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Subject: Fat free fast food rss

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Andrew Rae
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The word on the street is that Pillars is Caylus light. So if Caylus is a big juicy steak as part of a five course meal then I suppose i could assume that this is fast food and fat free without the dressing.

But I can't agree with this, I'm sorry. I tried hard, I looked at the cubes and the lovely pastel blue. I allocated my workers in the forest and watched those little brown cubes in. And to finish the experience I traded the cubes in for victory points and reveled in my victory point marker racing along the board. But for me, this wasn't fat free fast food.

Pillars is a lovely production full of theme and medievil flavour. It is a beautiful board full of detailed art and smooth transitionary colours. These authentic craftsmen take you deeper into the theme and the general decor of the game is marvellous. One might feel a little put off when stark primary playing pieces blot the landscape, but their obtusness is necessary and I'm not one to complain. Thats my first lie.

The game play is relatively simple and I had picked up the dynamics and strategy of the game by turn three. When I am not sure of a game I will often forsake rewards early in order to build capacity instead while I assess my options. This was prudent as the game laid itself bare by the third turn. This is a good reason to call it a medium complexiety game (or a step down from caylus if you must). Yet the tradeoffs of the actions and the relative values of the people, the amount of money required and the worth of the cards is not so obvious. We need to give the complexiety more credit, because although I'm not thick, the game had interesting tradeoffs that I did not fully grasp. I think the complexeity will give this a number of extra plays but it does add a little to the length of the game. Expect it to drag a little towards the end of your first learning game.

The placement of men and workers is a standard mechanism though it is odd in that you use the same mechanism twice in two turns, albeit with the auction twist. I might have been inclined to add the two phases together so that you could choose to deploy men or masters but the two phases just make being the starting player more valuable and there is nothing wrong with that.

The market place is a nice feature too. Although it is a simple mechanism and doesn't have the 'come and get me' style of Supremacy or even power grid, it adds tot he game and allows all players to balance cash versus points. Caylus has a low range of cash values and the range in pillars is larger and more satisfying. You can exploit it if you want, and that is good.

So great art, simple mechanics and a healthy range of variables to balance. I enjoyed the feel and the return that your mental effort gave you in this game. As for the Caylus lite label, well I'm not so sure. After all it was about turn four before I looked at a metal cube and said ... hey this reminds me of Caylus. Matt arrived soon after, walked in the door and said "Oh it's Caylus lite", but he has a tendancy to benchmark most games we play so I am not overly worried at my lack of perception (lie 2). You know a game is good if Matt compares new games to it!

Overall I rate Pillars an 8. It would not be an every week game, but I would enjoy it every couple of months or so if we didn't have 250+ games to choose from. And to end this I will make a concession because I am such an aggreable fellow (and that is my trio of lies). If you love caylus but you struggle to find someone to play it with you, then introduce your friends to Pillars of the earth, because it might just hit the spot for all of you. Oh and I love Caylus too.


 
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Chris
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Do you think the tradeoffs you value as adding complexity would still have value after many plays? One thing I find about the game is that the fixed interval of appearance of cards (craftsmen, resources [not much variation there]) really diminishes the excitement after a few plays.
 
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Matt
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citylife wrote:
Matt arrived soon after, walked in the door and said "Oh it's Caylus lite"


I actually walked in the door and said "Joe fits way less tripe". Joe and his tripe, you can't blame him, can ya?
Nice session report Mr Rae.
 
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Jeremy Carlson
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Nice review. I don't remember what I gave the game, but it was at least an 8, if not higher (might have been a 10, which if that is true, I will now lower to an 8-9).

I also am not sure about the Caylus lite. My problem with that is not that it reminds me of Caylus, but that I don't find Caylus to be all that difficult. Once I played it a few times, it all became clear and fairly easy to learn. And if you play it on BSW, it goes fairly quickly.

Pillars is a very good game, though I would agree with the above poster about the cards that come up. Maybe an expansion of new cards would help?
 
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Andrew Rae
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A good point about complexiety, and Caylus as you say becomes clearer and simplier as you play. What I might argue though is that it is slightly clearer for someone who has played online. Afterall computer applications have taken all the mystery and most of the fun out of three games for me so far. And I'm not telling which ones lest I defame them.

Many will agree with me that the very best games are those that you understand nearly completely and yet thier dynamics and interactions mean you want to play again. Ra and diplomacy both come to mind under this criteria.

Thanks for the post
 
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David
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citylife wrote:
And I'm not telling which ones lest I defame them.


Aw, come on, tell us. It's not slander if it's true...
 
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