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Subject: First time our with four players rss

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Joshua Buergel
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Pillars of the Earth follows in a long line of games inspired by novels in my collection. Like all those wargames that are named after books. Those count, right? No? Oh, oh: Sid Meier's Civilization! Wait, no, that's a game inspired by a computer game that was inspired by a different game. There's, uh, I suppose 221B Baker St. and Arkham Horror. Around the World in 80 Days is another one, I guess, and Beowulf. And I'm just to the Bs. Geez, I guess I have more than I guessed. Anyway, getting off track: games inspired by books are a bit thin on the ground, and Pillars of the Earth has got to be the oddest one that I yet own. For that reason, more than any other, we took Pillars out for a spin on Sunday with Deanna, Justin, Jarrett and myself. I mean, something this odd that reviews this well, it has to have something going for it.

I opted to go for the always exciting "read the rules as you're explaining them" option, always sure to engender misunderstandings, missed rules, inattention and all-around malaise during the game. Happily, thanks to the turns structure, with a simple draft followed by a Dutch-auction kind of thing followed by that long series of programmed instructions, it wasn't too hard to get things rolling. After some head scratching over the aforementioned kinda-Dutch auction, it clicked and off we went.

By "off we went", of course, I mean "we scratched our heads trying to figure out what to do". Things went a little pokey since none of us really had any idea what the relative worth of anything was. This was not aided by poor Jarrett being somewhat Vicodin-addled as a consequence of recent surgery. But we soldiered on, and after the first round, we were all pretty intrigued by the precedings. Even Deanna, who clearly wanted to be playing Blue Moon City instead.

I decided to pursue what our group knows as the "Cory strategy", which is to be impossibly tight fisted with cash, so named for our friend who is incredibly cheap whenever he plays any kind of auction game. Watching him play Ra and Princes of Florence is always entertaining. He also managed to build what we call "spamalopes" in Evo. At any rate, the Cory strategy didn't turn out great for me in the end, as I missed some fantastic opportunities during the master builder placement due to a lack of funds, costing me several victory points and adding more to other totals. I hung tight until the last round, when the specialized craftsmen that Deanna and Justin were picking up finally overwhelmed Jarrett and myself. Unfortunately, I didn't have the excuse of being gorked up on prescription pills. Just iced tea, and I don't think that counts. At any rate, a clean win for Deanna, and a set of clear lessons in terms of what to expect for the rest of us for the next game, hopefully soon.
 
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Jeremy Carlson
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Write up a review sir. I'm interested in what you thought of the game as a whole.
 
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Joshua Buergel
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I don't really feel qualified to write one up yet, but I'm going to as soon as I get some more experience in it. It has all the hallmarks of a game I'm going to love, in particular the way the master builders are done, but I'll have to give it a bit more time. If I were to rate it right now, it currently sitting at about a 7 or 8 for me. I'm certainly intruiged that I want to play again, soon.
 
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wayne r
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Although short on the actual play session (but understandable), it was, never the less, entertaining. Incidently, I also did the "read the rules as you play" thing when I first bough the game and wanted to try it then and there.
 
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