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Subject: Life in the Village rss

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Kolby Reddish
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Hey Guys, I'm returning to my reviews after a few years off. I've still been gaming, just not as up to date on my reviews, but I'm excited to get back into the swing of them. I've recently just gotten married and that and a few other things have kept me from being more active in my posts.

I love board games. I love the strategy and decisions that go into them, and especially, I love that I can have fun while thinking. My gateway game was the Settlers of Catan, and my favorites are kind of all over the board with a range from Puerto Rico to Space Hulk.

So that's me - a background about my opinions - my reviews follow the same format every time, because these are the criteria I like to think about when I'm looking at purchasing a game. Feel free to check out my other reviews [geekurl= http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/browse/boardgame/0?usern...][/geekurl]

And now I'd like to take a look at a newer game, that I'm glad I picked up - Village.

Village is very new here in the States, there are like 4 threads of people just trying to find out when their order is going to ship. All of this popularity might have you wondering what the game is all about. Keep reading.

1. The Components
Village comes with lots of different components, goods tiles to represent scrolls, horse, oxen, plows, and wagons, small grain tiles, gold pieces, colored wooden influence cubes that you select to take each action, a few cloth bags, your family, which you will need to sticker 1st-4th generation, your own farm player board, and my favorite component is the board itself. Village is one of those games, that the board is so intuitive and well designed, that it really makes the game much easier to play. The art is entertaining, and colorful. The only small complaint I would have is that three of the influence cubes can be close in color with bad lighting - orange, pink, and brown. Overall though, the components are excellent, there is nothing here that will wear out quickly.

2. The Theme
In Village, you play as a family. You are participating in all the different parts of life in a village, the market, the church, your own farm, traveling, the council chamber, and crafting goods. To perform these different actions, most often you'll be able to pay with influence cubes that you choose from the action space you take every turn, but occasionally (and by choice, sometimes) you can pay with a currency represented by "time." Using the time resource will cause your workers to eventually die, and be remembered (hopefully) for their contributions to the Village. More on that below. Village is a game where the player who makes the best choices of actions throughout the game should come out on top.

3. The Concept
The basic mechanic of this game is a worker placement game. Every turn you choose to take an influence cube from a space to perform that spaces action. If the space is empty, you can pay 3 of 1 color influence cube to take whichever action you wish using the well action. Doing an action, doesn't necessarily place one of your family members onto the board, but placing them is beneficial because when a family member dies on an action space, they will be remembered in the "Village Chronicle" for their contributions to the village in that category. Placing your players into the Village chronicle is one of the ways that you can score points, so careful use of the resource time, along with placing your family in the right spaces, is a very important part of the game. When all of the cubes are used up, the board resets, after a "Mass" is held at the church allowing people focusing on the church action to score points. The concept of time, along with all of the different actions you have to choose from, are very fun in this game. I like the idea of my family members passing away, yet being remembered in the legends of our little village. One of the things I really enjoy as well is that all of the different options to score points seem to be very balanced. I've played a few games since my copy arrived from TMG, and every game I've played has been very close, score wise, with all of the players focusing on different actions. This is a very well-balanced game, from what I can see.

4. The Ending
Village ends in one of two ways, when all of the spaces in the "Village Chronicle" are filled up, or when there isn't room for someone in the Chronicle, they are buried in an anonymous grave. When either the Village Chronicle or the graveyard fill up, after last turns for the other players, the game is over, a final mass is held and the scoring takes place. I love games that have variable endings, so I'm a big fan of this one!

5. The Game play
Moves very quickly. Because each player chooses a cube from a space and takes the action, I think the game moves at a perfect pace to still allow you to plan, yet with only so many cubes per space, there can be intense competition if you and another player are focusing on the same philosophy to score points. Game play is very refreshing.

6. Replayability
With all of the different actions you can take, and each one giving you a path to focus on, there are lots of different options. I, like some others in the forums, are worried that a dominant strategy might emerge, but I simply don't see that happening, because the came is very responsive. Depending on what your opponents are focusing on, and how much they are focusing on it, you might choose to compete with them in the same area, or choose something completely different to make your mark. I don't see one strategy becoming dominant, because each game is different. That being said, do not ignore the market action! It opens up to each player when one of the players begins a market, and underestimating the points that those customer tiles hold is folly!

7. The "Luck" Factor
Customer tiles are drawn randomly, but you have an opportunity to look ahead, and plan accordingly, the cubes drawn onto the spaces are drawn randomly, but there are often multiples, and multiple things you can do that will benefit you, so I've not seen that to be a factor that only involves "luck." Even the "Mass" held at the end of each round, where people are randomly drawn out of the church bag can be influenced by the players with gold and grain to determine who scores points. All in all, there is a little luck in this game to keep in fun and random, but you can plan ahead for each of the things that might happen, so it's not a bad thing to me at all. It's the perfect amount to just spice things up a little bit.

Conclusions:
Village is a game that I would recommend getting while it's still around. I wouldn't be suprised to see Village win "Game of the Year". It's fun, it's well designed, and it is very beautiful game to look at. Overall, I'm glad that I decided to add this one to my collection, and hope my review has helped you to make the same decision!

Please include any thoughts about the review,

and as always, Thank you for reading!
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Patrick C.
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Quote:
I wouldn't be suprised to see Village win "Game of the Year".


It has alaready won the Kennerspiel des Jahres - the more "advanced" SDJ award.

Otherwise a great review. Thanks.
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Kolby Reddish
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Ah, thanks for the note,

and the compliment!
 
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Connor Cranston
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Nice review!

I bought this game last week and have played three games so far and actually really like it...

some questions though:
Yellow takes one of two last remaining cubes on the board and takes its action, causing one of his family members to die, filling the last grave spot. Every other player still gets a turn, if I understand correctly? So, the next player would have taken the last remaing cube. Then a mass would occur. New cubes are drawn and placed on the board, just for the final player to do his action? (3P game)
That seems a bit silly? If true, does another mass happen afterwards?

Once you're in the council, you don't have to pay to take the bonus from your current position? That seems strange, since as a travellor you do have to repay if you go to a travel-space you have already visited. Plus, you don't even gain the bonus if you do re-visit that spot while travelling, yet at the council you get the bonus for free...?
 
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David Etherton
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Khonnor wrote:

Yellow takes one of two last remaining cubes on the board and takes its action, causing one of his family members to die, filling the last grave spot. Every other player still gets a turn, if I understand correctly? So, the next player would have taken the last remaing cube. Then a mass would occur. New cubes are drawn and placed on the board, just for the final player to do his action? (3P game)


Straight from the English rules here on BGG:

Quote:
All other players may perform one last action in clockwise player order. As always, you must either take an influence or plague cube from an action space or pay 3 same-colored influence cubes to perform the action. Should the final cube be taken from the game board (even though there are players left to act), the action spaces are not reseeded. Instead, the remaining players may perform any action without having to return 3 same-colored influence cubes to the supply.


-Dave
 
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Kolby Reddish
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The bonuses from traveling are small, the true benefit is the points for visiting the cities. The benefits from the council chamber don't add as many points at the end of the game, but can be very powerful to supplement other ways to score points. I still think they're both balanced.
 
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