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Subject: Early monk, fireworks worker and 2 VP prestige are overrated rss

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Norbert Chan
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Jasen had been to BGG.con, and had bought In the Year of the Dragon, sight unseen, probably based on the fact that the designer, Stefan Feld, was the same designer as Notre Dame. Jasen taught the rules to us.

Quick Synopsis: In medieval China, players are attracting workers to their temples to survive one calendar year, where there are attacks by Mongols, drought, and contagion. In the action phase, players choose from the following: research (earn VPs through scholars), build (build a palace segment), fireworks (earn fireworks counters), money (take money), helmets (move up higher on the turn order track), rice (take rice counters), and prestige (buy a scroll to earn 1 or 2 VPs a month). These are performed in player order, and if another player wants to do another action that someone has taken, they must pay three gold. In the person phase, players recurit a worker into their temples. Each player has an 11 person deck, with 9 cards representing the unique personalities in the game, and 2 cards are wild cards. The workers are split into two categories, the younger that can do more, while the older are worth more prestige, and help the player in the action phase for turn order. Each month, there is a scoring, based on temples, number of geishas, and scrolls a player has. At the end of the game, there is a final scoring, counting monks and 2 VPs per worker.

Game 1:

Player order: Jean Jodoin, Greg Nicholas, Jasen Robillard, Norbert and Don Smith.

The events were: 1) peace, 2) peace, 3) Monguls, 4) Contagion, 5) Monguls, 6) Drought, 7) Tribute, 8) Contagion, 9) Drought, 10) Fireworks, 11) Tribute, and 12) Fireworks.

Noting the early Monguls, the first four players took a warrior. Jean also took a rice worker, someone else took a doctor. Since the rules say that you cannot take the same pair as the players in front of you, I decided to take a monk with my warrior. The monk did nothing for me, and in fact, I had to replace it later on. Perhaps thinking through this tough set up, perhaps I should have gone with doctor and rice worker. I think Jasen had taken a scholar with his warrior so my choice was limited to a monk or fireworks worker if I took a warrior. Don was even in tougher straits, going last, since there were no more warriors, so he settled with rice worker and doctor.

Jasen had bought one scroll in the first month, giving him a 1 pt edge in the frst two months, so the scores after the two peaceful months were: Jasen 6, everyone else 4.

When the Monguls struck in month 3, Don, who had abandoned the warriors was the only one affected. Scores: Jasen 11, Jean/Norbert 9, Greg 7, Don 6.

I had put two doctors in my temples, so I was okay for the Contagion on month 4. Unfortunately, I had neglected putting in a worker, so I was desperately short of temple space to put in more workers. I had put in a money worker as well, which was what Don had done, since both of us were going last in the action phase, and tried to compensate by getting more money. Scores: Jasen 14, Norbert 12, Jean/Greg: 11, Don 8.

The Moguls struck again on month 5. Scores: Jasen 19, Jean/Norbert: 17, Greg 16, Don 11.

On month 6, the drought month, Jasen got 3 fireworks counters. Both Jasen and I were in a bit of a death spiral, since we were putting in workers to replace workers that were no longer needed. I thought I was being clever by replacing my warrior since he was no longer needed, but Jean and Greg had more than enough space for their workers. They were going first in the action phase, landing on builder, and getting two temple pieces to their play area. I eventually replaced my monk in this manner. Scores: Jasen 22, Jean 20, Norbert 20, Greg 19, Don 14

On month 7, tribute was required. Jasen was still in the lead, but only slightly, since he was replacing workers in his two temple area, while Jean was up to three temples: Scores: Jasen 25, Jean/Greg/Norbert 24, Don 18

On month 8, the contagion struck. Jasen was still in a slender lead: Scores: Jasen 29, Jean/Greg/Norbert 28, Don 22

Another drought on month 9, Jasen had taken the scholar approach to earn more VPs: Score: Jasen 37, Jean/Greg/Norbert 33, Don 28

On month 10, Jasen fired off his saved off fireworks to earn 6 more VPs,, while Jean was second in fireworks. Scores: Jasen 46, Jean 45, Norbert 41, Greg 39, Don 34.

Month 11 was the tribute. Jean would take the lead for good, going first in the action phase and landing on the scholar to earn more VPs: Scores: Jean 54, Norbert 53, Jasen 50, greg 45, Don 42. Jasen would also pack a couple of more monks into his temple in anticipation of final scoring.

Month 12 was the final month, with fireworks. Both Jean and Greg had 12 workers total! Jasen and I only had 6 workers. With the 2 pts per worker, and a 6 pt monk, Jean steamrolled to victory.
Scores: Jean 96 (24 worker pts, 6 monk),
Jasen 84 (12 worker, 12 monk),
Greg 82 (24 worker pts),
Don 73 (14 worker pts),
Norbert 71 (12 worker pts).
So the Chinese guy in the group finished last! How utterly thematic.

Game 2: This time the events were: 1) peace, 2) peace, 3) fireworks, 4) Monguls, 5) Tribute, 6) Contagion, 7) Drought, 8) Tribute, 9) Fireworks, 10) Contagion, 11) Drought, 12) Monguls.

This time, I was going first. So I looked at the early Monguls, and decided I would need warriors. Unfortunately, I got seduced by the early fireworks, and noting that a fireworks worker is worth 3 in value during the action phase, my 6 action points would leave me in first place, so I took a fireworks worker. In retrospect, I should have taken a doctor, or rice worker, something that would have given me a benefit, rather than chasing illusionary VPs due to fireworks.

After the first month of peace, there were divergent strategies from the first game. Going first, I landed on the fireworks to claim 3 fireworks counters. Don would have a scholar worker and land on the scholar action to take 4 VPs. Jean would try a very brave strategy on the first turn: spend all his 6 gold for a 2 value prestige tile! Scores: Don 7, Jean 4, Greg/Jasen/Norbert 2.

In the second month of peace, going to the nearly the end of the game, I would be going last in the action phase. I figured I could offset that by gettig a money worker, and trying to pay my way for the tiles I needed. Don would now have a second fireworks worker, and take the fireworks counter for 4 counters. Scores: Don 12, Jean 8, Jasen 5, Greg/Norbert 4

Don was first in the fireworks month, and I was second. My fourth worker was a builder, so I hoped I wouldn't get caught without temples like last game. Greg began a run on warriors, having 3 of them in one temple, and allowing him to go first in the action phase. Scores: Don 20, Jean 12, Norbert 9, jasen 8, Greg 7.

When the Monguls attacked in month 4, Jean had no Monguls (he had discarded them earlier, otherwise I might have tied for last with him and Don). Scores: Don 27, Jean 17, Greg 15, Jasen/Norbert 14.

Month 5: Tribute. I only had one money worker, but since I was going last in the action phase, I was desperately short on cash. I was in crisis management mode, jumping from one crisis to another, just treading water. Also, the warriors were now all gone, and I had not played my warrior card, so I had one less worker to use. Scores: Don 33, Jean 23, Greg/Jasen 18, Norbert 17

Month 6: Contagion. I think everyone survived this contagion phase okay. Scores: Don 35, Jean 29, Jasen 22, Greg/Norbert 21
Month 7: Drought. Everyone survived this drought okay as well. Jean would take the scholar action to add more VPs. Scores: Don 37, Jean 35, greg 29, Jasen 26, Norbert 25

Month 8 Tribute. I was short on cash, by 1 gold and lost a worker. I was just trying to get by. In Maslow's pyramid of needs, I couldn't get by the first rung. Jsaen mentioned this game must have been inspired by Maslow's order of needs (survival, food, self actualization, etc). I decided to screw my workers, got a geisha and ride out the rest of the storm. Scores: Jean 48, Don 40, Jasen 31, Norbert 29, Greg 28

Month 9: Fireworks. I was first in fireworks, Don was second, but I had to spend a second action on fireworks, while Don had only spent one action on turn 2 on the fireworks to earn his total of 9 VPs, compared to my VPs. Next time, if I get fireworks, I'll try to do it in one action. Scores: Jean 61, Don 45, Norbert 39, Jasen 36, Greg 33.

Month 10: Contagion. Here, Jean took a real body blow. He had no doctors, had three separate buildings with 2 workers in one, and one in each of the other ones. With no doctors, he was reduced to two temples, with one worker! But he had a huge lead with his prestige points. We weren't surve if anyone was going to catch him, he had already exceeded my score from last game, though that's not saying much. Scores: Jean 73, Don 52, Norbert 43, Jasen 42, Greg 38.

Month 11 Drought. Jean and I were short one rice, so Jean now had no workers! Just his two temples, standing guard over nothing. Scores: Jean 78, Don 55, Jasen 51, Norbert 47, Greg 44.

Month 12: Monguls. Greg now earned a bunch of VPs with his warriors. Jasen had a clean slate of 12 workers, and blew in for the win:
Scores: Jasen 92 (24 workers, 6 monk),
Greg 85 (24 workers, 6 monk),
Jean 85 (0 workers, 0 monks!),
Norbert 84 (16 workers, 6 monk),
Don 65.

Well, it looks like for your initial two workers, getting a monk or a fireworks worker leads to a poor game. Either of those workers doesn't help you contain the disasters. Even an early Geisha will earn you 12 pts, more than I would have earned with the 9 pts of fireworks. Also, the early 2 VP prestige tile almost worked, but it was an extreme strategy. I think if Jean fine tuned that strategy a bit, it may have worked.

This is a very good game, with lots of tense decisions. Even now, I'm still thinking of how to do better next game.
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Geo
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Re: Early monk, fireworks worker and 2 VP prestige are overr
Norbert Chan wrote:
Don was even in tougher straits, going last, since there were no more warriors, so he settled with rice worker and doctor.


Not possible. You always take the younger persons during setup and there are six of each kind...
 
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Norbert Chan
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Hey Geo,

Unless we are missing something, there were only 4 younger workers of each kind. I agree with you, it would be more fair, if there were at least the same number as those in the game.
 
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Jeff W
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Norbert Chan wrote:
Unless we are missing something, there were only 4 younger workers of each kind. I agree with you, it would be more fair, if there were at least the same number as those in the game.


I don't own the game yet (waiting for the English release), but if I recall correctly, there should be more younger than the older (6 younger, 4 older). I think you have transposed the younger/older. The younger person should have fewer symbols and a higher number. So the younger fireworks person will have one fireworks symbol and the "5". The older fireworks person will have two fireworks symbol and the "3".

 
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Jeff W
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Norbert Chan wrote:
Well, it looks like for your initial two workers, getting a monk or a fireworks worker leads to a poor game. Either of those workers doesn't help you contain the disasters.


In our games people tend to take them for the high numbers so that they can be first in the person track. (This probably didn't work for you because it looks like you transposed the younger with the older person).
 
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Norbert Chan
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Jeff, GeoMan:

Thank you for clarifying the rules for me. I read the rules at the RioGrande games website, and indeed we did mix up inexperienced workers with experienced workers. Thank you for catching that! So indeed, there are 6 workers available to everyone. In addition, that meant we could not choose from tax collector, builder or Court Lady from our first choices. That really restricted our inital setup options.

I also found out that a Geisha should be called Court Lady. I knew something was thematically wrong with Geishas in medieval China

Cheers!

 
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Alan R
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Norbert Chan wrote:
Jeff, GeoMan:

In addition, that meant we could not choose from tax collector, builder or Court Lady from our first choices. That really restricted our inital setup options.



I am sure that you can choose all 9 of the different workers in the inital set-up. The only rescrition is that you can't take 'older' workers with more experince. The tax collector, builder or Court Lady are considered 'younger' workers and are thus avilable in the inital set-up.
 
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Re: Early monk, fireworks worker and 2 VP prestige are overr
Alan is correct.

The tax collector, court lady and carpenter are all available from the beginning during the set-up phase. Also, the other 6 younger professions are available (ie, the other 6 professions with the higher number but less productive tiles).
 
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Norbert Chan
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Hi Alan, Dvonn:

Thanks for your replies. Yes, what I meant to say was that we played our game wrong (tax collector, court lady, carpenter were not available to us during the setup phase). In the proper game, all the young, inexperienced professions are available, as both you know.

Cheers!
 
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