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Subject: Teaching T&E without monuments? rss

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Larry Buckel
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I recently learned and played T&E at our local game convention in Los Angeles. My wife also attended the con and though she did not play this game, I got her to learn Caylus which she enjoyed very much (that is another thread). She has become an avid gamer over the year and doesn't mind heavier games as long as they are to her taste (no fantasy or SciFi). I am not sure if Tigris will be to her liking but I printed the very nice Nile 2 player board posted here by Brian Mullin
(Marvinrah) and I was thinking of playing/teaching at least one game without using the monuments. My thinking was it would be a way to just play on a small board using basic moves and then add monuments after a few plays. Doing it this way would make the Monuments almost seem like a cool expansion. I equate this logic to teaching Caylus with the simplified favor track.

I'm wondering what others think about introducing a game this way. Do you think it would eliminate too much? My thinking (before trying it) is that it would not take away too much and it would give us a chance to practice the basic moves before adding the extra layer of strategy Monuments bring to the game. What do you think?
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buck380 wrote:
I recently learned and played T&E at our local game convention in Los Angeles. My wife also attended the con and though she did not play this game, I got her to learn Caylus which she enjoyed very much (that is another thread). She has become an avid gamer over the year and doesn't mind heavier games as long as they are to her taste (no fantasy or SciFi). I am not sure if Tigris will be to her liking but I printed the very nice Nile 2 player board posted here by Brian Mullin
(Marvinrah) and I was thinking of playing/teaching at least one game without using the monuments. My thinking was it would be a way to just play on a small board using basic moves and then add monuments after a few plays. Doing it this way would make the Monuments almost seem like a cool expansion.

I'm wondering what others think about introducing a game this way. Do you think it would eliminate too much? My thinking (before trying it) is that it would not take away too much and it would give us a chance to practice the basic moves before adding the extra layer of strategy Monuments bring to the game. What do you think?
I've played few 4p games and one 2p games. Some games didn't have monuments, so I think you may be fine. They do introduce an interesting mechanism, but for a first game, you may indeed want to keep tihngs simplier and just ignore those for the sake of simplicity. OTOH, if she handled Caylus well, there doesn't seem to be any harm in adding them in either.
 
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Tony Bosca
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I would just play with the monuments. The trickiest rules are for "conflict resolution" and you have to learn those anyway. The amount of rules, or difficulty/confusion, caused by the monuments is minimal when compared to the "trouble" of learning the conflict rules. Some people I have taught this game feel it's very intuitive (most of my mates) but if you go by thread count alone in the forums, this game looks intimidating. I think when compared to heavier games, it's relatively simple. Caylus is a much more rule dense game.
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Peter Mumford
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I think T&E works very well for two players. We remove the two treasures from the board that are farthest from the meeting of the rivers. That seems to scale it properly. We don't bother to reduce the size of the board.
 
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Maarten D. de Jong
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What Tony said.

Monuments are not the problem rulewise but conflicts are, and you cannot take conflicts out as it would gut the game. Monuments too cannot be taken out as if they were a 'cool expansion': they form an integral part of the game as well. Games where they are not used, as ackmondual's experience seems to indicate, are unthinkable amongst more experienced players.

In short my advice would be: if she grokked Caylus, don't fret about making things easier and stepping up the complexity over various games. The ebb and flow of a subset of the ruleset doesn't translate well to the full ruleset. Instead spend time helping her master the two types of conflict until they are second nature: that is a much better investment of your teaching time.
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Rob Rob
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Like everyone else, I say if she can "get" Caylus she can easily get T&E. Since you sometimes do go a whole game without creating them anyway, I suspect you could play without monuments but they really don't add all that much complexity.

IMHO, the counter intuitive conflict system is (perversely) a testament to the brilliance of the design. "Simple complexity."
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Larry Buckel
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Thanks for everyone's advice. As it turned out, I didn't start with the monuments and halfway through the game she had placed four tiles in a square so we had our first monument. She is a good sport and enjoyed the game. How lucky am I? On a sad note I attempted to teach her Troyes the next night and fried her brain. Oh well, better luck next time. That's what I get for flying too close to the sun
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Tony Chen
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Monuments and external conflicts are the two ways of scoring "extra" points in the game. Moreover, building monuments weakens your position for external conflict. Knowing when to build monuments and when to save the tiles for external conflicts is an integral part of the game.
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Benoit Pilotte
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The better way to teach T&E is by showing your score to the players learning the game. In this way, the learners don't have to memorise your strenght and weekness - they can see them - and they can observe the motivation behind your moves.

At some moments during the game, you can tell some commentaries in the style "ok, I will concede this color to you and I will concentrate my effort to prevent you to growth your score in that color", for helping newbies to understand that there is a fight for some considerations but not for all.

You can also hide the remaining tiles behind a screen (the box) in a way where learners can see how many tiles remain, helping them to learn the timing aspect, a key element in the game but not so obvious during the first games.

Teaching T&E witout monuments is like teaching chess without Castle,without Knight and without the possibility to move a pawn two squares. It will remove some important aspect of the game, and it will also hide an important motivation behind the purpose of Internal conflicts.
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