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Subject: Rules Summary and Initial Impressions rss

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Trevor Benjamin
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I was fortunate enough to go to Essen this year and had the opportunity to play Taluva. I had been looking forward to this ever since I saw the first picture of it posted a few months ago. As I have only played it a few times, I will essentially give a summary of the rules with only a few initial impressions. I will give a proper review after I have had the chance to play it more.

Components:

The game consists of 48 tiles, each containing three hexagonal spaces arranged in a triangle. One of the three spaces is always a volcano, and the other 2 are one of the 5 other land types: grassland, forest, mountain, water and desert. They can be the same type or different. The quality of the tiles is excellent, with wonderful graphics and very thick stock. Also, in each of the 4 player colours there are 20 huts, 3 temples and 2 towers. The wood quality is standard, but the designs are very attractive and I believe unique to this game. The pieces combined with the excellent tiles and the vertical growth of the island produce an excellent overall visual effect. In fact, I would say it is one of the best looking games I have seen in years.

Game Idea:

Players take turns drawing tiles and placing them to create a 3D island. They create settlements which grow along with the island. The game is essentially a race which can end in one of of two ways:

1) If a player builds all of two of the three types of buildings then that player wins immediately. That is all of the temples and towers, or towers and huts, or temples and huts.
2) If all of the tiles have been placed before 1) occurs, then the player with the most temples built wins. If there is a tie (which often happens) then compare the number oftowers amongst these players, and finally, if a tie still remains, check the number of huts.

In addition, if on a player`s turn they cannot build, they are eliminated from the game.

Rules:

The tiles are shuffled and placed face down to the side of the table, and each player receives the pieces of a colour. On a player`s turn they play a tile and then build.

Playing a Tile: A player can choose to place the tile so the island either grows outward or upward:
1) The tile is placed directly on the table, adjacent to one or more of the already placed tiles. There are no restrictions on how this is done (e.g. “lakes” may be formed.)
2) It may be placed on top of the tiles causing the island to grow upward. The volcano on the new tile must be placed directly on top of an already existing volcano, but not in such a way that the new tile is placed directly over only one tile, i.e., the new tile must overlap at least two other tiles. Also, the tile cannot be placed on top of a tower or a temple, but it may be placed on top of huts. In this case, the destroyed huts are placed outside of the game (important: as this game is essentially a race, it is important that the huts don`t go back into the player`s supply) The tile may not however, be placed so that it completely destroys a settlement. A settlement is any group of adjacent spaces each containing a piece (or pieces) of the same colour. The
size of the settlement is the number of tiles it contains (1 or more.)

Building: Each turn, a player chooses one of the following 4 options:
(note: pieces can never be placed on volcanoes, but all of the other terrains are possible)
1) Start a new settlement: The player chooses any empty space on the first level of the island and places a hut there.
2) Expand a settlement: The player chooses one of their settlements, and also one of the land types(forest, mountain, etc.) They then place huts on each of the tiles adjacent to that settlement which match the chosen land type. The number of huts placed on each tile matches the height of the tile, i.e., the level from the table. So 1 hut on the first level, 2 on the second, etc.
3) Build a temple: The player chooses a settlement of size 3 or greater which does not already contain a temple. They then place a temple on any empty space adjacent to it.
4) Build a tower: The player chooses a settlement which does not already contain a tower. They then place a tower on an adjacent empty space that is on the third level or higher.

Impressions:

I have only played 3 times, and each time with 4 players, so my experience is quite limited. However, I have really enjoyed the game so far. I really enjoy the growth and vertical development of the game. It plays quite quickly (45 minutes or so) and players seem to have a fair amount of choice. I enjoy the possible victory conditions, and think that they will give the game some spice and staying power.

A Little Bit More:

It seems that this is primarily a game of optimization: you want to grow fast and efficiently. When you choose to expand a settlement(choice 2) you want to be building as many huts as you can. This means trying to build towards higher ground, and also spaces of the same land type. Also, if you are trying to win by building all of your huts and towers, it is essentially a waste to build a temple. There are in addition quite a few opportunities to interfere with your opponent. For example, you can place your pieces so as to block your opponents out of “fertile” areas. Also, you can use your tiles to destroy opponents huts, causing the size of their settlements to shrink. This means that potentially they will expand slower, and as well if this reduces the size of the settlement to below 3, then the player cannot build a temple. That being said, I have had the feeling that once a player gets a head, it is hard to interfere enough to stop them from winning. Again, these are just initial feelings that may well change. I am quite interested in seeing how the game plays with 3 and especially two players, and will certainly post more once I have had the chance.

Note: there were a few questions floating around the Hans im Glück booth about exactly what constituted a settlement, and if settlements could be joined. We were given some answers but I won`t mention them here. I can post them later if people would like to see them.
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Colin Jennings
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Thanks for the review Trevor, I bought this at Essen too, without playing though. So I am trying to piece the rules together from all the various reviews. I would be interested in that last bit on your review, can settlements be joined for instance?
Thanks
 
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Trevor Benjamin
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No problem.

Settlements can be joined, and in lots of ways. First, of course 2 settlements can be joined by either expanding one of the 2, or by simply placing a single hut between them(on a first floor space). Second, you can join two settlements with a temple or tower. The only restriction is that at leastone of the two settlements doesn't already have a piece of that type. The justification that was given is that the only restriction in the rules is that the settlement from which you build can't already have that piece. So you are free to join two settlements even if it means you know have a large settlement now containing two towers or two temples. Essentially, you are choosing to expand from the settlement without a piece of that type.

Also, I should mention that apparently even if a tower or temple gets entirely isolated by volcano separation, it is still a settlement. So it can be still be extended.

Now, I only heard this from people working at the booth, and not from the designer himself. I guess we'll have to wait for the official clarification.
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Colin Jennings
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Thanks, that helps a lot
 
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Marcel-André Casasola Merkle
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Trevor,

your explanation is perfectly right.

Thanks
Marcel-André Casasola Merkle
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Maarten D. de Jong
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TrevormBenjamin wrote:
Settlements can be joined, and in lots of ways. First, of course 2 settlements can be joined by either expanding one of the 2, or by simply placing a single hut between them(on a first floor space). Second, you can join two settlements with a temple or tower. The only restriction is that at leastone of the two settlements doesn't already have a piece of that type. The justification that was given is that the only restriction in the rules is that the settlement from which you build can't already have that piece. So you are free to join two settlements even if it means you know have a large settlement now containing two towers or two temples. Essentially, you are choosing to expand from the settlement without a piece of that type.

Despite confirmation from the author, this clarification is contradictory twice in succession. Taking the last two sentences as an example: first it is said that you can join two settlements each containing a tower and a temple, and then it is said that you must expand from the settlement without a piece of that type. Applying the latter rule means that there can never be settlements with more than one temple or one tower.

I think that what you mean is that you can join two settlements with towers and temples easily, but not by placing a temple or tower. You must use a hut to do that. Or, in other words, the only way to obtain a settlement with more than one temple and one tower is by creating two separate settlements first, and then joining them with huts.
 
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Trevor Benjamin
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Actually, I don't think there is a contradicion. When you build, you always choose a settlement to build from. Only on this settlement are there any restrictions. There aren't any restrictions on any of the other settlements that happen to get joined to the chosen settlement. So you can join settlements with a temple or a tower so long as at least one of the settlements didn't have a piece of that type. You just choose that settlement, not the one which already contained the piece.
 
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Maarten D. de Jong
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TrevormBenjamin wrote:
Actually, I don't think there is a contradicion. When you build, you always choose a settlement to build from. Only on this settlement are there any restrictions. There aren't any restrictions on any of the other settlements that happen to get joined to the chosen settlement. So you can join settlements with a temple or a tower so long as at least one of the settlements didn't have a piece of that type. You just choose that settlement, not the one which already contained the piece.

Nope, still a contradiction. There is no real restriction on there being a piece of a certain type or not when joining two settlements: only the building chosen to perform the joining is subject to a few rules.

If I have settlement A with tower and temple, and another (but physically separate) settlement B again containing a tower and a temple, I can join them together solely placing huts: either by expansion, or just by placing a single hut on the lowest level. This is a perfectly legal move. I cannot use temples nor towers, as they are already present in both A and B, and per the rules I cannot add such buildings to a settlement if they are already there. Under your interpretation, I wouldn't be able to join A and B at all, since they both already contain all types of building. (This contradicts my german rules which explicity state that after building, your settlement may for example have 2 temples.)

On the other hand, if settlement A didn't have a temple, then I could also join A and B by placing one. Provided, of course, that settlement A is at least 3 hexes big. The same for a tower, with the restriction that it should be on a level 3-or higher terrace. Of course, placement of huts is also still an option.
 
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Trevor Benjamin
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Everything you have said in your last post concerning the placement of towers and temples seems correct to me, and from what I can tell matches with what I have posted. I totally agree with your reading of the rules, but I don't see where the supposed contradiction in my summary is. Again, its not really important but just for the sake of completeness it would be nice for you to clarify exactly where the condtradiction was. Perhaps by contradiction you mean that my summary doesn't exactly match the German rules, in which case you may be perfectly correct. My German isn't particularly good, but I do think that functionally my explanation is the same as what is printed. That is, the game could be played exactly the same using it.
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Maarten D. de Jong
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blushblushblushblush

My apologies, I misread you on both occasions: gramatically, I moved a part of the sentence with 'with...' around. You wrote:
Quote:
So you can join settlements with a temple or a tower so long as at least one of the settlements didn't have a piece of that type.
which I read as
Quote:
So you can join settlements with (= as in: having, already present) a temple or a tower so long as at least one of the settlements didn't have a piece of that type.
instead of
Quote:
So you can join settlements with (= as in: using, employing) a temple or a tower so long as at least one of the settlements didn't have a piece of that type.


Sometimes english is a tricky language indeed...
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Trevor Benjamin
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No problem. I see how you could have taken it that way. I should try next time to be a bit more clear. Cheers!
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