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Subject: Verdict: Peteresburg? rss

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Alan Kwan
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Some players have been playing this on BSW for a while. (I myself have played only a few games.)

So what's the verdict? Is this another Petersburg, wrongly balanced and luck-driven with only one strategy?

The problem seems to be that, some craftsmen are much better than the others: the money Carpenter, the Sculptors, the Potters, and of course the Bell-maker and the Clock-maker. Yet their costs don't really reflect their utility: the Sculptor is even cheaper than the doubtful Glassblower. And when they go onto the board, it becomes a lottery on whose builder is drawn first, who promptly pays $7 for the craftsman without any hesitation (unless there is a "good" advantage card, of course).

When your builder is drawn on round 1, and the two craftsmen on the board are the money Carpenter and the Mason or the Mortar Mixer, who would choose the latter? Not to say pay their price in phase 1.
 
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Jeremy Carlson
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This game is a luck fest if you play with 4 people. I find this game to an excellent 2 player game, and pretty good at 3...I will not play 4 again. Pointless and much longer.

I have played about 10 times on BSW now...maybe a little more, and most have been 2-3 player. 2 player games I've played about 6 of the 10 or so...and I've won 4 of them. None have been with the the metal user crafstmen. When your opponent goes for metal using craftsmen, I find that the best strategy is to go for the priory for points, and block metal when feasible. If they want to pay the high prices for those guys, plus the cash to place their Master Builder...let them. As for the guy that sells wood for 4 each...if they get that, consider using less guys for the resource cards, or what I do, concentrate on points. They have to place workers on the card to get it, which means less money from the mill. They will gain some, but I don't find it worth the effort usually.

There are cards that will counter the higher priced craftsmen. Such as the Priory +1 card. With that card you can get some good points that they will have to spend resources to catch up to the freebies you are getting from the Priory. I use the priory spots whenever possible.

Plus the stone crafsmen, and there are a few good ones, that will change 1 stone into 2 points.

I think the metal method is overused, and easy to counter. In a two player game there are too many ways to make it hard on them.

Is this Petersburg? I am assuming you mean St.? No...thank god. St. Petersburg is all about the aristocrats (sp). This game has a lot of strategy and depth to it if you are playing a 2-3 player game. Avoid 4 at all costs.
 
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Alan Kwan
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I do agree that the Bell-maker and the Clock-maker are not all - but there are clearly better craftsmen and weaker ones. The Sulptors, as you mentioned, are the next best after the Bell/Clock. Next are the Potters, and the money Carpenter.

The Woodworkers, the Glassblowers, and the Coin guys are average. The Masons, and the round 1 Mortar Mixer, basically suck. The fact that the Masons require a stupid Mortar Mixer to work makes them suck more.

I agree that, players who think only about metal (Bell/Clock) are weak. You can, in fact, beat them with the Sculptors and the Potters. But if all players know that these craftsmen are strong, and they have a good idea of the strengths of the advantage cards, it seems that the game is largely determined by who is lucky enough to get the good cards.
 
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Doobermite
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Quote:
So what's the verdict? Is this another Petersburg, wrongly balanced and luck-driven with only one strategy?


Just a quick note about this statement. I have played Saint Petersburg well over 150 times now face to face. My gaming partner and I have played it at least once or twice a week since I bought it. It's simply an amazing game of timing and balance.

If you think St. Pete is wrongly balanced then you probably haven't played enough. There are many ways to make up for someone getting a great card in the beginning of the game.

Almost all card games are luck driven. The good ones give you choices given the luck.

It's obvious that you need to get aristocrats to do well in the end game. But if you only focus on aristocrats you are not understanding the full strategic potential of the buildings. In a two player game for example, it's a given that both players will probably get 9 or 10 aristocrats each, which will even things out. So you must focus on buildings throughout the game.

You also have to know when to stop spending and be ready for future rounds.

To write off St. Petersburg as a wrongly balanced, single strategy luck fest is not only unfair but inaccurate. We've played St. Petersburg more than any other game and it continues to be one of our favorites.

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Alex Rockwell
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dbmite wrote:
Just a quick note about this statement. I have played Saint Petersburg well over 150 times now face to face. My gaming partner and I have played it at least once or twice a week since I bought it. It's simply an amazing game of timing and balance.


But there is no way to make up for an opponent getting a mistress of ceremonies turn 1, if they play well.
 
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Doobermite
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We've actually had the mistress come up on turn 1 quite a lot.

Given that all players play well, there is no guarantee that the player who got this card will win.

Since the game uses cards and those cards do not come out in the same order every time there are a number of things the other player can do to offset the mistress.

First, the other player must switch to a builder strategy immediately to make up the difference in points. However, buying an expensive building in turn 2 is not good since the player will then have no money for the crucial Green phase in turn 3. But even if you buy a small building or two you've already offset a few points from the mistress. If you can then store up enough money to buy a bunch of more expensive buildings by mid game, you'll be able to catch up and eventually win.

Also it's important to deny the other players of aristocrats, snag up upgrades or trick the other players into taking a bunch of cards to load their hands. Ending the game while ahead is also a good idea.

All I'm saying is that there are many different ways, as in other games, to combat a winning player, even if that player has a significant lead in the beginning of the game. Remember, there's always another mistress card in the game and you might get it on turn 2, even getting the Judge would suffice.

If the other player gets a substantial lead early in the game you better fight hard to win....

...because anything's possible in this great game!

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Alex Rockwell
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Well then, there's no way you could beat ME if I get the mistress turn 1
 
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Alex Rockwell
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Back to Saulen, I agree with Alan that its a lot like St P. If each player knows the game very well, then whoever gets the good opportunities and the luck at the critical times will win.

Good craftsmen are key, and certain other cards like the Priory card (at least in 2 player), cards like Stone/round, etc are also key, if they come out early enough.

Craftmsen Ratings for 2 player games, imo:

Amazing Craftsmen:

2x Sculptor (Bildhauer)
3x Sculptor (These convert a total of 6 stone, so they are better than the other Sculptors which convert 4)
3x Potter (Topfer)

Each of these makes 12 points over the course of the game.

Very good craftsmen:

Wood -> 4 gold Carpenter (Which is very undercosted)
2x Potter
Metal for 4 points guy
Metal/Wood for 6 poitns guy

Decent Craftsmen:
1x Sculptor
4x Sculptor (if you can manage to get the stone or get it off the market...if you have the stone he is amazing)
2x Wood guy
3x Wood guy (the other wood guys are probably too late, and you dont need to be converting 4-5 wood, just 2-3 is fine, since its not super efficient and its too hard to get that much wood)
2 gold per turn guy (Metalworker?) He generally nets you 4-6 gold in the game, then you get rid of him.

Poor Craftsmen
Gold for points guys
4-5 wood guys
2x Glassblower
1x Glassblower (Better to use metal for more points later, but they arent terrible. They can be good late picks with your Builders, but not worth spending like 8-9$ on in the resource drafting round)

Worthless Craftsmen
Round 1 sand and wood guys
Maurers (better to sell the stone, and not waste the time/money getting this guy).




The special abilities of the 3 original guys are silly.
Maurers are some of the worst craftsmen because they are very inefficient. Who cares that they let you sell a lot of stone for 1 point each...you dont want to do an inefficient thing a lot of times! You want to do efficient things as much as possible. That he forces you to keep your starting sand guy around makes them even worse. So this rule takes a bad craftsmen and makes him much worse.

Having to keep the carpenter to buy wood is silly because the wood craftsmen arent great, just ok, and youre paying 3$ for that wood, which is only an ok conversion. So this rule is taking a guy that is average or below average and making him a bit worse.

The not selling stone without the starting stone guy is an ok rule, it actually hinders a pretty good strategy, as opposed to hindering bad strategies even more.


Good rules for the starting guys would be things like:

Without this guy you cant score off of Sculptors (Bildhauers), and
Without this guy you cant buy Sand (the thing you often DO want to buy, to power Potters's or glassblowers).
or
Without this guy you cant score with Potters (Topfers)


Then, if would be the GOOD craftsmen being weakened by those rules, not the BAD ones.





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Jerry Wang
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Alexfrog wrote:
dbmite wrote:
Just a quick note about this statement. I have played Saint Petersburg well over 150 times now face to face. My gaming partner and I have played it at least once or twice a week since I bought it. It's simply an amazing game of timing and balance.


But there is no way to make up for an opponent getting a mistress of ceremonies turn 1, if they play well.


My view is that in 3er or 4er, the only serious vulnerability to the 1st-turn Mistress advantage (other than another well-played 1st-turn Mistress/Judge) is a 1st-turn Observatory that draws a cheap worker on turn 1 and also ends the game with no duplicate nobles. A strong player should be able to post 50+ in 5 turns and 90+ in 6 turns with that opening Mistress, which is just too strong for most other positions.

In 2er, there are additional opportunities to catch the early Mistress player, though all of them rely on obtaining a periferal (while inferior) money advantage such as Bank, the 8 or 10 cash noble upgrades, or a 1-2 worker advantage on turn 2. Any of those are enough to make the 2er competitive.
 
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Jerry Wang
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Alexfrog wrote:
Back to Saulen, I agree with Alan that its a lot like St P. If each player knows the game very well, then whoever gets the good opportunities and the luck at the critical times will win.

Craftmsen Ratings for 2 player games, imo:

Amazing Craftsmen:

Very good craftsmen:

Wood -> 4 gold Carpenter (Which is very undercosted)

Decent Craftsmen:
2 gold per turn guy (Metalworker?) He generally nets you 4-6 gold in the game, then you get rid of him.

Poor Craftsmen

Worthless Craftsmen



Fantastic observations, Alex, thanks.

I view the two money earners higher than you do. For 2er, cash seems more important than it does for 3er/4er. Though, I suspect part of that is due to slight overbidding of the master builders in the general playing environment which should correct over time. In 2er, I would rate the 'wood->8' as Amazing and the '->2' as Very good. For 3er, I would rate them where you rate them.

Correspondingly, the '$->points' guys are quite viable in 4er.
 
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Alan Kwan
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In 2P games, your master builders are too busy going to better spots, so having the wood -> money Carpenter is a big advantage: selling 2 wood for 4G instead of 3G is a small advantage, but not having to waste builders at the market is great.

In 3P and 4P games, sometimes the great spots have all been already occupied, so you can send a builder to the market. Also, there is more competition for resource cards, meaning that you are more likely to have leftover workers who earn money directly, so you don't deplete your money (and have to go to the market) so often.
 
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Seth Jaffee
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Alexfrog wrote:

Craftmsen Ratings for 2 player games, imo:

Amazing Craftsmen:

2x Sculptor (Bildhauer)
3x Sculptor (These convert a total of 6 stone, so they are better than the other Sculptors which convert 4)
3x Potter (Topfer)

Each of these makes 12 points over the course of the game.

Very good craftsmen:

Wood -> 4 gold Carpenter (Which is very undercosted)
2x Potter
Metal for 4 points guy
Metal/Wood for 6 poitns guy

Decent Craftsmen:
1x Sculptor
4x Sculptor (if you can manage to get the stone or get it off the market...if you have the stone he is amazing)
2x Wood guy
3x Wood guy (the other wood guys are probably too late, and you dont need to be converting 4-5 wood, just 2-3 is fine, since its not super efficient and its too hard to get that much wood)
2 gold per turn guy (Metalworker?) He generally nets you 4-6 gold in the game, then you get rid of him.

Poor Craftsmen
Gold for points guys
4-5 wood guys
2x Glassblower
1x Glassblower (Better to use metal for more points later, but they arent terrible. They can be good late picks with your Builders, but not worth spending like 8-9$ on in the resource drafting round)

Worthless Craftsmen
Round 1 sand and wood guys
Maurers (better to sell the stone, and not waste the time/money getting this guy).

I haven't played any 2p yet, but in 3p and 4p my friends and I have noticed that the Wood->$4 Woodworker(!) is amazing. Probably the best, and the biggest potential problem with the game is that whoever gets drawn out of the bag first gets to take him if he's on the board, or player 1 gets to draft him first if he's not.

Other than that, I like the Sculptors of course, as they're most efficient cube->VP converters, I discount Metal guys because they require Metal which is hard to get. So I rank the Sculptors higher.

And then any 1->1 is pretty good, with the Potter being the best because it's 1->1 cheap good vs expensive.

Quote:
The special abilities of the 3 original guys are silly.

I completely agree, however I did manage to jack myself tonight by trying to sell Stone at the market when I axed my Stonecutter.

Quote:
Good rules for the starting guys would be things like:

Without this guy you cant score off of Sculptors (Bildhauers), and
Without this guy you cant buy Sand (the thing you often DO want to buy, to power Potters's or glassblowers).
or
Without this guy you cant score with Potters (Topfers)

Then, if would be the GOOD craftsmen being weakened by those rules, not the BAD ones.

That's pretty interesting, I think I like it.

I just wish the marking (exclamation point) was on the guy that NEEDS the pre-req, not on the pre-req guy himself.

- Seth
 
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