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4.5 out of 5 stars
Pillars of the Earth
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2008
I have played this game several times and enjoyed each game.

To put the game in context:
- Each player is a master builder working on the cathedral at Kingsbridge England in the 1100s.
- Each turn represents about 10 years and their are 6 turns.
- Your goal is to make the greatest contribution to the construction of the cathedral. VPs represent that contribution.

Each turn has three major phases:
- In the first phase, you allocate your workers to producing various resources. You may also hire craftsmen during the phase.
- In the second phase, you allocate your master builder tokens to various tasks and functions. You are limited to three tokens so you must choose wisely. Also the other players are competing for the same tasks and functions.
- The third phase is mechanical and represents the actual actions you planned in the first and second phase. Once you learn the game, the third phase resolves very quickly.

I really like the way the game captures the feel of the book. Also, for an economic and production game, it plays very quickly once you become familiar with the turn flow. The component are of a very good quality.

The only thing I don't care for the randomness in allocating master builder tokens. It makes strategic planning difficult, but that might be an accurate reflection of the medieval world...
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2007
This game is a lot of fun and very quick to play (1 hour when you know how to play it).

The only thing I found troublesome was to get the hang of it at the beginning. The mechanics of the game concentrate the strategy in a few moments at the begining of 6 rounds and the rest of the round is an automatic outcome of your decisions as a player. This makes it diffcult to understand where your actions are getting you... So BE PATIENT... The second time you play it, you'll enjoy it a lot more.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2009
Me and my wife have had a great time playing this game. It wasn't to hard to learn how to play. After a few rounds you get the hang of it. There are a lot of different stratgies you can take, which makes the game really interesting.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2008
If you are a fan of the book and like strategy games then you will enjoy this one. It is made up of 6 rounds of 14 steps each. At the beginning of the round you choose resources and craftsmen to use at the end of the round. A lot of the strategy is determining where to place your master builders so that you get the best resources and therefore receive the most kudos for contributing to the cathedral. The first time we played it took us about 3 hours to go through the instructions and firgure out all of the possibilities. It was fun and challenging but further play will determine if this game is a long running entertainer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2014
Playing this game for the first time 8 years after it was released is probably a bit unfair to it since every other game that comes out nowadays is worker placement and everyone's trying to come up with something different to make their worker placement game the diamond in the rough. And as a HUGE worker placement game fan AND critic I've played a lot of them and have seen some diamonds but also a lot of rough.

This is a fine game, it's well designed, has interesting decisions, and also teaches and plays easily and quickly. But it is just kind of bland next to all the worker placement stuff available nowadays.

Each turn players start by either buying craftsman or supplies of resources. Then when that phase is finished the starting player draws the players pawns randomly from a bag one at a time. When a player's piece is drawn he can decide to pay the current amount to place his pawn or place it for free after all other pawns have been placed. This is my favorite part of the game because it is a somewhat interesting and well designed approach to worker placement. The first seven pawns placed in a turn (each player has 3) cost 7-1 gold to place. This puts a cost on selecting highly sought after spaces while also giving you the option to take the "leftovers" for free. The starting player also still gets an advantage since he is able to once that round put a piece back and reselect.

However aside from a very small selection of special ability cards that's all that gives this game any kind of personality. The rest of the game is very standard worker placement actions leading up to having your craftsman just turn resources into points to represent building a cathedral (there's even 6 wooden pieces of the cathedral...which I guess is a nice aesthetic touch except they are just plain wood and I don't have the time or skill to paint them).

Very blah despite being well designed. Perhaps in 2006 it was good but it certainly doesn't hold up in 2014.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2008
This is an outstanding game that plays well with just 2 or up to 4. The rules aren't terribly long, though you'll need a learning game to get a feel for how it plays out. Games take 2 hours or less (certainly less than Monopoly and Risk!). It's fun and a great way to challenge your mind. Great for older kids and definitely great just for adults. I highlyl recommend it!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2009
This game is a blast - it plays just as well with 2 people as it does with 4. So many elements that keep each game fresh. It's a must-have for those who love resource based board games (ie. Settlers of Catan).
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 2012
I bought this because I liked the book, but it's not necessary to have read the book to enjoy the game. Readers will recognize familiar characters and places. Game plays well with two - even better with more. You never have enough resources to do everything you want to do, but neither do your opponents - so you must make the best choices you can with limited resources. The game goes six rounds and you keep track with the unique method of building a six piece cathedral. When the cathedral is complete the game is over. This game is very enjoyable - I highly recommend it.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 15, 2010
I don't think I have enjoyed any other game more that this one. It presents a new challenge every time as conditions change, it is complex, definitely a strategy game, and very original.
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on January 8, 2015
Yes Quick, wonderful and accurate
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