The List – Patchistory, China, Rome: City of Marble
Three more title are being crossed off The List! While I didn’t play all three I wanted to remind you of the criterion for crossing a game off the list. A game shall be crossed off when at least two of our core group of 4 have played the game.
So while I own games that I have played, they might still be on the list since they do not meet the criterion.
Also, since I did not play Patchistory or China I am bringing in A-Game and J to share their perspective. But let’s start with Rome: City of Marble since I have now played it twice.
Rome: City of Marble
I love this game. I loved it in prototype form and I love it in final production. I am friends with the designer, Brett Myers. The way he designed this game to utilize rhombuses is intriguingly clever.
In Rome: City of Marble players have two actions per turn. Their objective is to build the city of Rome. This is done by obtaining and placing rhombus shaped tiles onto the city map. Whenever a hexagon shaped intersection between tiles is completed, a building or a fountain is placed at that location. If a player have influence over that location by having their magistrate on the correctly colored tiles, then they claim that building. If no player has influence it becomes a fountain.
Over the course of the game players earn points by completing buildings, having proximity to fountains, being connected to aqueducts, and more. I like that the balance of scoring is about 50/50 in-game versus end game. So you don’t know exactly who will win unless you are an uber nerd who crunches the numbers after every single action taken in the game, which kind of takes the fun out of any game, so don’t be that person.
Overall I am looking forward to playing Rome: City of Marble many more times.
This was played by J and A-Game among others at Board Game Night. Here is J’s review:
China is an old school euro. An old school euro to me is a collection of rules, mechanics, and scoring that drive the players to difficult or interesting decisions but do not embrace the ‘theme’ of the game.
In China there is a network of roads and towns on a board and the board is divided into areas. On your turn there is basically one action you can take (placing pieces on the board) and the action is limited by various rules (the three cards in your hand plus rules about how many pieces can be placed). The scoring is tied to having a majority in an area and having a majority across two bordering provinces.
I like old school euros because they are usually easy to learn and teach and don’t often take more than 1 hour to play. However, they are almost always lacking a theme that is well integrated with the mechanics. This game fits both of these conditions to a tee. The game is easy to learn, teach, plays quickly, and has some good decisions. However, the only reason it’s called China is because that is the graphic they chose to put on the board. The interplay of mechanics and scoring is clearly front and center here and that’s ok by me.
Old school euros have a lower ceiling and higher floor for me. I don’t typically have great gaming experiences with them but I’m also rarely disappointed by them. If you need a recommendation for an old school euro that delivers a really good experience I suggest Taluva. If you’re looking for another collection of mechanics and scoring conditions consider China; it will meet those expectations.
This was played by A-Game, Bosun, and J over the weekend. Here is A-game’s review:
I was looking forward to playing Patchistory. So I was glad when we brought it out for a three player game night. The focal point of the game is a patchwork map building mechanic. Each round, players bid on terrain tiles that provide different resources. These tiles are placed overlapping so you have to cover part of one tile in order to play another. Mixed into the terrain tiles are great leaders from history and architectural wonders. These tiles are permanent, so you can’t later over them. It was a cool mechanic that presented some very interesting decisions.
If the game was primarily centered around the map building, I think I would have really liked it. Sadly it was not. The remainder of the game consisted of bookkeeping and a long list of potential actions you can take each round. All the actions required the same resource (political points) so politics became the most important resource. If you don’t have a lot of politics, you can’t really do much. The actions themselves often felt uninteresting or unimportant. The only one that stood out to me was the ability to offer aid to your neighbor, which they can accept or reject and you score points either way, giving you the opportunity to offer something you know they will reject, so you can score points at no cost.
As the game goes on, the terrain gets more powerful, but the actions get more expensive, so it is basically a wash.
On the whole, the game had a few bright points, with a lot of fiddly bits in-between.
I’d like to thank A-Game and J for contributing their reviews. We’ll keep it up as the year progresses and we continue to cross games off The List. Thanks for reading!