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Subject: How "Mean" is the Master Builder rss

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Joy Thompson
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I hate forced conflict in a game. Any game where someone wins by singling out another player and making it harder for that person to win is a big No No in my family.

For example, when I play Lords of Waterdeep no one in my family ever gives Mandatory Quests and very rarely uses Intrigue cards that will take a resource from someone else. If you need a resource and get to the place before someone else does that is fine but if you deliberately take a resource just to block someone else from finishing a goal, it is not pretty.

I am trying to understand how the Master Builder works and if there is going to be a situation where the Master Builder is going to have to chose to be mean to one player and nice to another. Is the Master Builder only successful if they are deliberately blocking access to resources that another player needs?

Thanks for any opinions. I am trying to figure out my Christmas game and this is on my shortlist but I don't understand the Master Builder Mechanic
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David Etherton
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The Master Builder was my biggest worry as well. So far it's been unfounded for me (two plays, once with three strangers and once with two friends).

Ultimately it's up to your group how "mean" you want to be.

I found that at the very least, I would price the buildings that were worth more points for more money. Sometimes you knew somebody wanted something, and if you wanted it too, maybe you'd price it higher temporarily. Or if they're really low on money, you can fudge the prices a bit depending on how nice you're feeling.

Sometimes you price something "to move" so that they buy that instead of what you really want. A lot of flexibility. I didn't spend a lot of time trying to second-guess what everybody wanted... trying not to sell points too cheaply worked well enough most of the time.

-Dave
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Todd Warnken
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I think your goal as the master builder is not to screw the other players but to get the most money you can from them. You want to price the rooms at the maximum you think they will pay but not so high they just settle on a cheap room or buy a corridor.
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Spiteful tactics work for a turn or two, but new tiles keep coming down and the old ones get cheaper. You can't block someone out for very long. The other problem is that it's not a winning strategy; operating solely on denial makes you poor (and in fact, buying low or taking 5k is a funny way to punish this strategy). The dangerous players are the ones that place exactly the right tile just inside your reach.
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Brent Mair
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Not every room will be built every round, in fact, most rounds there will be double to number of purchased rooms available every turn. Also, there might always be a best move, but I cannot see it. Hopefully I see and can tell some of the better rooms to buy and determine if the price justifies the cost.

Basically there can't be much meanness with the master builder. He/She is just setting up possible options.
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Shelby Smith
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If the master builder is too aggressive, the players can just opt to take $5000.00 That round. The master builder will then be way behind the other players as he wont have as much money to buy rooms. The game is pretty self balancing.its also quite fun just to role play a littte and build crazy castles. I've played it 8 times now just teaching others. I've enjoyed every game.
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non sequitur
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The Master Builder has to single people out. This sounds like a game you might want to avoid, if targeting people goes poorly... it's not quite standard eurogame denial, it's a bit more blatant. In my opinion!
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Joy Thompson
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As a point of clarification, how much does the tiles go down each round and if someone buys it in a later round who gets the money.
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Garry Rice
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JoyNoelle2000 wrote:
As a point of clarification, how much does the tiles go down each round and if someone buys it in a later round who gets the money.


Every tile that's left over from the previous round gets a $1 token placed on it (and they accumulate from turn to turn). However, the master builder can still place these buildings wherever he/she wishes...it just acts as a discount to whatever the price is set to by the master builder. The master builder gets the full price while the buyer gets the accumulated money.
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Scott Aikens
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The Master Builder sets the cost values for all the available tiles (5 to 7 of them, depending on the number of players), and always receives the money spent by the other players as they make their purchases. The Master Builder purchases his room last from whatever rooms are left, paying his money to the Bank.

The Master Builder token then passes to the player on the left, and any remaining rooms (usually 2 or 3 of them) each receive a coin to make them slightly more desirable in the next round. A number of new tiles are drawn by the new Master Builder, who then sets the cost values for all of the available tiles anew. A room tile that had been available for 6,000 marks in the previous turn might now cost only 1,000 marks, or as much as 15,000 marks, depending on where the new Master Builder places it, and now it has a 1,000-mark coin on it this round.

Every room has value, and the Master Builder is continually forced to make something inexpensive. Even when I try, I've found it difficult to be "mean" successfully when I'm the MB because my opponents will often simply take 5,000 marks on their turn, building nothing and paying me nothing at all.


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Benjamin Roffey
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Played 3 games so far, all with highly spiteful master builders, and there was only 2 turns where they could actually harm someones developement through master builder placement. Money is so plentiful that it is nearly impossible to lock someone out of something if they really want it. The trick is figuring out what people want and what they are willing to pay.
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Ryan M
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I don't think it is mean at all. The key to being master builder isn't to be spiteful and mess with other players. You want them to buy rooms but pay as much as possible. Price too high just to deprive someone of a room and you risk losing money on your turn. Plus if that room isn't bought it collects money and makes it more likely to be bought later and being even more valuable.

Also, money is fairly plentiful so it's not like someone can be deprived of a room for long plus there are so many goal and point options, it is tough to completely shut someone out for a round. There is probably something worth buying. If not, it's more because of the draw than the master builder.
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Joy Thompson
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So it sounds like there is always a plan B if a Master Builder prices a tile that you want too high. Has anyone experienced someone at the table consistently complaining about a Master Builders pricing or do people get over it rather quickly.
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Mikko Saari
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I don't think it's a problem. Master Builder may price the building you want most too expensive for you – and she should do so, if there's a single building that's really good for someone – but then you can buy something else. Rarely is someone's game dependent of one particular tile.
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Jim Andrew
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JoyNoelle2000 wrote:
So it sounds like there is always a plan B if a Master Builder prices a tile that you want too high. Has anyone experienced someone at the table consistently complaining about a Master Builders pricing or do people get over it rather quickly.


I would not complain if a tile is too expensive, as it will be cheaper on the following rounds, and there will be my turn to be the Master Builder. Though i might complain if someone put a good tile too cheap

So, i dont think someone would complain consistently for the pricing
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Joy Thompson
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Thanks for all the input. I was finally able to watch a video play through and I think it will work. It looks like a great game. Now I am trying to figure out a way to sort cards and tiles to create a balanced two player game. I will have to wait to get my hands on the game
 
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David Etherton
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JoyNoelle2000 wrote:
Thanks for all the input. I was finally able to watch a video play through and I think it will work. It looks like a great game. Now I am trying to figure out a way to sort cards and tiles to create a balanced two player game. I will have to wait to get my hands on the game


If you're playing it mostly 2p, discard the building card types as evenly as possible (instead of randomly) to maintain their original distributions. The tiles already have their counts adjusted downward for 2p and 3p games.
 
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Robin Levins
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etherton wrote:
JoyNoelle2000 wrote:
Thanks for all the input. I was finally able to watch a video play through and I think it will work. It looks like a great game. Now I am trying to figure out a way to sort cards and tiles to create a balanced two player game. I will have to wait to get my hands on the game


If you're playing it mostly 2p, discard the building card types as evenly as possible (instead of randomly) to maintain their original distributions. The tiles already have their counts adjusted downward for 2p and 3p games.

I'm not sure I agree with this. The threat of a stack having a bunch of cards and prematurely emptying (which slightly hurries the endgame) is rare, but intriguing when it happens.
 
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David Etherton
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Thesp wrote:
etherton wrote:
JoyNoelle2000 wrote:
Thanks for all the input. I was finally able to watch a video play through and I think it will work. It looks like a great game. Now I am trying to figure out a way to sort cards and tiles to create a balanced two player game. I will have to wait to get my hands on the game


If you're playing it mostly 2p, discard the building card types as evenly as possible (instead of randomly) to maintain their original distributions. The tiles already have their counts adjusted downward for 2p and 3p games.

I'm not sure I agree with this. The threat of a stack having a bunch of cards and prematurely emptying (which slightly hurries the endgame) is rare, but intriguing when it happens.


Yeah, I'm not sure I agree with my suggestion either, but it seems like it will make the 2p game play more like the 4p game (where in my limited experience it seems like at least a few depletions are likely).
 
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Mikko Saari
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I've seen depletions in two-player games, I don't think it needs any changes at all. I've played mostly two-player games and have tried three- and four-player games once, and the two-player game is just fine.
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msaari wrote:
I've seen depletions in two-player games, I don't think it needs any changes at all. I've played mostly two-player games and have tried three- and four-player games once, and the two-player game is just fine.

Do you mean without special rules for the 2p game, just using normal tile counts and all?
 
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Mikko Saari
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No special rules outside what's in the rulebook, ie. reduced number of tiles in stacks and reduced number of cards in the deck.
 
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Joy Thompson
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One complaint that Rahdo had was that because it was random in how you remove tiles for a two player game there was times that someone got screwed because the goal card that they had ended up having no tiles that would work for it. I was going to see if I could set aside certain goal cards and certain castle tiles for a two player game on my own so that you knew that if you had a goal card there was going to be tiles in the deck that could fulfill those goals. Rahdo's biggest complaint was the added luck element of 2 player tile removal that sometimes left one player short of options through no fault of his own.

I don't know if it will work but if I can work with the goal cards and tiles and find a good mix for two player games, I might find a way to mark them so when I play two players I only use those tiles and goals and remove some of the chance element in depleting tiles for two player games randomly.
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I wonder how it would work to not remove any of the room tiles (except stairs and hallways, those could still be reduced, and still draw down the room card deck to 22)? Then, at the end of the game award the depleted stack bonus for the stacks that have 2/4 or fewer tiles remaining.

EDIT: probably a marker should be placed on any stack that reaches 2/4 [large/small] to prevent imbalance of depletion bonus scoring.
 
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JoyNoelle2000 wrote:
One complaint that Rahdo had was that because it was random in how you remove tiles for a two player game there was times that someone got screwed because the goal card that they had ended up having no tiles that would work for it. I was going to see if I could set aside certain goal cards and certain castle tiles for a two player game on my own so that you knew that if you had a goal card there was going to be tiles in the deck that could fulfill those goals. Rahdo's biggest complaint was the added luck element of 2 player tile removal that sometimes left one player short of options through no fault of his own.
I have the exact issue at 2p.

Basically, 2p is just way more random than 4p. 4p is easily the best player count here.
 
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