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Subject: Isle of Skye - unbiased review rss

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kos blaat
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First of all, don't be offended if you like IoS, I guess there is a game for everyone out there.

Played once with 4 or 5, and a second time with 3. Disclaimer: I didn't win either, became 2nd in both.

The game consists of rounds where you get 3 tiles, destroy one, sell one, or two, and if it's not sold, you have to pay for the tile.
Thematically this is nonsense. Did you own the land (the tiles represent land) or not? If you didn't you shouldn't get money for selling what you don't own. If you did then why would you pay for what you already have? The only thing I can argue is that killing off a land means you burn it to the ground or something.

Getting those tiles, well forget about them ,because what you CAN get and keep is what your opponents have in front of them. Over which you don't have control and can't plan - anyone can get any tile he wants unless it's too expensive, in which case you probably can't buy it either. So it comes down to whoever has the starting player token and what happens next. The last two actions are always the same: 1 player got enough to buy the last square of the other, which made that other rich enough to buy the tile from the first player. You might try to see a plan in that, but there is too little control over who ends up with the big bag of money.

The bidding mechanism is nonexistent, you pay or you don't.

OK so you got two tiles. Now after laying them you plan ahead and focus on the goals at hand. Take into account the road from the castle must pass over whisky barrels (why?). Count cows and sheep but only if there is a farm adjacent (or diagonally), unless it is a separate piece of land (figure out what that is in the rules).

Another goal: get enclosed spaces. Hard to figure out what is enclosed or not, it's badly defined in the rule book.

Then there are bonus icons, like count the flags in the sea divide by half what you have in your entire kingdom, UNLESS the flag bonus icon is completely enclosed in which case you count everything double. How does that thematically even work?

Same bonuses for sheep, for farms, for lighthouses. There is no spatial connection but the game just says so. You get 1 VP for every 5 gold, in the end, and after each of the 4 rounds the last in line gets extra money, so the game stimulates you to not score VP, except at the end.

Roads can end abruply and the end result is ugly. Unlike carcassonne which makes up a beautiful complete landscape this is every kingdom makes a kind of clone of Skye. But I have been to Skye, it was beautiful! Thematically it doesn't make sense to make n copies of the isle of skye, or it should have been called isles of skye.

Unlike carcassonne where you have to plan ahead to manage your meeples, in Skye you get nothing to move around, everything is static on the board.

Is it a bidding game? no, poorly and there are many better games out there, for example Before the Wind.

Is it a tile laying game? yes but the end result is ugly and you have almost no control over what tiles end up where, you have to go with what's available, and every turn new goals crop up that you have to work towards. At least if there is a goal such as #enclosed spaces, or #farms, well that stays the same on your board and possibly even grows, but still it is very poor without any inhabitants (meeples)

Does it tell a story? No, it doesn't. How come there are sheep without farms, who produces the whisky, why do I get money for whisky along my road? Who designes roads to nowhere?

In short, meat nor fish, it makes nobody happy, and there is too much to score with too little control. So I hated it.

One fun point: in hungarian it is called Skye szeget, from which I deduce szeget is not only the name of the famous festival, it is just the hungarian name for island. At least I learned something ;-)
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Ben Bateson
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Interesting use of the word 'unbiased'.
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Ryan Feathers
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kosterix wrote:

Is it a tile laying game? yes but the end result is ugly and you have almost no control over what tiles end up where, you have to go with what's available, and every turn new goals crop up that you have to work towards.


Just to be clear, the goals are laid out the start of the game, so you do know what is coming up and can play towards it. Just like you absolutely have choice over what tiles to buy and where to put them....sure you're limited to the market that the players jointly set up each round via setting prices, but I really don't think your depiction of the game is very fair.

But all the same thanks for taking the time to write a review. I always appreciate the time put in for those who want to communicate their thoughts about a game, particularly negative reviews which tend to be limited. However I think you could improve this a bit--to me it reads a bit too much of a rant and is of limited use to others trying to figure out if they'll like Isle of Skye. For comparison, I think this review on A Feast for Odin is one of the best negative reviews I've read in a long time: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1844138/unhealthy-diet-empt....


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Indeed, I've never seen it used in this context before...
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James Wolfpacker
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ousgg wrote:
Interesting use of the word 'unbiased'.

laugh I'd agree.

kosterix wrote:

Roads can end abruply and the end result is ugly.

Who designes roads to nowhere?


These people design roads that end abruptly and lead to nowhere. I think you are a fan of Carcassonne?

Well, I can tell pretty much tell that you are a troll. Your posting history absolutely confirms it.

 
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To be honest, it sounds like you are playing a completely different game. But in the interest of being helpful:

Theme
Well, this is an abstract game. It's not really supposed to be a thematic, hyper-real simulation of clan life! The bidding round is really about balancing the market with player economies, in that a player can never trade for more than the value of their own economy. It's from here the jeopardy of the game is created. In an unrestricted market ideal world, you would buy at the lowest possible value, and sell at the highest possible value. But by setting a restraint against the players own economy, players are forced into making strategic valuations. How little can I get away with p‎aying for something I want? If I set my valuation too low, I risk losing it. How much can I get away with selling something I don't want? Set my valuation to high, and I risk not selling it and being forced to invest at that price myself. It's this push/pull of internal market forces which sees players fighting with the risks involved in undervalue things they need and overvalue things they don't. Is it an accurate simulation of land trading? No. It's a mechanic in a game about economic balance. Do bishops move diagonally in real life? No, it's a mechanic in a game about strategic positioning. So I wouldn't really worry too much about thematic sense, it's just a clever economic engine which creates the sport within the game.

Thematically, you are connecting distilleries to your main economic centre by road, to provide you with economy. The rest is merely about chasing patterns for rewards, and timing how and when you chase particular patterns. Do you get patterns in place so you score heavily in later rounds, while ignoring current demands? Or do you hit targets immediately and often, at the risk of bigger yeilds? Are you in competion for a target, if so can you win that competition? What can you manage with the resources at hand? What are other players making available to you, what is the supply and demand for each pattern? Are people gunning for one particular pattern and ignoring another? Can you capitalise on this, aquiring some things on the cheap, or trading other things for higher prices? The game is about making good on the speculation of others, and the judgement of the market, while strategically investing in what you forsee as the most lucrative patterns.

In the end, some people just like games to be clever cardboard representations of real life. Others just like a clever puzzle, and are content with theme being just a bit of window dressing. This game isn't for everyone and isn't for every situation. It's a chill out game, a relaxing little multiplayer puzzle in which player interaction is derived from a clever synergising of markets and economies, connecting people and thier puzzles together with an abstract valuating mechanism. It's a Sunday game. Friday night is for Cosmic Encounter. Or, more likely, the pub.

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Ranior wrote:
... it reads a bit too much of a rant...
Yeah, you don't often see a rant like that outside of Yahoo's comment sections. Your main complaint seems to stem from you mistaking "theme" for "simulation".
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kos blaat
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ousgg wrote:
Interesting use of the word 'unbiased'.

it is meant to provide a balance to all those raving biased video youtube bloggers, some of which are even getting paid to push product. Based on criteria that matter to me, and if you find that biased, you might need to explain how.
 
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Ranior wrote:

However I think you could improve this a bit--to me it reads a bit too much of a rant and is of limited use to others trying to figure out if they'll like Isle of Skye. For comparison, I think this review on A Feast for Odin is one of the best negative reviews I've read in a long time: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1844138/unhealthy-diet-empt....




Thanks, I'll take a look at it. My review of the game is however not meant to be negative, but IoS fails on every criterium (criterion?) I can come up with, while just about the whole Internet seems to love the game - so something must be wrong.
 
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JamesWolfpacker wrote:
ousgg wrote:
Interesting use of the word 'unbiased'.

laugh I'd agree.

kosterix wrote:

Roads can end abruply and the end result is ugly.

Who designes roads to nowhere?



These people design roads that end abruptly and lead to nowhere. I think you are a fan of Carcassonne?

Well, I can tell pretty much tell that you are a troll. Your posting history absolutely confirms it.



I use Carcassonne to introduce newcomers to a great time of board gaming, the one with Cathedrals, but never play it with gamers. Do you often call people who don't adhere to your - unwritten - standards trolls?
What is the point of your dead sign internet link, do you often see that in America?
 
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I find it interesting how often people dislike games that I love. I really enjoy Isle of Skye. I can not fathom why you would not enjoy it. I honestly think you need to play it more and then revisit your review.

I hope that does not come across as rude. I do not mean for it to sound that way.
 
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kosterix wrote:
Based on criteria that matter to me, and if you find that biased, you might need to explain how.


That's pretty much the definition of what 'biased' means...
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Ryucoo wrote:
To be honest, it sounds like you are playing a completely different game. But in the interest of being helpful:

Theme
Well, this is an abstract game. It's not really supposed to be a thematic, hyper-real simulation of clan life! The bidding round is really about balancing the market with player economies, in that a player can never trade for more than the value of their own economy. It's from here the jeopardy of the game is created. In an unrestricted market ideal world, you would buy at the lowest possible value, and sell at the highest possible value. But by setting a restraint against the players own economy, players are forced into making strategic valuations. How little can I get away with p‎aying for something I want? If I set my valuation too low, I risk losing it. How much can I get away with selling something I don't want? Set my valuation to high, and I risk not selling it and being forced to invest at that price myself. It's this push/pull of internal market forces which sees players fighting with the risks involved in undervalue things they need and overvalue things they don't. Is it an accurate simulation of land trading? No. It's a mechanic in a game about economic balance. Do bishops move diagonally in real life? No, it's a mechanic in a game about strategic positioning. So I wouldn't really worry too much about thematic sense, it's just a clever economic engine which creates the sport within the game.

Thematically, you are connecting distilleries to your main economic centre by road, to provide you with economy. The rest is merely about chasing patterns for rewards, and timing how and when you chase particular patterns. Do you get patterns in place so you score heavily in later rounds, while ignoring current demands? Or do you hit targets immediately and often, at the risk of bigger yeilds? Are you in competion for a target, if so can you win that competition? What can you manage with the resources at hand? What are other players making available to you, what is the supply and demand for each pattern? Are people gunning for one particular pattern and ignoring another? Can you capitalise on this, aquiring some things on the cheap, or trading other things for higher prices? The game is about making good on the speculation of others, and the judgement of the market, while strategically investing in what you forsee as the most lucrative patterns.

In the end, some people just like games to be clever cardboard representations of real life. Others just like a clever puzzle, and are content with theme being just a bit of window dressing. This game isn't for everyone and isn't for every situation. It's a chill out game, a relaxing little multiplayer puzzle in which player interaction is derived from a clever synergising of markets and economies, connecting people and thier puzzles together with an abstract valuating mechanism. It's a Sunday game. Friday night is for Cosmic Encounter. Or, more likely, the pub.


Now that would be a nice game, and indeed we are playing a totally different game. Are you sure you are not by accident talking about a game called Glen More?
There is nothing relaxing in my Isle of Skye, it's harsh merciless money grabbing tile destroying point focused. In my IoS I can't foresee unless I learned the tile distribution by heart. Your view is interesting and thanks for sharing ;-)
 
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Ryan Feathers
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kosterix wrote:
ousgg wrote:
Interesting use of the word 'unbiased'.

it is meant to provide a balance to all those raving biased video youtube bloggers, some of which are even getting paid to push product. Based on criteria that matter to me, and if you find that biased, you might need to explain how.


Ah yes, because everyone who loves the game must be getting paid to have that opinion, because how could people possibly think differently of it than you?

I'm quite positive that Mayfair isn't paying tons of reviewers off--especially not the countless positive text reviews posted on BGG. I'm also quite sure that the thousands of BGG users who have rated this game haven't all been compensated for their ratings, and yet they're quite high--enough to push the game into the top 200 on a site with tens of thousands of games.

The most likely explanation is the one I think is probably the truth--you simply don't like a game many others do. Don't worry, it happens to all of us all the time. I'd be shocked to find someone that agrees the top 100 on this site are actually the 100 best games, in that order. We all have popular games we find to be pretty crummy. (Personally I'm looking at you Castles of Burgundy)


kosterix wrote:


Thanks, I'll take a look at it. My review of the game is however not meant to be negative, but IoS fails on every criterium (criterion?) I can come up with, while just about the whole Internet seems to love the game - so something must be wrong.


Nothing need be wrong--you seem to have this very curious stance that you are the sole arbiter of quality and that anyone who deviates from that is somehow being paid off by big cardboard. That's frankly crazy. Instead it's most likely that we're all a bunch of very diverse people with differing tastes and seek different things in games--and as such we'll all find some games that we loathe that tons of others love. It's perfectly naturally and normal for this to happen.
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Ranior wrote:

Nothing need be wrong--you seem to have this very curious stance that you are the sole arbiter of quality and that anyone who deviates from that is somehow being paid off by big cardboard. That's frankly crazy.


Look I really don't like it when people try to twist someones words. I don't own the truth but I care enough about board games to take the effort to separate the wheat from the chaff. In the above is shown point by point how and why IoS is chaff, as unbiased as feasible, and therefore it is not a rant. I honestly can't believe how intolerant fellow gamers can be.
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kosterix wrote:
ousgg wrote:
Interesting use of the word 'unbiased'.

it is meant to provide a balance to all those raving biased video youtube bloggers, some of which are even getting paid to push product. Based on criteria that matter to me, and if you find that biased, you might need to explain how.


You make the assumption that all the video reviewers and bloggers that rave about this game are somehow biased. I'm sure that there are some who are paid to gush over it, but I don't think that all of them are. I have written many glowing (text) reviews of games (see my latest one about Splendor), and have never received a dime. Does that somehow make me biased? Does it make YOU biased because you gave it a 10?

I have never played Isle of Skye, but am researching it for possible future purchase. I like reading both the positive and negative reviews to give me a complete view of what the game is like. Unfortunately, your review was not very helpful, as it seemed more like an omnidirectional rant.
 
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rantinronrevue wrote:
kosterix wrote:
ousgg wrote:
Interesting use of the word 'unbiased'.

it is meant to provide a balance to all those raving biased video youtube bloggers, some of which are even getting paid to push product. Based on criteria that matter to me, and if you find that biased, you might need to explain how.


You make the assumption that all the video reviewers and bloggers that rave about this game are somehow biased. I'm sure that there are some who are paid to gush over it, but I don't think that all of them are. I have written many glowing (text) reviews of games (see my latest one about Splendor), and have never received a dime. Does that somehow make me biased? Does it make YOU biased because you gave it a 10?

I have never played Isle of Skye, but am researching it for possible future purchase. I like reading both the positive and negative reviews to give me a complete view of what the game is like. Unfortunately, your review was not very helpful, as it seemed more like an omnidirectional rant.


Sigh. Which part of some did you not understand?
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I always appreciate a negative review! I always find negative reviews more helpful than positive ones when evaluating a game -- for some reason positive reviews tend to talk about the player's feelings ("I liked it") and negative review tend to talk about the game itself ("rule X is bad"). Thanks for putting up with the pushback for documenting a negative experience!

As for your use of the term 'biased', I'm with you. You are unequivocally negative in your opinions but do not exhibit any apparent bias.

I enjoyed Isle of Skye, but it is certainly a quirky and non-thematic game. My extensive string of losses suggest that I have something to learn, but I find its quirk intriguing, if not sensible.

kosterix wrote:
Thematically this is nonsense.

Certainly, this game is not realistic or even really thematic. For that, you should definitely look elsewhere! It is an abstract game with just enough theme to help players remember the rules, not a simulation intended to authentically recreate its setting. Nothing about the pricing system makes thematic sense, but it does allow a lot of control over the game if you if you take the time to understand other players' positions.

kosterix wrote:
The bidding mechanism is nonexistent, you pay or you don't.

I wouldn't call it a bidding mechanism. I'd call it a pricing mechanism. You get one chance to set the right price. If you misjudge and set it low, someone buys it for a bargain. If you misjudge and set it high, you have to overpay for it. If you can predict when other players' situations will value it much more or much less than you do, then you can get a bargain or make a killing.

kosterix wrote:
Another goal: get enclosed spaces. Hard to figure out what is enclosed or not, it's badly defined in the rule book.

Just like in Carcasonne. If you could theoretically enlarge the region, then it is not closed.

kosterix wrote:
Unlike carcassonne where you have to plan ahead to manage your meeples, in Skye you get nothing to move around, everything is static on the board.

The resource you are managing is your own liquidity. There is often a careful balance between setting high prices and saving money to buy things you want. While that is thematically ridiculous (no excuses there!), it does give you a lot of control and a very dynamic and changing gamestate to plan around.

Since you didn't like this pricing mechanism, I'd recommend you stay away from Castles of Mad King Ludwig. That game, if anything, makes less thematic sense (but creates much more entertaining boardstates!).

You might like M which is unapologetically abstract, and which contains a truer form of auction. It also has more direct player interaction (via a shared board) and a very dynamically evolving board state.

I don't find Carcasonne to be at all thematic either, as the cities look ridiculous, along with the concept that farmers cannot cross roads to sell goods at a city. For thematic tiling, you might prefer Attika. That feels a lot like expanding city states based on available resources, city planning constraints, and competition for goals. It also has a very interesting and interactive evolving board, where you have to judge what land you need to grab and what players will leave for you to grab later. I think it's best with 3 players.
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kosterix wrote:
Ranior wrote:

However I think you could improve this a bit--to me it reads a bit too much of a rant and is of limited use to others trying to figure out if they'll like Isle of Skye. For comparison, I think this review on A Feast for Odin is one of the best negative reviews I've read in a long time: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1844138/unhealthy-diet-empt....




Thanks, I'll take a look at it. My review of the game is however not meant to be negative, but IoS fails on every criterium (criterion?) I can come up with, while just about the whole Internet seems to love the game - so something must be wrong.


I adore this game, one of my very favourites. But I'm yet to receive a payout from Mayfair for enjoying it so much. I'm also part of a minority that things it is an excellent 2 player game so maybe when that payout arrives I'll get double?

Or it's just different strokes for different folks! There's plenty of other good games out there that I personally don't enjoy but others do.
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kosterix wrote:
Ranior wrote:

Nothing need be wrong--you seem to have this very curious stance that you are the sole arbiter of quality and that anyone who deviates from that is somehow being paid off by big cardboard. That's frankly crazy.


Look I really don't like it when people try to twist someones words. I don't own the truth but I care enough about board games to take the effort to separate the wheat from the chaff. In the above is shown point by point how and why IoS is chaff, as unbiased as feasible, and therefore it is not a rant. I honestly can't believe how intolerant fellow gamers can be.


I hope it was clear that I was using hyperbole there to illustrate my point. I don't literally think that's what you think, but I'm trying to illumniate how you sound to most of us.

Your position thus far has been to consistently claim you're unbiased. First off that's essentially implying that everyone who has given this a good review/rating is somehow being tricked or paid into having this position. (And indeed you double down on this by essentially claiming all positive reviews for it are just paid shills). Second off you aren't unbiased, as Ben points out with his pithy comment--you've explicitly stated you've rated this based on criteria that matter to you. Well guess what that's the exact definition of bias. It's clear that one reason you don't like this game is because the theme is weak and it's not really simulating anything. It just so happens that doesn't bother many of us, because we don't put much weight on that. And that's fine--each gamer is allowed to weigh different elements of games on their own scale. But those represent our own biases. (For example I loathe Fluxx precisely because there are essentially no meaningful decisions and I like to play games that reward good play. There's nothing inherently good about games that have high or low skill, but merely represent a player's desires).


So you come across pretty high and mighty when you're telling all of us that you're the arbiter of what is good, that you're allowed to reveiw on your criteria as the unbiased sort, but that when the rest of us have differing criteria we are biased. Going so far as to outright claim that positive ratings/reviews are wrong and likely shills for Mayfair is taking it very far. So it really shouldn't be too shocking you're getting push back on this review when you're essentially attacking all those who do like the game.

For what it's worth I did lead off by trying to share an example of what I consider to be an excellent negative review. I actually rate A Feast for Odin higher than Isle of Skye, and yet I gave the negative review of A Feast for Odin a lot of credit as it was an excellent review. You'll note that he got a much different reaction than you did. It could just be because fans of AFFO are nicer than fans of IoS, but I would suggest it's far more likely because of the differences in approach.
 
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James Wolfpacker
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Please don't feed the troll.

Check his posting history.
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kosterix wrote:
Another goal: get enclosed spaces. Hard to figure out what is enclosed or not, it's badly defined in the rule book.

What.

kosterix wrote:
Unlike carcassonne which makes up a beautiful complete landscape...

So you understand what an enclosed landscape means in Carcassonne, but you have trouble to apply the same rule (not counting roads, which actually makes MORE sense, a real meadow isn't considered two meadows just because there's a pathway accross it) to Skye?

kosterix wrote:
and every turn new goals crop up

What.

Sounds to me like you played some rules wrong and then hated the result.
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kosterix wrote:
it is meant to provide a balance to all those raving biased video youtube bloggers, some of which are even getting paid to push product.

So you see a majority positive views as "imbalanced" and seem to believe in the "false balance" fallacy, that everything needs to have an equal amount of negative and positive views?

You should totally contact news organizations whenever there is a terrorist attack to take the pro-terrorist side, then... I mean, talk about one-sided coverage...
 
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kosterix wrote:
The game consists of rounds where you get 3 tiles, destroy one, sell one, or two, and if it's not sold, you have to pay for the tile.


Well, maybe i misread the rules, but the way I understood them you can only sell one tile. So no players can finish with 0 tiles at the end of the turn and it adds a few more tradeoff that make the game more interesting.
 
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Naity wrote:
kosterix wrote:
The game consists of rounds where you get 3 tiles, destroy one, sell one, or two, and if it's not sold, you have to pay for the tile.


Well, maybe i misread the rules, but the way I understood them you can only sell one tile. So no players can finish with 0 tiles at the end of the turn and it adds a few more tradeoff that make the game more interesting.


Well, yep, you misread the rules. A player can only BUY one tile, but he can SELL (involuntarily) both tiles he drawn that round. It's up to her to make sure she'll get loads of money in trade.
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