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Subject: Troyes 4-player, with Bonus Cards, in two parts rss

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Dave
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Four of us sit down for a game of Troyes. We are all moderately experienced, which is to say we can hold our own in most circumstances, but we wouldn’t likely blow the doors off of anyone with half a dozen plays under his belt. We decide to include the bonus cards, too.

I’ll publish this account in two installments, this first one going for three rounds, and the second, by early next week, covering the remainder of the game. Feel free to hazard guesses as to the outcome, including who might have which famous character, before I post the conclusion. I hope you find this sensible and enjoyable. Thanks in advance for reading.

Turn order is Orange (start player, chosen randomly), Blue, Green (me), and Natural.

Initial placement finds Orange favoring the palace with two citizens, then one each in city hall and the bishopric. Blue goes heavy in the bishopric, then one in the palace. I am everywhere, but end with two in city hall. Natural moves heavily into city hall, but puts one in the bishopric. Gray is left with two spots in the palace.

Round one reveals the priest, chivalry, and the merchant. After income and salaries, Orange and Blue have only 10 denier, I have 12, and Natural is flush with 14. Brigands and drought rear their ugly heads, with drought dragging everyone’s early bankroll down, especially that of civic-minded Natural. Orange counters both attacks with her red-3, and we are off to the races.

Orange strikes at drought hard and fast, countering it completely with two yellow-6s, (one bought from me) and gaining all four points and a sizable lead in influence. Blue makes his bishopric workers busy on the cathedral, achieving two levels in the process. I set my sights on the cathedral as well and also get two levels. Natural hires a merchant tradesman and puts him to work to realize 8 denier result.

Orange takes another go at the events, hitting back at the brigands. Blue follows suit, but twice as hard, and with some help from Gray. I recruit and place a citizen in city hall, pushing Orange to the side. Natural, with a peasant remaining in his district, passes.

We are not done with the cathedral this round as Orange takes a go at it. Blue, looking to conserve a little cash early on, passes, while I evict yet another citizen, this time Gray, and this time from the palace. Orange passes, as do I, and we wrap the first round.

Round two introduces an apprenticeship, the tax collector, and the blacksmith. Natural builds nicely on his mound of denier, while the rest of us hover in the mid-teens. War breaks out, along with an interruption of work on the cathedral that pulls Blue’s level-one -two [corrected] block from the site. Undeterred, he counters a black-6 with his red-3, leaving me to deal with a black-4. I send forth my own red-3 to deal with him, along with his compadres, a couple of black-1s.

Blue, clearly upset with the setback at the cathedral, goes after the work interrupters, and with a vengeance. I am enticed by an apprenticeship, and buy Orange’s white-6 to garner the promise of two uses. Natural reserves four future visits to the blacksmith with two high-yield yellow-6s. Orange continues feeding her thirst for blood by combatting war almost completely.

Looking for another source of income, Blue hires a tax collector and brings in 3 denier each from Natural and me for our abundance of city hall dwellers. I see my part of the cathedral coming down soon if I don’t act, so I finish off the work interruption and hand the event to Blue. Freed of the threat, Natural builds on level two and pulls in his first point. Orange exacts a small measure of retribution by expelling one of my people from city hall, and with one of my peasants to boot.

The revolving door at city hall continues as Blue pushes Natural out, again, with the help of one of my workers. I pass, and Natural, seeing some heavy combat coming his way soon, finishes off the diminished war, granting Orange another event. Orange passes, as does Blue and Natural, and round two is in the books. Two peasants are released, and two people evicted from city hall return to their families--one to Natural and one to me.

In round three, we are greeted by the procession, the mercenary, and the journeyman. Bank accounts swell all around, with Natural’s rising to 32 denier after salaries. A second gang of brigands emerges, as well as a team of wayfarers who give Natural more marching papers from city hall. I counter an attack by a black-6 with my red-3, then Natural and Orange deal with a black-5 and a black-1, both employing their clergy for the deeds.

I see an opening to reserve an event for myself, noting Orange’s quick accumulation of two, and combat the wayfarers using my yellow-6. Natural puts his pile of money to use by hiring a journeyman and reaping four points in the process. Orange builds up high on the cathedral with Blue’s help, and Blue goes to the mercenary to receive 9 denier.

I push one of Blue’s people out of the bishopric where he held half the spots since the opening. Natural calls in his first favor from the blacksmith and attacks the second group of brigands handily. Orange goes after the first group again and sends them running, collecting credit for the event but sharing the reward with Blue, who then sets out to reclaim his lost ground on the cathedral, burning a couple points of influence rerolling to achieve the third level.

I buy Orange’s yellow-6 to finish off what I started with the wayfarers, taking the second place point for myself in the process. Natural does the same with the other gang of brigands, employing my nobility, and then Orange passes, but not before recruiting another citizen with her influence levels close to peaking and round four combats potentially earning her more. Blue sends me packing from city hall with his fired clergy from the bishopric.

I used my peasant’s newfound free time by training him as a merchant, collecting four denier in the process. Natural employs the last worker by buying Gray’s red-2 to expel one of my nobles from the palace, whom I retrieve as mid-game is reached.

Continued here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/8115715#8115715

Edit: Added link; fixed error in round two.
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Jim Temple
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I was sad to see that none of the bonus cards came up, since I was looking for an opinion on those...maybe Resistance comes up in Part Two?
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Dave
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Conclusion:

Round four sees everyone’s coffers teeming after income and salaries, with Blue’s topping off at 43 denier. The workforce is assembled, then a third band of brigands come knocking at the gates, coupled with a bout of civil war. After handling the expense of the domestic disturbance, Natural battles a black-5 with a white-5, and Orange wraps up the attacks by quelling another black-5, this time with a red-3.

Natural takes off after this new group of brigands, aided by his blacksmith, and all but finishes them. Orange, again, seems to be looking for more battle trophies and cuts the civil war strength in half with the help of one of Natural’s peasants. Blue visits the site of the cathedral again, using a white-5 from Orange, and adds to its foundation. I send one of Orange’s clergy packing in the bishopric.

Natural finishes what he started, ending the brigands’ threat with an affordable worker from Blue, and claiming all four points for himself. A hired mercenary delivers big to Orange, who flips a red-1 with her powerful levels of influence and adds nine denier as a result. Blue, flush with cash, sets his sights on a journeyman; he recruits a citizen and exerts some of his own influence, albeit at much lower levels than Orange, to reroll a couple of his yellows to go with an expensive peasant worker from Gray, and reaps a healthy nine points for his efforts. I quietly place another citizen, this time in city hall, but once again expelling Orange.

Finding opportunities dwindling at the cathedral, Natural tops off the “4” section with one of Blue’s clergy. Orange fears a shortage of workers and replaces Natural’s last one in the palace using Gray’s red-2. No doubt exhausted from his recent shenanigans, Blue turns away from the three remaining workers and passes, while I continue handing our eviction notices, Natural’s sole remaining clergy being the recipient.

He’s down to one person in the principle buildings, and this either goes unnoticed or he has something else up his sleeve, because Natural buys my red-6 and fights off some marauding instead of adding a noble to the palace. Orange takes the citizen I replaced in city hall and balances the equation by sending one of my many clergy home using Blue’s white-3. No workers remain, so Natural collects his citizens from the bishopric and the palace.

Round five continues the trend of growing funds, with Orange holding the least at 23 denier after paying salaries. Natural’s workforce reports in as a lonely yellow-1. A Norman attack and a theological conflict present themselves, while the civil war continues to menace each of us. Blue loses another clergy in the bishopric due to the theological conflict, while Orange skillfully dispatches all three outside attackers using a sole noble, a red-5.

Orange continues her external focus by quelling the civil war further, with the help of Gray’s yellow-5. Blue visits the site of the cathedral for a fourth time, employing my white-5. I quickly follow, influencing my white-2 to top off the “5” section. Natural begins rebuilding his worker pool by adding a citizen to the bishopric bought from Blue, and moving one of mine out.

Going the affordable route, Orange brings the domestic conflict to a close with the help of one of my peasants, claiming all five points for herself. Blue calls upon the journeyman again, pulling in four points in exchange for a relatively small dent in his bank account. I wipe out all vestiges of the theological conflict with a couple white-6s (one bought from Orange), fearful it would take a toll on me as round six opens; it nets me four points. Natural pushes Blue aside in city hall.

Orange’s thirst for combatting events is unabated as she goes after the Normans, setting them back by half, but not before recruiting a citizen on stand-by to absorb the increased influence. Blue sends his expelled peasant right back inside with my city hall worker taking the fall. I retrain him for work in the palace, bidding Blue’s last remaining noble there farewell. Natural completes his efforts at thwarting the marauders, buying Blue’s red-3 and calling upon his blacksmith for help.

Orange recruits another citizen for no immediate use to allow some upside to her influence, then passes, while Blue uses the last of the workforce to hire a priest for one favor available in the final round. Orange claims her two denier, and Blue and I welcome home our expelled citizens from the palace and the bishopric, respectively.

The final round opens with Orange and me paying handsomely for our workers in the palace and bishopric, although my balance still lives in the upper 30s. A succession conflict ensues, causing me to lose one of the salaried nobles I just paid. Support arrives, hitting at the Norman attack and the succession conflict, then three of us take turns countering the attacks, using three peasants and one clergy in the process.

Blue shows more of what we’ve been suspecting for a while with another act of cathedral construction, this time flipping his white-2 to gain the last foundational spot and denying Natural two points in the process. I likely expose my intentions by placing another citizen, this time in the bishopric, pushing Blue’s clergy out and giving me six citizens in the principal buildings. Natural adds his fourth tradesman as a tax collector, using Orange’s red-5; he only collects four denier compared to the eight he spent hiring and activating, tipping his hand. Orange also goes public by finishing off the Normans and collects four points, with second place going to Gray thanks to his support early this round. It’s been a revealing turn.

Blue buys Gray’s clergy to place a citizen in the Bishopric and evict me. I buy Gray’s noble and perform a couple acts of chivalry, making my mark on the succession conflict and support, looking for some end-of-game credit. Natural attempts to capitalize on who he suspects Orange is impressing and counters the outside support, pulling in three points and delivering one to me. Orange either doesn’t see much else interesting or just wants to keep me from countering a third event; she blows through seven influence points rerolling her red-4 until she gets a red-6, and then buys my red-6 and finishes off the succession conflict. She gets four points, but I come away with only half of the second-place prize as I tie with Gray who acted through this round’s support.

Blue gets over the hurdle of highly impressing Urbain with the help of my white-1. I place my fifth citizen in a principal building--a red-1 that evicts Gray--that brings me back to a modest level of affection from Chrétien, but that happy achievement is quickly squashed by Natural who puts one of my peasants out of city hall. Orange, simply looking for a couple more points, takes the second priesthood spot with an available citizen and the last worker in the city square.

No one can claim any uncountered events, those being neatly polished off by Orange and Natural. The tradesmen turn in healthy point numbers for all buy Orange, who garners a measly two from the last action of the game. Natural is the only one who failed to construct a level of the cathedral, blocked by Blue in the last round.

The famous characters are revealed: Blue holds Urbain, who rewards him with six points, while Orange and I receive one each. I show Chrétien de Troyes, who spreads four points out evenly to all. Natural uncovers Le Florentin, who gives him and Blue three points each, and Orange and me one each. Orange discloses Henry, who grants her six points, Natural three, and Blue and me one each.

Score
Blue: 40
Orange: 35
Natural: 34
Green: 24

We learned that, prior to the end-of-game scoring, Orange held a two-point advantage over Blue. Both received six points from one famous character, but Blue’s abundance of tradesmen--valued at seven points--tipped the scales his way, along with a related two-point advantage over Orange from Le Florentin.

Natural’s inability to build on one level of the cathedral was the difference between second and third place. As for me, I was woefully short going into final scoring, and then fell to the shy end of every character’s wish, leaving me in a distant fourth. My desire to hold spots in the principal buildings was well-intentioned, but being thwarted there while not reaching for others’ goals as they became clear left me in a deep hole.

As for the absence of any bonus cards, we’ve had one of those activities present itself in past games, but so far “Resistance” hasn’t emerged to test us. Perhaps in the next go-around?

Again, thanks so much for reading, and I hope it was enjoyable for you. I appreciate the time you spent here. Best wishes for a wonderful new year.
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Steve Duff
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Is there some reason money was so high this game? It's hard to follow unless I get my board out and go step by step, but I don't see any large money earning in the game play description.

Was there not much dice buying going on?
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Dave
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UnknownParkerBrother wrote:
Is there some reason money was so high this game?


For one, the merchant was used twice by two players, and the mercenary was used twice by the other two players. Those four activities alone injected 30 denier into the game, spread fairly evenly.

But I suspect the dice-buying was lower than it could've been. I know I was operating under the assumption that dice bought had to be used fully in the subsequent action, and I'll bet the others were thinking the same. The recent threads clarifying that additional pips on "conversion" activity dice can be forfeited will likely increase dice buying to some extent in our future games. I'm looking forward to that.
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