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Subject: Resource management games without resources are less fun (2p) rss

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Seth Brown
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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We had to get in a quick game of something before my evening gaming session (Damn, I love my life), so after rejecting Dominion and Mr. Jack, Caylus Magna Carta it was. I prefer Caylus, since it's one of my favorite games (and puts the "favor" in "favorite"), but time was fleeting and so CMC it was.

The opening pink building was a stone, and my hand was two stone buildings and a lawyer. I held onto it and built the lawyer, figuring I'll get some money if Chris uses it, and then play on all the resources. So he plays his single food building, but after I play on it next turn, he immediately flips it with the lawyer. I grab a stone and get a castle batch, while he builds another building. I can't remember what that building is, because he soon flips it into another residence. I grab another castle batch to make sure he can't, but it costs my my gold, so I'm basically trading a food and stone for 4 points (which is, admittedly, not shabby).

Sadly, my huge cash advantage doesn't do a whole lot when there's nowhere to play on the board. Chris drops a double food building, which I immediately play on. I play a single wood building of my own, but fearing his income doubling mine, I decide to flip it into a residence next turn. Now we both have some income, which is piling up because there is nowhere useful to play.

We get desperate and draw a few cards, hunting for buildings to play. Another three buildings come out, and two are flipped, and now his income is 5 and mine is 4, and Chris builds a double stone building on the table in addition to his double food. I feel the resource pinch, and build my own double food building, finally having my own resource production.

Then the most fun part of the game. Chris plays on two buildings in a row one away from the end of the road. With tons of money I've saved by having residences and nowhere to play, I'll easily be able to move the provost back and deny him everything this turn. So I buy a card so I don't have to pass first. But Chris realizes this, and also buys a card, since he also has piles of cash from having so much income with nowhere to spend it. We alternate drawing cards until we have both drawn our entire deck. Chris then passes for a dollar, and I realize I'm down to 2 ducats, he has 1, and that's enough to counteract my attempt to deny him goods.

A few turns later, Chris builds the money for castle batches building AND the money for gold building. And right about now I wish I hadn't spent all my money. I figure the game will end soon, since we're already in the final stages, so I play on castle batches. Chris plays on gold. And rather than being the fool I'm hoping he is and buying a castle batch for two dollars, he lets me buy two, and then build two more for a favor.

Sadly, this leaves a single castle batch. And this is very bad, because it means Chris gets a final turn to spend his gold for sexy prestige buildings that win the game. And although I have gold, I don't have the other resources to use with it. And unlike Caylus (which is, I must reiterate, a superior game), you can't get resources during the round and use them to build blue buildings later in the round. And so I lose. Hard. We didn't even bother counting the final scores.

It was the most resource-light game of CMC I've ever played. It's a shame I wasn't more resource-ful.
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