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Tower of Babel» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Second Try -- With 5 rss

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Chuck Uherske
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Rockville
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Our first game of Princes of Florence (like almost all games we play) went unexpectedly long, so we had to select a quick-playing title for our second and last game. TofB got the nod.

I enjoyed this game somewhat less than the first. In this second play it became more apparent that I never had a shot at finishing up a monument, and thus never had a chance at the action cards at all.

Moreoever, one is really at the mercy, when one opens a monument for bidding, of whether the opponents offer trading cards or not. If they all offer trading cards on your turn, you can really be screwed, and there's not much you can do about it.

I also was in a weird position for much of the game; I kept drawing all cards from two types, and thus was forced repeatedly to make no offers. This happened to me on at least 5 turns. In that situation, you can't get any compensation at all, which is frustrating.

For a good deal of this game, I was behind points, as others were able to make more offers than I, and thus get more compensation points when their offers were declined. On the opposite side, I believe it was Ben who kept consistently getting points from offering cards that were not used.

All the purple coins were taken except one very early on; thus, the game could have ended much earlier than it did, had anyone chosen to end it.

When the game finally did end, the scores stood thus, just before the incompleted monuments were scored:

Kelly 48
Ed 47
Rick 44
Chuck 36
Ben 33

Adding in the incomplete regions, it became:

Kelly 58
Ed 57
Rick 47
Chuck 41
Ben 33

Then adding the coin bonuses:

Ed 67
Chuck 61
Kelly 58
Ben 53
Rick 52

Finally, Ed and Ben had bonus cards, so:

Ed 68
Chuck 61
Kelly 58
Ben 58
Rick 52

Seems to be a lot of luck with those action cards. It's basically luck whether you have an opportunity to get one, so Ben was given 5 points, and Ed 1, purely based on luck. Seems like an odd choice in the design of the game.
 
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Justin
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an excerpt no_where_dense's game comments:

My favorite game from 2005. It is the cleanest area-majority game I have ever seen which almost feel like Flinke Pinke in 21st century. Brilliant mechanics of rejection points and disc exchange card. Only thing I don't like about the game are these pasted action cards. But when I talked to Herr Knizia, he mentioned that those cards are not his intention. He said the game is fine without them. So I just play the game without them. Game is actually a lot better that way as there are already enough incentive to complete the wonder.

i prefer the game without the action cards as well.
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Joe Gola
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Chuckles wrote:
I enjoyed this game somewhat less than the first. In this second play it became more apparent that I never had a shot at finishing up a monument, and thus never had a chance at the action cards at all.

Not only are the action cards imbalanced, but I think they're actually a distraction and that they draw one's attention away from the real point of what should have been a very elegant game. Try playing without them.

Chuckles wrote:
Moreoever, one is really at the mercy, when one opens a monument for bidding, of whether the opponents offer trading cards or not. If they all offer trading cards on your turn, you can really be screwed, and there's not much you can do about it.

There is something you can do about it, which is pass and collect cards until you have enough to complete a build on your own if you need to. It's really not a bad option.

Chuckles wrote:
I also was in a weird position for much of the game; I kept drawing all cards from two types, and thus was forced repeatedly to make no offers. This happened to me on at least 5 turns. In that situation, you can't get any compensation at all, which is frustrating.

I can see how that would be frustrating. On the other hand, you were strong in two of the four suits, which I think is actually preferable to having a little of everything. Were you successfully collecting the chips in those colors on your turns? If there were any wonders which had two or three chips in those colors, you could have concentrated your builds on those, and if you ended up having to spend your own cards you would have been working towards a majority.

Chuckles wrote:
All the purple coins were taken except one very early on; thus, the game could have ended much earlier than it did, had anyone chosen to end it.

I can't tell if you're considering this a design flaw or not. I hate to say it, but try and forget about the "building seven of eight wonders" theme. If you're not playing with the action cards--and maybe even if you are--the completion of wonders shouldn't be a goal in and of itself; you should only be completing them if there's a good reason to do so--videlicet, if by doing so you will lock the majority or if acquiring the chip will get you a big bonus. Conversely, if you think you're way ahead on points, you should be building the short colors and trying to end the game as quickly as possible.

I think to better understand the game one needs to forget about completing wonders and approach things assuming that each majority is basically worth ten points. Yes, some probably will be worth more, but those are going to be opportunitites that arise organically and aren't going to be something that one can count on.

Overall, I agree that the action cards are a problem, I agree that the theme is weak and ill-fitting, and I can also see how this game might not appeal to a lot of people, but, action cards aside, I do feel very strongly that this is an exceptional and well-thought-out design.
 
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