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Subject: Getting Rid of Village rss

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E Horakova
United Kingdom
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There’s a stack of games in our house we’ve said at some point or another that we’re probably going to sell. But before we do, I force us to play one or two more times to be sure we’re not making a terrible mistake and to try to think through why we didn’t enjoy the experience (if that’s still the case). THESE… are our stories.



Village is the best game we’re getting rid of in this great clearing-out effort. In some ways it’s reminiscent of several games I really like: you have a lot of in-play move options and there are several ways to score. The theme is strong and organic, affecting all the choices you can make (Though I’m not entirely sure why we’re scoring our family of villagers—perhaps it’s about the family’s prosperity over time? Ah well.). You’re never unclear on the connections between the mechanical operations and the gestalt game concept. It’s not narrative, precisely, but it’s cogent and satisfying. (The only time this strong theming is a little silly is when someone dies shortly after completing their apparent life’s work: making a single wagon. Geez, that took a lot out of you. Wheelwrights have it hard.) There are a lot of bits and bobs to keep track of, but the play experience is well-designed, and I don’t find Village clumsy to interact with. This detailed review [https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1167531/village-detailed-re...] will give you information on the actual rule system, if you want that.

So why are we getting rid of what is in many ways an appealing game? Well, for a start I dislike that we’re not building anything substantive as we play. I suppose theoretically you’re building the prosperity of the Redmeeple clan or what have you over the generations, but mostly you’re scattering meeples, collecting resources, killing off meeples like this is Small World on a micro scale, etc. etc. I don’t really know terms, but my partner says this is a worker placement game, and that she’s not sure that we like that type as much as some others.

I do know that I prefer London or Rokoko, where I feel I’m building a city/suite of dresses and deck. Village also feels slightly like Castles of Burgundy to me. I think this sense of similarity derives from the shared ‘range of actions/build a thing within a board environment’ aspect of these games, but again, all of those do have some ‘grow your x’ element that doesn’t slip away from you. I suppose your placed meeples in Village are a little like that, seeing as they retain their capabilities and/or position from round to round as long as they live, but then they keep bloody dying on you. I know it’s silly, but I’d rather not kill off my meeples: I’m instinctively a creature-coddling rather than raw tactics sort of Magic the Gathering player (though oddly in Magic I’m decent at killing my darlings). I do think I’d like this game better if it didn’t mechanically demand meepledeath, both for resource accumulation and for dumb, subterranean sentimental reasons.

I don’t ONLY like games that let you build a tableaux or whatnot, but my mind codes Village as a somewhat broken example of the breed rather than, for example, a resources-and-goals game like Takenoko.

In terms of mechanics, I do think Village has a couple of weak points that aren’t wholly located it its not being what I want it to be. I don’t think the market works all that well. Everyone should be trying to keep a green cube in readiness against the coming of a market, and some of the goods that are due to come up in trade deals (you can see these deals approaching down the pipeline) on hand (though we never get through all that many deals). However given the rather tight resources of this game, this chafes a bit. You need everything: you can’t just have green cubes and wagons lying around in case. And if someone nabs the thing you’ve also been working towards, for you’re pretty SOL. (We’ve tended to neglect the market in previous games.)

I also find traveling too much of a resource-burden. It’s important to do because it gets you resources and a significant amount of points, but you need two or three cubes (so that’s two or three goes speny in acquiring them), another to make the necessary wagon (or two turns to acquire wagon components and another to play them), and then to take a turn to travel—and none of this is factoring in the DEATH CLOCK and meeple-degradation these steps entail. Everything is a damn ordeal in this game, and it makes Village feel a little chorish rather than gamiesh at points for me.

Village can be played with two, but it flows much better with more players. It’s a fairly pleasant game for three, but we’re largely looking for games that scale more elegantly between two to more. Since our household has only two to three people at a given time (barring guests), we really only want to give space to three player games we love rather than ones we ‘oh.’ It sounds dumb, but cheap and cheerful, tiny two-player card-games get more leeway from me than this great, bulky, travel-unfriendly space-hog of a box (on par with Diplomacy, Discworld and Rokoko) that comes at a fairly substantial price-point. If Through the Ages can be confined to a respectably shelf-deep box without overhang, why not this?

I find the art annoying. Why is the score track so much sharper than the images, which seem out of focus? Why do these villagers all look misshapen? Is that dude in front of the town hall sitting on a step or standing? Why is that even a judgment call? Why do my eyes hurt a little looking at this board, like its resolution is poor? Is this a printing thing?

Lastly, and wow this is petty, I weirdly suck at Village. My partner wins every time we play scherzo, and it’s not that fun for either of us. I did much better in tonight’s three-way game. My typical move is to work the town hall and to play significantly into the church, neglecting travel and marketing to do so. This time I reversed that and did better. I was also way more kill-happy.

I feel I could get better at Village if I varied my choices a little, which is to its credit: I like games where you can experiment with play styles, learn and grow. My favourite games I still don’t feel I play perfectly: there are more facets I've yet to really exploit, and I can sense that there are strategies I’ve yet to develop.

Ultimately Village suffers a little due to things outside its control. It it has a high trading value on BGG, making it prime swapping material, and it’s kind of reminiscent of many other games we have (but is somewhat less pleasing than these).

VERDICT: out the door in favour of Thurn und Taxis
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Hassan Lopez
United States
Greenfield Center
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I really value reviews like this - thank you. When people write reviews about games they're currently "high" on, I'm never sure if I can wholeheartedly trust their recommendation (e.g., will they still like the game as much 3 months later?). I also really like that you list some other games in the same wheelhouse which you prefer. Nice write-up!
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Evan
United States
Longwood
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Such an interesting take. Village is a top 10 game for me (admittedly, I have not played nearly as many games as most BGG users), whereas Castles of Burgundy is a game I distain. Yet, you compare the two. I don't see the similarities at all, but oddly, see where you are coming from with that analogy because you aren't really building anything in either game.

I find the game is much better with the Port and Inn expansions. The port streamlines the travel and makes it a more viable strategy. The inn adds cards that can really influence end game scoring and gives more variety to the occupations (via the addition of beer). However, even playing without the expansions, I've seen people win with various strategies. I have won playing the travel area as my primary objective and ignoring the market altogether, and I have won by playing the church and city council exclusively. I think the various ways to win are a virtue of the game, not a detriment.

I also disagree with you on the art. I think the game is beautiful, but art is very subjective.
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Mark Papenfuss
United States
Star
Idaho
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"Your results are back: it's negative"......um, is that a bad thing?
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GoingTopShelf wrote:
I also disagree with you on the art. I think the game is beautiful, but art is very subjective.


I like the art as well.
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Andrew MacLeod
Canada
London
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There are twelve of us, Sire, and I place all the resources of my people unreservedly at your Majesty's disposal.
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Weirdly enough, if I had to make the choice between Village (which I don't own, but love dearly) and Thurn & Taxis, it would be T&T out the door. In fact, in an effort to reduce our collection, I have often suggested to my wife that we get rid of T&T, but she likes it too much. I think it's a good game, but not a great game, so it kinda falls into the same sort of situation you're describing here.

Weirdly enough Part II, this is the second time today I have criticized London on the grounds that I never have the feeling I'm building anything in the game...well, I feel like I'm building an array of cards with interlocking mechanisms, but that's it!
 
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Zaphod Beeblebrox
United States
Redmond
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Different strokes.

I own Village, and previously owned London and Rokoko, both of which you mention in the review. I enjoyed all 3 games well enough, but I found that Village felt the most unique of the 3, mostly because of characters dying and the interesting decisions it creates (e.g., racing to kill someone off before another player, or racing to kill people off to end the game quickly).
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Chris Mcpherson
Canada
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I bought this game cheap a few months ago with both expansions bundled in but have yet to play it. I'm in the middle of a playthrough video and I'm not blown away yet but I'm not going to judge it until I actually play. I'm really only commenting because we LOVE Thurn and Taxis so no matter what I end up thinking about Village I support your decision, hehe.
 
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Gary Pressler
United States
West Lafayette
Indiana
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OMG! Overtext! How long have I been sleeping?! OVERTEXT! Also, I'm a DESIGNER now?! Sweet! OVERTEXXXXXXT!
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HO HO HO! Give me some money!
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Having a completely different impression and response to this game, I am shocked and appalled by the verdict! However, this is an excellent review, with well reasoned opinions and counter-examples of what you enjoy more. This is a good read for folks interested in the game to help set expectations. (Don't believe it! Village is AWESOME!)

If I was only keeping 2P games, I would have to give this up, too. But I wouldn't be happy about it. (No! Keep ALL the games! Forever!)
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Peter S.
United States
Sacramento
California
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Horakova wrote:
(Though I’m not entirely sure why we’re scoring our family of villagers—perhaps it’s about the family’s prosperity over time? Ah well.)


Not prosperity, prestige. It's about how much prestige you're able to bring to the family name... is it spoken forevermore in revered tones, because they were such pious / industrious / adventurous / avaricious folks? Or, after three generations, is it still unnotable, unremarkable and barely able to secure reservations at the local patisserie?

So, yeah, bit more depressing when you realize you're just trying to make your clan look better to others, and not trying to make them happy.
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Dave Ross
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Re4isnumber1 wrote:
I bought this game cheap a few months ago with both expansions bundled in but have yet to play it. I'm in the middle of a playthrough video and I'm not blown away yet but I'm not going to judge it until I actually play. I'm really only commenting because we LOVE Thurn and Taxis so no matter what I end up thinking about Village I support your decision, hehe.


Weird, I was in the same situation a few months ago! Bought the game and expansions on the cheap from a fellow gamer on the Reddit board game bazaar, looked st videos and was lukewarm. Then we played the game and LOVED it. The Port and Inn are requirements for us. Such a great game!
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Chris Mcpherson
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Rugbydave wrote:
Re4isnumber1 wrote:
I bought this game cheap a few months ago with both expansions bundled in but have yet to play it. I'm in the middle of a playthrough video and I'm not blown away yet but I'm not going to judge it until I actually play. I'm really only commenting because we LOVE Thurn and Taxis so no matter what I end up thinking about Village I support your decision, hehe.


Weird, I was in the same situation a few months ago! Bought the game and expansions on the cheap from a fellow gamer on the Reddit board game bazaar, looked st videos and was lukewarm. Then we played the game and LOVED it. The Port and Inn are requirements for us. Such a great game!


did you play with the expansions right away, and if you didn't, would you have if you could go back?
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Fernando Robert Yu
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Great game. Liked the base game, got the expansions which made the game better.
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Dave Ross
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We played it without the expansions first and enjoyed it but found the expansions really breathed some more life into the game. Wouldn't play without them, frankly, though they're not necessary (if that makes sense).
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tom tom
United States
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We glued the expansions onto our board, we love what they add. More variety of choices.
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Dave Ross
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It's funny, I normally never say this, but I seriously think that these expansions should have been part of the base game. That said, we enjoyed the base game much but once we played expansions, we never looked back and couldn't imagine going back!
 
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Adam Jansen
United States
Illinois
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After a bit of reading and video on this game, I completely hear you on this point. I didn't note the price of the expansions yet, but they do seem to add components that should be there from the start. lol The fact that you glued them on! I would probably only consider buying Village with both expansions, so I wish they would release a stand-alone that combines them all.
 
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Karl Hoche
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Great review. I like the Village but have been holding off buying it until a Village big box version becomes available
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E Horakova
United Kingdom
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severian73 wrote:
When people write reviews about games they're currently "high" on, I'm never sure if I can wholeheartedly trust their recommendation (e.g., will they still like the game as much 3 months later?).


Right, I get that people are excited but Game Trendiness/squee is one thing and long-term playability/'in a year' appeal is another...
 
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E Horakova
United Kingdom
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amacleod wrote:
In fact, in an effort to reduce our collection, I have often suggested to my wife that we get rid of T&T, but she likes it too much. I think it's a good game, but not a great game, so it kinda falls into the same sort of situation you're describing here.


Yeah, T&T isn't a GREAT game for me, but it's one of those Euros that feels more like a souped-up, well-designed trad board game to me, and as such it can be easy to teach and play with people who don't game much? A decent chunk of our game collection is oriented towards non-gamer friends, which is a bit irksome, but.
 
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E Horakova
United Kingdom
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ErsatzDragon wrote:
So, yeah, bit more depressing when you realize you're just trying to make your clan look better to others, and not trying to make them happy.


Oh god, Keeping Up Appearances the board-game...
 
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E Horakova
United Kingdom
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shiny_magikarp wrote:
After a bit of reading and video on this game, I completely hear you on this point. I didn't note the price of the expansions yet, but they do seem to add components that should be there from the start. lol The fact that you glued them on! I would probably only consider buying Village with both expansions, so I wish they would release a stand-alone that combines them all.


I wish we'd been able to play with expansions now/would take that opportunity up if someone had them on a game night. I'd never get an extension unless we REALLY liked the base game (I think they really ought to be variants/expansions rather than correctives), so it does feel a bit negative here re: the design that so many people seem to *strongly* incline to always using them in this 'part of the base game' way. :/
 
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tom tom
United States
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Inn and Port are to Village, as Traders and Builders and Inn and Cathedrals are to Carcassonne. They turn a good game into a great game.
 
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