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Subject: TVB - 3P - An urban blight spreads across the land. rss

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Richard Pardoe
United States
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A new gamer Shawn joined Dave and Rich for an evening of games. Rich suggested the group try out Mauer Bauer (aka Masons). As the designer is Leo Colovini - it is bound to have some abstractness to it. The theme is building walls (and houses) on a strip of land that eventually will enclose territories (cities). At this point, players can play scoring cards from hand hoping to gain points for the current board situation. The scoring cards will indicate what is to be scored and for how many points. So players (in theory) are working towards differing goals each round trying to maximize different aspect of the board to maximize their gains.

Our game started tentatively as we all tried to get a feel for the game. But eventually the first city was scored and players took their points. But as the game developed, the central city on the board kept getting merged into the just completed city as most players seemed to have cards to score palaces and houses in the completed city. And with nearly all of some colours in this city, it was points for the picking.

Often, players were scoring 10+ points (3 palaces + houses) for colours with Dave doing most of that scoring as the game ended with the following scores:

Dave: 125
Shawn: 99
Rich: 87

But reviewing the rules the next day, Shawn pointed out an error. After scoring, the last place player can exchange scoring cards in hand. Oops! Granted I was in last place most of the game, so might have benefited. But still wish to play the game one more time to see if this playing was a fluke (large central city) and if the complete rules changes the texture of the game.

But as we played the game, it felt slight cold to all of us. A very mechanical game of placing walls, towers, and houses. I am trying to think what (if anything) I might have done to interfere with the large central city that had developed. Even more frustrating was setting up for a nice individual score only to see other players match (or beat) the same individual score.

Perhaps we need to learn the scoring cards more thoroughly and learn which cards are likely to be in others hands. But that seems like a bit more effort for a game that appears deceivingly simple.
 
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Tim Mossman
United States
Gaithersburg
Maryland
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We experienced the same "mega-city" phenomena the first couple of times that our group played. Eventually, our little gaming group (collectively) learned to be very tactical in deciding whether to merge cities. Now when we play, we tend to have games featuring many smaller cities rather than the one metropolis. Our experience inspired me to author a strategy article for newer players (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/124866).

Hope the game turns out to be a good one for you.
 
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Richard Pardoe
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Good to know that our experience wasn't unique. It does sound like the mega-city is part of the learning curve on the game; I just wonder when the game might hit the table again. Probably need to play with an advocate of the game to show me the light.
 
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