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Subject: Three players build a city in the desert rss

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Bruce Murphy
Australia
Pyrmont
NSW
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I've owned an unplayed copy of Medina for a while, but it came new with a missing stable piece, and I only recently got in touch with the nice folks at HiG and got a replacement. Tonight, with three players, I brought the game out to play.

With 3 players, the game went fairly quickly, helped along no doubt by our overzealous and slightly too paranoid pouncing on opportunities for completed palaces that completely overlooked the opportunity to force other players to contribute to your palace at the end of the game as the pieces slowly run out.

Medina is a pretty-looking game in which players each have a common set of pieces that they can place onto the board, two at a time. Each of the types of pieces has slightly different placement rules and scoring, but the major scoring is of palaces. Every wood piece of a palace (including stables) counts as a point as do any orthgonally adjacent wall or market (people) pieces.

The core mechanic is the claiming of palaces. Every player has pieces for each colour palace and four dome pieces. Only one palace of each colour can be incomplete and being built at a time. Any player can claim a palace with a dome on their turn but when they do, no more palace pieces can be added to it and a new palace of that colour can be started.

We started out the game with a market placement in mid-board, at which point everyone leapt to start a new palace in different parts of the board. Yellow and blue both leapt in to build + dome a 5-space palace each, with yellow also starting to build out the wall to take a bonus marker.

The red player was still working away at a couple of corner palaces after helpfully contributing most of the pieces to the dark brown palace that blue owned and was bringing the market down to meet.



Further on in the game, red has moved on an orange and 6-space brown palace built to take advantage of the walls. Now two colours (brown and orange) have two palaces already built, blue and yellow are free to build their new palaces out without interference. Stables are starting to show up here as too-early-claimed palaces need to be extended. The market is further extended, to greatly help blue's brown and futue orange palace.

We start to see more aggression. Red is building the grey palace that sits next to the blue-domed brown one. This neatly illustrates the placement restrictions on palaces and stables that require all buildings to have a gap between them so that the market can run through. This means that pieces of different buildings cannot even touch diagonally.



As we approach the end-game, two colours (grey and brown) have been finished and claimed by all players, leaving on builds in black and orange to go. There are some regrettable choices by yellow who has already claimed all buildings, leaving no opportunity for someone to be forced to assist, and almost all of the discretionary pieces (markets, walls, and stables) are already out on the board.

Red allowed blue to claim the aggressive grey palace near the market, thus allowing it to be further built out and double-count all the market pieces for extra points.

Because several colours have forced the discard of pieces (6 browns, and 8 greys so far), the game is finished faster than expected. Fortunately, the game continues to play out normally while at least two people have pieces and even has a little wiggle room once the game is down to only one player with pieces.



This was the final layout of pieces. The market was extended, a few walls got longer, yellow was forced to help the unclaimed (but blue-earmarked) orange palace to grow by a few more pieces until it was finally claimed. Overall, the dense cluster of wall + market scoring buildings in the lower left allowed Blue to romp home, taking the 4-point tower bonus as well as many market and wall points. I feel the market was undervalued during the game.



The final scores were Blue:54, Red:35 and Yellow:34. This was mostly driven small palaces far away from any of the score-helping pieces of walls and markets and a lack of competition over the various bonus tiles.

Overall, Medina was a little dry, but a cute game with really interesting push-your-luck and timing opportunities (forcing others to play pieces to help you, or building palaces in unextendable locations) that we clearly didn't understand enough in this first game. It also played pleasantly quickly, I think we spent well under an hour on rules + game. A couple of placement rules were a little fuzzy in this first run-through, and I need to check whether the English translation I was using matches the original German.

I'm looking forward to playing it again and especially to see how the mix changes when 4 players are involved. I expect there to be far fewer pieces discarded last time, and a much fuller board, with much advantage taken of other players to force them to help build palaces.
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Caleb
United States
Seminole
Florida
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I've always liked the look of this game - would love to play it sometime.
 
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LuAnn Hensel
United States
Durham
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thepackrat wrote:

I'm looking forward to playing it again and especially to see how the mix changes when 4 players are involved. I expect there to be far fewer pieces discarded last time, and a much fuller board, with much advantage taken of other players to force them to help build palaces.


This is so much better as a 4 player game. The board definitely gets quite cramped, which is a good thing. (if you wait until the end of the game to claim your palaces in a 4 player game you'll be very sorry as they'll all end up tiny due to lack of space to build them in)
 
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Bruce Murphy
Australia
Pyrmont
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There are only a handful of pieces more in play with 4p, but the extra 4 palaces make the difference, I guess.

B>
 
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J.C. Tsistinas
United States
Marcellus
New York
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Make Your Own Dice Tower Review: 1. Spill all of the pieces onto a table. 2. Rearrange the pieces, ignoring most of the setup instructions. 3. Say you don't like the game because it makes you think too much.
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Stables MUST be adjacent to a Palace.
 
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Bruce Murphy
Australia
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b a n j o wrote:
Stables MUST be adjacent to a Palace.


To quote myself "A couple of placement rules were a little fuzzy in this first run-through". I explained this, but didn't notice my opponents sneaking in a couple of illegal ones on the board away from me, and then didn't feel it was worth rolling back once I did notice. It didn't materially impact anything in the game.

Of more interest is the seeming mistranslation of the forced-dome-placement rule in the endgame rules in English. I need to check the German. That might have affected things, but not much.

B>
 
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