The accolades this Michael Rieneck / Stefan Stadler design has been receiving are well deserved. The Pillars of the Earth is well-crafted, and filled with interesting choices and mechanisms. I appreciate it more and more with each subsequent play, and it has proven popular with absolutely everyone with whom I’ve played. My only concern is that sometimes there isn’t as much of an urgency as I’d like to see when placing the master builders. Further, on the final turn, there are a few locations that truly are meaningless. Perhaps they should be given an alternative power on the final turn. Those concerns aside, the game is very good, and one of the best of the Essen 2006 crop.
I temporarily broke open a tight game after the second round, enjoying an eight point lead following the fourth round. All of us save Kevin lost two points in the fourth round due to a nasty event, which suppressed our scores a bit. Rich, who was trailing badly, began his strong surge in the fourth round, earning 12 and 11 points respectively in rounds four and five. I was able to secure a 6-point boost in the final round by obtaining a valuable craftsman, but was still worried that I would be overtaken by Rich. A final event denied several of us needed resources, but as it turned out, I didn’t need them, as I managed to capture a one-point victory.
Round 1: Karen 5, Kevin 5, Rich 5, Greg 4
Round 2: Kevin 11, Greg 11, Rich 9, Karen 6
Round 3: Greg 20, Karen 15, Kevin 15, Rich 10
Round 4: Greg 30, Karen 22, Kevin 22, Rich 22
Round 5: Greg 35, Rich 33, Karen 30, Kevin 28
Round 6: Greg 48, Rich 47, Karen 38, Kevin 35
Ratings: All 8s