Brent Mair
United States
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World 627
Players: 2
Play time: 45 (not counting rules or setup)
Final Score: 74-53

This was my first play of any 504 game. My son, Carson, and I sat down to try world 627. I chose this world because of my interest in Road Building. I had hoped that Race would make the game quicker (likely not, income made for short turns), and I hadn’t heard much about Majorities so I added it in the third slot.

Scoring was pretty straightforward. Road Building gives one, two, or three points for each hex tile connected through your road network, with different point values for each hex type correlating to the difficulty of placing a road. Majorities gives additional points to the player who has the most connected tiles in each of the six types.

Income was slow (or should have been, we played this incorrectly), with small amounts of one-time money given for each tile you place a settlement on, with a larger amount given for a city when you placed in it. The only guaranteed income was the $20 each turn for the capital.

Having Scoring and Income similar but not the same might lead to some interesting choices, but we did not exploit it in the game. Would it have been better to expand through settlements without initially connecting roads, just to get the extra income in order to expand the cities? Possibly. We tended to connect through roads quickly when we could.

With such a big map, interaction only happened our last turns of the game as I tried to get majority in a tile type and had to place a road where my son had one. He subsequently placed a road where I had one in order to connect the seventh city and trigger the game end. More players or aggressive players would increase this interaction and competition.

Ultimately I had fun in my first play of 504. I chose well when I selected these modules since they scratch that gaming itch. Even with that we decided this world would likely be better with more players. The spread out play wasn’t as engaging since we weren’t competing for resources.

504 is meeting my expectations as an excellent exploratory kit of games. I expect I have dozens of plays of enthusiasm before I start to tire, especially if I can convince my friends to allow us to continue to play different worlds.
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