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Gandhi - a Punchboard Review

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10 Nov 2021 14:39 - 11 Nov 2021 07:59 #327843 by sornars
Today I wrapped up a solo game of Magnate: The First City by Naylor Games. I did a late pledge of this based off of some of the feedback it was receiving and it really is living up to the buzz. It's a smart economic/property game that tries to model the perverse incentives of property developers manipulating housing prices before having the bubble pop underneath them. I'm blown away that this is a first time design as it seems pretty tightly tuned. I was worried that it might be a bit too fiddly and suffer from boring arithmetic (one of the add-ons was a branded calculator!) but the table on the back of the rule book does all of the math you'll need and counting up the bonuses actually comes pretty naturally once you understand the rules.

The included solo AI is very easy to run and gives you a nice challenge; I misplayed a few things but nothing major and had a fun time while doing so. Gameplay wise my biggest concern is if the solo game will start to feel a little too scripted; I'm wondering how much room there is for true creative play but I'm happy explore this more and find out. Even in my single play I could see the different routes I could've taken between prioritising between the different building types (residential, commercial, industrial and office) as they all interplay with one another which is a fun puzzle to try and unwrap and there's enough randomness introduced by the initial tiles that get laid out, the choice of plots that go up for sale and the dice you roll for attracting tenants; which should spice it up enough to prevent the game from feeling too samey. I also jumped straight into the advanced game with the tenant subtypes; they add very little overhead and make the game a lot more interesting (while also making the dice rolling a lot more stressful).

Despite being a fun game, I'm not sure how I feel about this production. To be clear, the production is fantastic. Cardstock that doesn't feel too thin, a really functional insert that helps speed up play and clear instructions on how to use it during the game; however, there is a major toy factor that this game has embraced with full gusto. It comes in a rather large, odd shaped box that is literally half full of big chunky building miniatures. They are bright and colourful and really make the game pop on the table in a great way. They are also completely unnecessary.



Included in the box is a set of tiles which completely and entirely replace the minis which makes me feel like I would've been totally satisfied with the less deluxe version of the game that would take up half of the space and might actually fit on my shelves.



Those two pictures represent the exact same game state (I had already cleaned up the tokens indicating who owns which buildings but you get the idea). I laid out the tiles a little messily but I think all of the same information is conveyed without all of that plastic. This is a pretty nitpicky complaint as the game itself seems to be quite solid and the plastic miniatures do look great. In any case, check if out if you have the chance.

Another production note; this is the best god damned paper money I've ever seen in a game. Each denomination is sized according to its value so finding the right note is super easy. I love the aesthetic quality of poker chips but I wouldn't dream of replacing the paper money in this game.
Last edit: 11 Nov 2021 07:59 by sornars.
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10 Nov 2021 18:26 #327856 by Cranberries
I got the entire family to play a game of Scrabble on the deluxe, rotating board that I thrifted, about a week ago. That in itself was a small miracle. It turns out my son that lives with us is a Scrabble monster, and gave my wife a run for the money. We also discovered a new (to us) rule: if you clear out all of your tiles on your last turn you get a super point bonus.

Unplayed Letters: When the game ends, each player's score is reduced by the sum of his or her unplayed letters. In addition, if a player has used all of his or her letters, the sum of the other players' unplayed letters is added to that player's score.


This feels a little overpowered to me.
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10 Nov 2021 18:35 #327857 by n815e
It’s so hard to pull off, though.

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10 Nov 2021 18:36 #327858 by Michael Barnes
Magnate is indeed quite good- James sent me a preproduction copy a while back and I have the final version now. And yes, that paper money is exquisite. May do the review this week.
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11 Nov 2021 12:58 #327875 by RobertB

n815e wrote: It’s so hard to pull off, though.

"used all of his or her letters" is how most games end, IMO. Very rarely have I seen players all passing their last turns. Bear in mind that this doesn't mean a Bingo, where all seven tiles are played.

Not original to me: Scrabble is a strategy game more than it is a vocabulary game, although you really need to know all the legal 2-letter words. QI, ZA, XU, XI, KA, KI, etc. If you're sitting on a hard-to-move tile late in the game, like a V, you'd better start worrying about playing it well before the last couple of turns.
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11 Nov 2021 13:48 #327876 by san il defanso
We played Marvel United with my kids today. We have the base box that you can find at lots of Walmarts. It's not a bad little game, I had a much better time than my first experience with it. While my older son can definitely handle more game than this one offers, it's a great fit for our younger son, who is not much of a gamer in the first place.

I got a whole lot of the Marvel Champions LCG incoming soon, so I don't know how much future United has in our house. But it did pretty well for today.
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11 Nov 2021 14:30 #327877 by n815e

RobertB wrote:

n815e wrote: It’s so hard to pull off, though.

"used all of his or her letters" is how most games end, IMO. Very rarely have I seen players all passing their last turns. Bear in mind that this doesn't mean a Bingo, where all seven tiles are played.

Not original to me: Scrabble is a strategy game more than it is a vocabulary game, although you really need to know all the legal 2-letter words. QI, ZA, XU, XI, KA, KI, etc. If you're sitting on a hard-to-move tile late in the game, like a V, you'd better start worrying about playing it well before the last couple of turns.


Yes, you are right, I was thinking about playing out all seven.

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11 Nov 2021 14:36 #327879 by DarthJoJo

RobertB wrote: Not original to me: Scrabble is a strategy game more than it is a vocabulary game, although you really need to know all the legal 2-letter words. QI, ZA, XU, XI, KA, KI, etc. If you're sitting on a hard-to-move tile late in the game, like a V, you'd better start worrying about playing it well before the last couple of turns.

Qwirkle is the better version of the game Scrabble actually is.

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11 Nov 2021 15:06 #327883 by mc
Qwirkle doesn't have the dictionary bluff though which is easily the best thing about scrabble.

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11 Nov 2021 15:13 #327884 by the_jake_1973
Scrabble has much more placement strategy than Qwirkle. Leaving those tantalizing vowels out there for your opponent so that you can branch off for a bigger score. Blocks and counter-moves galore.
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12 Nov 2021 11:09 #327900 by Ah_Pook
Wife and I tried out Glen More 2 yesterday, and found it to be a delight. I'm still not sold on the extravagance of the package, but that's Kickstarter for you I guess. Anyway, if you're not familiar with the original its a light/medium euro based around a rondel and tile placement. Each player has a meeple on a rondel of tiles, and on your turn you move at far forward at you want and take a tile to place into your territory. Whoever is furthest back on the rondel goes next. Could be you go a bunch of times in a row, but at the end of the game everyone compares the number of tiles they have and loses 3vp per tile they have more than whoever has the fewest. When you place a tile it activates itself and all the tiles around it, generally giving you resources or letting you trade resources for vps in various ways, or letting you move your Scotsmen around on your tiles (they determine where you can place new tiles). There are 4 scorings throughout the game, and each one you compare 4 categories of things and score each one based on how many more you have than whoever has the fewest.

There's more but that's the gist. The changes to the original game (beyond aesthetics) are cool. They added a new tile type that let's you move around on a new secondary board to claim one time benefits etc, and they removed some constraints on tile placement to make things a little more open. There are also 9 modular expansions you can add in to this version, which add all kinds of wacky new stuff. I haven't tried any of that, but I hear they're fun anyway.

I don't know that there's a reason to play the old version over this, but I also don't know that there's a big reason to upgrade to this if you have and l like the original (unless you play it a ton and want all the expansion stuff here, in which case you almost surely already bought this). But yea, if you like a light/medium kinda puzzly euro this one is great. The rondel adds some nice player interaction. It's just pleasant all around.
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15 Nov 2021 04:36 - 15 Nov 2021 04:41 #327956 by Gary Sax
I had family in town and my brother in law is like an avid gamer so we played Arkham Horror and then brought out Imperial Struggle. His current lifestyle has him on the road so he doesn't play anything and he won't use digital tools, which is fine, I get it.

I feel like he's in that part of his gaming career where he is just thirsty for games to an exhausting point---and look I am the moderator at a niche gaming site. He wants his family to play shit they don't necessarily want to play; he hasn't found that equilibrium where you actually understand what the people in your life want to do, gamingwise, and his life took a turn where he had to leave all his game groups. He also has really weird gaming taste (to me), throwing limited money and space at a slapdash of weird mid tier kickstarters and euros that seem somewhat at odds with what he is really into. It's hard to describe, I feel like he's going through this stage a lot of nutty gamers go through somewhat early in their gaming career (I did) which if they're somewhat socially well adjusted they get past. He's older like me so you'd think he'd be there already but... I mean god forbid *I* obliquely criticize someone for wanting to talk and play games too much, it's just a lot.

Imperial Struggle was a very dense teach and I have a million thoughts on it. Basically I quite like so many elements of it, there's a dense lattice of interesting decisions, but it's just drowning in a thousand dimensions of trackable open information that constantly updates. It's fucking exhausting.
Last edit: 15 Nov 2021 04:41 by Gary Sax.
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15 Nov 2021 09:21 #327964 by n815e
I understand him. There are lots of games that I would like or love that just won’t get played by my friends and family, and it’s not always easy to resist the temptation to buy them.
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15 Nov 2021 10:35 #327971 by mezike
That’s the point where your shelves are croaking as well as creaking. I need to cull a few because they appear to be spawning again and the noise is keeping me up at nights.
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15 Nov 2021 12:07 #327980 by Kmann

Gary Sax wrote: I it's just drowning in a thousand dimensions of trackable open information that constantly updates. It's fucking exhausting.


It's called Imperial Struggle, Gary, not Imperial Take It Easy
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