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The Pillars of the Earth

sean johnson
United States
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I played this game way back in 2009 and enjoyed it. At the time I made my comment "playing my game confirmed that I really like worker placement games. A month prior to playing Pillars of the Earth for the first time I had played Stone Age for the first time, and greatly enjoyed it. After playing Pillars of the Earth for the first time I added it to my "Want in a trade" list, and I attempted to trade for it several times over the past couple of years. I finally got this game in one of the math trade's we made earlier this year. However, in the past three years I have played several other games. So is this still a game I enjoy or have I moved on to other kinds of games in the past three years?

Game Overview
In this game players earn victory points by using resources to build a cathedral. The game is played over a total of six rounds.

The first thing players do is place their workers to collect resources. The resources that are available are determined each round by cards. Players can collect either sand, wood, or stone. The more resources that a player gets the more workers it will take of the 12 workers the players have. The excess workers will earn players money.

Next master builders will be taken from a bag, and each player has three. The first one drawn can be placed for seven money or passed. As more builders are drawn, the price goes down. Once all builders have been drawn then those that passed get to go for free. The master builders are placed on the board for a wide variety of effects.

Once the builders are placed players resolve everything. Eventually, they will take their resources and then trade them into their craftsman cards to get points.

This is a very basic overview that smooths over a lot of the nuances of the game, but much of the game's decisions are based on cards that are available on a given turn and what other players have done already. The player with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.

The Game We Played
In the first couple of turns, my wife got off to an early lead as she did a better job at upgrading her craftsman and getting the right resources. However, I then got a card that gave me one extra point whenever I put a master builder on the priory which gives victory points. I also got a gold smith craftsman. This turned out to be a very wise choice. Every turn there is a new event that is turned over, and for the last two turns both events were beneficial ones that gave the players more money. In both instances I was able to convert the money into points. On the last turn, I also gained a bell maker which gave me an additional 8 point to the six my wife got from her organ maker. In the end, I won the game 56 to 42.

Our Thoughts
My Rating: 4 (like it)
My Thoughts: I have played several games that are all about collecting cubes and then turning the cubes into points. However, I think this may be one of the ones of that type that I like the best. I like that so many of the interesting decisions from this game come from either reacting to an opponent or trying to think ahead of what an opponent might do. This game also has a fun snowball effect. The initial decisions seem easy and the options seem somewhat limited, but as the game progresses more options open up to the players.

Her Rating: 4 (like it)
Her Thoughts: I really like a lot of the mechanics of this game such as how master builders work and are placed. I do wonder though if the game has much replayability with just two players.

Combined Rating: 8
We both like the game, but we both like several other games like it. Ninjato , Stone Age, A Castle for All Seasons, and Toledo are all games of the same style that we also enjoy and consider a favorite. I think we have room for all of these games in our closet, but when it comes the "standard euro" I think we are good.
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