else.
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