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Subject: End of the campaign review - contains spoilers rss

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Norbert Ménkű
Hungary
Budapest
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Warning to readers, the below review contains serious spoilers.

We have completed one campaign with 5 players, the 6th was inactive. I was playing with the yellow (grain) charter. We did not see/explore all the paths of the game of course, so at certain points I might be wrong of course. Some of my findings are probably not true for two player games.

I really enjoyed the whole campaign, and after each game I could hardly wait to start the next game. I really hope I’ll have the chance to play one more campaign. I believe this shows that overall it's a great game. Now let’s see where I see improvement potential:

Spoiler (click to reveal)

1., Due to discard rules at the end of some games I was forced to throw away buildings and/or boxes belonging to my charter, because I could not keep them all. They were placed to the advancement deck, and other players picked it up, because simply they were before me in the player order. The result is that I ended up with missing personas or buildings to build a competitive combo. So, you cannot protect the buildings belonging to your charter. I guess it was a key design decision, so you can get stuff from other charters as well, but in my opinion it makes a game a bit more luck based, because you don’t who gets what from others.

2., Several 20 point buildings are useless or at least do not worth building and using. For example buildings with 2 treasure card cost, 2 guest card cost. Some of them on the other hand are real upgrades and/or game changing. Especially the ones providing alternative to The Commons.

3., In order to have higher endgame score, players started to replace lower point buildings with 20 point buildings, even if the building was a crap, effectively ruining their own charter. This was especially true for the last game.

4., Cards in the advancement deck are unbalanced. Guest and Treasure cards were picked up immediately. Crappy buildings, several not so useful assistants, friends, and other unwanted cards were blocking the 5 face-up slots especially in the later games of the campaign. The 5 face-up space should have been increased during the campaign. I know there is a building which provides shuffle, but it’s only 8 point, and no one wanted to build it. It should have been a replacement for the Market in The Commons.

5., Probably just our play style, but progress token moved too fast. 2-3 extra turns per game would have been nice. I think if Grandstand would not move the progress that would have been enough. There was a game, where we used a treasure cards to move the progress backwards with 4 steps, and that game was much better.

6., Charters are a bit unbalanced. I understand that from game design point of view it’s really hard to balance 6 different things for the 6 charters. I expected that the charter with not so good buildings will get one of the better minions, or personas to balance things out, but we felt several times, that this is not the case.

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Eric Matthews
United States
Boston
Massachusetts
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Have you played any games on the completed board after the campaign?

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Joshua Wehner

Minnesota
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My wife and I really enjoyed the campaign, and I expect we'll play a few more times, post-campaign. Some of my thoughts on your thoughts:

Spoiler (click to reveal)

1. Capacity vs unconstructed buildings: This kind of irked me, as well, seeing "my" buildings going into the general Market, but I think it's necessary for balance -- we would *definitely* have hoarded buildings otherwise. (My wife, in fact, admitted she held her Minion-generating building unbuilt for at least one game to prevent me from making my own copy of "her" Minion, since we both thought hers was better than mine.)

2. "Useless" buildings: Wow, my wife had an amazing combo with that 2 guest cost building: with two personas active from Charter chest glory, one that gave her the top Advancement card when using a guest-cost building, another that gave her some other perk when using a Minion, she'd send a Robot on the Clubhouse, get the top card and either a Guest from the Market, or a Scroll (to avoid paying next time), or a Tome (to search for any Guest). The top card was a Guest roughly ~30% of the time. From my side of the table, it looked like it was nearly-but-definitely-not-quite-infinitely repeatable. And when she found a color-aligned, +point Friend that just improved her combo. My best combo (an actually infinitely repeatable loop with Alchemist and Perfumery) was middling, in comparison.

3. 20 point buildings: Our final campaign scores were both near 1000 points, more than 70% of which came from Glory stars. Our final point difference was around 10 points, but those 20 point buildings maybe aren't _quite_ as important as I thought at the early stage of the campaign.

6. Yeah, I have some concerns about the Black/Coal Charter (particularly in a two-player game), but our final campaign scores were so close, it's hard for me to express this as a balance issue. I dunno.
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Norbert Ménkű
Hungary
Budapest
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Ganybyte wrote:
Have you played any games on the completed board after the campaign?



Not yet, unfortunately. We planned it, but I'm not sure we can gather exactly the same group. We also have some other games in the queue.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Charters look messy for sure, but the Sky Islands might help. Also, the inactive charter contains 5 random buildings, and 4 empty Sky Islands. (Which will be randomized also if I remember correctly
 
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Norbert Ménkű
Hungary
Budapest
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jaw6 wrote:


Spoiler (click to reveal)

2. "Useless" buildings: Wow, my wife had an amazing combo with that 2 guest cost building: with two personas active from Charter chest glory, one that gave her the top Advancement card when using a guest-cost building, another that gave her some other perk when using a Minion, she'd send a Robot on the Clubhouse, get the top card and either a Guest from the Market, or a Scroll (to avoid paying next time), or a Tome (to search for any Guest). The top card was a Guest roughly ~30% of the time. From my side of the table, it looked like it was nearly-but-definitely-not-quite-infinitely repeatable. And when she found a color-aligned, +point Friend that just improved her combo. My best combo (an actually infinitely repeatable loop with Alchemist and Perfumery) was middling, in comparison.



I would like to reflect one of your comments:

Spoiler (click to reveal)

That's where player count gets into the picture. All 5 players kept his guest in our party for the next game, that cut our guest supply in the advancement deck almost to the half (7/12) from the middle of the campaign. Also, players kept their guest until the last income, or a round before, and there was only a 1-2 cases in the entire campaign when someone discarded a guest card. (they used on the quota track). So it seems that the player count adds one more level of complexity to the balancing issue ... Different cards and buildings (personas, and all other pieces) could have different usability depending on the player count...
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Jeremy McMahon
Australia
Goulburn
NSW
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Good points.

Sounds like your experience very closely mirrored ours, in terms of those points.

1) Your point 1 really kicked some of us early who were deliberately trying to do that

2)and 3) I agree entirely, and it seems some Charters in our end game may be vastly different (and useful, potentially) because of this. Yet to check it by actually playing though

4) Absolutely. The first you mention were consistently taken. The last you mention seem to break the end game, for us

5) I was OK with this. I loved the relative control players had over this and that different strategies could evolve around controlling this

6) We thought so too, though again it could be due to your point 1 and random luck.

Overall though, we also loved our campaign and felt compelled to play a new session as soon as we finished one.
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