This Board Game Life Episode #011 – All Things Stefan Feld

//This Board Game Life Episode #011 – All Things Stefan Feld

This Board Game Life Episode #011 – All Things Stefan Feld

In this episode Rob is on the road yet again, this time reviewing some Dallas Game Stores (1:33). Jeff talks about some upcoming Plaid Hat Stuff (10:17) along with this emerging Android Universe thing/Netrunner (14:15). The hosts finally get around to their ALL THINGS FELD segment (18:10) which is the culmination of Jeff’s personal quest to play again all stefan feld games at least two times each in recent months before rendering current and/or final opinions on each. Discussed are Notre Dame (20:45), In The Year of the Dragon (27:08), Macao (40:02), Luna (52:22), Speicherstadt (1:06:02), Strasbourg (1:21:39), Castles of Burgandy/Die Burgen von Burgund (1:27:46), Trajan (1:36:25), Kaispeicher (1:44:54), and Rialto (1:53:02). Jeff then quickly summarizes his opinions on each game while rating and ranking them (1:55:15).

The hosts continue with some other non-feld games they’ve been playing lately including Angry Birds (1:57:31), Take a Hike (2:02:45), A&A Angels 20/Wings of War (2:04:03), and Twilight Struggle (2:07:31). In this weeks GAME LUST segment, Jeff lusts over Small World Realms (2:13:27) and Game of Thrones 2nd Edition (2:15:10) while Rob talks more about Saint Malo and Village (2:17:54) along with 1989 (2:18:31). The hosts then close out the show with a brief look at whats coming up next time (2:20:30).

By |2013-09-11T21:11:46+00:00May 20th, 2012|1 Comment

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  1. CarlG May 25, 2012 at 10:29 AM - Reply

    Hi Guys! Great podcast! I am a big Feld fan and so I really enjoyed the thoughtful analyses on the various games. You should really consider linking this podcast to the Stefan Feld page on BGG or even just making a new thread with a link therein so others can enjoy this! I was checking up on Rialto and just happened to see the link to this podcast in the comment section there. However, I have a subscription to the Stefan Feld page and had you entered the podcast or started a thread there I would've gotten to this even sooner! I know there are other Feldians out there that would love to hear this!

    Besides commending you guys I wanted to leave a few comments on both Macao and Castles of Burgundy.

    First some context: I own both and have played Macao 19 times(9 4 player, 7 three, 3 two) with 25 other players and Castles of Burgundy 7 times(2 4 player, 1 three, 4 two) with 5 other players. My win/loss in Macao is 17-2 my win/loss in Castles is 2-5.

    I just wanted to give some additional insight into these two games.


    This is my favorite boardgame currently, and the first game I have liked as much as Settlers of Catan since getting into the hobby. I mainly play with casual gamers and so far out of the 25 I have taught this to(including 8 high school kids) only 1 doesn't like it. The majority enjoyed it to varying degrees and two loved it enough that they want to buy it. I have found that most people do brutally on their first time but they see enough there that is interesting to make them want to play it again. I would say the learning curve is 3 games, but each play gives you a sense of progress. The first play you just go through the motions and by the end you start to see what it takes to win(especially understanding the need to avoid all the negatives!). The second game most people play to avoid the negatives and can largely succeed at that, however they don't play well enough in the other areas so don't win but have a much more respectable score. In that third game is where they start to explore where to focus their energies and score points to actually win the game. I have usually had the most experience in this game and, judging by my two most common opponents, it takes about 5-7ish games to become competitive with an experienced player.

    I think the pain factor in this game is a bit overblown. Most games I play I end with max -9 points. The other people I play with that have played it even a couple times finish around the same. I have finished many games(along with some opponents) with 0 negative points. My guess, however, is that it is the control factor that some find painful….I think this is especially true for people that enjoy the worker placement genre. I will say that I am new to the hobby(only really since mid 2010) so take this opinion with a grain of salt. But I think certain games(many worker placement games alongside games like In the Year of the Dragon) are based around control. You can see what is coming and you can adjust and plan for it. The only variables that come in to play are your opponents themselves. I think of more serious gamers when I think of people in this camp. For me personally, I really enjoy long term planning, but I really enjoy making decisions on the fly and readjusting longterm plans to fit certain situations. I love contingency plans and making lemonade out of lemons. In games like Macao and Settlers you not only have to consider your opponents, the game throws curveballs at you as well that you have to adjust to. In Macao I play both against my opponents and the games. I think it comes down to what kind of gamer you are as to whether you will enjoy Macao or not. Do you like the feeling of control when you play your games? Do you need to be able to pinpoint a specific mistake you made if you lost? then don't play Macao. Do you like that sense of control where you can make something out of your circumstances? where the decisions are not obvious and you have to play probabilities and find ways to play well when those probabilities fail? Then you will probably like Macao.

    Castles of Burgundy:

    I have enjoyed this game the more I play it. Initially I was let down by it as this game was compared to Macao and I love that game. Like Jeff says in this podcast, Castles is nothing like Macao. I still can't really see where people are seeing the similarities. While I enjoy Castles, I don't love it. The other people I have played with have generally enjoyed it but 1 or 2 seemed overwhelmed and tired out by it. unlike Macao where you can just read the 6 cards as they come up each round, The sheer amount of information that you have to take in for all the various tiles can be overwhelming. After a couple plays you start to get a feel for the iconography as well as remember the various tiles, but until then it can be tiring. For me also, Castles was harder for me to get my head around for some reason. In Macao I could see very clearly how to do better(optimize windrose, take no negatives, do better using the presitge for gold track than others, deliver more goods than others, etc), in Castles it is alot less obvious. All the tiles give you an additional benefit, and you get points for finishing areas that it seemed like the only real choice ares, do I finish smaller areas quickly, or do I instead try to complete the big areas….all the while trying to grab some end game bonuses and compete in the farms. Also, because the tiles that are used are the same in Castles the game can feel samey, except for the extra boards which help a lot, Whereas in Macao, the randomness of the dice and cards keeps things feeling new. I will say that Castles feels quicker even if it takes longer than Macao as you always have two actions to take each turn(plus bonuses of course) whereas in Macao the turn lengths vary. Although a 4p game of Castles does seem to drag. Like this podcast says, there is less pain in this game, less lack of control and no negative points….but for a person like me, less contingency plans needed(feels like a worker placement in that regard… opponent took that ship I wanted so I will take this other action instead, I can take the ship action next turn).

    Comparison between the two:

    OK more comparison that should be;) regarding the first player mechanisms in each game. First off, I totally disagree that Macao strongly favors going first. I have won many games while staying low on the turn order track. In Macao it comes down to the competition and player count. The lower the player count the more important going first. Also, in a 3 or 4 player game if two people are jockeying for first it is wiser to save actions and use them on other things. The thing I love about Macao's turn order mechanism is that it costs you something to move up on the wall and that cost leaves a player with less to spend on other areas. In Castles it is directly tied to one of the actions and so, depending on your player board, you might have less opportunity to take that action. I have also found(in my limited plays thus far) turn order being much more important in Castles. That makes it all the more frustrating that it is tied to a specific action.

    regarding the dice manipulation: In Castles you can adjust the dice but it costs you actions to do so. In Macao you don't lose actions but have to use them in different ways. You didn't get those red cubes you needed? well how else can you use them? move up on the turn order track to have a better selection to fit the cubes you have? buy a city quarter?….they force you to make different choices but their values stay the same. In Castles adjusting the dice takes workers and the way you get workers is to trade in dice. I find it more interesting personally to make contingency plans for if I don't get the rolls that I need rather than simply trading in dice for workers(because then, ultimately, the player that gets the better roles, trades dice in less, and has more actions to take). But once again, there is waay less control in the first scenerio and tons in the second(even though it comes at a cost).

    regarding themeing: both could be much better. in Macao they use AC(action cube), GC(gold coin), PP (prestige point). I mean really? at least paint on a theme for me;) They also have person cards that have a picture of a dude on them but their title is "Lady ___"…brutal. In CAstles it is not much better, you are building your kingdom with buildings and castles and…..knowledge tiles? It would look and feel alot cooler if I could actually seeing a kingdom bbeing built in Castles instead of the abstract Settlers looking board that I see.

    Lastly, I want to say that I totally agree on the similarities between MAcao and Trajan over Macao and Castles. I have not played Trajan yet, but upon reading reviews and the rules my first thought was: this looks like a different version of Macao. I am pretty sure I will love Trajan. I have speculated elsewhere that Trajan is Macao for people that like that sense of control(worker placement lovers;)). There are no surprises in Trajan and you can plan things well in advance. Once again your only variables are your opponents and the decisions they make. Because of this control aspect, I believe Trajan will appeal to a bigger cross section of BGG and the more serious, control loving types that frequent that site. For myself personally, I am curious as to which of those two I will love better. I will probably write a comparison review when I finally get the game sometime around October.

    Lastly, my personal ranking of Feld's games that I have played:

    Macao 10

    Strasbourg 9

    Castles 8

    Speicherstadt 7(online plays only though)

    Once again, thanks for the great podcast guys!

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