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Subject: Buying and Selling near Hermagor rss

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Mark Lockett
United Kingdom
Fishponds, Bristol
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Our first try of this new game from Emanuele Ornella. I am a big fan of Il Principe and was looking forward to a game of this new one from the same designer.

On a quieter night at Shire Games – only 7 people this week after having recent weeks of 18 and 19 people. The group split into a three and a four with the four playing Hermagor. I am interested to know where the name of Hermagor comes from for the game as it could have been named any number of other things. Nick, Sue, Mitch and I set off to the city of Hermagor. Nick took us through the rules and we were away.

The game plays over four rounds which is split into two main phases. The first phase you have your buyers getting products from the market which has a very clever mechanism and ties everything together. The second phase you use your seller who is on the map and travels down roads to villages to sell the wares you gained in phase one. The person with the most money wins.

Starting with 20 in hard cash we overturned the action tile for round one that gave each player 5 actions for this round. Mitch had the honour of putting the first buyer in the market for the first play of this game. The market is very clever and in a four player game is filled with 16 of the different production or special tiles. In addition to that each column gets you income for the number of buyers you have in that column. If you have 1 buyer then you get 1 cash, 2 Buyers gets 3, 3 buyers gets 6 and you guessed it 4 Buyers gets 10 cash. The 16 tiles are bordered by a grid of numbers which is what it costs you to place a buyer there. Each tile will have a minimum of four places around it where you can place a buyer and a maximum of nine. You can place on the tile itself for a spend of 2 cash, or for 2 or 3 you can place your buyer in a column that is along 2 tile edges. For a cost of 4 or 5 cash you can place by the corners which will influence 4 tiles. When you have placed all your buyers or passed each tile is distributed to the player who has the most buyers around or on the tile. Should there be a tie then the player who played onto the tile wins the tile. If no one played to the tile then the player who has the most buyers along the edges of the tiles wins the tile. Otherwise the tile remains in the market until the next turn and nobody gets it.

We all placed our buyers where they influenced as many tiles as possible. Being the last player in this round gives you great options of getting the odd tile for a cheap cost and getting to see where everyone else is influencing first. Sue got squished in the middle of all of us and ended up only winning one production tile. I was just playing to win as many tiles as possible but only got 4 cash for my buyers in corridors where others gained more.

In phase two I had managed to buy the lowest numbered production tile so I got to choose the start player for the next turn. I gave the tile to Sue who was sitting on my left so I would be last in the market phase next turn. I had luckily bought production tiles giving me 6 different products to sell in this phase. We all left the city of Hermagor in different directions and I found a route where I could sell a good with each one of my five actions. You first have to pay the travel costs down the road and then can sell for the price indicated on the market table. You then place a market station on the board to denote that you have sold there. You cannot sell there again but should another player sell there you get 1 cash. I managed to put three stations along the main road which is scored at the end of the game and enclose an area on the board which allowed me to place a production building. You gain an instant reward of cash for the space you can build your production on – First to build a certain type gets 5, second gets three, third gets 1 and then there is 1 more space that gets zero. For each production building you have you gain a cash bonus at the end of the game based on the price. I gained the skulls production building for 5 cash and was now only a skull away from enclosing the adjacent area that share a border with the stations I had built along the road. I think I was the only one to build using all five of my actions in the first turn. Others took the option of traveling without selling which means you only pay half the price of the road cost for travel but don’t get to place a market station.

Turn 2 saw me win 3 tiles from the market as I was in last position but Nick had managed to concentrate on stopping me from getting the only skull featured on the market. I did however win two production tiles that were doubles allowing me to sell 4 different products next turn and I won the special tile that gives 5 immediate cash. I won’t turn my nose up at that. This time in the market and in later turns instead of buying as many tiles as possible I found myself trying to buy the tiles that I needed that followed the paths from where I had finished my last go.

In the city I had to skip over the village that I needed to sell skulls at which would have gotten me another 5 cash production building. I managed to build with all four of my actions and set up two areas that would be enclosed if I could buy skulls in the market on a later turn. I also had spread the stations I had built so far into two of the three dukedoms which also score at the end of the game.

I was first to play in the market on the third turn as Nick had chosen me to be the start player. I got a bit more out of the market than I expected from going first. I think I got lucky with no one wanting what I wanted. I did get in a battle with Sue over some Swords which I lost but I did get the Amulet which was more useful for me at the time and I got the price increase for anything of my choice which I used to raise the price for Dragon’s Eggs as I was poised to enclose two areas this turn and Dragon Eggs were in both of them so I wanted to push up the value of my soon to be built production building for the end of the game.

I made my only mistake in the selling phase of this game. I enclosed an area with my first action and had a choice of three different production buildings to choose from – I chose the Dragon Eggs as they were worth the most at the time. I also gained a bit of loyalty at the same time. My next move though enclosed an area with only the Dragon Egg production building possible so I had to place in it again gaining 5 and 3 cash respectively but at the end of the game you score for each type of production building built not for every production building that you have built. My last action was to sell on the main road after spending an action moving without selling. Mitch had a huge round selling in four villages and enclosing two or three production buildings and a loyalty token. It looked liked he had profited in a big way.

Turn 4 saw me going second in the market as Mitch had chosen Nick as the start player making himself play last. I won three tiles – I again had the price increase and raised the skulls to make my sales and buildings worth more. I only had one production tile that allowed me to sell skulls and crosses but had also managed to win the black market token which meant whenever I sold in a village with other players market stations they would not gain the 1 cash each. I built with 4 of my five actions using one action to move without selling to the city I had to leave in turn two. Which was on the opposite side of the board. This did enclose two areas getting me a production building and 6 cash for a loyalty marker. Mitch having won 5 tiles in the market round. Nick only got 1 going first and was very limited as to what he could do with his 5 actions. Mitch enclosed another two areas and we all figured he was well ahead of us all. Sue finally got some production buildings in before they scored enclosing three areas in her final turn.

The final scoring saw Sue gain 5 cash for having the most stations along the main road and Mitch had to lose five for having the least.

We all gained cash for the dukedom in which you have the least stations. This is the number of stations you have multiplied by three. I gained 12, Sue 9, Nick 3 and Mitch had all his houses in two areas so got nothing.

We scored the production buildings in which everyone did well with Mitch probably gained the most and Nick the least. It is a bit tricky to keep track of who got what for what in the 8 different products though.

I knew I had been going steady and thought I was in with a chance of winning. Nick we knew had dropped back in the last round getting truly scuppered in the market. Sue was just going along and stating she liked this sort of game which usually translates to I have more than you think I have and am going to surprisingly win. Mitch after two big turns looked the favourite but had come off badly along the road and the dukedoms at the final scoring.

Final Scores were

Mark 107

Mitch 104

Sue 98

Nick 79

A really nice game where everything meshes together well and there is plenty to think about. I think in future games we will be more aware of the tile in the market that will give the choice of start player as it seems to be important to place your buyers later if possible but I am not sure how significant it is just yet as it is a bit tricky to tell after only one game.
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