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Building Buildings – A Review of The Builders

A bored European on the cover?? I’m In!

My level one friend Jeremy went to Essen last year and hoped to pick this game up but unfortunately it wasn’t available. So I picked it up a few weeks ago. Packed in a nice little tin is a really enjoyable game. I’ve played two times, which is enough for me to review it.

Let me remind you that I review games after 1 or 2 plays because if it stinks after 1 or 2 plays then I’m not likely to play it again. So games usually have to make a pretty good impression early on for me to desire more plays.

So today I present my opinions on The Builders!

In The Builders players are racing to 17 points. Points are earned by completing buildings or tools, each of which can be worth points. Players will utilize their workers by sending them to work at their buildings that are under construction. Once the resource requirements for a building are met with workers or tools then the building is completed. The player will earn coins instantly and points which are counted at the end of the game.

The Builders set up for three players. Image via BGG user Spielemitkinder

At the start of the game each player will begin with an Apprentice card as their lone worker. Five buildings and five workers will be placed on the table. Each player will also begin with 10 coins.

On your turn you can do three total actions, choosing from the following:

  • START CONSTRUCTION: Take one of the five available building cards
  • RECRUIT A WORKER: Take one of the five available worker cards
  • SEND A WORKER TO WORK: Place one of your workers next to one of your unfinished buildings
  • TAKE COINS: Take coins

Those are the four actions you can choose on your turn. You could do the same action all three times if you so desired. There are a few rules with how choosing the same action works, but I won’t get into that here.

Basically you go around and around until someone gets to 17 points. Then you finish the round and score it. Pretty simple… but is it any good?

Here’s What I Like:

ARTWORK: Amazing! The artwork for the buildings in this game is so vibrant and colorful that they really pop on the cards. If I were an artist I would want to make things look like the buildings in this game.

EASE OF GAMEPLAY: Since players only have three actions per turn, and since there are only four options from which to choose, this makes for pretty simple gameplay that is easy to understand. It’s also very easy to teach this game, which allows me to play with non-gamers or baby gamers.

Here’s What I Dislike:

ACTION CLARITY: What I’m referring to is when you choose the same action several times. For instance, when you place two workers on the same building in the same turn there is a compounding of actions and money that isn’t completely clear in the rulebook.

Designer Perspective – What Would I Change?

This is an all around solid design. That makes it tough for me to think of something I would change. One thing I would change is to add female workers to the workers deck. There’s no reason they all have to be male. Perhaps the biggest thing I would change would be to add bonus points for building similar types of buildings. So players could purposefully try to build a church and a cloister and earn bonus points. Those types of combos could be very interesting, especially if similar types of buildings required different resources.

Beer Pairing

This is a simple, light game with nice deep decisions. So it calls for a similar beer. One that comes to mind would be the La Trappe Tripel. Most tripels seem to have two taste components. When you first take a sip you get an excellent character of quality beer. Then after you swallow you typically experience floral overtones. That’s similar to The Builders in that The game is so simple and exhibits an “excellent character.” Then once you’ve played it you can see some awesome depth, similar to the floral overtones.

Overall Rating:

I really enjoy The Builders. It is fun, quick, and yet has compelling and interesting decisions throughout the game. It is a test of optimization, to be fair. But I ignore math when playing games and focus on fun instead. And this game is a lot of fun. I’m rating it 8 out of 10 according to the BoardGameGeek.com rating scale.

Very good game. I like to play it. Probably I'll suggest it and will never turn down a game.

Very good game. I like to play it. Probably I’ll suggest it and will never turn down a game.

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Monday Brews 4-28-14

Monday in Madison is rainy. Yesterday was rainy. Tomorrow will be rainy. Wednesday and Thursday will be rainy. And people wonder why Spring is my least favorite season. Oh well… at least we have board games to keep up happy during depressing weather like this.

So here we are starting another work week. While it’s dreary outside let’s look back and the Boards & Barley I enjoyed last week. That might brighten my mood.

The Barley:

So good! So smooth! So luxurious!

BARLEY SPOTLIGHT: Young’s Double Chocolate Stout

I enjoyed this on tap at a new local establishment in the glass shown in the picture. It is chocolatey, smooth, creamy, and delicious. I recommend you try it if you are a fan of any beer styles what-so-ever.

The Boards:

Small tin, Big game!

BOARDS SPOTLIGHT: The Builders

I picked this up for several reasons. The artwork is awesome. The game has been getting a little buzz from Euro lovers. And it was only $18.

The Builders is a game about building buildings. Each turn you have three actions which you can use to hire workers, begin construction, send workers to build the buildings, or take money. Play continues until someone reaches 17 points from their completed buildings or tools.

This game plays quickly and includes a plethora of interesting decisions. I played it twice last week and I’m looking forward to playing it again!

  • Glass Road
  • Crokinole
  • NEW! Unpublished Prototype
  • NEW! Thebes – I love the theme of this one. Doing research and then visiting archaeological dig sites to search for artifacts is great! But the way this game manages the time aspect adds a very interesting concept. While I thought the artifact digging added a little too much luck, I found the game to be very enjoyable and I’ll play it again.
  • NEW! Hab & Gut – I’m not normally a fan of stock market games. Money is a very bland theme for me. But this game, with it’s lingering concept of player elimination for the lowest charitable donor, and its hidden information market manipulation aspects made this a love-hate game for me. I wanted to know more information than I knew. I actually thought the design of this game was really clever. I would definitely play it again.

Horizontal Rule

I didn’t do any design work last week. I really need to finish reading Words of Radiance so I can get back to spending my free time on game design. But that book is so good. What Boards & Barley did you enjoy last week?

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