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Villages of Valeria» Forums » General

Subject: Blind Playtest Discussion rss

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Rick Holzgrafe
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This thread is for discussion and feedback from playtests of the pre-publication, PnP version of the game.

The current PnP version is 4.10. Here are the download links you'll need:

Villages of Valeria Rulebook (8 US letter-sized pages)

Villages of Valeria PnP card deck (11 US letter-sized pages)

Post your comments and feedback here. As always, we want your honest opinions, but please be courteous and respectful of the opinions of others.

If we need to update the PnP rules or deck, we'll put an announcement in this thread and edit this post to have the new links and version number.

Thanks for your help!
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Jordan Booth
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Thanks so much for posting this PnP. I've been interested in the world of Valeria mostly due to The Mico's excellent artwork (I've never said I have a favorite game artist before, but he definitely gets the title now.) So I'm very excited to see a Valeria game with a little more depth than Card Kingdoms.

I played a 3 player game of Villages of Valeria last night. I'm very pleased to say that the rules are VERY easy to understand and comprehensive enough that the only questions I had to field were covered in the rulebook. Also after explaining the lightning bolt symbol, no one even had to look at the powers explanation page. The icons are supremely intuitive.

Our game went pretty well. I started off by grabbing the Wizard because I figured a free wild resource while building would secure a win, but it took me a little while to get out because the other players kept the buildings I needed away from me. The player who ultimately won got an Inn out early and so chased a recruit strategy. I guess they also got lucky in the amount of Adventurers they drew because he was recruiting about every other turn. This was difficult to keep up with because of how expensive it is to recruit when following (and most of the time we didn't have any adventurers in our hand anyway). So I definitely want to play again because I'm a little concerned about the strength of adventurers. Final scores 30-17-15.

I'm also questioning the design to let the leader end the game and not give everyone else a chance to have one last chance with an action of their choice (Why have points at all if the person who fills their tableau first always wins). This was probably mostly due to our unique game where one player had twice as many played cards as the others, so there would be more tension if it were a closer game and it wasn't just immediately obvious.

Please take everything I say with the obvious grain of salt that this was the very first play. I'm not advocating any changes, yet, just making gut reactions. Here are some positives:

The art is great, the iconography is perfect.
The paying for resources mechanism is really clever, it makes the order of building very important and while you almost always use your own resources there are some heavy decisions to make about when/who to give your scarce money to.
The rulebook is one of the best I've seen, and I consider myself a pretty picky rules lawyer when it comes to connotations and interpretation. You guys must have gone back and forth on this a bunch of times already.

Thanks again for the release, I'll report more after my next game.
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Jordan Booth
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Played a 2p game tonight. Again, the player who snatched up most of the adventurers and an Inn scored nearly double the other (45-25). Maybe add more adventurers so they aren't as rare? It would also help if there were more options to sell cards. As it is with money so tight and most buildings costing 4 coins, it is really tough to justify an early adventurer. It might help take away first player advantage if you choose your starting resource before seeding the draw pools.

I do have one rules question:
For abilities that happen during certain actions, can you perform the ability before taking the action, or do you first need to successfully complete the action to get the bonus?
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Rick Holzgrafe
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Quote:
For abilities that happen during certain actions, can you perform the ability before taking the action, or do you first need to successfully complete the action to get the bonus?


There are really two questions about the timing of card powers. These are: In what turns can they be used, and at what point within a turn can they be used?

Which turns: Powers with the "instant" (lightning bolt) icon can be used only on the turn in which the card is built/recruited. Other powers can only be used in later turns, and not in the turn in which the card is built/recruited.

At what point within a turn: Powers that grant resources (e.g. the Wood Mill and the Wizard) apply during a Build action (whether you are leading or following). Powers that grant conditional victory points (e.g. the Harbor and the Knight) are applied only during final scoring and after all game play is complete. All other powers take effect after your action is fully resolved: for example, if you build Witch's Hut on your turn, you first complete the build action including drawing a card; and only then may you discard a card to gain a gold coin.

This was a good question, and one that I was thinking about just this morning. We'll try to make it more clear in the rulebook.
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Rick Holzgrafe
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Born-of-Ashes wrote:
Again, the player who snatched up most of the adventurers and an Inn scored nearly double the other (45-25).


The Inn's power of drawing two cards when you Recruit is a recently added one, and perhaps it is too powerful. Being able to draw lots of cards means being able to sift the deck for Adventurers, as you've seen.

Some strategies are going to be more powerful in two-player games: in a four-player game, there are going to be fewer rounds, and each player will have fewer turns and see fewer cards. But of course we don't want any game-breaking, dominant strategies regardless of the number of players. If we decide that the "Inn-and-Recruit" strategy is too powerful, we'll look for a way to weaken it. If it's too powerful only in two-player games, perhaps the solution is to remove the Inn and a few Adventurers from the deck in two-player games.

But I don't want to jump to conclusions. Sometimes one strategy may appear dominant due to rare card luck, or because players have not yet found other, equally powerful, strategies. Your experience suggests that Inn-and-Recruit may be overpowered at least in 2- and 3-player games; we'll have a look at it, but we'll wait for more sessions before making any changes, I think.

Thanks for this feedback--it's exactly what we're looking for!
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Jordan Booth
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rholzgrafe wrote:
But I don't want to jump to conclusions. Sometimes one strategy may appear dominant due to rare card luck, or because players have not yet found other, equally powerful, strategies. Your experience suggests that Inn-and-Recruit may be overpowered at least in 2- and 3-player games; we'll have a look at it, but we'll wait for more sessions before making any changes, I think.

I absolutely agree, I went into the 2nd game hoping to find a counter strategy, but then the opening deal put a Tavern in my hand and an Inn and 3 adventurers in the pools, and I was first player, so I scooped them up and didn't look back.
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Isaias Vallejo
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One rules change that I've been thinking about: During the Setup, deal 2 Adventurers to each player and then place the rest of the Adventurers "in the box" (i.e., out of the game). This has pros and cons, of course. Pros: it would make it much easier to balance buildings like the Tavern and Inn. Cons: You'd be stuck with the Adventurers you get and almost be pushed towards a certain strategy.

Any thoughts on this?
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Jordan Booth
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I tried this last night and it seemed to work just fine. I even ended up not using one of the adventurers and burying it for an early resource develop (I was a little worried about my opponent snatching it, but I put it under another card and I'm not sure he even noticed devil). It also gave me a vibe of the house rule I use for for Lords of Waterdeep where I pick from two Lords at setup instead of just being dealt one.

The sense I got was not that adventurers are overpowered, but that if one player has opportunity and incentive to dig for a rare set of cards then they will almost always perform an action (recruit) that no one wants/is able to follow.
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Isaias Vallejo
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Thanks for trying out the new rule. I agree with your assessment that it's not that the Adventurers are overpowered, but having one player dig for them is what's causing a bit of an unbalance.
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Paul Smith
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I played 3 3p games. First, from reading this thread, it appears that others have a different interpretation of the rules than I. So this in one area of feedback that the rules need some clarification.

The area of confusion is with the adventurers deck/pool and the recruiting action. My interpretation of the rules is at the start of the game you have five face-up cards in the adventurers pool and five face-down cards in the adventurers deck. When you perform the recruiting action, the rules state:

To add an Adventurer, choose any one face-up Adventurer card from the Adventurers pool and add it to your Village. Then draw the top card from the Adventurer deck, turn it face up, and add it to the pool to replace the one taken.

I interpret this as you can only recruit from the adventurers pool. Other posts have mentioned sifting through the deck to find adventurers. I don't know what they are referring to. I will also add that the rules state under drawing and discarding cards:

Whenever you draw a card, you may choose to draw the top card of any pool pile, or draw the top card of the deck.

We assumed that to mean ..you may choose to draw the top card of any building pool pile..., because one can't recruit from your hand.

I don't know if we played the rules correctly, but here is our experience.

Game 1: Score 35,25,21. They player that won deserved to. He built some powerful cards with strong leeches on the build and harvest phase and always stayed ahead of us. The other two players (I was one) made some suboptimal choices which benefited the winner.

Game 2: Score 33,32,30. I won this one. It was very close. I built a number of military building and recruited the adventurer that gave VPs for military buildings. I was able to transition cards to gold from the military building which helped me eek out the win.

Game 3: Score 36,34,25. The player won this game with lots of adventurers and worker buildings that provided resources. He also had the building that gave VPs for adventurers. I came in second. I had strong leeches for the build phase, but also had bonuses for the tax phase. The other two players were playing chicken to see who would call build first and I would tax every turn and receive two gold.

Three games, three different experiences. Some strategies worked well, others couldn't execute as desired.

I'm curious if I played the rules correctly.
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Paul Smith
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Additional feedback. It would be nice if the gold icon on the Castle were the same size as the bottom of the building cards.
 
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Jordan Booth
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My reports from last year were using an earlier version of the rules where the adventurers and buildings were mixed into the same deck. The rules have been changed to better balance each player's access to adventurers.
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Isaias Vallejo
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Born-of-Ashes wrote:
My reports from last year were using an earlier version of the rules where the adventurers and buildings were mixed into the same deck. The rules have been changed to better balance each player's access to adventurers.


Thanks for answering this! Yes, the rules have changed.

Paul - appreciate all your thoughts here. Happy you liked the game.
 
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Rick Holzgrafe
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I think the latest version of the PnP rules says

Quote:
Whenever you draw a card, you may choose to draw the top card of any pool pile, or draw the top card of the deck.


We need to amend that to say

Quote:
Whenever you draw a card, you may choose to draw the top card of any Building pool pile, or draw the top card of the Building deck.


...to make it clear that you can't draw from the Adventurers.
 
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