Recommend
17 
 Thumb up
 Hide
7 Posts

The Pillars of the Earth» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Review by Moritz Eggert (Eggo) from Westparkgam./Dice Tower rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Moritz Eggert
Germany
Munich/Germany
Unspecified
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
“Säulen der Erde” (Kosmos)
Michael Rieneck, Stefan Stadler


“Säulen der Erde” is based on Ken Follett’s book “The Pillars Of The Earth” and is yet another Kosmos game based on a literary licence. Some of you may yawn at this thought, even if you liked Knizia’s “Lord of the Rings”, but the biggest surprise here is that this is a true gamer’s game. What could have been an average family game for the mass market has been transformed, by the excellent work of the Kosmos team, into a true gamer’s game, something that astonishes when looks at the very few succesful book/film tie-ins that are out there (and especially Kosmos' speckled history in that respect, even though “The Little Prince” and “Sophie’s World” aren’t necessarily bad games, they are just uninteresting for gamers).
Players represent clans of cathedral builders who work over decades, or rather six rounds lasting roughly 90 minutes, to build a cathedral. I think gamers got the better deal compared to the guys in the book which took I think a century to finish the darned thing!
First comes a selection phase in which players either hire new craftsmen with new abilities or send their workers of to the woods, the quarry or the sand mine, and – if the workers are really nice – to the wool factory where they actually can earn money.
Then a very interesting phase happens – one by one one of three master craftsmen of each player is drawn out of a bag, which are placed at different “activity” spaces which follow a certain predetermined order. The first player to place a pawn has to pay 8 gold or he can pass, the second player has to pay 7 gold to select an action or pass and so on. Passing is cheap, but then space at the activity spaces is of course limited, and if you really desperately need to do an action you will be hard-pressed to spend money for it.
Then the different activity spaces are dealt with in order. There are event cards which affect all players except the ones who have occupied a certain space, there are advantage cards which give more special favours, there are also more increasingly powerful craftsmen and there is also a market and a tax phase. After this players change resources into victory points, which depends very much on the quality of the craftsmen they have.
The game mostly avoids a close representation of the book, which is limited to some flair text on the cards (and there is very little flair text), but what is there is correct and faithful.
By the way – there is some German texts on the cards, but it is not much, and all the cards are open and not secret, so using a cheat sheet from the geek is easy, and in fact I’ve just seen that somebody has done a translation already.
This is simply a very delightful and challenging game, with more than a passing resemblance to Caylus but with some aspects that make the game actually more accessible and even more forgiving. The different phases work very beautifully together, there is no downtime as all phases are interactive and the game also doesn't overstay it's welcome but is engrossing up to the end. The fancy turn counter (the cathedral IS the turn-counter, in case you wondered) made Richard Borg laugh so hard that he nearly fell out of the chair when watching our game. And it was a hearty laugh if there ever was one!
But seriously - if you like involved but not too heavy games with lots of beautiful bits and pieces you should clearly consider purchasing this wonderful game. It was one of the very rare cases that a German company produced game was actually completely sold out at Essen, even though it was available in great numbers originally.
Very recommended!

Moritz Eggert

Explaining the rules: 15 minutes (some concepts need to be repeated to your group to make sure they understand them)
playing the game 90-120 minutes maximum
brain activity: required
rich game material to gawk at and play with while you wait: existent (the cathedral!)
beautiful board to explore with your eyes: existent
Meeple-men to line up before you: some
resource cubes: plenty
downtime: practically none
Religious feelings hurt: yes, if you think the idea of building a cathedral for VP’s instead for god is detestable.
single black worker meeple that will result in cries of racism on Boardgamegeek and incite endless diescussions: it’s there, folks, but you know – it only happens to be black. It’s not a black person, ok? The colour is just a symbol. It’s a white person working at the cathedral that you can hire as an extra worker. This meeple is not exploited, whipped or hurt. It is a happy meeple. We love this meeple. Peace!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tim K.
United States
Seattle
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
Re: Review by Moritz Eggert (Eggo) from Westparkgam./Dice To
Quote:
Religious feelings hurt: yes, if you think the idea of building a cathedral for VP’s instead for god is detestable.

I thought the whole point of building cathedrals was to earn VP's with your god

Nice capsule review. I recall hearing it somewhere before
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy Carlson
United States
Wheaton
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Review by Moritz Eggert (Eggo) from Westparkgam./Dice To
Nice review. I've played this a number of times on BSW (thanks to the guy who did the english translation file), and I really like this one.

I'm curious about this black meeple you speak of. On BSW there are two grey meeples that you can get by placing one of your Master Builder's there(not sure the name of the building, but its on the top left of the board). Is this what you are talking about?

I agree with you too on the Caylus thing. Yes there are some similarities, but they are totally different games. They feel nothing alike when playing them.

Also, I don't know about the 90-120 minutes thing. After you get a few games under your belt, this should take about an hour. Even less (30-45 minutes) online at BSW.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Werner Bär
Germany
Karlsruhe
Baden
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
hughthehand wrote:
I'm curious about this black meeple you speak of.

There's an advantage card that grants you an additional (black) worker for the rest of the game.

Quote:
Also, I don't know about the 90-120 minutes thing. After you get a few games under your belt, this should take about an hour. Even less (30-45 minutes) online at BSW.

Online, it's 10 mintes per player even with inexperienced players.
But like Caylus, there's a lot of burocracy stuff to do. BSW saves a lot of time in this game. A game with newbies lasts about 30 minutes per player face to face; i think with more experience, it will go down, but not below 20 minutes per player.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Moritz Eggert
Germany
Munich/Germany
Unspecified
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Review by Moritz Eggert (Eggo) from Westparkgam./Dice To
Thanks for answering the question about the black worker meeple for me, Werner!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike K
United States
Fairless Hills
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
One quick correction: the first worker placed costs 7 gold, not 8. (And if I'm wrong, then so is BSW.)

One similarity that, IMHO, this game has with Caylus: it scales well with 2, 3 or 4 players ... but strangely, might be worst with 3. (By comparison, I think Caylus plays best with 3.) Two-player games are highly tactical, going for the best positions with little competition, while four-player games are very strategic in nature, gaining what advantages you can with the craftsmen you end up with while all buildings get utilized on every turn.

Right now, DSDE has become my 'go-to' game on BSW. If I see a game forming, I head straight over to join. Though it took a bit of time for me to get used to the German (I never did bother to get the English), gameplay now comes easy, with the result being a refreshing Euro brimming with theme (something lacking in most of my preferred games, though I mind not). Top-notch!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jens Hoppe
Denmark
Frederiksberg
flag msg tools
What are you, like 80?
badge
It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I agree with Moritz's assessment. My initial impression of DSDE is also very positive. I am not a Caylus fan in general, finding the game too long and repetitive for its own good, but I really like the concept of a game like Caylus, with conversion of resources, managing money, different ways of achieving VP, etc. DSDE hits the spot much better for me, feeling very much like a, not so much "Caylus lite", but more of a "Caylus medium".

Whether DSDE has as much staying power as Caylus has as a serious strategy game remains to be seen. On the other hand, DSDE is also simple enough to play as a family game. It doesn't feel as deep as Caylus does, but that may not necessarily be a bad thing.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.