Recommend
87 
 Thumb up
 Hide
18 Posts

Troyes» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A Distinctive and Unique New Game rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Kin Fong
Canada
Etobicoke
Ontario
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
This is only my third Game Review. What inspired me to write a review for Troyes is that it’s an original offering which is not easily categorized.

Introduction

This was a blind purchase from Essen 2010. I usually try a game first before buying it. I had attempted to get a table to try it at Essen but as Pearl Games only had 2 tables, there was no opportunity over the 4 days of the fair.

Troyes did very well on the Fairplay Poll, ranked second by Sunday closing. I am not typically a fan of dice games. Kingsburg doesn’t do anything for me. Yspahan is just okay. Macao is one dice game that is interesting. Could Troyes be another?

Rules

The following is a summary of the rules. Many details have been left out.
The intent is to give the reader a sense of game play. For complete rules, please refer to either the Files or Web Links sections below.

The objective is to acquire the most VPs after 6 rounds of play for a 4 player game.

The board has 3 buildings in which to place your workers. Each worker in the white “Bishopric” which grants ownership of one white die. The red “Palace” which grants red dice. And the yellow “City Hall” which grants yellow dice. To set up the game, each player receives 5 deniers and places 4 workers (one at a time) in these buildings.

There is an Influence Track and each player receives 4 influence points to start the game.

Each player also receives a Character Card. These are end-of-game goals, which if achieved, grant additional VPs. The caveat is that all players score all Character Cards even though he only knows his own end-of-game goal.

In the first 3 rounds of the game, 3 New Activity Cards are revealed. One white, one yellow and one red. Activity Cards are special powers that you give you an advantage or special ability of some kind. They require a worker (which costs 2 influence) and money to enter. Once placed, this gives the special ability for the rest of the game as well as VPs at the end of the game.

Then each player receives 10 deniers and then has to pay back to the bank “the salary” for workers placed in the white building (1 denier each) and red building (2 deniers each).

Each player then rolls coloured dice according to where he has his workers. Eg. if he has 2 workers in the white building, 1 worker in the red building and 1 worker in the yellow building; he rolls 2 white dice, 1 red die and 1 yellow die. He then places the dice in his district (which simply designates his ownership of his dice rolls for this round).

Then 2 new Event Cards are revealed and added to any remaining, pre-existing Event Cards from earlier rounds. These global events apply to all players; often something negative, such as paying some extra money, or losing some Inflluence Points. The Event Cards also show the number of black dice to be rolled. The starting player rolls the indicated number of black dice. Then in turn order, a player must remove his own die/dice to the value of the remaining, highest valued black die.

Then the action phase begins. The concept is that players assemble a group of either 1, 2 or 3 dice of the same colour to take an action. The caveat is that this costs money. A 1-die action costs 2 deniers. To take a 2 dice action, each die costs 4 deniers. To take a 3 dice action, each die costs 6 deniers. Your own dice are free. But those of any one else’s, the above costs must be paid to the respective die owner. The assembled dice group can come from any mixture of opponent and/or self- owned dice.
Once assembled, the player has a choice of 6 actions:

1) Use an Activity Card. As previously stated, activity cards grant special abilities, conversions or game advantage. It requires a worker and a specified amount of money to use. Each Activity Card has a colour and a divisor. Eg a white card with “ /3”. This means that the sum of your assembled white dice group is divided by 3 and that is how many times you get this Activity Card’s special ability.
2) Fight an Event Card. Each Event Cards has a specific number of spots for players to place their cubes on. It specifies which colour dice and a quotient. Eg. a yellow event card has the divisor “ /4”. That means your assembled yellow dice group’s total is divided by 4 and is how many cubes you place on the event card. Each placed cube grants 1 influence point. When all the cube spots are filled, there are VPs for the most and second most cubes. The majority cube player gets to remove the event card into his own hand.
3) Bumping ownership of 1 of the 3 coloured dice in one of the 3 coloured buildings. This action is special in that it must be 1-die action (ie it can not be 2 dice or 3 dice). You replace the ownership of a white, red or yellow die by placing your worker in the place of opponent’s ownership (eg an opponent’s worker is in the red building spot #5. By picking a red die with a #5, you can replace his worker. In the next round, you get to roll one more red die.
4) Using white dice to build the cathedral. You may place your player cubes in the cathedral which grants a VP and influence points. The cathedral has 18 spots, numbered 1 through 6 on 3 levels. Eg. assembling a white dice group of #1, #3 allows you to place your cube on spots #1 and #3 in the cathedral. Note that there is a end-of-game -2VP penalty per level of the cathedral in which you do not have a cube.
5) Assemble a yellow dice group. Take that total and divide by 2 and receive that amount in money.
6) Pass

Influence points may be used on your turn to re-roll your dice, turn dice over to the opposite face (eg a 1 turns into a 6) or buy additional workers.

Once 6 rounds, have been played, VPs are totalled. Secret Character Cards are revealed. Each card is scored for each player and added to his overall VP score.

Components

The quality of the components seem average and adequate. Standard cubes and Carcassonne meeples and dice. Cards are not the mini ones but rather standard sized ones. For me, the art and colouring are a bit dull but this is highly subjective. At least, it’s not distracting. The iconography of the cards is not always intuitive and we often had to read the reference sheet to look up the card’s meaning.

Game Play

I have now played this game twice, both as 4 player games. The others in the group are all euro players. I think they would all agree that Troyes is not a “dice game”. In fact, it is a very dynamic euro action selection game. The typical “multiple paths to victory” dictum is more than abundant here. Choices are meaningful and varied. Truly, the roll of the dice doesn’t win or lose you any games. How innovative is that when there are 24 dice in this game?

Game play is brisk, with little down time. Our games took less than 2 hours and usually our slow-as-molasses group takes 50% longer than what other groups take. I suspect that 1.5 hours would be what a typical 4 player game will take.

Strategy starts from the beginning of the game. Which buildings do you place your workers? Red ? But they cost 2 deniers each during the salary phase. Yellow dice are “free”. White dice in the early rounds seem to be valuable because there is a rush to build in the cathedral. How do you allocate your 4 starting workers?

Then the choice of actions is quite strategic. Which Activity Cards do you go for? There seems to be good combinations that can come up. There appears to be good replayability as the game comes with 27 Activity Cards but only 9 come out per game. The game also comes with 16 Event Cards of which 12 come out per game. Some combos seem synergistic, like some buildings in Carson City (eg Saloon and Hotel is a great combo in that game). Card interaction is therefore variable depending on which come in play.

Then you have to choose groupings of dice. Money is tight in the early rounds. Do you spend 6 deniers per die in a 3-dice action? Then you would have to pay your opponents a lot more. Or do you take a cheaper 2 denier 1-die action? But then there may not be many dice left for you by the time it’s your turn again. You also have to allocate money to getting into Activity Cards.

Economics seem to change in the later rounds as money no longer seems an issue and everybody can afford whatever they want. But by then it’s too late if your opponents have done better in earlier rounds in generating VPs and dice advantages through their choice of Activity Cards.

If Troyes continues to be successful, expansions can be easily made by introducing new Activity and Event Cards.

I found the overall game play to be engaging. Perhaps not intuitive at first, but then that is the joy of discovery. I didn’t feel that the mechanics were tied to the theme. Did I ever feel that I was in the middle of a medieval Champagne city fighting off marauders and building a cathedral? Never. At heart, this is an abstract game. However, it is surprisingly a very good one. The mechanics feel fresh and original. In our hobby, we often describe a new game by comparing it to previously published games. I don’t think Troyes can be easily categorized this way.

For a first offering, I think Pearl Games will have a smash hit with Troyes. It certainly seemed to have resonated with Essen attendees. It will appeal to euro players, as well as AT-crossover players. I look forward to future games from this new Belgian publisher.



edited to replace the word "quotient" with "divisor"
53 
 Thumb up
1.62
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Larry Levy
United States
Manassas
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Best hobby, with the best people in the world. Gaming is the best!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This may only be your third review, candoo, but you've rated (and provided verbose comments on) a large number of games that interest me. So your opinion carries weight with me.

I think you've put your finger on why I didn't get excited about this title when it was first announced. In addition to the tired theme (oh gee, we get to build another Medieval cathedral?), the mechanics seemed pretty abstract and, as you say, don't really seem tied to the theme. There was also the likelihood of considerable downtime, usually the kiss of death in a dice game. The ability to buy opponents' dice was interesting, but other that that, there wasn't too much mechanically that excited me, which has been a disturbing trend with the pre-fair descriptions of many of the Essen games. So it was easy to put this one aside.

However, based on the poll results and early reviews, it appears this one plays much better than it reads in the rules. This is why the early reports can be so valuable--focusing attention on a game that you might have easily ignored otherwise. Combine that with the fact that co-designer Georges has two other successful games to his credit and you have a game that I want to try out. Thanks for providing me with more evidence that this could be one of the highlights of Essen.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
candoo wrote:
It will appeal to euro players, as well as AT-crossover players.

Curious here: why do you think that Troyes will appeal to AT-crossover players? Because of the fact that the game comes with a lot of dice?
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jesse Dean
United States
Chicago
IL
flag msg tools
badge
Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious predator on Earth!
Avatar
mbmbmb
Yes, I am very interested in this game, but I somehow doubt that it will be something that ATers will be interested in.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kin Fong
Canada
Etobicoke
Ontario
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
cymric wrote:
candoo wrote:
It will appeal to euro players, as well as AT-crossover players.

Curious here: why do you think that Troyes will appeal to AT-crossover players? Because of the fact that the game comes with a lot of dice?


Hi,

Specifically, my opinion is that it may appeal to "crossover" players. There are several AT players in the game club that I go to, who will dabble in euros if there are AT elements (eg Cyclades or Carson City). Dice is part of it. There is mild conflict in Troyes as well (bumping ownership of dice).

Troyes is very much an abstract euro, so it will not appeal to strict ATers no matter how many dice are in it.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Curt Carpenter
United States
Kirkland
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I personally don't see this appealing to AT folks at all, even with the dice, unless said folks already also like Euros. Although if it does to AT folks in your group, nmore power to you/them. The use of dice is VERY different than in most AT games. At the heart, in an AT game, you make a decision, then roll dice to see what happens. In this game, you roll dice, and then you start making decisions based on them. So there is very little drama around the dice rolls compared to the use of dice in AT games.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nate Straight

Covington
Louisiana
msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
For a "distinctive" and "unique" game, you certainly made it sound derivative and mundane.

"Innovative dice mechanic" [i.e. "random resource efficiency"] is as blase as "worker placement".

Oh well.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kelly Krieble
United States
Bethlehem
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
So, when you "buy" dice from another player, they don't actually LOSE it do they??? You're just paying for the right to use one of their dice on your turn, you're not actually stealing it from them forever, right?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Christian Fuerst-Brunner
Germany
Neuching
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
dr_divot wrote:
So, when you "buy" dice from another player, they don't actually LOSE it do they??? You're just paying for the right to use one of their dice on your turn, you're not actually stealing it from them forever, right?


Nope. You buy it, you use it. Then it's gone! So it's wise to use your 5 & 6-rolls early, as they might not be available to you when it's your turn again!

But buying is pricey, 2, 4 or even 6 denars per dice hurt your purse badly and you'll do it not on every occasion!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
unkle
France
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
NateStraight wrote:
For a "distinctive" and "unique" game, you certainly made it sound derivative and mundane.

"Innovative dice mechanic" [i.e. "random resource efficiency"] is as blase as "worker placement".

Oh well.


Though Troyes is not a completely new experience for sure, I'd suggest you pkay the game first before deciding is it is just another standard euro or not. I think it will not appeal to all players, as always, but it is just damn good when you like low-luck, interactive, fast paced, mid-heavy games (just as I do). The mitigation of dice rolling is clearly well thought, and the fact that you need to make some drastic choices during the game is also quite interesting (no way to do a little of everything here, no time). Of course as always, some understanding of other players plans is really helpful, as good turn order intuition.

In the end, most of the gameplay, taken small pieces by small pieces, is not dramatically new. Their combination is really well thought, and, far from a frankenboardgame, makes a great experience (to me).

I'd say your comment for Agricola
Quote:

Yes, it is all of those things, but the whole is more than the parts.

completely works here too.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Avtges
United States
Bridgewater
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
CONCEALED -3
badge
It's not easy being green.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It's "divisor" not "quotient".

Good review, though.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
nix342 wrote:
It's "divisor" not "quotient".

I've always called it "bottom number".
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kin Fong
Canada
Etobicoke
Ontario
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
nix342 wrote:
It's "divisor" not "quotient".

Good review, though.


Thanks, edited to use correct mathematical terminology.
5 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Derek J
Canada
Brampton
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Let's Go Flyers!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This little exchange piques my curiosity. We should play this soon.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Christian Fuerst-Brunner
Germany
Neuching
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Sorry for hijacking this thread, but I saw you used the miller in your game!

The rules state (in all three languages, so far as i can tell):

The Miller: Activate this card to choose between gaining 2 deniers per citizen of your color on the Palace, or 2 deniers per citizen in the Bishopric. Expelled citizens earn you nothing. You may choose differently each activation. (Emphasis is mine)

Question: Do I really get 2 deniers for each citizen in the Bishopric? So very activation gives you 12 deniers?

I think there's just a missing phrase ("of your color"), but as it's the same in all three languages, I had to ask!
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marcus E.-L.
Germany
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
Cyberian wrote:

I think there's just a missing phrase ("of your color"), but as it's the same in all three languages, I had to ask!


I saw this too, but I think that this is just an omission to make the text more readable (and less like a legal text). The icons on the card point in that direction too.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
unkle
France
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Agreed. It is definitely "of your color" (if not why would you ever choose the other option ?).
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Derek J
Canada
Brampton
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Let's Go Flyers!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great review! I love this game after 2 plays.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.