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Subject: Great game - one minor gripe rss

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Mellina Huitema
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Posting this in both Reviews and Rules as it's really both.

My friend got this game in a Christmas game gift exchange at our local games room. We played two rounds last night. A really fun, light game, with enough decision making involved to be challenging but not a heavy game. Awesome artwork. My friend and I had a lot of fun.(I'm surprised by what I think is a comparatively high complexity rating on this site.)

I do have one note though. A preface: I’m the kind of gamer that is usually against almost any type of “house rule” and I feel fairly strongly about that. (Of course I go along to get along if I’m outnumbered. Fun and getting along are more important.)

Even for me though, an exception had to be made here. My friend and I agreed that the “House of Weights of Measures” card, which allows you to arrange the market tiles any way you want to your advantage, is absurdly overpowered. I do think it has a place in the game, however I feel it should NOT be treated like any other buyable building but should be like the “Imaginarium” and other cards that are used when you land on them and then shuffled back into the deck.

I’m sure people have played with that card as the rules state and had no problem. For us though, it came up in our second game, after we had *already* been playing for 70 minutes (box says 30-60). I’ll spare you the details, but basically with only 2 players it’s vacant often enough that you can just keep royally screwing each other back and forth, right when one player thinks they’re going to win. It was going to prolong the game to a really absurd level for us. (I’m quite sure this situation resulted from the design of the card and not any misunderstandings on our part. I examined everything pretty closely and I don’t think we misunderstood any rules.)

The game is designed that you can’t take the card out of play once it’s been flipped—so even if someone buys this card, all an opponent has to do is pay a toll before they take away any ability you have to get a building, and why would they not do that? If we kept the card in play, we could only foresee a long murderous slog where we might have spent 2 or 2.5 hours playing what is supposed to be 30-60 minute game.

So we both decided to enact a house rule that, at least for 2 player games, we would keep that card in the game but it would be treated just like the “Imaginarium” and used when landed on then shuffled back into the deck. She ended up winning shortly thereafter and all was good with the world.

I’m sure the designer had a good reason for designing that card the way he did, but it simply was not going to work for us. I imagine that card *might* work fine as intended for a 3-4 player game as it would not be vacant as often, limiting the damage as people can’t move there as much, and also because more players will have more combinations of different resources.

That was my only issue with the game and I just wanted it noted for others who might play that this rule change made it more fun. We may experiment one day and see how it goes with that card as written, but we were going to end up hating this otherwise lovely game if we didn’t make that change at that time. I’d be interested to hear others’ experiences with this neat little game!

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