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Subject: Not just a gimmick. rss

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Mike DiLisio
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I understand that this game will get most people's attention by virtue of the "quarry" rock pushing mechanic (it's certainly what got my attention), but this game is much, much more. First things first though...here's what it's not:

- Brain burning
- Complex
- Lengthy

If you're looking for a heavy weight Euro, this isn't the game for you. If, however, you're looking for a light-to-medium Euro that plays in about an hour, with a very integrated theme, that's easy to teach and learn, this is a great choice.

The basics of the game are very simple. You can take one of 4 actions on a turn. You may do one of the following:

1) Income - Choose from up to 7 cards. You may choose either the money or the stone(s) depicted on the cards, or when there are 3 or less cards to choose from, both. When there is only one card left, you get both the money and the stone(s) plus a token which allows you an extra "push" on the quarry.

2) Quarry - Choose one or two of the stones you've collected, and take your chances on the quarry pushing dexterity(ish) mini game. There's no doubt that there is a high level of novelty to this, but it's not a gimmick in my mind. There's actually a very thematic feel to this action. I love the idea of converting stones into finished tiles. Even if you don't end up pushing off any stones, you can choose one money or one small stone, so you're never left with nothing.

3) Road Building - Here's where the bulk of the points come from. You can place the tiles you've collected in your cart on the road from city to city. There are specific rules to how you place the stones, and those rules can actually lead to some strategic decisions on how and when to place stones. Also, you can place two stones a turn as long as all players have reached the city you are building from. If they haven't, you may only place one a turn. Every tile you place gives you instant points (the bigger the tile, the bigger the points). Also, you gain a token for every tile you place, regardless of the size. There are end game victory points awarded for the player who has built the most tiles in each section. I found that I had to temper my desire to quickly build a path to the next city, and instead realize that points are primarily gained through laying tiles.

4) Travel - Once tiles are laid, you may begin to travel to the next city. Traveling costs money, and depending on the size tile, you may find yourself blocked as well. There is a benefit to traveling quickly, as the first player to reach a city gets 6 victory points (3 for second, 1 for third), but as I mentioned previously, if you don't build enough tiles, and instead concentrate on rushing to the next city, you could end up in trouble.

That's the game in a nutshell. It's not a complex rule set, and honestly, that's one of the things that so appeals to me about it. I understand the appeal of deep, complex games. I enjoy some of those. But sometimes, I just want something that's quick, exciting, and above all, fun. This game has fun in abundance. I had a smile on my face almost the whole time I was playing.

One last thing about the quarry...some people will disparage the game because of the "gimmick". I think that's an extremely shallow viewpoint. If the game were solely about pushing stones, that would be a valid criticism. The truth is, that it's just one part of the game, and you really couldn't even call it the most important part. It's integrated extremely well into the game. So much so, that it doesn't feel like a gimmick at all, it feels like any other part of the game, albeit one which is undeniably cool to do.

The theme comes through wonderfully, the artwork is wonderful, and the components are fantastic. This would be a great gateway game for non-gamers, or for those who freak out at games like Eclipse or Twilight Imperium. However, it is also a great choice for open minded non-snobby "real" gamers too.
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David B
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If only queen games weren't so darned expensive.
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Mike DiLisio
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pfctsqr wrote:
If only queen games weren't so darned expensive.


You're not kidding. This certainly wasn't cheap, but at least the component quality is very high. I'm confident that I'll get enough plays of this that I won't feel like I didn't get my money's worth.
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Roger Howell
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Thanks for the review. I have been considering buying this one. I am going to consider it a bit more now.

Edit: Has anyone played this with 2 players? Is it good with two?
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Ubergeek
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My biggest concern was indeed the quarry mechanism, but it seems like a variation of the one used in Niagara which integrated well into the theme. I can live with that so long as there's a choice to avoid the chance element of the quarry.
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Mike DiLisio
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rogerramjet3361 wrote:
Thanks for the review. I have been considering buying this one. I am going to consider it a bit more now.

Edit: Has anyone played this with 2 players? Is it good with two?


So far, I've only played it with 2 players, and it was great. I'm going to play with 4 next week, and can report back then. The only difference rules wise is that with 2 people, there is one fewer VP token per city.
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Mike DiLisio
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Walt Mulder wrote:
My biggest concern was indeed the quarry mechanism, but it seems like a variation of the one used in Niagara which integrated well into the theme. I can live with that so long as there's a choice to avoid the chance element of the quarry.


Yes, I had a similar concern. The quarry adds no more of a chance element than die rolling, IMO. I never felt cheated when I didn't get a great yield, it just added to the tension of the game a bit, which was a good thing. It's really a pretty unique mechanism.
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rogerramjet3361 wrote:


Edit: Has anyone played this with 2 players? Is it good with two?


I played one time, it's nice.
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Roger Howell
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Walt Mulder wrote:
I can live with that so long as there's a choice to avoid the chance element of the quarry.

I don't own the game yet but read through the rules last night. If I remember correctly, if you feed 2 stones into the quarry and get no return, you still collect one coin or one small stone. That would help eliminate risking too much to chance. At least you get something.
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Mike DiLisio
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rogerramjet3361 wrote:
Walt Mulder wrote:
I can live with that so long as there's a choice to avoid the chance element of the quarry.

I don't own the game yet but read through the rules last night. If I remember correctly, if you feed 2 stones into the quarry and get no return, you still collect one coin or one small stone. That would help eliminate risking too much to chance. At least you get something.


This is correct. I look at this result as akin to a bad die roll. It may not be what you wanted, but you don't leave empty handed.
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Matt Smith
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I played a 4-player game last weekend and it was really fun. I agree the quarry isn't a gimmick. It's a great way to present players with a decision that doesn't have a guaranteed outcome, but you can get a decent sense of how it will turn out based on the arrangement of stone in the quarry, and the stones you have available to push. It's certainly less random than a die roll or a blind card draw.

Watching the other players push their stones into the quarry is really enjoyable. It's almost like watching a mini-game within a game. Will he get it angled properly? Will a stone slide to the side, messing up his plans? We had several times where a stone was tipping over the edge of the quarry, but didn't fall. It was balanced so precariously, that a slight table jiggle would cause it to fall. We all laughed at how the player was sooo close to getting another stone.
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Jesse
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Sizzla wrote:
3) Road Building - ...Also, you can place two stones a turn as long as all players have reached the city you are building from. If they haven't, you may only place one a turn. ...


IIRC, the rule is that you can play two as long as the previous road section is FULL.

The game is lots of fun. Pretty easy, but that's sometimes just what you're looking for. Watching people line the stones up JUUUUUUUUUSSSTTTTT right and get NOTHING is so much fun! Even when it happens to me!

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Quote:
If the game were solely about pushing stones, that would be a valid criticism. The truth is, that it's just one part of the game,


But its still the one thing that is somehow novel about this game.
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Mike DiLisio
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Si Fei wrote:
Quote:
If the game were solely about pushing stones, that would be a valid criticism. The truth is, that it's just one part of the game,


But its still the one thing that is somehow novel about this game.


Have you played the game? Because I don't agree at all. It is the most novel perhaps, but not the only novel thing. I've not played another game like it.
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Mark Calder
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Sizzla wrote:
rogerramjet3361 wrote:
Thanks for the review. I have been considering buying this one. I am going to consider it a bit more now.

Edit: Has anyone played this with 2 players? Is it good with two?


So far, I've only played it with 2 players, and it was great. I'm going to play with 4 next week, and can report back then. The only difference rules wise is that with 2 people, there is one fewer VP token per city.


It still plays well even though you get points for 1st and 2nd place in each section in endgame scoring? I find games that do that don't play as well with 2 because you need 3 for the added tension of possibly not getting any points for a section.
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f s
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Yes, I have played the game and I even wrote a review...

In my opinion, the game mixes elements from ressource management, racing and dexterity. The last point is novel, the rest is just a new mix. I have not thought about the game playing different from other games or not - it would seem that all games are a bit different from each other and then it comes down to a matter of degree.
 
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