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Subject: Z-Man Games Interview with Uwe Rosenberg on Ora Et Labora rss

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Anthony
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This interview is appearing now on www.zmangames.com

Interview with Uwe Rosenberg.

After Agricola and Le Havre, how can you distinguish Ora & Labora from the two others?


Replenishing mechanisms
Since 2005, I’m working on replenishing mechamisms in board games. The production wheel in my new game is an enhancement to what we’ve first seen in Agricola and then later in Le Havre and Merkator. You know the basic idea from Puerto Rico. An action space that remains unsused is made more interesting by adding goods until it‘s interesting enough to be taken. In Agricola, you replenish the action spaces at the beginning of a round, even the used ones. In Le Havre and Merkator, you replenish them every turn: two specific spaces in Le Havre, and in Merkator all spaces adjacent to the used one.

Ora et Labora is also a worker placement game
Like in Le Havre, players use their resources to build new action spaces, the so-called buildings. Like in Agricola and Le Havre, they place their workers on these spaces. What's so special about Ora et Labora is that there is a special worker, the prior. He may use a newly built building on the same turn. That's why you'd like to use him as often as you can, so the question is: how do you get him back? Apart from the prior, each player has two lay brothers. They get them all back, when all three of them have been placed. This is different to Agricola, as players do not place all of their workers in the same round.



The production wheel seems to be the key element in the game. Can you describe the mechanism of the wheel?

The production wheel
In Ora et Labora, you replenish at the beginning of a round again. The big change is the production wheel. It takes the replenishing off your shoulders. In Agricola, you had to place all the goods one by one on the action spaces. In Ora et Labora, the production values of all goods are updated by a rotation of the production wheel: for instance, a single move changes the value of the cattle goods indicator from 2 to 3. Simultaneously, the value of the grain goods indicator changes from 4 to 5. The same is true for the other goods indicators: peat, coins, grapes, clay, stone, wood. And what does this value mean? When the wood goods indicator is on space 6, the next player to take wood gets 6 wood tokens. (An opportunity I wouldn't like to miss in Agricola, too.)
In Agricola, taking the action empties the action space. In Ora et Labora, the goods indicator is reset to 0. And so the circle is complete. It's the same effect, but with less effort.

The replay value of your games is an important element. Can you explain what you have done for Ora et Labora?

The development of Ora et Labora
Ora et Labora contains 65 buildings. Over the course of three years of development time (I have to thank 250 play-testers), there had been over 100 buildings. I had to reduce that number if a building hasn't been used for a long time or has been too powerful. Now, each building has a properly dosed effect.
I achieved replayability by offering short and long paths to the various intermediate goals of the game. To make the longer paths attractive, they are either cheaper, more valuable, or more effective than the shorter ones.
In each game, the same buildings are used. As a result, from game to game, players have the chance to learn how to deal with the many buildings and the 23 different goods.

The different game versions
Players may choose to play a short version that lasts about one hour and a longer version. In addition, there is a France variant that turns grain to bread, and an Ireland version that turns grain to beer. The solo variant that uses (nearly) all of the buildings helps the reader of the rulebook to quickly get a “feel” for the game. Last but not least, there are two rulebooks, a narrative one and a classic detailed one.

I have to thank a playing group from Duisburg for putting the game to the acid test. I'm confident that all parameters have been properly set, that no building is neither too strong nor too weak, that the game allows for many strategies and, finally, that everybody who has read this very long article will like to play it.


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Andy Andersen
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Well, I read it and want to play it.
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Yoren wrote:

The production wheel
In Ora et Labora, you replenish at the beginning of a round again. The big change is the production wheel. It takes the replenishing off your shoulders. In Agricola, you had to place all the goods one by one on the action spaces. In Ora et Labora, the production values of all goods are updated by a rotation of the production wheel: for instance, a single move changes the value of the cattle goods indicator from 2 to 3. Simultaneously, the value of the grain goods indicator changes from 4 to 5. The same is true for the other goods indicators: peat, coins, grapes, clay, stone, wood. And what does this value mean? When the wood goods indicator is on space 6, the next player to take wood gets 6 wood tokens. (An opportunity I wouldn't like to miss in Agricola, too.)
In Agricola, taking the action empties the action space. In Ora et Labora, the goods indicator is reset to 0. And so the circle is complete. It's the same effect, but with less effort.

That is one of the things I don't really like about Agricola - the fiddle-factor in replenishing every round, it just bugs me that little bit too much and takes the shine off the game. So this new streamlined version of the mechanic sounds like a great step in the right direction.
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Ryan M
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puncr0c wrote:
Yoren wrote:

The production wheel
In Ora et Labora, you replenish at the beginning of a round again. The big change is the production wheel. It takes the replenishing off your shoulders. In Agricola, you had to place all the goods one by one on the action spaces. In Ora et Labora, the production values of all goods are updated by a rotation of the production wheel: for instance, a single move changes the value of the cattle goods indicator from 2 to 3. Simultaneously, the value of the grain goods indicator changes from 4 to 5. The same is true for the other goods indicators: peat, coins, grapes, clay, stone, wood. And what does this value mean? When the wood goods indicator is on space 6, the next player to take wood gets 6 wood tokens. (An opportunity I wouldn't like to miss in Agricola, too.)
In Agricola, taking the action empties the action space. In Ora et Labora, the goods indicator is reset to 0. And so the circle is complete. It's the same effect, but with less effort.

That is one of the things I don't really like about Agricola - the fiddle-factor in replenishing every round, it just bugs me that little bit too much and takes the shine off the game. So this new streamlined version of the mechanic sounds like a great step in the right direction.
I don't mind the fiddle-factor in Agricola or Le Havre but have to admit this new idea is pretty great.
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Jimmy Okolica
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Mools wrote:
puncr0c wrote:
Yoren wrote:

The production wheel
In Ora et Labora, you replenish at the beginning of a round again. The big change is the production wheel. It takes the replenishing off your shoulders. In Agricola, you had to place all the goods one by one on the action spaces. In Ora et Labora, the production values of all goods are updated by a rotation of the production wheel: for instance, a single move changes the value of the cattle goods indicator from 2 to 3. Simultaneously, the value of the grain goods indicator changes from 4 to 5. The same is true for the other goods indicators: peat, coins, grapes, clay, stone, wood. And what does this value mean? When the wood goods indicator is on space 6, the next player to take wood gets 6 wood tokens. (An opportunity I wouldn't like to miss in Agricola, too.)
In Agricola, taking the action empties the action space. In Ora et Labora, the goods indicator is reset to 0. And so the circle is complete. It's the same effect, but with less effort.

That is one of the things I don't really like about Agricola - the fiddle-factor in replenishing every round, it just bugs me that little bit too much and takes the shine off the game. So this new streamlined version of the mechanic sounds like a great step in the right direction.
I don't mind the fiddle-factor in Agricola or Le Havre but have to admit this new idea is pretty great.

I just hope the quality of the production wheel components don't make me wish for the fiddle factor of Agricola.
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Grzegorz Kobiela
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This text sounds familiar to me...
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Guilherme xD
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"23 different goods"

In paper or wood? (the tokens)
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Hanno Girke
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guilherme33 wrote:
"23 different goods"

In paper or wood? (the tokens)

Cardboard.
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John LaRuffa
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So how can those of us in the US get a copy of the English version of this game if they don't go to Essen and don't want to wait until 2012?
 
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magnus1515 wrote:
So how can those of us in the US get a copy of the English version of this game if they don't go to Essen and don't want to wait until 2012?

Here man: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/702308/ora-et-labora-now...
 
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Ryan Twombly
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Hmm...having read this makes me wonder if I could repurpose a wheel, either from this game or of my own devising, for use in Agricola.

Also I'm interested to see how this compares to Le Havre, which I don't have. I'd like another Uwe game, but which one?
 
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Grzegorz Kobiela
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rtwombly wrote:
Hmm...having read this makes me wonder if I could repurpose a wheel, either from this game or of my own devising, for use in Agricola.

Also I'm interested to see how this compares to Le Havre, which I don't have. I'd like another Uwe game, but which one?

I haven't played Agricola for a long time now, but from what I remember this should be perfectly feasible. You'd just need a wheel going 0,1,2,3,4,... and markers like "3 wood", "1 reed" etc. When something like stone enters, put a stone marker on the wheel on 0 before turning the wheel. Later, put another stone marker on the wheel. It absolutely doesn't matter if the stone markers are linked to their action spaces or not - as both are equal. Same is true for the animals.
 
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Jimmy Okolica
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Ponton wrote:
rtwombly wrote:
Hmm...having read this makes me wonder if I could repurpose a wheel, either from this game or of my own devising, for use in Agricola.

Also I'm interested to see how this compares to Le Havre, which I don't have. I'd like another Uwe game, but which one?

I haven't played Agricola for a long time now, but from what I remember this should be perfectly feasible. You'd just need a wheel going 0,1,2,3,4,... and markers like "3 wood", "1 reed" etc. When something like stone enters, put a stone marker on the wheel on 0 before turning the wheel. Later, put another stone marker on the wheel. It absolutely doesn't matter if the stone markers are linked to their action spaces or not - as both are equal. Same is true for the animals.

The only catch is that you'd need a separate marker for each action space. So, with 5 palyers, you'd need 3 (I think) wood markers (3, 4, and 2). To me, this is one of the things that concerns me with Ora et Labora. That each good has only one accumulator. I'm looking forward to playing it and seeing how it works.
 
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Grzegorz Kobiela
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Of course. You'd need seperate "n wood" and "n clay" indicators. For exotic spaces like "n reed +1 wood +1 stone" you'd also need seperate indicators.

Don't worry about resources in Ora et Labora. You don't need wood that excessively as in Agricola and there are plenties of ways to get some, not only via the wheel.


I can name at least 4 ways of getting a bunch of wood.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Wheel: wood goods indicator
Wheel: joker goods indicator
Cloister Courtyard (3 different goods => 6 wood)
Druid's House [Ireland only] (1 book => 5 wood + 3 other identical basic goods)
many other buildings providing up to 2 wood
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