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Keythedral» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Good Fences Make Good Neighbors rss

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Jim Cote
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Overview

Keythedral is a very busy looking game with its 29 colorful octagonal tiles, 25 small square tiles, 50 cardboard circles, 34 building tiles, 2 game boards, 115 cubes in 8 colors, 20 cards, 5 player screens, 15 sticks, and 5 cylinders. But it is also very beautiful, elegant, and fun. Keytown wants to build a new Keythedral. The player who contributes the most to its construction wins.

The raw materials (stone, wood, food, water, and wine) are harvested from the various land tiles (quarry, forest, farm, lake, and vineyard, respectively). Players can also buy crafts (iron, stained glass, and gold) for 2, 3, and 4 resources, respectively. Each tile on the Keythedral itself costs a specific set of cubes. You must harvest and buy the cubes you need, but timing and planning are everything...

Setup

Players each take a screen to hide their cubes and bought Keythedral tiles, and 3 fence "sticks".

The "board" is built by the players in turn by drawing a random land tile, adding it to the ones already played, then adding a square cottage tile. Once all players have done this 5 times, the lay of the land is decided, and, to a large degree, will determine your fate.

Place all the Keythedral tiles number side up, shuffle them, and fill up the Keythedral board with appropriately numbered tiles. Flip over only the bottom row so that the purchase price (cubes) is showing.

Shuffle the law card deck, and place 2 of them face down on the appropriate spaces on the Keytown mat.

Play

There are 5 cylinders which are used to select worker placement order. Each cottage in play has a number from 1-5. The Keythedral board has spaces also numbered 1-5. The first player takes one of the cylinders and places it on one of the numbers. Then each player, starting with the first player, places a worker on an empty land tile next to their cottage bearing that number. If there's no empty space, you are out of luck. Then the next player takes a cylinder and does the same. Go around the table until all 5 cylinders (and all possible workers) are placed, even if some players get more than 1 turn.

Now all players collect a resource cube for every worker they have in play. Although the rules leave the removal of workers until later, we find it easiest to remove the workers as you pick up the cubes. There's really no reason to leave them on after this step.

Now the fun part--the actions. Beginning with the start player, players may take one action at a time, until everyone passes. I have condensed the description of the actions from the rules for clarity:

Buy Keythedral Tile: Pay the cost in cubes of a single tile from the current face up row. Place the tile behind your screen. If the current row is emptied, flip over all the tile from the next row. Note that each row of tiles costs half as many resource cubes as its score, counting iron as 2, stained glass as 3, and gold as 4.

Build a House: Pay a stone and wood cube, and flip any one of your cottage tiles over. A house tile generates 2 workers instead of 1. This can be important to gain critical resources or cut off opponents' access.

Build or Remove a Fence: Pay a wood cube to add a fence, or pay 2 wine cubes to remove a fence. Fences are placed between any cottage/house and a land tile. Workers from that cottage/house may not be placed on a land tile if they would have to cross this fence. If a cottage/house has no more access to any land tiles because of one or more fence(s), it may be moved to a new location for free.

Trade Cubes: You can trade any 2 cubes for any resource cube or an iron cube, any 3 cubes for a stained glass cube, or any 4 cubes for a gold cube.

Buy a Law Card: Pay any one cube and take either law card, if there is one. Once you do this, you can no longer take any actions this round. Law cards have various special powers that you can play at different times depending on the card.

Once all players have passed or bought a law card, the actions are over. Replenish the law cards back to 2.

Pass the start player marker to the left. There is now an auction to see who gets to assign the new start player. The player to the left of the current start player bids first, with the final bidder being the current start player. Players bid cubes, each counting as 1. Each bid must be higher than the previous, or a pass. The starting player can take the bid for the same amount as the highest. The winner pays the starting player in cubes, and gets to name the new starting player. If the starting player wins the bid, he pays the bidder who he matched.

Game End

Play a number of rounds until all the Keythedral tiles are bought. A player's score is the total on all the Keythedral tiles he has bought, plus 1 point per resource cube, plus 2 points per iron cube, plus 3 points per stained glass cube, plus 4 points per gold cube.

Comments

Initial placement of the land tiles and cottages is vital. If you have no access to a particular resource, it will cost you an extra action and and extra cube to trade for the ones you need. Make sure you can get one of each type of cube, if you want it. Also make sure you don't clump your cottages so that you are competing with yourself.

Houses and fences are key. If you are behind your opponents in these, you will feel the pain. It costs 1 cube to add a fence, but 2 to remove it. Make them pay.

Timing means a lot. Try to have the cubes you need ahead of time. The rows of Keythedral tiles are arranged so that stone/wood fade from use, wine/crafts fade in, and food/water are used throughout. If a row is going to clear soon, trade up for the cube(s) that might be needed on the next row. If it's your turn and you need to trade first, by the time it's your turn again someone may have bought what you were trading for.

If you have a spare resource cube, buy a law card if one is available. They are almost always worth more than a single cube in what you gain from them.

In my first game, I was a little worried because all of the top Keythedral tiles (#12) were craft tiles (this just happened randomly). Because of this, the game became a simple race to grab the most resource cubes, and nothing to do with _which cubes. However, there is a nice mix of tiles that do have resources on them. Also, I would recommend looking into the Keythedral Expansion tiles that add a much larger variety here, including requiring 1 or 2 law cards for purchase!

Some Criticism

The number stickers supplied for the turn order markers are more distracting than useful. We flip the cylinders over (the blank side) and find it much cleaner to play. The only important numbers are the ones on the Keythedral board which represent cottage/house numbers.

The Keytown mat is a complete waste. It is only needed because of a single law card (Craft Bargain). Otherwise you could just leave all the cubes in a single pile, and 2 law cards next to the draw pile.

The house side of the cottage tiles could have been done with more contrast (Pro Ludo). Maybe a bright center with a black outline.

Summary

This is a fantastic game. It is not the cube trade-fest that you might think. The play is focused on how many and which resources to go after and what actions to take and when. The randomness of the upcoming Keythedral rows adds a nice amount of tension to the game and avoids some analysis paralysis.

Components: 8/10 (Pro Ludo) Per my comments above, and an error with the punch orientation of some land tiles.

Fun-Factor: 7/10 Stealing your opponent's vineyard, cutting him off from the lake with a fence, and buying a Keythedral tile that he was saving for are all pretty fun.

Luck: 4/10 There are 3 places where luck is involved: initial draw of land tiles during board setup, and seeding of Keythedral tiles, and the drawing of law cards.

Overall: 8.5/10
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Seth Jaffee
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generalpf wrote:
ekted wrote:
Now all players collect a resource cube for every worker they have in play. Although the rules leave the removal of workers until later, we find it easiest to remove the workers as you pick up the cubes. There's really no reason to leave them on after this step.

There certainly is! Being able to survey the board and intuit which cubes other players have behind their screens based on where their workers are can help you decide what to buy.

Quite so!

What we do to facilitate moving the game along is when you place your workers, you get the cubes at that time, but you leave them in front of your screen until the end of the cube-gatehrting. Then at once everyone takes their cubes behind their screen. This way is quicker and it's easy to make sure you didn't miss any cubes, and you can tell at a glance what people are getting before they hide them.

Quote:
Fantastic game.

Here I don't think I agree. It'a 'allright, I guess'... but leaves a lot to be desired. I tried to like Keythedral, but it simply pales in comparison to so many other games... it's just not as good and not as fun as a lot of other stuff.

- Seth
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Brian Newman
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Keythedral is Settlers, but fun.
 
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Seth Jaffee
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generalpf wrote:
Blackberry wrote:
Keythedral is Settlers, but fun.

Yeah, it's kind of like Breese took the good parts of Settlers, then went into the future and took the good parts of Caylus, then went back in time and produced Keythedral.

I don't see what you guys see in this game? Is it the rediculous disparity between good law cards and bad ones? Or is it the incredibly low number of actually useful law cards? Is it that a poor opening placement spells an hour or so of misery as ou slowly lose the game? Or is it the largely irrelevant "Bid to choose the start player" mechanic?
 
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J C Lawrence
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sedjtroll wrote:
I don't see what you guys see in this game?


It involves many interesting and difficult decisions with few unattractive aspects. That's largely enough.

Quote:
Is it the rediculous disparity between good law cards and bad ones? Or is it the incredibly low number of actually useful law cards?


We play with the following mostly pretty obvious variants:

1) No shields. Cubes are pefectly trackable, therefore shields are pointless in the face of those who count, and most all can if they bother. Why bother? Leave the shields in the box.

2) All the Keythedral tiles are face up, not just the current row.

3) Law cards are face up. You can see what you're buying, what people have previously bought, and thus the potential values.

Quote:
Is it that a poor opening placement spells an hour or so of misery as ou slowly lose the game?


Poor initial placements are usually your own damn fault. You can track and count the tile backs as easily as anyone else. You know that there's one of each resource in each set of tiles (as numbered on their back). Watch what people build where and use that to help your placements.

Quote:
Or is it the largely irrelevant "Bid to choose the start player" mechanic?


Frankly with this question I wonder if you've actually played the game. The auction seems irrelevant until viewed as a player-buyable taxation system, which in fact it is. Use it to club your opponents.

Exceptions to the above: Don't play with 5 players. Not worth the time to lift the lid off the box with 5.
 
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Seth Jaffee
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clearclaw wrote:
sedjtroll wrote:
I don't see what you guys see in this game?

It involves many interesting and difficult decisions with few unattractive aspects. That's largely enough.

It appears the definitions of "interesting" and "unattractive" must be where we differ...

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Is it the rediculous disparity between good law cards and bad ones? Or is it the incredibly low number of actually useful law cards?

We play with the following mostly pretty obvious variants:

Ah, so you are playing and enjoying not Keythedral, but a variant. That explains at least some of it.

Quote:
1) No shields. Cubes are pefectly trackable, therefore shields are pointless in the face of those who count, and most all can if they bother. Why bother? Leave the shields in the box.

Do you also play Puerto Rico with face up Victory Point chits? The people who taught me that game missed that rule (that you keep them face down). It made for long, drawn out games where people counted and re-counted each others' scores very often. In this kind of situation, the kind in which players are faced with 'man yinteresting and difficult decisions,' it is in fact not trivial to count cubes. It appears the intention was that players don't really know what their opponents have behind their screens (not just cubes, but score as well). This was not a part of the game I would pan.

Quote:
2) All the Keythedral tiles are face up, not just the current row.

I have mixed emotions about this one. I suspect I'd like it better your way, as one of my major complaints is that you don't always know what cubes you want.

Quote:
3) Law cards are face up. You can see what you're buying, what people have previously bought, and thus the potential values.

This would certainly help the 'waste resources on completely useless law cards' aspect of the game. However it doesn't fix the fact that 30% or less of the Law cards are really any good, and over 50% are largely useless.

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Is it that a poor opening placement spells an hour or so of misery as ou slowly lose the game?

Poor initial placements are usually your own damn fault. You can track and count the tile backs as easily as anyone else. You know that there's one of each resource in each set of tiles (as numbered on their back). Watch what people build where and use that to help your placements.

Clearly opening placement is your own fault. And it takes a game or two to realize what might constitute a good or a bad opening placement. So certainly in an early game (especially vs someone with experience), you are likely to accidentally get a sub-par placement, which will probably spell your doom before the first worker is placed.

Quote:
Quote:
Or is it the largely irrelevant "Bid to choose the start player" mechanic?

Frankly with this question I wonder if you've actually played the game. The auction seems irrelevant until viewed as a player-buyable taxation system, which in fact it is. Use it to club your opponents.

In fact, I have played the game. Not a huge quantity of times mind you, but several, and with 3, 4, and 5 players. I understand the theory that buying the start player and placing it 1 or 2 people to your right so you can go early in the turn order more often... I just don't think it's worth the cost. Certainly not in a 3 player game, and you already suggested that 5p isn't any good.

Every time I've paid a cube to choose the first player I was sorry I did, and every time someone paid me a cube for that choice I was thrilled. Noone in heir right mind would bid more that 1 cube for this 'privelege', would they? I can barely imagine a situation where that would be worth it, unless you're already winning so much it hardly matters (i.e. lots of cubes to spare)

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Exceptions to the above: Don't play with 5 players. Not worth the time to lift the lid off the box with 5.

I'll make a note, if I'm ever to play Keythedral again, I should make sure I play with fewer players than the box says, and I won't use the rules as written

I wish games would tell you on the box when you'll have to fix them yourself...
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J C Lawrence
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We play with the following mostly pretty obvious variants:

Ah, so you are playing and enjoying not Keythedral, but a variant. That explains at least some of it.


Many people seem to view games as inviolable systems to be played only as written or not played at all. This doesn't make sense to me, but oh well. I view games as kits, things to be played with both within and without the rules.

Quote:
Quote:
1) No shields. Cubes are pefectly trackable, therefore shields are pointless in the face of those who count, and most all can if they bother. Why bother? Leave the shields in the box.

Do you also play Puerto Rico with face up Victory Point chits?


Asides from the fact that I don't play Puerto Rico (don't like the game), yes, that's how I'd play and no, I wouldn't play it any other way.

Quote:
In this kind of situation, the kind in which players are faced with 'man yinteresting and difficult decisions,' it is in fact not trivial to count cubes.


Perhaps I should note then that when I do play Euphrat&Tigris that I play with public cubes (only tiles are hidden).

Quote:
It appears the intention was that players don't really know what their opponents have behind their screens (not just cubes, but score as well). This was not a part of the game I would pan.


For me it is simple: if a game hides perfectly trackable information then I don't hide it. IOW: If you could play with a pencil and notepad and keep perfect track then don't bother hiding the data. That simple.

Quote:
Quote:
3) Law cards are face up. You can see what you're buying, what people have previously bought, and thus the potential values.

This would certainly help the 'waste resources on completely useless law cards' aspect of the game. However it doesn't fix the fact that 30% or less of the Law cards are really any good, and over 50% are largely useless.


The percentage of Law Cards I find useful is about 20% higher than your's. Certainly there's also a fair dose of groupthink in the law card values. For instance the fence cards are quite worthless if your group does not play fences fast and early (when they are most useful/valuable). Similarly the resource depletion and no-houses cards are not worth much if your group all charge madly for houses at the same time rather than pacing houses against early VP aquisition rates. However I don't think this is important. Not all the law cards *need* to be useful. Given that the law cards for the next round are revealed before the start player auction everybody knows what they are competing for and in what order.

Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
Is it that a poor opening placement spells an hour or so of misery as ou slowly lose the game?

Poor initial placements are usually your own damn fault. You can track and count the tile backs as easily as anyone else. You know that there's one of each resource in each set of tiles (as numbered on their back). Watch what people build where and use that to help your placements.

Clearly opening placement is your own fault. And it takes a game or two to realize what might constitute a good or a bad opening placement. So certainly in an early game (especially vs someone with experience), you are likely to accidentally get a sub-par placement, which will probably spell your doom before the first worker is placed.


My general approach with new players is to build a village, do the initial production ordering and let everyone go, "Ahh!" and then start over on the first game.

Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
Or is it the largely irrelevant "Bid to choose the start player" mechanic?

...
The auction seems irrelevant until viewed as a player-buyable taxation system, which in fact it is. Use it to club your opponents.

...
I just don't think it's worth the cost. Certainly not in a 3 player game, and you already suggested that 5p isn't any good.

Every time I've paid a cube to choose the first player I was sorry I did, and every time someone paid me a cube for that choice I was thrilled. Noone in heir right mind would bid more that 1 cube for this 'privelege', would they? I can barely imagine a situation where that would be worth it, unless you're already winning so much it hardly matters (i.e. lots of cubes to spare)


I think the most I've paid for start player is 6 cubes (a purple that I could no longer use and three others). This was in a 4 player game. It was well worth it as that ordering set me up for income next turn (I put the start player immediately to my right), put my main competitor at the end of the play order so that he only earned 3 resources that turn compared to my 8, and guaranteed me the law card I needed to buy the last 12 point keythedral tile. It turned out that I didn't win (I lost by 2VPs), but without that turn I would have been fighting for last.[/q]

Quote:
I'll make a note, if I'm ever to play Keythedral again, I should make sure I play with fewer players than the box says, and I won't use the rules as written ;)


All games have sweet spots, usually at the lower end of their playable range. Oh, there are exceptions such as Medieval Merchant (best with 5 and 6, don't play with less), and of course negotiation games are invariably better with more, but they're exceptions to the rule.
 
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Jim Cote
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sedjtroll wrote:
However it doesn't fix the fact that 30% or less of the Law cards are really any good, and over 50% are largely useless.


I just got the Expansions. Some of the 12 tiles require unused Law Cards to purchase. That gives some extra value to the lesser attractive ones.

clearclaw wrote:
I think the most I've paid for start player is 6 cubes (a purple that I could no longer use and three others).


Just to make sure: You realize that for bidding purposes all cubes count as 1, right?
 
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clearclaw wrote:
Many people seem to view games as inviolable systems to be played only as written or not played at all. This doesn't make sense to me, but oh well. I view games as kits, things to be played with both within and without the rules.

I find this an interesting topic of conversation, actually. As a hobbyist designer, I've seen similar discussions pop up on game design threads. The salient points tend to deal with game balance, and how it's affected if players don't play by the rules as written. The author (theoretically) went through a lot of trouble coming up with those rules and balancing the game, so undermining that with house rules and variants could be seen by designers as some kind of insult. I mean heck, if you're not going to play with the rules as writen, you might as well cheat... wheree do you draw the line? Is it OK to cheat as long as everyone's allowed to? Where's the fun in that?

Quote:
Asides from the fact that I don't play Puerto Rico (don't like the game), yes, that's how I'd play and no, I wouldn't play it any other way.
If you ever do try Puerto Rico (which I highly recommend), I strongly encourage you to hide the VPs. Games with these kinds of mechanics are better and more fun if you focus on playing the game rather than tracking the trackable information. As I mentioned before, with all the other stuff going on - choices to make, other player's actions to consider, resources to gather, etc - it becomes hard to track the info, which I believe is the point to hiding the info in the first place.

Quote:
Perhaps I should note then that when I do play Euphrat&Tigris that I play with public cubes (only tiles are hidden).

I would have guessed. I think this is a terrible idea and it sorta ruins the game experience.

Quote:
For me it is simple: if a game hides perfectly trackable information then I don't hide it. IOW: If you could play with a pencil and notepad and keep perfect track then don't bother hiding the data. That simple.

For the record, have you ever played these games with hidden info and a pencil and paper? You might find that it's more work than it's worth. The intention, I'm sure, is that you don't get to use pencil and paper. If you REALLY want to track the info all the way through the game, then you should spend your attention on that - which probably means you'll miss something else more important.

If your reasoning is (and I'd be suprised if it wasn't) that someone might have a 'better memory' than you (i.e. they are better at tracking info like that), and that would put you at a disadvantage, then how do you 'fix' (neuter, dumb down) games that don't have hidden info? Do you require your Chess opponent to tell you his next three moves, just in case he's better than you at that? What about games like Settlers, which you say you'll play anytime, any place - I imagine you play that with face up hands of cards... do you have any other house rules to keep good negotiators from gaining advantage based on their negotiating skills?

Quote:
My general approach with new players is to build a village, do the initial production ordering and let everyone go, "Ahh!" and then start over on the first game.
What I wouldn't mind seeing for Keythedral is a 'balanced' setup for first time players - the kind of thing you see in other games (like Settlers), so people can play the game once without getting owned on the placement, and without having to start over.

Quote:
I think the most I've paid for start player is 6 cubes (a purple that I could no longer use and three others).

That sounds like a lot. I forget offhand if a bid of "3" can be paid with a single purple cube, or if a purple cube is just 1 cube.

- Seth
 
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Seth Jaffee
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ekted wrote:
sedjtroll wrote:
However it doesn't fix the fact that 30% or less of the Law cards are really any good, and over 50% are largely useless.


I just got the Expansions. Some of the 12 tiles require unused Law Cards to purchase. That gives some extra value to the lesser attractive ones.

I saw that. I suppose it helps. Doesn't really get me excited enough to play the game again though.

Quote:
clearclaw wrote:
I think the most I've paid for start player is 6 cubes (a purple that I could no longer use and three others).


Just to make sure: You realize that for bidding purposes all cubes count as 1, right?

That's what I thought. That's the way it should be anyway.
 
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Keythedral » Forums » Reviews
Re: Good Fences Make Good Neighbors
ekted wrote:
sedjtroll wrote:
However it doesn't fix the fact that 30% or less of the Law cards are really any good, and over 50% are largely useless.


I just got the Expansions. Some of the 12 tiles require unused Law Cards to purchase. That gives some extra value to the lesser attractive ones.


Yep the expansion does improve the game, but subtlely.

Quote:
clearclaw wrote:
I think the most I've paid for start player is 6 cubes (a purple that I could no longer use and three others).


Just to make sure: You realize that for bidding purposes all cubes count as 1, right?


Nope missed that bit and am not sure that that's an improvement given the very high penalty cost that gives buying craft cubes a rank in advance.
 
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sedjtroll wrote:
clearclaw wrote:
Many people seem to view games as inviolable systems to be played only as written or not played at all. This doesn't make sense to me, but oh well. I view games as kits, things to be played with both within and without the rules.

I find this an interesting topic of conversation, actually. As a hobbyist designer, I've seen similar discussions pop up on game design threads. The salient points tend to deal with game balance, and how it's affected if players don't play by the rules as written. The author (theoretically) went through a lot of trouble coming up with those rules and balancing the game, so undermining that with house rules and variants could be seen by designers as some kind of insult. I mean heck, if you're not going to play with the rules as writen, you might as well cheat... wheree do you draw the line? Is it OK to cheat as long as everyone's allowed to? Where's the fun in that?


I look at all the above cases as quite fine and acceptable. Just like the way that your web browser interprets and displays your web page being entirely up to you as the client, so it is with games. The designers and publishers send out games with suggestions on their use. That does not place consumers under any obligation to adhere to or honour those suggestions.

That said, all parties are of course responsible for the effects of their decisions. If they ruin the play experience with bad rules in design or publication, or with bad variants at play time, well, that's their own damn fault.

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Asides from the fact that I don't play Puerto Rico (don't like the game), yes, that's how I'd play and no, I wouldn't play it any other way.
If you ever do try Puerto Rico (which I highly recommend), I strongly encourage you to hide the VPs. Games with these kinds of mechanics are better and more fun if you focus on playing the game rather than tracking the trackable information.


I have played PR. I'm merely not fond of the game and don't particularly wish to play again.

Quote:
As I mentioned before, with all the other stuff going on - choices to make, other player's actions to consider, resources to gather, etc - it becomes hard to track the info, which I believe is the point to hiding the info in the first place.


Many of the people I play with could track all that easily and hardly notice the effort. I used to be able to do that, but dislike the activity, ceased to bother and have now atrophied the skill. I just don't want to be bothered.

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Perhaps I should note then that when I do play Euphrat&Tigris that I play with public cubes (only tiles are hidden).


I would have guessed. I think this is a terrible idea and it sorta ruins the game experience.


Conversely it is the only way I'll willingly play the game.

Quote:
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For me it is simple: if a game hides perfectly trackable information then I don't hide it. IOW: If you could play with a pencil and notepad and keep perfect track then don't bother hiding the data. That simple.


For the record, have you ever played these games with hidden info and a pencil and paper?


Yes.

Quote:
You might find that it's more work than it's worth. The intention, I'm sure, is that you don't get to use pencil and paper. If you REALLY want to track the info all the way through the game, then you should spend your attention on that - which probably means you'll miss something else more important.


If I miss something more important it will be because my notation and tracking is poor and needs to be improved. That's a mechanical process, not a function of the actually interesting bit: the decision making.

Quote:
If your reasoning is (and I'd be suprised if it wasn't) that someone might have a 'better memory' than you (i.e. they are better at tracking info like that), and that would put you at a disadvantage, then how do you 'fix' (neuter, dumb down) games that don't have hidden info? Do you require your Chess opponent to tell you his next three moves, just in case he's better than you at that? What about games like Settlers, which you say you'll play anytime, any place - I imagine you play that with face up hands of cards... do you have any other house rules to keep good negotiators from gaining advantage based on their negotiating skills?


Actually that's not my reasoning. Games test a variety of human abilities. I don't find the testing of memory to be either interesting or enjoyable so I either don't play games which test or exercise those, or change them so that they don't test those traits. FWLIW in my youth I was a gambling card player of minor ability (gin rummy) I could (then) card count easily and accurately. However I don't like the skill, dislike exercising it, and so avoid the area.

As for the disparity in player ability -- that's fine and expected. If you're better at the game you should win. Finis.
 
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J C Lawrence
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generalpf wrote:
clearclaw wrote:
Nope missed that bit and am not sure that that's an improvement given the very high penalty cost that gives buying craft cubes a rank in advance.

It is an improvement. It takes the players who bought the craft cubes in advance and puts them at a disadvantage for the bidding.


I'm not clear on how or if that's an improvement, especially given that craft cubes can't be down-traded back into resources.
 
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clearclaw wrote:
generalpf wrote:
clearclaw wrote:
Nope missed that bit and am not sure that that's an improvement given the very high penalty cost that gives buying craft cubes a rank in advance.

It is an improvement. It takes the players who bought the craft cubes in advance and puts them at a disadvantage for the bidding.


I'm not clear on how or if that's an improvement, especially given that craft cubes can't be down-traded back into resources.

Actually, this is where I have a rules question about the game. I can't recall the specifics, but there was something in the rules that implied maybe you could down-trade, or that you could get a craft cube more cheaply if it were somewhere other than where it started... it didn't make any sense to us, so we didn't know how to handle that. We decided to use the only interpretation that made any sense - you pay X cubes for 1 craft cube, and if you spend the craft cube it goes back into the supply to be traded for again at the normal rate - not tossed into the box to be swiped up cheaply according to this unclear rule.

I apologize for the generality of this post, if I had the rules I'd post the quote... but it's my friend's game, not mine.
 
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clearclaw wrote:
That said, all parties are of course responsible for the effects of their decisions. If they ruin the play experience with bad rules in design or publication, or with bad variants at play time, well, that's their own damn fault.

So what do you do when you're out of town, say at BGG.con, and you'd like to play Keythedral, or Tigris & Euphrates, or etc?

Quote:
Many of the people I play with could track all that easily and hardly notice the effort. I used to be able to do that, but dislike the activity, ceased to bother and have now atrophied the skill. I just don't want to be bothered.
And your opponents (who can easily track the info) let you get away with that?

Quote:
The intention, I'm sure, is that you don't get to use pencil and paper. If you REALLY want to track the info all the way through the game, then you should spend your attention on that - which probably means you'll miss something else more important.


If I miss something more important it will be because my notation and tracking is poor and needs to be improved. That's a mechanical process, not a function of the actually interesting bit: the decision making.[/q]
If a person has a finite amount of attention to spend on various aspects of a game, then assigning too much of this attention to tracking hidden information means there's less attention being assigned elsewhere. As such, you could either miss something, as you say, because your mental notetaking was bad, or as I was getting at, because you were paying too much attention to tracking information and not enough attention to your strategic plan, or your opponents plays, or some other aspect of the game.

Quote:
If your reasoning is (and I'd be suprised if it wasn't) that someone might have a 'better memory' than you (i.e. they are better at tracking info like that), and that would put you at a disadvantage...


Actually that's not my reasoning.[/q]
Hmm. You just said that it was.
Quote:
Many of the people I play with could track all that easily and hardly notice the effort. I used to be able to do that, but dislike the activity, ceased to bother and have now atrophied the skill. I just don't want to be bothered.


Quote:
As for the disparity in player ability -- that's fine and expected. If you're better at the game you should win. Finis.
... unless that game involves memory mechanics or hidden but trackable information. Then disparity in player ability should be evened out by changing the rules of the game, no?
 
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Your quotes are improperly formatted which makes sensical reply difficult.

sedjtroll wrote:
clearclaw wrote:
That said, all parties are of course responsible for the effects of their decisions. If they ruin the play experience with bad rules in design or publication, or with bad variants at play time, well, that's their own damn fault.

So what do you do when you're out of town, say at BGG.con, and you'd like to play Keythedral, or Tigris & Euphrates, or etc?


I play by the rules I prefer, I play something else or I don't play. This is not a problem and seems only fair.

Quote:
Quote:
Many of the people I play with could track all that easily and hardly notice the effort. I used to be able to do that, but dislike the activity, ceased to bother and have now atrophied the skill. I just don't want to be bothered.
And your opponents (who can easily track the info) let you get away with that?


Why wouldn't they? It either makes no difference to them or they also prefer the information open so that they are not faced with a niggling if easy chore. The side effect that it makes for a more interesting game is also quite appreciated.

Quote:
Quote:
If I miss something more important it will be because my notation and tracking is poor and needs to be improved. That's a mechanical process, not a function of the actually interesting bit: the decision making.


If a person has a finite amount of attention to spend on various aspects of a game, then assigning too much of this attention to tracking hidden information means there's less attention being assigned elsewhere. As such, you could either miss something, as you say, because your mental notetaking was bad, or as I was getting at, because you were paying too much attention to tracking information and not enough attention to your strategic plan, or your opponents plays, or some other aspect of the game.


Well, think through your moves and balance your costs. If your note taking is costing too much than you'll either need to improve your note taking efficiency or sacrifice quality. This balancing is no different than any other game. Spend your time, make the right choice for your victory, play the game.

Quote:
Quote:
If your reasoning is (and I'd be suprised if it wasn't) that someone might
Quote:
have a 'better memory' than you (i.e. they are better at tracking info like that), and that would put you at a disadvantage...


Actually that's not my reasoning.


Hmm. You just said that it was.


No, I said I was able to card count, that I dislike the activity of card counting, and that I don't do it anymore because I find the activity itself unpleasant. I made no reference to how this relates to various player advantages, just that the activity is found unpleasant and the testing of that skill by the game also being determined to be uninteresting. I did not say that this was because of relative advantage/disadvantages. It isn't the advantage/disadvantage as you suggested but that it is an activity that I find unpleasant and so would rather avoid. Similarly I don't like the endless error-prone shuffling of money in 18XX and so play with a Limi's compouter-based moderator to handle tracking the shares, money, charters and trains while we humans deal with the board, track laying and interesting decisions.

Quote:
Quote:
As for the disparity in player ability -- that's fine and expected. If you're better at the game you should win. Finis.
... unless that game involves memory mechanics or hidden but trackable information. Then disparity in player ability should be evened out by changing the rules of the game, no?


Should? As in moral obligation? No. It is a nice side effect but is otherwise not particularly important. What I'm interested in are better and more enjoyable games and that in part means better and more enjoyable decision processes. The fact that I find the games themselves improved as games, the games made more interesting and challenging by having open holdings is just gravy on top of the golden goose.
 
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ekted wrote:
The number stickers supplied for the turn order markers are more distracting than useful. We flip the cylinders over (the blank side) and find it much cleaner to play. The only important numbers are the ones on the Keythedral board which represent cottage/house numbers.

I think you may be misinterpreting the function of the cylinders' numbers if you think they are unimportant or redundant. The numbers on the cylinders do not correspond to the numbers on the cottages/houses but instead are the order in which workers are placed. I noticed above that you immediately place workers for a particular number after each cylinder is played. Are you are always putting cylinder 1 on circle 1, 2 on 2, etc.? Instead you choose order for all cottages/houses, with the cylinders denoting the worker placement order, before any workers are actually placed. This forces players to strategize/speculate what order they want particular workers placed based on where they think their opponents will place their own workers.

Four player example: Bo, Bill, Bilbo, and Steve are playing. Bo is first to act, he takes cylinder 1 and places it on the number 3 circle because he wants his cottage on 3 to have first choice. Bill takes cylinder 2 and places it on circle 1. Bilbo places cylinder 3 on circle 4. Steve places cylinder 4 on circle 5. Bo places the remaining cylinder 5 on the last circle left, the 2. Now we start worker placement. Bo removes cylinder 1 from the 3 and everyone proceeds to play workers for their number 3 cottage in order starting with Bo. Then Bill removes cylinder 2 from the 1 and everyone, starting with Bill, places their workers for cottage number 1. So on and so forth.

Anyway, this is how our group has interpreted the rules. Can somebody verify that this is correct, or am I wrong?
 
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Yes, we play the game correctly. The problem is that we don't need to see the numbers on the cylinders to know the turn order. Seeing the turn order number only makes it more confusing. The important numbers are the cottage numbers on the board.
 
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ekted wrote:
The important numbers are the cottage numbers on the board.


True, but the marked numbers provide a useful indicator of what numbers have been played and by whom. This can be very useful to the forgetful or unobservant.

There are many unnecessary components in Keythedral:

-- The workers are excess baggage. Instead cubes could be placed on the fields and collected as workers were pseudo-placed. No cube equals someone put a worker there already. Simpler, easier, faster.

-- The turn order sticks are unnecessary as you mention. Five tiles, flip them over as each number is selected. Done. No sticks, no hand-out, no fiddling.

-- The marketplace/law card display is fluff. It does nothing but act as a non-functional placeholder for craft cubes and law cards. Lose it. Ditto the Keythedral.

-- The shields can be tossed given that all player cube holdings are perfectly trackable.

What's left? The fields, the cottage/houses, the resource and craft cubes, the VP tiles, the building number tiles, the start player marker (which I like purely because it may be thrown at people). Back to basics and all the rest is toast.
 
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clearclaw wrote:
True, but the marked numbers provide a useful indicator of what numbers have been played and by whom. This can be very useful to the forgetful or unobservant.


I disagree. It is more confusing. You just played the cylinder #2 on top of the #4 on the board. So the #4 (which is the cottage numbers that are active) is covered, and what you see is the #2 (turn order) which is irrelevant. It's too easy to start playing on the #2 cottages, and it is impossible to forget whose turn it is.

But it's difficult to be TOO critical of the physical design. Face To Face's version of Rheinlander holds the position of worst by a long shot.
 
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ekted wrote:
clearclaw wrote:
True, but the marked numbers provide a useful indicator of what numbers have been played and by whom. This can be very useful to the forgetful or unobservant.


I disagree. It is more confusing. You just played the cylinder #2 on top of the #4 on the board. So the #4 (which is the cottage numbers that are active) is covered, and what you see is the #2 (turn order) which is irrelevant.


Fair dinkum, but this seems more a question of style than substance. In my case I'd look in that instance, see the 2, count 1/2/3/4 and then look to the village to see why the second player considers the 4 cottages to be so valuable, and thence why the fist player considered whatever he played on to be so valuable. The data is all there, it just depends on what you want emphasised.
 
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Hmm, I guess I've never used the marker numbers for "historical" purposes, nor thought to understand why someone chose what they did, since there is no information that only one player knows. I suppose it could reveal a "plan".
 
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aaronhoes wrote:

Four player example: Bo, Bill, Bilbo, and Steve are playing. Bo is first to act, he takes cylinder 1 and places it on the number 3 circle because he wants his cottage on 3 to have first choice. Bill takes cylinder 2 and places it on circle 1. Bilbo places cylinder 3 on circle 4. Steve places cylinder 4 on circle 5. Bo places the remaining cylinder 5 on the last circle left, the 2. Now we start worker placement. Bo removes cylinder 1 from the 3 and everyone proceeds to play workers for their number 3 cottage in order starting with Bo. Then Bill removes cylinder 2 from the 1 and everyone, starting with Bill, places their workers for cottage number 1. So on and so forth.

Anyway, this is how our group has interpreted the rules. Can somebody verify that this is correct, or am I wrong?


This is incorrect. After each marker it is necessary a worker placement.

the rules:
Quote:
The start player takes the work order marker marked first (number 1) and places the marker on one of the numbers one to five on the Keythedral mat. The work order marker now indicates which cottage and house number has been chosen to be first.
The start player (player A) then places a worker counter into a field adjacent to the cottage tile which has the same number as the number they have selected.
The other players, in clockwise order, then do the same.


And:
Quote:
The next player (player B) in clockwise order then chooses the work order marker marked second (number 2) and places the marker on one of the
remaining numbers in order to denote which of the numbered cottages and
houses they have chosen.
Player B then places a worker counter into a field adjacent to the cottage tile which has the same number as the number chosen. All the other players, in clockwise order, then do the same.
 
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