Norbert Chan
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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Wow, so this is what you get for 100 pieces of gold.
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I had heard decent things about Suburbia, and had wanted to play it for a while. Castles of Mad King Ludwig was from my understanding, a more polished game than Suburbia, so I made the decision to buy CMKL. This way, I could experience Suburbia and get to play one of the seasons “hot” games. I went shopping on Boxing Day, expecting my regular store, Revolutions Games and Music to have it, and they had sold their last copy before Christmas. So I called Games People Play, got told it was $74.88, and no Boxing Day special. So I called the Sentry Box, Greg answered, it cost $70.80, they had 3 copies, and I could get 5% off. So off I went to the Sentry Box to acquire a copy. I read the rules a couple times, floundered a bit about scoring the central icons, but figured it out that you only score them for directly connected buildings and only if the buildings being added matched the icons.

On Saturday, at Don’s house were Trevor, Don, Tim and Jean. I explained the rules to them, while Don and Tim agreed to be a team since we had 5 people. The four favour tiles in the game were: Most external entrances, most utility room, most living rooms, and most outdoor rooms. Don/Tim were the master builder first; player order was Don/Tim, Jean, myself and Trevor. There was a downstairs room, so I bought the first downward stairs, thinking I could get a monopoly on the downstairs room, but when it came around to Jean’s turn as master builder, he priced the downstairs room at $6k, thinking it was a fair price, and I bought it anyways. Trevor got the first small utility room, which was complete when built and Trevor was able to get a bonus card. Don/Tim’s first build was a washroom (utility building) and they got a bonus card as well.

I was jealous of other people drawing bonus cards. My initial bonus cards I kept were 2 for every living room and 2 for every 200 room. So I decided to focus on utility rooms since they were in the King’s favour and worked with my bonus card. I was the first one to complete a sleeping room, and threw two more 200 rooms into the room deck to attempt to make that pile empty and score points. So I had a strategy, yet, I ended up last.

Trevor’s plan was to complete activity buildings and score the 5 VP bonus as much as he could. That worked for him as he had the most points on the board. He also had 4 bonus cards, which he scored the most points as well.

Jean was well balanced as well. At the end of the game, he completed a sleeping room to throw out two 600 rooms, and Jean had 3 of them so he got 6 VPs from those. What really surprised me was Jean was only 1 pt behind Trevor in the final scoring.

It was actually a fairly tight game from top to bottom.

Scores:

Trevor 104 (62 board, 1 money, 10 favour (1 external 3 utility 0 living 6 outdoor), 4 for depleted 350 rooms, 4 for depleted 600 rooms, 23 bonus cards)


Castle of Mad King Trevor

Jean 102 (52 board, 1 money 18 favour(6 external, 3 utility, 3 living, 6 outdoor), 4 depleted 200 rooms, 2 depleted 350 rooms, 6 depleted 600 rooms, 19 bonus cards)


Castle of Mad King Jean

Don/Tim 99(56 board, 1 money 15 favour (2 external, 8 utility, 3 living, 2 outdoor), 6 depleted 200 rooms, 21 bonus cards)


Castle of Mad King Don/Tim

Norbert 93 (51 board, 1 money, 15 favour (6 external, 0 utility, 8 living, 1 outdoor), 8 depleted 200 rooms, 2 depleted 350 rooms, 18 bonus cards)


Castle of Insane Norbert

As the game was winding down, I could see some combinations that were working, such as complete a room to get an extra turn, then use it to try and complete another room. I enjoyed my first play of it. Don said he would rate it a 7, but he mentioned that for deeper play, you have to evaluate what all the buildings on sale were worth to each person, and he said it takes a lot of work to figure out what it is for each player. He then gave the example of Ra, when you bid for tiles, you can quickly glance and see what it is worth to your opponent. We didn’t do too much evaluation as we didn’t want to bog the game down, mostly from what I saw, the rooms were ordered in values of VP from highest cost to lowest cost by the Master builder.

I enjoyed my play of it and hope to get more games in. The first time, I was a bit overwhelmed trying to figure out points for everyone else, since the icons and color was a bit confusing. I think the next time, it will be easier to comprehend, then I can think about the relative worth of buildings to each opponent when I am the master builder.
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Loren Cadelinia
United States
Sacramento
California
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Cool session. I like how you broke down points. Between our first and second games, our base scores (prior to end game scoring) all increased 15-20 or so points, with more optimal play and more sleeping rooms completed, delaying the deck depletion.

Figuring out what buildings are important to opponents is a little bit of deduction throughout the game, and becoming more familiar with the bonus cards. (ie, player is getting lots round rooms and its not a kings favor). Also, remembering what rooms players are putting on top of the deck as result of completion of sleeping room helps.

As master builder, I think you have to keep an eye on your opponents with some of the more obvious high scoring rooms (vestibule and throne room). They can score 4 points with each food and sleeping room respectively attached to those rooms. Then completion means all of those score again.

Still discovering little nuances and strategies with this little game! Looking forward to future plays.
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Scott Douglass
United States
Minnesota
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Nice session report.

I don't think investing in stairs is generally a good play. You can get stairs for free after completing your foyer, which is far more action efficient than building the stairs as an action, plus only 10 out of 75 total rooms are downstairs rooms, so it's an investment that is likely to not pay off for a long time unless there are multiple valuable downstairs rooms already in the offer.

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H C
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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Nice session report, very informative. Makes me want to try this as well, and I like that scores weren't more than about 10 or so away. I like tighter, close games like that quite a bit.

Also, surprised that you'd pay $67 for the game o.o not that its a bad choice
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J. Alan Hatcher
United States
Hendersonville
Tennessee
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sdougla2 wrote:

I don't think investing in stairs is generally a good play. You can get stairs for free after completing your foyer, which is far more action efficient than building the stairs as an action, plus only 10 out of 75 total rooms are downstairs rooms, so it's an investment that is likely to not pay off for a long time unless there are multiple valuable downstairs rooms already in the offer.


I generally agree, but I have bought stairs early in certain situations. If there are two Downstairs rooms out early and no one has stairs, then if I'm the MB or to the right of the MB I have bought stairs just because I've got a very good chance of picking up the Downstairs rooms since no on else can even legally buy them for two turns.

Of course, experienced players might price them out of reach for me when they are MB, but so far most of us are new to the game and I've pulled it off a few times.

I'm also very cautious about buying a third Downstairs room unless I have bonuses for them. Since there are only 10 in the deck, with four players you might never get a chance to finish the fourth Downstairs room.
 
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Scott Douglass
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Exactly. Don't buy an early stair unless there are already multiple downstairs rooms available for purchase. Just don't expect more downstairs rooms to show up for a while, as it's pretty likely that they won't.

One thing that I've been considering with downstairs rooms is that the stairs themselves are an easy stack to run out, and if you get 3+ stairs, that's actually a reasonable number of points for something that doesn't ever cost you an action directly. If no one else is pursuing stairs, you can get most of them by using your bonus stairs to complete the downstairs room you just placed, then, when you place an upstairs room at the other end, you get more bonus stairs. This could easily lock you out of getting other downstairs rooms if other players are going after stairs and downstairs rooms and they took the last stair at an inopportune moment, but it's worth considering.
 
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J. Alan Hatcher
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Hendersonville
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I've played the game about 15 times now and I often never get stairs at all during the game. I've come to see the downstairs rooms as a distraction that are best foisted off on my opponents by making them pay too much for them.

Again, it's all situational based on what is available and the favors.
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