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I play green


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16 out of 16 gamers thought this was helpful

The real beauty in this game is that it can be played happily by a 10 year old, and it gave my gaming friends a stretch in plotting a strategy to obtain the best possible point score.

The game comes somewhat overpackaged – primarily to pull the buyer into the look and colours in the game. It breaks down very simply into the box which comes inside the packaging – half the size, but which works surprisingly well in keeping all the bits! The pieces are all plastic with grey Walls and Towers for building the castle; along with my favourite colours (green and yellow) for the players’ Keeps. The pieces fit quite neatly together, but while the set is still new, you may need to slot the Towers/Walls together in from underneath rather than on top from time to time.

The green/yellow version arrives with five sets of rules for various languages; while the blue/red version has one simple set in English. The blue/red version is the ‘expansion’ supposedly, but there is really no reason not to purchase that one as your primary set if you prefer the colours.

The game set up is very quick – sort the Keep colours and shuffle the cards of the same colour into their two separate decks. The Castle Walls and Towers can stay in the box until needed. From new; the set up takes no more than about 3 minutes; to pull the packaging apart and tear open the plastic bags. We had a friend to show us how to play and we were underway in under 5 minutes – a super fast time to get playing a new game. The rules are extremely simple though, and even with having to read rules, unpack to first play would be less than 10 minutes – especially if, like me, you are happy to just play the game as it comes, rather than having to have the entire game strategy in mind before you get underway.

So the play of the game is in building the Castle. Starting players have 4 cards each. The cards depict the pieces allowed to be used in making your courtyards. It is enticing to use all your cards at once to build the most impressive first courtyard, but the crunch comes when you realise you are only allowed to draw one additional card at the end of your turn. This makes future builds quite limited. There are three special cards which allow one extra draw, but I often find these in my last round!! >.< The scoring all comes from having the most Towers in your Courtyard, so you do want to make some fancy styles of courtyard. And then you need to decide when to use your one double Keep scoring tile.

The best way to play this game is as a four player version; this adds complexity to the way the castle constructs and how you might be able to fashion your courtyard. The four player game is much more interesting for 'gamers' and was still finished in a leisurely 45 minutes.

I find the two player version quite simplistic after the four player game. It is over quickly and the strategy is far less, as it is much easier to 'set yourself up' for a pre-planned courtyard. With the four player game, this is virtually impossible! 🙂 Of course this makes the two player version just great for young players, a very quick fill-in game or for late night not-too-much-thinking times.

Value for Money? At the price, the game is not too expensive. However I feel that at 'double the price' (needed for the four player), it IS somewhat expensive for a very simple, not too challenging game.

I enjoyed discovering this game and it makes me smile to be writing this review on it. Long term I'm unsure it will stay at the front of the shelf, but I'll be putting it on the table several times before that happens.

And anyway, how would you not want to pay green?? 🙂

Go to the The Pillars of the Earth page
16 out of 22 gamers thought this was helpful

OK! It’s NOT the most attractive game box you’ve perhaps ever bought!

This box sat on my ‘unplayed top shelf’ for three months! All right – I admit – there are a few games sit there for a while, till I get to them.

Finally, knowing that the game was based on a famous novel and also ranked fairly highly in gamers’ lists, I persuaded a good friend to sit with me and nut it out. The biggest part of the learning process was probably in getting the game set up. Once all the cards and pieces were in the right places, the process of play was quite straightforward.

Firstly, relatively simply, you bid for the resources.

Secondly, you place your master builders, according to the order they are pulled out of the secret bag. My friend and I tended to pass in the main, so that we could place builders more cheaply – money was always a bit of an issue.

Thirdly, in a nutshell, you reap the benefits of the round and gain and gather your victory points.

Repeat six times – it gets much easier by the 3rd and 4th rounds.

Each new round added quirks and new characters. The privileges were really great! These made it not just a ‘complete and repeat’ activity.

At the end of the game, we’d had a great time, were relatively closely placed and were keen to give it another go.

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