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Subject: What is the purpose of secretly doing City Building? rss

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Michael K
Canada
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First time Splotter owner. I'm flipping through the Antiquity rules and I'm not quite sure what purpose secretly doing the City Building Phase serves? What implications does this have on gameplay and strategy?

Sorry if this is a basic question, but I'm just trying to get a broad sense of the game flow as I work through the rulebook.
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Andrew Denison
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Ames
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I guess if you say competing for building spots on the map it could be important. So if you see someone manning Carts you could do the same. You could also more reliably predict or get turn order since its based on what you are doing during the city phase.
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[maˈtiːas]
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Elzach
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Knowledge of new buildings and which ones other players are manning would be pretty nice intel on their plans for this and future rounds. Therefore it’s secret and should stay that way, except maybe in a learning game.
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Matthias Mahr
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The most obvious thing would be, that later in game, when zones of control overlap and turn order is more important, people might peek and base their "turn order bid" by manning carts (and explorer) on what others do.

Also you might alter your building priority based on what others do. Like somebody built a fountain? One less grave to be worried about. Somebody built a dump? I should probably do the same, unless I don't care, that he can pollute our overlapping ZOC and I can't.

But I'm still a beginner in this game as well, so maybe some have better reasons.
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David Goulette
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Good examples above. I'll add a couple more.

I think it would take high level play before secrecy is needed. A lot of people say that the game is such a brain burner on what they are doing that they don't do things in secret. They are too focused on what they are doing and looking at the board state to even care about what others are building. This is where I still am as a learner of this game. And anybody I play with would be the same.

But I can see some cases in high level play.

Consider the case where I have a bunch of inns in your area of control, it would be helpful to me to know whether you are about to build a dump. If you build a dump, I cannot dump pollution in your area. So I will have to find space elsewhere. That might change whether I man my harbor, or build alchemy, build more inns in a different area, etc.

Another example is the Market. Only one player needs a manned market to be in on trade. Let's say you would like to trade with Joey across the table because he has a bunch of stone and you are short. But before you say anything, Joey declares that he just built a market and would like to trade for some of your wine. Now you don't have to build/man your market because he did it for you.

All examples will be in the late game when things are tight and interaction increases.
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Michael K
Canada
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This is great. Thank you everyone for the responses. One more question, are the player screens always supposed to be up and covering your player board, or can they be lowered between certain phases once the secrecy is no longer required?

Edit: Just a couple of other small questions:

1) the wooden buildings replace the small square tiles that have each players coat of arms on it right? I believe these tiles were the inns from previous editions but not have wooden houses instead.

2) On the page of the rulebook where it lists all the components, it states that there should be 1 famine track and 1 famine track black block. However, I have 4 famine tracks. What are the extras for?
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Murr Rockstroh
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Fleming Island
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Wrathburn wrote:
This is great. Thank you everyone for the responses. One more question, are the player screens always supposed to be up and covering your player board, or can they be lowered between certain phases once the secrecy is no longer required?
We don't even have or use player screens since we have the older edition. We just don't look around to see what everyone is doing, and once we're done planning our turn, if we catch a glimpse of what someone else is planning, we won't go back and change anything to compensate. Normally everyone is so wrapped up in their own plans, no one has time to bother with what anyone else is doing.

So to answer your question, take them down if you're using them, after everyone is done planning. Or better yet, don't even bother using them in the first place

Wrathburn wrote:
Edit: Just a couple of other small questions:

1) the wooden buildings replace the small square tiles that have each players coat of arms on it right? I believe these tiles were the inns from previous editions but not have wooden houses instead.

2) On the page of the rulebook where it lists all the components, it states that there should be 1 famine track and 1 famine track black block. However, I have 4 famine tracks. What are the extras for?

1) Correct.
2) They're duplicates because of the way the punchboards are laid out, you don't need the extras.
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Wilbert Kiemeneij
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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Murr wrote:
Wrathburn wrote:
2) On the page of the rulebook where it lists all the components, it states that there should be 1 famine track and 1 famine track black block. However, I have 4 famine tracks. What are the extras for?

2) They're duplicates because of the way the punchboards are laid out, you don't need the extras.

You only have 2 complete famine tracks though. The backside of the four panels is the continuation of the track.
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Russell White
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In addition to the strategic implications that others haven't mentioned, I think another simple thing is that doing the city step in secret means that it can be done simultaneously. This is a long game and (in my experience) most of that time is spent during the city phase. If you made your choices in serial then the phase would be much longer!
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mfl134
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Havertown
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In case it hasn't been said:
- If you only can look at what you are doing, the game should move quicker.
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Murr Rockstroh
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Arctem wrote:
In addition to the strategic implications that others haven't mentioned, I think another simple thing is that doing the city step in secret means that it can be done simultaneously. This is a long game and (in my experience) most of that time is spent during the city phase. If you made your choices in serial then the phase would be much longer!
Secret or not, Phase 2 City Building is done simultaneously, not turn by turn. The resolution of what you planned (in later Phases) is done in turn order, but the planning part (Phase 2) is all done at the same time, screens or no screens.
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