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Subject: Pergamon or Milestones? rss

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Andrew Watson
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I'm not sure whether to get Pergamon or Milestones, so I thought I'd ask for advice here. I'm posting in the Pergamon forum, since I'm leaning in that direction, and because discussion of Pergamon seems more active than discussion of Milestones.

I'm focusing on these two games because is each was designed by Stefan Dorra, who is my second-favorite designer (after only Knizia). Medinawould make my top five games, and some of Dorra’s other games (such as For Sale) would make my top 50. Coming back to the two games compared here, Dorra designed each in partnership with Ralf zur Linde (with whose work I'm not familiar, although I have read good things about Finca).

Here’s my comparison of differences and similarities between the two games, drawing mainly on BGG content (as of Nov 25 2012).

BGG ratings: Advantage Pergamon, with an average rating of 7.01 (based on 993 ratings at BGG) to Milestones' 6.88 (216 ratings).

Number of players: too close to call. Each plays 2-4, and seems to play well across that range. Neither has a solo variant (or an iPad app, which would also interest me).

Price: Advantage Pergamon. It has a recommended retail price of $39.99, compared with $49.95 for Milestones.

Theme: Advantage Pergamon, again. Here’s how Ender describes its theme: “you’ll take on the role of a nineteenth century archaeologist... excavating the site of the Greek city of Pergamon... considered to be one of the most significant excavation sites in the world in the 19th century... excavating ancient treasures in our quest to dig up fragments of vases, jugs, masks, and bracelets, which we'll then piece together and put on display in a museum.”

Milestones’ theme is building roads, houses, and marketplaces. There’s nothing wrong with that, but nothing too special either.

Mechanisms: This is where Milestones has enough of an advantage to keep things interesting. Its take on the rondel mechanism sounds fascinating. You have your own board/rondel, and it is here that you take actions to acquire resources, and to use them to build on the main (shared) board.

At a more general level, Milestones seems to have the same sort of co-opetition as does Medina: cooperate with other players, in that we’re building something together, but compete in order to score the most points.

Pergamon sounds interesting from the mechanism perspective, particularly as regards competing for funding and rights to dig, but Milestones is ahead in terms of my preferences.

Kid-friendliness: very close, but maybe not too close to call. BGG lists each game as suitable for players 10 years old and up. That’s likely to mean that my older kid, who is almost 9, could and would play if sufficiently enticed, and my younger, who is 6, could help me with my moves, then graduate to solo after a while. If I had to pick a winner here, it would be Pergamon, because kids will probably dig (pun intended) the theme, and because Pergamon is listed as a Family Game, while Milestones is listed as a Strategy Game.

Gamer friendliness: slight advantage to Milestones, since it is listed as a Strategy Game rather than as a Family Game.

Components: too close to call, since I haven’t seen either game up close and in the cardboard, and it sounds as though each is well-produced. But feel free to send me a review copy of either or both...).

Any advice? If I could get one of these two games over the holidays, which should it be?
 
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Cameron Chien
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The games are pretty close as far as the number of players, length and complexity is concerned (Milestones does have a slight bit more complexity, but it's pretty close) but I vastly prefer the theme of Pergamon.

If the theme is important to you, then I would recommend Pergamon over Milestones.

Cameron
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Curt Carpenter
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I haven't played Milestones yet, as it's brand new in USA. I have played Pergamon many times. Pergamon is a great game.

AndAgainMA wrote:
Number of players: too close to call. Each plays 2-4, and seems to play well across that range. Neither has a solo variant (or an iPad app, which would also interest me).

I would actively refuse Pergamon with 2. With 3 I would work hard to find a fourth, or suggest something else if we can't find a 4th and other 4p games are available.

AndAgainMA wrote:
Price: Advantage Pergamon. It has a recommended retail price of $39.99, compared with $49.95 for Milestones.

Pergamon is slightly smaller than a big box game. Think Turn & Taxis or St Pete or something.

AndAgainMA wrote:
Gamer friendliness: slight advantage to Milestones, since it is listed as a Strategy Game rather than as a Family Game.

I would take BGG categories with a big grain of salt.
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Andrew Watson
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curtc wrote:

AndAgainMA wrote:
Gamer friendliness: slight advantage to Milestones, since it is listed as a Strategy Game rather than as a Family Game.

I would take BGG categories with a big grain of salt.


I do indeed. That's why the advantage is slight. Thanks for your rapid reply. It, and the one that was even more rapid, increase the degree of lean toward Pergamon.
 
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Bruce Murphy
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I found Pergamon with 2, with that damn tomb raider, to be an interesting game, but obviously missing some of the flavour of being thwarted by the other players.

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Chris Berger
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curtc wrote:
AndAgainMA wrote:
Number of players: too close to call. Each plays 2-4, and seems to play well across that range. Neither has a solo variant (or an iPad app, which would also interest me).

I would actively refuse Pergamon with 2. With 3 I would work hard to find a fourth, or suggest something else if we can't find a 4th and other 4p games are available.


I don't like Pergamon with 4. I mostly only play 3p games of it on Yucata. I have played it 2p with my wife and enjoyed it - not quite as much as 3p, but still fun. One of the guys I game with says that he only likes it 2p.

So there's an opposite perspective... whistle
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Curt Carpenter
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arkayn wrote:
I don't like Pergamon with 4.

Why?
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Chris Berger
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curtc wrote:
arkayn wrote:
I don't like Pergamon with 4.

Why?


Well, I guess I shouldn't say I don't like it with 4, but I feel like there are a lot of games that play better with 4, so I'd rather play it with 3 or even 2, and play something else with 4.

I guess it's a "feel" thing more than anything, so feel free to disagree with my opinion. But it seems like with 4p, choices are just too constrained and there's not enough variance. Good bidding spots are pretty much concentrated in the middle-right in 4p, whereas I feel like the whole board is open in a 3p. The 2 (I-V) spot is pretty much always good in a 4p, and the 5's are basically unplayable. Even the 0 (I-V) spot isn't that viable in a 4p, because it's unlikely for anyone to build up enough gold and simultaneously have any level build up enough finds to be worth forgoing money for the turn.

For example, assume two chest cards - that's going to be an average of 13 gold available, meaning just over 3 per player. It's really likely that the players are going to play on 2, 3, 3, 4 or 2, 3, 4, 4 (if the 4 is the last to be picked, that player may go to the 6 (I-V) spot instead, but that's a trivial difference since the 6 (I-V) and 4 (I-V) spots are equivalent if you're the last to play and all other players have placed to the right of them). And with 3 or 4 levels being excavated each turn, there's not that much chance for finds to build up so that you can get a big score.

I feel like the 3p game is more open and allows for more tactical play rather than just taking the bidding spot that's available out of the 5 spaces that are potentially viable on a given turn. The 2 (I-V) spot is already pretty good because it picks pretty early, can hit all spots, and earns some money. In the 4p game, that spot seems like a no brainer too much of the time.

Your experience may be different - I'm not an expert, but that's how it seems to me.
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Andrew Watson
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Thanks for the discussion, people. It does seem that Permagon "plays 2-4, and seems to play well across that range" but that different people favor different numbers of players.
 
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Curt Carpenter
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arkayn wrote:
But it seems like with 4p, choices are just too constrained and there's not enough variance.

That's what's better about it.

arkayn wrote:
Good bidding spots are pretty much concentrated in the middle-right in 4p, whereas I feel like the whole board is open in a 3p. The 2 (I-V) spot is pretty much always good in a 4p, and the 5's are basically unplayable. Even the 0 (I-V) spot isn't that viable in a 4p, because it's unlikely for anyone to build up enough gold and simultaneously have any level build up enough finds to be worth forgoing money for the turn.

It depends on the money cards, of course, but the far right spot definitely gets taken in 4p. Remember, you're forgoing less money in 4p than 3p.

But the main thing is that in 4p, choosing last is often a painful position to be in, which makes turn order for the next round a significant consideration in itself, whereas in 3p it matters much less, and is thus rarely a consideration, especially since you can't see the next round's tiles when choosing current position.

Also, in 3p, it's pretty much the case that you just try to get decent stuff at a decent price. In 4p you have to really make more of an effort to get stuff that works for you, and work harder to get it, not just look for good deals.

But yeah, 3p will definitely feel lighter. I guess I don't really want to play that game any lighter than it already feels with 4p.
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Jason Monroe
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AndAgainMA wrote:
Thanks for the discussion, people. It does seem that Permagon "plays 2-4, and seems to play well across that range" but that different people favor different numbers of players.


I've played Pergamon a number of times with 2, 3, and 4 players. It's a solid game with 2 players as the tomb raider is one of the better 'dummy' players out there.

Obviously if I had a 3rd I would choose another person over the tomb raider but at the same time I would happily play with 2 if no one else was available.

I recently bought Milestones but haven't had a chance to play it yet. It hasn't really been out all that long so I'd expect to see more of a change in its ratings as more folks play it
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I own both, and rate both highly (and am a Dorra-fanboy, with Medina being one of my only two "10" ratings, and Turn the Tide another favorite).

What I love best about Medina are the agonizing decisions, and the ability to upset your opponent's plans, plus the spatial play of fragmenting palaces. These are aspects which I see return in Milestones to reasonable effect (together with "two actions each turn"), but are mostly absent in Pergamon.

Pergamon has absolutely lovely artwork and component quality, with wonderful attention to detail, but play feels rather "mechanical" to me; there's frequently an obvious best move for which funding to aim for, and creating a collection is just an exercise in point optimization. To me, it feels too lightweight to really hold my interest for a long time. That might mean it's perfect for your kid, but to me it makes it the less interesting of the two games. (That said, according to my play logging I haven't played it with 4 yet, which from the comments here I think I totally should.)

Milestones has very short resource production / building cycles, with only a minimum of resources carried over, which feels unexpected when you think you'll know what to expect of a rondel / worker placement like mechanism. Once you grok that flow, you can focus on an optimal layout for your available "workers", and really playing the board. Overall the board is very even, but there's still good opportunities for stealing away points from your opponents, especially if you manage to be out of sync with them in your cycle. It's not as deep or as agonizing as Medina, but - to me - still very enjoyable.
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Chris Berger
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curtc wrote:
arkayn wrote:
But it seems like with 4p, choices are just too constrained and there's not enough variance.

That's what's better about it.


Only if you don't like having meaningful decisions...

devil
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Andrew Watson
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Thanks to all for the continuing discussion of Pergamon, and for persuading me that I have to have it.

Special thanks to a_traveller, for the comments on Milestones. Our tastes seem very similar - I brought and taught Land Unter (the version of Turn the Tide I own) at a game group last week.

It does sound as though I'll at least like Milestones, given my love for Medina. So, as I suspected from the first, the answer to the question of which game to get is: both. I'll tell Santa. Just as well I've been good this year...
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Cameron Chien
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Hehe, isn't "both" always the right answer? Except maybe not for your wallet...

Cameron
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Bumping up this old thread, as I finally got to play Pergamon with 4, and absolutely loved it. Thanks, Curt, for firmly planting the seed in my mind that I still needed to try it with 4. The game felt much tighter, with some truly agonizing decision on both where to dig and which spots to place for (rather than those being completely obvious choices). It's still a relatively light and easy game, but it's definitely been given a new lease on life for me.
 
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Curt Carpenter
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a_traveler wrote:
Bumping up this old thread, as I finally got to play Pergamon with 4, and absolutely loved it. Thanks, Curt, for firmly planting the seed in my mind that I still needed to try it with 4.

Glad you tried it and enjoyed it. Since then, I bought, played, and sold Milestones. It's an ok game, but to me felt like one of those "less than the sum of its parts" games. The moving your dude around your personal track thing is kinda interesting, but without knowing what the board will be like by the time you get a chance to build, it's just too tactical and dry for my tastes.
 
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