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Subject: Quebec review after two plays rss

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Salim Eryigit
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First of all, let me state that I have no strings attached to Quebec or Canada. I am writing this review after one 5p game and one 3p game.

Game Play

Quebec can be considered as a medium Euro game. Players try to build the city of Quebec over four centuries with their single architect by constructing the historical buildings. The city is divided into districts with each district belonging to a power (religion, economy, politics, and culture). The buildings are marked with the centuries they are actually built and they are located randomly on the board. However, you try not to put the buildings from the same age and same type in the same district. Furthermore, there are randomly selected event cards for each century. The first one is a quest type rewarding the first two players achieving some condition, whereas others are simple rule changes that require slight changes in the way you play the game. On your turn, you can take just one action among the following four options:

1. Finish the building you have started with your architect and start a new one: When you take this action, first you flip over the tile that your architect is on, put a star token on it that shows the number of contributions it received. All workers on the finished building goes to the corresponding zone of power located in the corners of the board. Then, you take 3 passive workers to your hand tile (your workers are separated into two groups like in Hansa Teutanica/El Grande) and put your architect on a new building to start the construction of that building. This is the most used way of activating (putting onto your hand tile) passive workers.

2. Contribute to a building: This just simply means put a couple of workers (1, 2 or 3 depending on the district) on a building whose construction is ongoing and there is free space for contribution. Each building can take at most three contributions. If the building you contributed is not yours, you can take the additional action provided by the district of the building. This is the major action of the game.

3. Put one active worker to a zone of power: This is the least used action, and only used for stalling in our 3-p game.

4. Take a leader card (if you did not take any for this century) and activate workers equal to the number of leader cards taken. There are 5 leaders and each one gives you different abilities.
a. Citadel leader: Allows you to put 3 passive workers from your supply to the fifth zone of power, namely the Citadel.
b. Political leader: When a building is finished, you can select which zone of power (excluding the Citadel) your workers will go. For instance, you can send your workers from a political building to the zone of power for religion.
c. Economic leader: Provides you with an additional architect –called the neutral architect- for the rest of the century. The only difference is that the building you have started with your neutral architect is automatically finished at the end of the century, whereas you can delay the building with your own architect as long as you like (usually until there are no active workers in front of you).
d. Cultural leader: Provides additional points when finishing a building. The points you acquire depend on the contributions.
e. Religious leader: Allows you to take the additional action when you contribute to your own building.

A century ends when there are no buildings of that century to start when someone takes the start a new building action, or a player has no (active or passive) workers in front of him. If either of these conditions is satisfied, first the building with the neutral architect is finished. You give your leader card back. Then, you go on with scoring for the zones of power. You always start with the Citadel and then move on to the next zone of power which depends on the century (first century: religion, second century: politics, etc). From there on, you move in a clockwise manner until all zones are scored. For scoring, players gain points equal to the number of workers they have in that zone. The critical part is that the one with the most workers (in case of ties, both workers) for that zone cascades half of them (rounded down and not more than 5) to the next zone. All other workers return to your set of passive ones. The person with the most workers for the last zone takes half of them as active workers for the next round. After scoring, buildings that are not started belonging to the century that just ended are flipped over. Those are assumed to be completed with no contributions from the players. Finally, you reveal the event card for the next century, and you are good to go.

After four centuries, there is also a final scoring. This time, you select a connected tree of your finished buildings (similar to Hansa Teutanica). Each building in the tree provides 1, 3, or 6 points depending on the contributions it received. Other finished buildings that are not in this tree only provide 1, 2, or 3 points again depending on the contributions. In addition, each worker on an unfinished building gives one point and each two active workers also provide one point.

Components and Visual attractiveness

The game comes with German, French, English versions of the rule book and cards which is very considerate. Other than those, there is nothing language dependent on the board and the buildings. Moreover, the board is very self explanatory with nice illustrations that require little rulebook scanning for the first games. The quality of the board and buildings are great but I cannot say the same for the cards. As they are not shuffled or used very much, that does not constitute a problem. Furthermore, the illustrations of the historical buildings are impressive. My only con is that the board is too much colorful for my taste as I am color blind and have hard time distinguishing purple and blue.

Learning Curve

Quebec is easy to learn. The most complicated things are the additional actions that the buildings provide. The illustrations on the board are really good about that as you can tell what that building provides as additional action by just looking at the board. In addition, there are only 4 possible actions available. One of them (sending one worker to a zone of power) is rarely used; another one (taking a leader card) can be used at most once a century. Thus, there are not many stuff to learn/teach before the game. But do not get this wrong, there are many critical decisions to take as explained below.

Mechanics

I love the mechanics of the game. The critical points are:

You cannot take the additional action if you contribute to your own building.

At the end of the century, if you have the maximum workers in a zone of power, you cascade half of them (max 5) to the next zone.

Critical decisions:

Which building to start with your architect? On the one hand you need to select a good building if you want to receive contributions from other players. On the other hand, you are deprived of the action that building provides. Moreover, the color of the building and number of workers it requires as contribution are also important. People do not usually contribute to a cultural building in the first century as it is scored last. They also tend to select buildings that require more contribution as it will eventually turn into points.

When to finish the building you started? You can stall the workers of your fellow players by delaying the start of your next building to the next century. Even though, they will suffer at the end of this century, they will have a head start for the next one. The color of the building is also important.

When and which leader to select, or not select anyone at all? The leaders are powerful but you can live without them. If you select a leader early, you can take the one you need. However, taking a leader late provides you with more active workers.

Which building to contribute? Should I contribute to a building of the game leader even if that provides the best action for me and expand his largest tree or should I contribute to a building that requires three workers for contribution in order to gain more points for the scoring or should I contribute to a political building to achieve most workers in the political zone of power?

Should I have more than 10 workers in a zone for being the player with most workers in that zone even though I will not be able to cascade more than 5 or should I concentrate on the zones that will be scored last, thus use my workers more effectively and perhaps have more active workers for the upcoming century.

Replayability

Medium to High. The event cards and random nature of the initial placement can make the game different every time. I can say the replayability of the game is above the level of most Euros. Moreover, I should mention that there is no luck factor in the game which is a good thing for me.

Game Length

About 1.5 hours. However, waiting time between turns is small even with AP prone players.

Scalability

As stated we have just two games under our belt but game feels different with the number of players. In 5p game, it is very hard to construct a large tree because other players block you either intentionally or unintentionally so zones of power require more attention. On the other hand, building a large tree is essential for the 3p game since you can gain a lot of points even if you are weak in zones of power.

Other Points

Another thing I like about this game is every action (except some leaders) gives you points. The game is well balanced and there is no runaway leader problem. Furthermore, our game ends were very close with little details making the difference. In addition, the game is forgiving in the sense that one single mistake will not put you out of the game. For this reason, I can say it is also a good game for all kinds of gamers, or for newbies.

Verdict:
As you can tell, I really liked this game. If you love or wish to start Euro games, this game is a definite buy.
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Huzonfirst
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Salim, this is one of the better reviews I've read recently. Your description of the rules is complete, yet concise and very well written. Excellent job!

I also agree with your conclusions. I played Quebec for the first time last week and I was quite impressed and a little surprised. The mechanics are innovative, yet familiar, and the game has plenty of tough decisions. Once players get the hang of things, turns move quickly. The mechanics really have little to do with the theme, but at least we're not constructing medieval castles in Europe! All in all, a fine game that I'm looking forward to playing again.
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Ben Wand
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Larry Levy wrote:
Salim, this is one of the better reviews I've read recently. Your description of the rules is complete, yet concise and very well written. Excellent job!

I agree!
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Salim Eryigit
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Benjow wrote:
Larry Levy wrote:
Salim, this is one of the better reviews I've read recently. Your description of the rules is complete, yet concise and very well written. Excellent job!

I agree!
thanks to both of you. it was my first review, and your responses are encouraging.
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Andrew
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A very good review.
More than convinced me to try this game out for myself ...or purchase.
Everything I want to know about a game you stated clearly in BIG BOLD font.

Thanks!

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Brian Homan
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Well done, Salim!
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