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Subject: first impression was pretty but just okay rss

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Guy Riessen
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I just received this game on Wednesday and we played on Friday. The components and artwork are stunning! The game was easy to teach and flowed well. But our first game was a bit too affected by chance--one player never had a master builder pulled on the first two draws each turn and therefore never had to pay more than $5 for master builder placement, plus initial turn order meant he got the 1 wood for $4 worker as well. That left him in an extremely strong position for the final 2 turns since he was able to upgrade workers and pay the midling master builder fees with out a hitch, while the other two players struggled to keep enough money to do anything at all. For the final two rounds the other two players, crippled by finances couldn't afford to use their drawn master builders at $7 and $6, so the already rich player was able to get first choice for placement anyway.

There were other examples of one-sided luck, for the same player, in this game, but the combination of initial turn order and master-builder draw seem quite influencial. More plays will show this either as an anomolous situation, or as unfortunately common. Although the game is gorgeous, if the luck element truly is this strong, it simply won't see much play in my group.
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Steve K
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Sprydle wrote:
one player never had a master builder pulled on the first two draws each turn and therefore never had to pay more than $5 for master builder placement


Just to check ...

Nobody ever has to pay for Master Builder placement. If your piece comes out of the bag you have a choice between paying to go now or passing and placing for free later.
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Luca Iennaco
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Sprydle wrote:
Although the game is gorgeous, if the luck element truly is this strong, it simply won't see much play in my group.

I think that the game is indeed gorgeous AND luck driven (it also feels quite "shallow" as long as decisons are concerned).
I consider it a "build-your-economic-engine" game for families.
Have fun! meeple
 
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Alex Sorbello
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I've played this game over 2 dozen times now and it seems the luck element is almost a non factor. (the only thing is who's building master comes out of the bag), well 2 things that control that factor: first the decision of the starting player to put that BM back in the bag (once per turn)
second, the player decision to actually pay the amount or pass (money is tight and if all your masters are drawn first you'll never have enough to pay for them all or be bankrupted after one turn and get really hurt in sequental turns.
pay for what you really want is what drives the game...
the reaons people people say games are highly luck driven is always a reason for i just lost because of luck not because of the player actually just made better decisions than you...
Then how come better players always win with these kind of games... (carcassonne comes to mind as well)
Play it a couple of times first.
Cheers
lexen

 
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Eric
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lexen wrote:
Then how come better players always win with these kind of games...


I have to agree. The same complaint is levied against Settlers of Catan, but in my rather extensive experience playing that game, the same players tend to win. Are they just lucky? Or do they know how to play better in the system (which happens to have luck elements)?

I would give the game a few more tries to figure out how to hedge against the luck that is present in the game system.
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Armin Brueckner
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We just played a single round due to a lack of time, and both my wife and I are really intrigued.

There is an element of luck to the game, so as to simulate divine providence- but like all great games, the luck can be managed by smart play.

I've only played Caylus 3 or 4 times, but this seems to me a much more approachable game. If I want to get my gamer testosterone flowing I'll go with Caylus. If I want to have fun- I'll go to PoTE.
 
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Enon Sci
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armin101 wrote:
We just played a single round due to a lack of time, and both my wife and I are really intrigued.

There is an element of luck to the game, so as to simulate divine providence- but like all great games, the luck can be managed by smart play.

I've only played Caylus 3 or 4 times, but this seems to me a much more approachable game. If I want to get my gamer testosterone flowing I'll go with Caylus. If I want to have fun- I'll go to PoTE.


This post, and a few preceding it, have made me feel better about my back ordered purchase.

To the OP - when you play again, make sure to change seating arrangements / turn order. If you continue to test this and the same player continues to win vs. the same turn/seat position then you know it's skill.
 
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Armin Brueckner
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Just finished our first full game. We had 4 players.

I'm about 1 year into the BGG experience- but I've got an ok collection of 25 games or so- played some on BSG and Spiel by web. So I'm not a long time boardgamer- but I love playing games.

This has been my favorite of the games that I've played- and a definite 10. With 4- every decision is a tough one- there are several factors to balance and there is only enough luck to keep it interesting.

The only real luck is in the event card and the tax roll- both of which can be mitigated by masterworker placement. So for me, anyone who argues that there is to much luck is just downright wrong.

Anyway- I loved it, my wife loved it and I look forward to playing it again.
 
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Jason Birzer
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Just had my first play on Friday with my copy. The group I played it with was a bit underwhelmed by it. With a first time play of two hours, it was felt that it was too long for what it was, and that it wasn't meaty enough.

I'll keep bringing it out to see what I ultimately think of it. I'm sure the time will come down with familiarity, but will the challenge still be there? Are there enough meaningful choices in the game? I don't know yet.

Jason
 
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Guy Riessen
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armin101 wrote:

The only real luck is in the event card and the tax roll- both of which can be mitigated by masterworker placement. So for me, anyone who argues that there is to much luck is just downright wrong.


This is not true, there are a few more "real luck" instances. The Master Builder draw is one of the biggest since it cannot be mitigated (except by the drawing player), unlike the event cards which can be mitigated by MB placement as well as another card. Additionally the draw of the workers can be a big factor--since the first two drawn are going to be purchased for face value (if someone wants them) while the following two *could possibly* be "purchased" through master builder placement for far less than face value. Additionally the "advantage" cards are luck which in turn is affected by the luck of the MB draw.

Now I'm not saying that some of this cannot be mitigated by careful gold spending. Obviously the money is tight, far tighter than we initially realized before playing the first game. Certain money mistakes won't happen again. And isolated, the luck of things like the craftsmen draw (which isn't luck based except in concert with the MB draw), taxation, advantage cards, and events, is indeed possible to mitigate--but that mitigation is directly influenced by the luck of the MB draw.

The Master Builder draw IS a big luck element upon which the other luck elements are based. To use your example, sure the events and tax rolls can be removed as luck elements through Master Builder placement...but what happens if you cannot afford the Master Builders necessary. In our game, the same person (not me) had their Master Builders drawn 1,2,3 on one turn, then 1,2,4. If all they wanted to do was avoid a tax roll, well it would have cost more to place the MB than to pay the highest tax roll.

With only six turns in the game, and the Master Builder draw being so random and affecting other luck elements downstream, it just seems like it might be too much based on too little.
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David Fristrom
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Sprydle wrote:
In our game, the same person (not me) had their Master Builders drawn 1,2,3 on one turn, then 1,2,4. If all they wanted to do was avoid a tax roll, well it would have cost more to place the MB than to pay the highest tax roll.


Either I don't understand what you are saying here, or you are playing wrong. If you aren't willing to pay the cost to place your Master Builder, you still get to place it later in the round for free (after all the Master Builders have been drawn from the bag). By that time the best places to go will probably be filled, but there is room in the King's Court (where you go to avoid taxes) for four Master Builders, so there will still be room. You probably won't be the first one there, so you won't get the metal as well, but you can pretty much always avoid taxes every turn for free (as long as you want to use a Master Builder to do so).
 
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Eric
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dfristrom wrote:
Sprydle wrote:
In our game, the same person (not me) had their Master Builders drawn 1,2,3 on one turn, then 1,2,4. If all they wanted to do was avoid a tax roll, well it would have cost more to place the MB than to pay the highest tax roll.


Either I don't understand what you are saying here, or you are playing wrong. If you aren't willing to pay the cost to place your Master Builder, you still get to place it later in the round for free (after all the Master Builders have been drawn from the bag). By that time the best places to go will probably be filled, but there is room in the King's Court (where you go to avoid taxes) for four Master Builders, so there will still be room. You probably won't be the first one there, so you won't get the metal as well, but you can pretty much always avoid taxes every turn for free (as long as you want to use a Master Builder to do so).


I get the feeling that the OP was playing that wrong too. Guy, did you allow free placement of Master Builders later in the placement phase, so that those who could not afford to place the MBs were able to place them later?

After my first play of this game, I am much impressed, and so were two others who played. There is luck in the game, but I don't feel that it overwhelms the play or the decisions of the players. But the luck that is there creates some tense moments, like when an event card is turned over and the tax roll is made. The MBs being pulled out of the bag also offered some tension and at times exclamations from the players.

There is a general tension in the game in deciding when to upgrade your key crafsman. If you upgrade too early, you'll have an inefficient crew later in the game that may limit your output of VPs. If you wait too long to upgrade, however, you might not have enough time to utilize that craftsman to its fullest and may have been wasting time with your inefficient craftsmen. There is also great tension in obtaining resources versus gold. All-in-all, I felt there were many decisions to be made. Some of them were excruciating. While I would say that no single decision was monumental by itself, all of the decisions were very meaningful in the aggregate. I guess I feel that luck had very little to do with who won or lost.
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Mark Bigney
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I am surprised that more people don't mention the following:
If people have been properly saving their gold, you often want your Master Builder drawn first--there's often something you need to snag before anyone else can. If you have the gold, paying 7 is often cheap to a) snag a great craftsman; b) avoid taxes and get a metal (given that metal is exceptionally scarce); c) get a great priviledge.

B is always there, but A and C aren't. So, there's often just one or two exceptionally good things to be had on the board, and if you have 7 gold, it's often wise to hope your builder pops out first.
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Jeff Dawson
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armin101 wrote:
We just played a single round due to a lack of time, and both my wife and I are really intrigued.

There is an element of luck to the game, so as to simulate divine providence- but like all great games, the luck can be managed by smart play.

I've only played Caylus 3 or 4 times, but this seems to me a much more approachable game. If I want to get my gamer testosterone flowing I'll go with Caylus. If I want to have fun- I'll go to PoTE.


Agree. Could not say it better myself.
 
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Bill Eldard
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We have played two 4-player games of Pillars of the Earth, and so far, everyone has been impressed. There is naturally some luck involved as noted, but I think it tends to balance out. I've never felt that I didn't have adequate control over my game.

In our first game, two players tied in score (45 points each), with the tie-breaking gold being the difference. The other two players were less than 5 points behind.

In our second game, I lost by one point (43 to 42), and the other two players were no more than 6 points behind.

Great theme, beautiful components, and a simple but excellent design. I really like this game, and I think it's going to get a lot more playings in our group.
 
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wayne r
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My friend and I played once just to familiarize with rules. After having read the rules more extensively afterwards, I still wasn't sure about one thing.

If you have a Woodworker! and later obtain the upgraded Woodworker!, does it automatically replace the starting Woodworker! or are you allowed to use both abilities (as long as you are in the 5 per limit)? So the original allows 2 for 1 influence 4x, and the other allows 1 for 4 gold 2x.

Anyway, my first impression was it just being OK too. I later found out we omitted some rules. I'm hoping to get a real game in soon.

I'm more lenient with first impressions though as long as I don't dislike it. I felt the same with Thurn and Taxis and felt I had wasted my money because I didn't feel the instant attachment like I did with Settlers. After I played it a second time, the game clicked with me and I began to see a greater depth to the game. I'm hoping the same applies here.
 
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Jason Birzer
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Oni no board wrote:
If you have a Woodworker! and later obtain the upgraded Woodworker!, does it automatically replace the starting Woodworker! or are you allowed to use both abilities (as long as you are in the 5 per limit)? So the original allows 2 for 1 influence 4x, and the other allows 1 for 4 gold 2x.


I didn't see anything in the rules that says that you can only have one of each type of worker. In the one game that I played, I played it as you did, that if I had the room, I used both.

Jason
 
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Mark Bigney
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Oni no board wrote:

If you have a Woodworker! and later obtain the upgraded Woodworker!,


If I already have a Woodworker!, I wouldn't want to get another Woodworker!. It's loud enough with all the sawing, and to have all those Woodworker!s yelling all the time? Plus, I hear they're really belligerent and aggressive.
Don't get me started on the Woodworker!?!11s. They're just obnoxious.
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