OK, one time Randy Beaman had to take baths with his brother. So one time his little brother took a potty in the bathtub .....and now Randy Beaman gets to take showers alone. 'K, bye.
One time, OK, see, one time Randy Beaman's little brother ate Pop Rocks and drank a soda at the same time and his head exploded! 'K, bye.
Five of us sat down for this beaut. Four were complete newbies to the game, while I, the experienced veteran, had ONE entire play under my belt.
So here we go. Money and cards are dealt, auctions held, and no first round cities built. I recall this from my first game as well. I expect this is pretty regular for most plays. We all played down various colors to get a primary or secondary role-card and moved into the second round.
Armed with more building cards, a few players were able build cities in this round. Quickly the newbies realize the triple advantage to building cities:
1) The cards are placed in your area for role-card consideration later
2) Immediate VP generation
3) Shield accumulation for end-game VP generation
After round 2, a few hints indicated that the blue role-card (place a shiled on the territory map) seemed VERY nice.
Round three yielded similar results - a couple cities built, and the same player able to keep the blue role-card. Now, he had many more shields than the rest of us, even doubling two of his fellow opponents.
Here is where we made a small mistake in assuming Round 4 was the final round because there were only 17 building cards left after dealing out the 20 (Rules say that the last round is when Phase 1 begins without enough cards to give 4 to each player). Realistically, this wouldn't have changed the dynamic too much. So we continue and more of the same - auctions finalized, a couple cities built, and the final role-cards handed out.
In the end, all but one of us were able to build two cities, the last player could only put one on the table. With this, we each had anywhere from 2 to 4 shields on the board, of course, except for the player who was able to keep the blue role card for ALL four rounds! This ability EASILY won him the game.
While I'm certainly not willing to give up on this game, it seemed to end prematurely. 4 rounds? Only two cities? Of course, we now realize that we should have had 5 rounds, but as hinted earlier, there wouldn't have been much of a difference because the rules state that when there aren't enough building cards to go around, Phase 1 is skipped, which means that no gold is received. No gold = no building.
We also discussed that we were perhaps overpaying for the building cards during the auctions. Our typical price was 1 gold per card. Of course, there were some fluctuations, but it was certainly the norm.
While the game is very engaging and the subtle strategies are elegant, the short-finish left each of us kinda dissatisfied. Perhaps five players is too many and 3 or 4 players is this game's sweet spot. I'm sure we'll give it a few more tries to determine that. And of course, we all know to try to SHARE the blue role-cards!
Only two cities? Of course, we now realize that we should have had 5 rounds, but as hinted earlier, there wouldn't have been much of a difference because the rules state that when there aren't enough building cards to go around, Phase 1 is skipped, which means that no gold is received. No gold = no building.
I think you misunderstood the rules there:
If at the beginning of Phase 1 there are less than 20 (5 Players) / 16 (4 Players) / 12 (3 Players) Building Cards, then no Building Cards will be handed out BUT still you get your money
Played the game yesterday for the first time (4 Players) and I quite liked it although I lost