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Subject: Majesty: In-depth review. rss

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Dan Smith
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I'm not sure how I would define Majesty. There's probably an existing term for this type of game, but I don't know what it is. Basically, the combination of cards you acquire determines how many points you score.

As always, I will explain how the game is played, which is often neglected in reviews, then give additional information and the plus and minuses of the game (in my opinion). If you already know the rules of the game, or aren't interested in reading them, you can skip everything between ***'s


***

Gameplay:



Each player starts with 5 meeples on their Worker card.

Worker cards are given randomly, face down, during setup. One of these cards has a knight pictured on it. The player who got that card starts first.

Six character cards are always available face up. Their order matters because, similar to Century: spice road, only the first card can be acquired for free. If you want any other card, you must place a meeple on each card that precedes the one you want. Any player who then buys one of those cards also gains the meeples on them.meeple After a card is purchased, you push each other card forward then replace it with the next card from the deck. Which means the most expensive card will eventually become the cheapest if it's left alone.


Your worker card can only take a maximum of five meeples however. At the end of your turn, each extra meeple you own is returned to the supply, and you gain one victory point for each.


Victory points look like currency, but they actually are just points. The only currency, somewhat unintuitively, are the meeples. However, this makes sense. It means that the component that you will manipulate the most is also the sturdiest. They're not going to wear or break


Each turn, you will recruit a character.(Not optional) They are:

Miller, Brewer, Witch, Guard: Soldier, Innkeeper, and Noble



There are also split character cards. You pick which side they will be when you put them in their location. They will remain so unless they are sent to the infirmary and return. In which case you are free to pick a side again. However, a card that was healed doesn't activate a location again.

Each character is paired with a location that determines what you gain from acquiring that character. The coat of arms on the character matches the symbol on the upper left of its location. So even on your first play, you will easily match them. Locations must be placed in a determined order, which is the same for each player. They make up a picture when you put them together, to make sure the players don't mix them up.



Here are the effects of each location:

Mill: Gain 2 points for each miller you own.

Brewery: Gain two points and one meeple for each brewer you have. Any player (including you) who owns at least one miller gains two points.

Cottage: Heal the top character in the infirmary by returning it to its location. Gain two points for each miller, brewer, and witch you own. (You heal the character before getting your points, so the healed card counts)

Guardhouse: Gain two points for each guard, soldier, and innkeeper you own.

Barracks: Each opponent with fewer guards than you have soldiers, must place his or her leftmost character face down in the infirmary. Then gain three points for each soldier you own.

Inn: Gain four points for each innkeeper you own. Any player(including you) who owns at least one brewer gains three points.

Castle: Gain five points and one meeple for each Noble you own.

Infirmary:This is the loser's club. Each character there at the end of the game makes you lose one victory point. (There's a typo in the rulebook that says 2 points)

When each player has 12 cards, the game ends.



For completionists, here are the effects of the B side of each location.

Mill: Gain 2 points per miller, then each player with at least one witch gains 3 points.

Brewery: Gain one meeple for each millers and brewers, then if you have at least one inn keeper and one Noble, gain 10 points.

Cottage: Gain 3 points per Witch you own

Guardhouse: Gain 2 points for each brewer, witch and guard you own. Then each player with at least one inn keeper gains 3 points.

Barracks: Gain 3 point for each soldier, inn keeper and Noble you control.

Inn: Each Inn keeper you own gives you two points for each character you control at your location with the most characters.

Castle: Exchange up to 5 points for 5 meeples or up to five Meeple for five points. Then gain one point for each noble you own, and for each card in your infirmary.

Infirmary: At end game, lose two points for each character in the infirmary. Then, if you are the player with the most characters there, lose 10 points. (In case of a tie, each player loses 10 points)



Then there are extra points gained for who has the most chars per location, and for having a char at each location. (The number of locations where you have at least one character is multiplied by itself)

***


I found the game enjoyable. The victory points tokens are of great quality, like the gem tokens in Splendor. Since they were one of that game's strongest point, they obviously wanted to meet expectations here and keep a good thing going.


The game is very simple, but remains engaging. Even if you can find the best possible strategy to rack up points. Your opponents aren't going to let you get what you want, and the game will not always have the necessary cards available at the right time. So you have to adapt.


Different players will value different cards. Your opponents might go for inn keepers and nobles no matter what. While you could just be getting as many brewers and millers as you can, to get points for free every time someone gets an inn-keeper, and prevent as many players as possible from making free points. Or you could go for soldiers and try to screw other player's end game bonuses. The characters are also split into tier 1 and tier 2 cards, with tier one being on top. This avoids having a bunch of nobles at the start that everyone fights over. As well as having too much of an advantage going first. However, you're free to randomize them if you feel like it.


It's also important to note that each location has two sides. Side A and Side B (Just uploaded Side B pics to the image section). Side B is slightly more impactful, but not exactly more complex. I don't think it actually matters which side you use to start. But it adds replay value to the game, that would still be acceptable without it. It will make each decision more important. For example, the infirmary makes you lose two points per char instead of one. And the player who has the most injured characters loses 10 points at the endgame.


Though it can be a bit unintuitive to use meeples as currency, and to have what looks like currency be points. It doesn't actually bother you once you start playing. And it avoids the use of two different currencies. And the system used to buy character cards means that, while if you're the last player and have used up your meeples, you can have other players dictate what you can buy. You can equally quickly go from being the poorest to the richest player, by grabbing a card that no one else wanted and was stacked with meeples.

Since the game stops when each player has 12 cards, it will never drag on. (The characters in the infirmary still count towards this limit, so you can't leave them there to buy witches later and score more cards, nice try though)

I really appreciate how intuitive the game is. New players won't have much of a disadvantage. Though some of the locations symbolics (like the B side Inn) can be confusing. But for their defense, I can't think of a better one. The art totally fits (ImO) and they even gave each character an alternate art, even though they didn't need to. And playing last is often desirable.

The best thing about the game though, is that it is highly customizable. You don't like the seperation of tier 1 and 2 cards? Mix them. You don't like A side, play with B side. You don't feel A or B locations are quite balanced? Mix them up to a combination that suits you. I love this aspect of the game because, should I find something imbalanced, I can easily fix it.

I will say however that I feel the Noble card isn't balanced properly. You gain 5 points and a meeple for each Noble you have. Which means if you already own three nobles, the fourth gets you 20 points and 4 meeples. So spending the maximum (five meeples) to aquire it as the last card, actually gives you a refund on what you paid for it. So there's no real risk and no real cost. Which makes the choice less meaningful. Once you have your first noble, there's almost never a reason not to get more. Since you can never end up with an empty worker card by buying them. I think it would have made more sense to get a meeple out of the miller or the cottage. So I personally might always play with the B side instead.




I'm giving this game a 9/10

Pluses:

-Very intuitive design.
-Highly customizable.
-Games are quick.
-Quality components.
-Luck is present but doesn't rule the game.
-Can be optimized for younger players.
-Playing does not require any reading.
-Rules are short and simple.
-Caters to many types of players.

Minuses

-Location card symbols can be confusing.
-"A" side Castle doesn't offer a meaningful choice
-You can't burn the witch.
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Annabel Seaton
United Kingdom
Portslade Village
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Great review Dan! We've also had a lot of fun with this one and have enjoyed it much more than Splendor. (I've heard people compare the two) It's so easy to jump into and play a quick few games. It's a 9/10 from me too!
 
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Pierre Beri
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Phaseshifter wrote:
-You can't burn the witch.
I’m pretty sure this one is somehow pretty much made of wood and will float.
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Dan Smith
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annabelseaton wrote:
Great review Dan! We've also had a lot of fun with this one and have enjoyed it much more than Splendor. (I've heard people compare the two) It's so easy to jump into and play a quick few games. It's a 9/10 from me too!


I haven't compared it to splendor in the review because I don't feel the games are similar.
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Mark Hengst II
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My wife and I enjoyed Splendor and although different, I am excited to see how this one plays. The Dice Tower guys even joked that Marc Andre has bested himself in making a game that will tempt folks to shelve Splendor and play this one.
 
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Iggy .
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Phaseshifter wrote:
-You can't burn the witch.


Great review overall. The last line got a literal LOL from me and was a great finishing touch!
 
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Stuart Burnham
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Phaseshifter wrote:

I will say however that I feel the Noble card isn't balanced properly. You gain 5 points and a meeple for each Noble you have. Which means if you already own three nobles, the fourth gets you 20 points and 4 meeples. So spending the maximum (five meeples) to aquire it as the last card, actually gives you a refund on what you paid for it. So there's no real risk and no real cost. Which makes the choice less meaningful. Once you have your first noble, there's almost never a reason not to get more. Since you can never end up with an empty worker card by buying them. I think it would have made more sense to get a meeple out of the miller or the cottage. So I personally might always play with the B side instead.


Nice review.
I agree that it's a good, fun, quick little game.

Just played my first few games of this but I would think that any opponent(s) who allow someone to get a little collection of nobles are asking to be (well) beaten. Once someone has a noble it's been like a bit of an arms race in our plays, everyone trying to balance it out to prevent.
I feel like letting anyone monopolise a powerful character is a bad idea in this game (have seen those innkeepers rack up a big score as well, and a couple of witches scoop up 12,14 points for placing).


 
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Pierre Beri
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Plus, taking one noble is still worth 5-6VP for yourself + building diversity for endgame scoring.
 
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Dan Smith
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vk1980 wrote:
Phaseshifter wrote:

I will say however that I feel the Noble card isn't balanced properly. You gain 5 points and a meeple for each Noble you have. Which means if you already own three nobles, the fourth gets you 20 points and 4 meeples. So spending the maximum (five meeples) to aquire it as the last card, actually gives you a refund on what you paid for it. So there's no real risk and no real cost. Which makes the choice less meaningful. Once you have your first noble, there's almost never a reason not to get more. Since you can never end up with an empty worker card by buying them. I think it would have made more sense to get a meeple out of the miller or the cottage. So I personally might always play with the B side instead.


Nice review.
I agree that it's a good, fun, quick little game.

Just played my first few games of this but I would think that any opponent(s) who allow someone to get a little collection of nobles are asking to be (well) beaten. Once someone has a noble it's been like a bit of an arms race in our plays, everyone trying to balance it out to prevent.
I feel like letting anyone monopolise a powerful character is a bad idea in this game (have seen those innkeepers rack up a big score as well, and a couple of witches scoop up 12,14 points for placing).




Sometimes you don't have a choice though. You might not be able to afford the next one (The usual reason), or you might need a witch to get your character back from the infirmary, or you might have to grab that Soldier to screw other players before they screw you.

Ideally you would deny them. But if the player who has the most nobles also bought a soldier or two before, you have to mitigate that as well. You'd often lose more multipliers by leaving cards in the infirmary than is worth sacrificing to get that one Noble.

There are always situation where you can't stop a player from collecting a particular type of characters. But it's just worse if it happens to be Nobles, since catching up to exponential free meeples is extremely difficult.
 
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