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BGC Meetup Report @ OTK Cheras 4/11/2013 – Essen Preview #2 (Patchistory)

Boardgamecafe.net Meetup Report @ OTK Cheras 4/11/2013 – Essen Preview #2 (Patchistory)
By jack208

EXCERPT
Taking opportunity of a public holiday, we set up stall to test out how good PATCHISTORY plays. Patchistory is the latest Civ game from Korea which sold out in Essen within 30-45 min. Find out if it’s as good as the hype. We also saw RIALTO on the table tonight.

Gamers: Hiew, Allen, Ivan, Kareem, Heng, CK Au, Waiyan.
Games: Rialto, Patchistory.

Location: OTK Cheras | Google Map | Lat-Long: N 03° 06.179′ E 101° 44.237′
Date/Time: 4 November 2013 (Mon) 9.00 PM – (Tue) 5:00 AM

RIALTO

Click on image above to buy from our webstore

While waiting for Kaz before we start Patchistory, the four early birds decided to do a session of RIALTO, one of Stefan Feld’s recent games.

Since we are on the topic of FELD, most felt (hey it rhymes!) he has been one of the more prolific game designers in recent years (like how Knizia was in the earlier days of Euro boardgames) and of the three Feld games this year – Bruges, Rialto and Bora Bora – I’ve always felt RIALTO is Feld at his most streamlined.

Feld actually has a 4th game out at Essen – AMERIGO – which should be ready to be pulled in from QUEEN anytime soon. If you wish to reserve a copy, pls PM us at our Facebook page.

If you are looking to complete your Stefan Feld games collection, you won’t want to miss our SessRep promo on Stefan Feld games (details at the end of this report). :)

Do check out the list of Stefan Feld boardgames available from our webstore

http://www.boardgamecafe.net/store/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=77&cat=Stefan+Feld+series

MEMOIR ’44

Remember this game? Those of us who came into this hobby earlier would have fond memories of this wonderful 2-player WW2 game. It sits somewhere between the (real) wargame be it old-school hex-based or the newer CDG; and miniature wargames.

Waiyan happened to have set up one Memoir ’44 set at OTK – probably in preparation to host a Memoir ’44 session with her boardgamekids during the weekends as this is a popular game among her boys.

So here’s some pics of the game for you to enjoy! Do check out the list of Memoir ’44 series available in our webstore.

PATCHISTORY

Alrite, time to get to our main course – PATCHISTORY, the latest Civilization buzz but this time coming closer to home from Korea! There have been many attempts to craft the finest civilization board game ever since Francis Tresham kicked off Civilization (under Avalon Hill) back in 80s, and ten years later Advanced Civilization.

I’ve not tried Avalon Hill’s Advanced Civilization but have from good sources that this is one that’s worth a try though the game design may be outdated by now. Other notable Civ games are Mare Nostrum, Wallace’s Tempus, Sid Meier’s Civilization, the popular Through the Ages from Vlada, and more recently Clash of Cultures and Peloponnes.

Therefore when we heard there’s a new Civilization theme game appearing from Korea, we were stoked. Korea has been designing Euro boardgames for a while (the popular Tok Tok Woodman) but those tend to be lighter games. Not much info about Patchistory was available but from whatever details we could gather, it appeared to be a medium weight Civilization game. Early sessreps – arguably playing with the prototype version – from friends (Jade’s a Korean fren of ours who’s into the boardgame biz in Seoul) – all pointed to a positive playing experience and indicated this is a game we’ll enjoy.

Let’s be clear; this is not 7 Wonders or anything in the lightweight category. It’s going to be medium to medium-heavy along the weight of Mare Nostrum and Clash with playtime of 2 hours or more. And when we heard the publisher was only going to print & bring 50 copies of their English edition to Essen… we needed a solid plan to acquire this. This has to be one of the first few things we rushed on the morning of Day One itself!!

Even though we got in early, a small queue has already formed at Deinko’s (publisher) booth. Well, the good news was it looked like we should be able to get our copy – unless each of those in the queue in front of us bought 5 copies each – and I’ve to say Deinko had the common sense to ensure each person in the queue got to buy one copy only (nope, getting it for a fren who’s supposed to be in the queue but now at other booth did not work). You simply have to be present in person to get a copy. :P

The queue was quite orderly… no scrambling or pushing. Simply a bunch of gamers waiting patiently in line while waiting for the publishers to bring the eagerly awaited stocks. We even had time to check-out and round up a few other early morning must-buys (Coal Baron CE, Lectio Black, Russian Railroads etc) before the sale of Patchistory started at the Deinko booth. Having three of us in a group did help to divide-n-conquer in this instance.

When the stocks of 50 units of Patchistory did arrive, they were snapped up very quickly and I’ve to say Deinko strictly enforced a one-unit-per-person policy so no hoard-buy. In spite of that, all 50 units were quickly snapped up in 30 or so minutes! This fella (above) got the last copy and the others behind him were just looking astonished at Deinko’s empty booth. Kaz was asking me what the Deinko ppl were going to do for the next 4 days given their sales were all concluded within the first hour of the fair.

But was it worth the queue?
We would have opened one of our copies for a testdrive session in Essen but the rules (translated from Korea) did not help. So it was not until last week – on the eve of the Awal Muharam public holiday – that we were ready to do a session on this highly anticipated game from Korea!

Let’s dive in now and take a close look at our sessrep for the first play of Patchistory in M’sia among Kaz, Ivan, Heng and CK.

Patchistory is a Civilization theme game that plays over 3 eras; with each era having it’s own set of civilization tiles (from left). Patchistory includes common elements of Civ games such as choice for different growth path for your civilization (along 6 areas like political, logistics (traffic), economy, industry, military and culture), military aggression, trading and Heroes & Wonders to score high VPs or simply give you additional powers/capabilities.

Above: The two tokens (Hitler & Genghis) are only used in 2-player game

The game is played over 3 eras of 5 rounds/ea so you are looking at 15 rounds for the entire game. Each round comprise a series of 5 steps starting with the bid for new land tiles, carrying out Diplomacy & Management actions (similar to TtA political action points), doing movement on the land tile or trade routes, negotiation & war and ending the round with production & worker maintenance.

There are two additional steps – Heroes & Wonders Maintenance (upkeep cost) and Voting for Prosperity – which are done only in the 5th (last) round of each Era. Basically there’s an intermediate scoring round at the conclusion of each era.

Above: Actions available to your civilization, and the cost (in political points)

Patchistory uses political points as action points that you can spend on various types of actions to advance your country / civilization. You would get typically 1-2 political points to start with, and acquire more as the game progresses. Obviously the more political points you gained, the more options are available to you.

As you can see above, to be able to “threaten” someone (basically extort money or VP from your friendly neighbours) you’ll need to be able to spend at least 3 political action points. Political points are not accumulative and you either spend them (all) in this round or you lose them.

Political points (PP) felt much harder to come by in this game (say as compared to Civil action points in TtA) and for a long time, we were all stuck at 2 PP until we acquired land tiles that gave us the additional PP.

The baseland for our country/civilization is a single 6-tile player board for us to start the game. There are two options here – to start the game with (L) Liberty or (E) Equality baseland. Liberty baselands are different (slightly) for all four players for eg mine (above) started with one PP (the book symbol in the top middle tile) but two food (wheat symbol), two economy (coin symbol) and two traffic (the wheel symbol).

The Equality baselands however are the same for all players and would start us with one symbol each. I’d thought the Equality baselands are for introductory or newbie gamers but apparently Kaz said the Equality baselands are the harder version and it’s recommended to start with the Liberty baselands for our first game. Hmm…

Step #1: Bidding for new land tiles, and patching into your baseland

Each round starts with the same step; player bids for their choice of new land tile (there’s one new land tile drawn for each player per round). Bidding continues round-the-table until each land tile has one highest bid. Since there’s four tiles (in a 4-player game), everyone would get to bid & win a single tile though if you want to get the tile of your choice, you would need to ensure you have a good cashflow to outbid the other players.

The symbols on your baseland indicates your civilization’s ability for each of the 6 areas – political (purple), traffic (orange), economy (green), industry (yellow for food and black for mineral), military (red), and culture (blue) – and are marked on your player board with round disc of respective colors.

You also have 8 descendants (population) which are essentially your workers whom you can assigned to various tasks (more of this later). However increasing your population would increase your food requirements and while not being able to feed your population is not as damaging as Agricola, in this game you’ll be penalized 3 VP for each food – it’s still a very punishing setback.

The PATCH in the game title refers to how you add new land tile (acquired in the auction step) into your existing land group by “patching” the new tile in. Think patchwork using squares. J

You start with a baseland that’s 2×3 and new land tile is always in a 2×2 format. A tile can consist of either a small “room” (ie a single square) or a special building (which is two small rooms) or a large room (which is the entire 2×2 tile).

The mininum you patch is a small room space ie cover one of the existing small room in your territories with a small room from the new land tile. You can path over or patch under (with the exception of water room which you can only patch over and never under). See above, I patched my new land tile into the top left corner of my baseland, using the water room from the new land tile to cover the existing wasteland (brown room). That’s a valid patching move. And it also changes the composition of my Civ territories.

That’s how “Tech” is abstracted in this game – thru acquiring the same symbol and increasing the relevant status marker point in your player board. You do not get a fleshed-out Tech tree / cards for you to build & grow your various tech areas (industry, economy, culture etc).

You start with 2 descendants (workers) and can get more by taking the Birth action but more workers meant more mouths to feed (each worker requires on average 2+ food to feed at the end of each round) but offers you better flexiblity in your worker placement. Workers can be sent to do two things – 1) trade route to get resources, or 2) activate activity room on your territory tiles.

For eg in above picture, I sent one of my workers to the Trade Route – he’s sitting at the start of the trade route in the top part of the picture while the 2nd worker was sent to the activity room in the orange Traffic land tile. That room gave a trade bonus +1 to the resources from each trade so if this round, my trade would have gotten me 2 food, I’ll get a bonus of another food for activating the activity room above.

When you patch a new land tile in, your Political/ Traffic/ Military/ Economy/ Industry/ Culture status points may change since you might patch over an existing room with these symbols. You’ll need to adjust your player board so that it always reflect the latest points for the 6 status.

Your number of “Descendants” (ie workers) are on the far left while “Political / Traffic / Military” status are tracked in the middle table. These represent fixed status points you can use per round. They are never carried over, and always refresh to their status level every round.

The other four status – Economy ($$), Industry (Food / Mineral) and Culture (VP) – are production tech and will produce every round at Step 5. The goods produced are tracked using cubes of the same color. You get to keep – and accumulate – your production goods until you decide to consume them.

Above is a look at Ivan’s player board and territories after he has patched in his first new land tile. Both his workers were on activity rooms in his territory and none sent to trade route.

Above is Kaz’s civilization. He’s one of the first to acquire a Hero and in Gwanggaeto, he now possess the strongest Military might among us. Gwanggaeto is a hero that’s able to leverage on (otherwise useless) wastelands – the brown tile – and convert into military strength at the ratio of 2 wasteland as 1 MIL point.

With superior Military might, he could start threatening neighbours whom he has established trade route(s) with – and at the start, thankfully to us (not Ivan) he has a trade route with Ivan only. However to carry out the Threaten action which will gain him either money or VP from Ivan, he’ll need to have at least 3 Political points (he only has two now) so that constrained his bullying enthusiasm for a while.

Another patching example from Heng’s civ. He acquired a land tile that has a medium room (comprise two small room) that produces one mineral for him and he chose to patch it on the top right of his baseland. He also sent one of his workers to the economy activity room (bottom left corner) which set him up for another 2 coins (in additional to the 2 coins he’s already getting from the same room). His 2nd worker was sent to the trade route (not seen in the pic above).

You also have the option of not adding the new land tile to your territory. But you’ll still need to spend a minimum of 1 coin to acquire one land tile per bidding round so it’ll be a waste if you are not able to patch the new tile in.

That’s a quick description of how “patching” is done in this game. This is the main thrust of the game.. being able to bid for the right patch tile to add to your civilization without regressing any of your previous tech points. It’s not as easy as it seems coz in the 1st Era, your land mass is limited to a 5×5 square and very soon you will find ourselves out of space to patch “outwards” and therefore forced to consider patching over existing tech.

Step #2: Diplomacy & Management

Once you are done with patching in your new land tile, you get to spend your Political status points to carry out actions, which are grouped as Diplomacy and Management actions.

There are three Diplomacy actions – Aid, Threat and Break Alliance. For Management actions, they are further grouped into four types ie General (Trade, Exchange, Birth), Worship (Heroes or Wonders), Construction (Trade Route, Reclaim Territory, Building) and Campaign (exchange political points for vote cubes).

Most of us start with only 2 Political points (PP) and your options are pretty limited if you have only 2 PP to spend. Becoz PP cannot be carried over and accumulated so if your status is at 2 PP, you’ll never be able to carry out those actions requiring more than 2 PP. I was fortunate as I acquired a land tile early in the game that gave me a discount of 1 PP if I do Construction action hence I was able to use the Building action to add some rooms that provided me with additional status points.

The upside is that Era 1 (the beginning of the game) should move along pretty quickly since there’s limited options / actions one can carry out as your civilization goes thru the early growing curve. Ours proceeded slower than it should since we were cross-checking rules every now and then. I believe our 2nd play would be much faster for Era 1.

Step #3: Movement

After you are done with patching your new land tile (step #1) and spending your Political points (step #2), you get to move your workers. Movement is optional and is dependent on your (orange) Traffic status. There’s no map in this game so traffic status is usually not your priority at the beginning of the game.

Sure you need to move about but a Traffic status of 1-2 movement points would suffice. There are two areas where you need to move; firstly when you want to shift your workers from one activity room in your territory to another (possibly to activate different resource production or bonus / ability). The second movement would be along the Trade Route.

At start, each player has one trade route that points to his left-hand neighbour. Trade route provides you with a steady stream of resources be it food, money or mineral. All you need is to send a worker there (thru a Trade action) and then spend movement points to move your worker one or more steps along the trade route each round.

The thing here is that you would usually want to move your worker only one step per round, to maximize the output from the trade route (as otherwise if the worker returns to your baseland, you’ll need to spend Trade actions again to send him back to the trade route).

There’s one other reason when you want your worker to rush thru the trade route ie when you are using that to initiate war – or negotiate an alliance – on your neighbour. More of this option later.

You are not limited to the starting Trade Route, and can build as many trade routes as you wish to any neighbouring countries. Above both Blue and Green has their own trade routes to each other.

Note: The game would have been more Civ-like if players are allowed to trade with each other (not just thru trade routes) ala Mare Nostrum.

Step #4: Negotiation & War

Whenever your worker reaches the end of a trade route, you have the option of negotiating for peace/trade with your neighbouring civ or going for war! If both parties are agreeable to maintain peace, they vote with their thumbs up. If either (or both) party voted with thumbs down, that means WAR!

Don’t panic, both sides would still have one more round to prepare your country for war; and the winners get VPs from the bank. If you can win by a Great Victory (ie your battle strength is 5+ more than your defeated opponent), you’ll get to loot 7 VPs from him. Ouch! That can be painful.

However if both countries see senses and agreed to a peaceful negotiation, they can also opt to build an Alliance Trade Route. An Alliance Trade Route once established allows both parties to send their workers for resources (with better output compared to a standard trade route) ie this trade route runs both way. However once you have an Alliance trade route with another country, you are not allowed to Threaten or wage War on that country unless you first Break Alliance with them first (that’s a clear indication you are going to war with them!)

You can compared the returns from both a Standard Trade Route (the top one) vs the Alliance Trade Route (the bottom one) in the picture above.

Step #5: Production & Worker Maintenance

The last step in a round is merely Production, where you get to produce food, mineral, coins and VP based on your Industry / Economy / Culture status markers. Resources produced in this step are represented by cubes / coin tokens / VP markers and kept behind your player screen. They can be accumulated and used whenever you wish.

Heroes & Wonders
You can’t have a Civ game without including elements of Heroes (famous and well-known people who impacted history greatly) and Wonders (buildings & monuments that we still stand in awe of). Patchistory is no different and have included a good set of Heroes & Wonders that’ll appear in new land tiles in the Bidding step.

They have even added some Korean Heroes & Wonders as part of the Expansion set. Those would need English wordings pasted onto the card in order to get played since the power/ability of the Heroes & Wonders are described in Korean.

Heroes & Wonders grant you special power / ability that helps to enhance and improve your civilization. Much sought after, you’ll usually have to win a bidding war to acquire them. If you have a number of Heroes or Wonders in your civ, you can also do the Worship action to gain additional VP (for Heroes) or Mineral (for Wonders).

Heng (green) getting Hero: Moses which allows him a free “Birth” action to get his 3rd worker to the board without spending political action points nor resources (food). That saved him a 2 PP action and food resource.

Heng later added on his 2nd hero Constantine (ability to form an alliance with another player when patched) and also a Wonder: Parthenon which gave him additional Culture points for every 2 Economy buildings (ie green tile with the coin symbol).

Kaz (red) has an even more interesting hero whom he acquired as early as the 2nd round – Gwanggaeto the Great - whom helped increased his civ’s military prowess thru wastelands (the brown tiles). Basically for every two wastelands in his territory, he’ll gain an extra Military status point! That made him the early war-monger among us. :P

Ivan (yellow) on the other hand had two wonders in his possession – the Ziggurat which scored additional 2 VP per worker during the end Era bonus step and the Colossus of Rhodes which would have gained him additional 3 VP if he waged a successful war on another party. I didn’t see him use the Colossus, either becoz he’s a peaceful fella or his neighbours were too strong militarily for him to wage wars with. :P

I (blue) was playing without any Hero or Wonder during the early stages of the game. Not intentionally I suppose but just didn’t manage to grab any from the bidding (or I bidded for the other land tiles which I thought would bring better benefit to my civ). Heroes & Wonders are certainly useful to augment your civ with, but not necessarily a must.

Towards the end of era 1 when we’ve one land tile with a wonder (Hanging Garden of Babylon) and another with a Hero, the hotly contested tile was surprisingly one without the Hero or Wonder ie the one in the rightmost where the bid was going for 7 coins!

I ended up with the Hanging Garden of Babylon in this round – finally a Wonder for my civ! – which was not a bad VP generator as it provided me with one VP for every two water tiles in my civ. It required a “sacrifice” ie for me to remove a descendant.

Note: We did play this rule wrong by returning the descendant to the player board pool. It should be removed totally from the game. Ouch.

These Heroes & Wonders do not come “free” as they have a maintenance cost (2 food for Heroes and 1 mineral for Wonder) which you’ll need to pay at the end of each Era (in Step 6).

Step #6: Heroes & Wonders Maintenance

Steps #6 & #7 only happen once in each Era, at the end of Round 5. These are more like housekeeping and end-Era scoring steps. In Step #6, you basically pay upkeep for the Heroes and Wonders in your civilization.

Step #7: Vote for Prosperity & Era End Bonus

This is another unique element of Patchistory among other Civ games; an end of Era scoring round where everyone gets to place their votes to choose the Prosperity agenda for all our civilization (and score VPs for those choosen).

At the start of the game, each player is dealt three Prosperity cards (above). They are like end-game bonus that affects everyone and is based on one of the element of the game for eg the three cards I’ve were based on Worker, Military strength and Culture status points.

Let’s take the Growing Population prosperity card as an example which awards bonus to the player who has the most Workers in-play. The actual bonus VP for this card is based on the total number of voting cubes (white) placed on it by all players. Let’s say we’ve 12 voting cubes on this card when it scores…

- the player with the highest number of workers in-play would score 12 VP,
– the player with the 2nd highest number of workers in-play would score half ie 6 VP,
– the player in 3rd position scores nothing, but
- the player in last position (ie least number of workers in-play) would have to pay half ie 6 VP (ouch!)

So while you certainly want to try to get to 1st or 2nd positions, you’ll also want to avoid the last positions in this Prosperity Card bonus round as it’ll cost you valuable VPs!

In this Prosperity card voting step, each player has to contribute one of his three Prosperity cards. They are shuffled and then laid out in sequence for players to vote on them.

We vote using the white voting cubes (which we can gain thru the Campaign action by exchanging one Political point for one white cube) and we’ve to spend all our voting cubes for this era. There’s no carrying forward voting cubes into the next era.

Once all the voting cubes are spent on the Prosperity cards, the prosperity card with the lowest votes is removed (ie not included in the bonus scoring. Another ouch!) The remaining three are then scored. Remember in each of these three cards, there’ll be one (or more) players who would be losing VP for being in the 4th position.

If you are in the 4th position for ALL three prosperity cards, the only upside for you would be your VPs cannot go below zero. Tsk tsk.

This is a key stage of the game where the VPs won and lost can represent large swing of fortunes! Do not ignore the importance of this step especially in the final Era 3 round. :)

As the session progressed….

This was my civ at the end of Era 1. My food (yellow) and economy (green) status were okay but facing challenge building up my mineral (black) and culture (blue) status markers. Culture would soon be taken care of now that I’ve installed the Hanging Gardens of Babylon where I focus on acquiring water tiles to add to my civ as that’ll help increase my culture status.

But as you can see, Era 1 is very much a foundation stage and it’s in this era you set your Civ up for greatness in the next two Eras. Obviously we learned things as we went along but we pretty much enjoyed the discovery process.

Era 2 also presented us with richer land tiles to grow our Civ with, and obviously with this came fiercer bidding as each Civ have gained wealth and have more disposable income to throw at the bidding table. Haiz….

The patching of new land tiles may appear relatively simple in the early Era 1 – above, I can easily slide the new land tile and patched it’s wasteland (which brings no benefit to me) underneath the existing Traffic / Economy room tile. Simple.

But as you patched new tiles over each other, it can present difficult decisions since there’ll come a time when patching might remove some existing beneficial tiles eg. to successfully patch my new land tiles with the medium rectangle Food (yellow) room onto my existing territory, it meant I’ll have to patch over the existing Economy (green) tile. I’ll gain one food (and an activity room to get one mineral) but will lose one coin in exchange. This is some of the tough trade-off decisions you’ll need to make when evaluting which land tile to bid for.

Note: You can also bid and then throw away the newly acquired land tile if patching it to your existing territories regressed your civ.

For the Love of Taj Mahal!

I forgot to take picture of the hilarious Taj Mahal bidding round when Kaz’s Civ with the warfaring Gwanggaeto in reign was entrusted with the act of building the monument of love (Taj Mahal). The only snag was building this Wonder into his Civ would reduce his Military might by 2 MIL points… and the Great Gwanggaeto threw out the Taj Mahal!! What a criminal act to reject the monument of love!! :P

You also have a max land size for each Era. In Era 1, you can patch up to a max land size of 5×5 tiles. This would increase to 6×6 in Era 2 and 7×7 in Era 3. And 5×5 is not a very large swath of land to patch over. :S

When figuring out how best to patch & expand your land mass, you are not restricted to work with what’s printed on the land tiles. There’s the Building action which allows you to build a new tile (each comes with a status symbol, see pic above) over any existing small room in your land tiles including water.

This action helps you to reshape your land to prepare for patching future land tiles and also to augment your status points (be it in Politics, Traffic, Industry or Economy). The only catch is that the Building action requires 3 PP to perform.

Trade routes were also increasing between countries. Above you can see there were three trade routes between my (blue) Civ and Heng’s (green). Two were standard trade routes while the top route is an Alliance trade route.

I broke our Alliance when the great Admiral Yi Sun-Sin joined my Civ and with his great naval prowess, my civ’s Military status points shot up tremendously making warfare very tempting.  I think Genghis Khan went to Kaz’s Civ (adding to his warmongering nature). With Admiral Yi in play, we now have someone to challenge (kaz) Gwanggaeto’s might on land.

My Millitary status (red) went up to 14 points. However my low Traffic (orange) status points meant it’ll be not effective for me to wage a warfare strategy. The points are indeed large in warfare (10 pts in Era 2 and 15 pts in Era 3 per victory) but to be able to maximize this strategy, you’ll need to ensure your troops have fast movement or multiple trade routes so that you can wage war more often.

Kaz’s civ status at mid-game. His Military strength was strong at 9 pts but coupled with his fast movement (Traffic of 6 pts), that can be menacing. The low Political Points (3) did kinda constraint him to what he can do per round.

Above was how Kaz’s civilization tiles were patched; he has the highest number of Heroes in his civ, not to mention the most wasteland (brown tiles) which were to augment Gwanggaeto’s military strength.

Ivan’s Civ status. Most of us have 3 PP at this stage of the game. Ivan’s military strength was not weak and I think that’s a result of him building up his MIL strength being in Gwanggaeto (kaz)’s bullseye early in the game (since Kaz only has a trade route to Ivan in early game).

Unlike Kaz, Ivan’s Civ had more Wonders than Heroes – which helped him piled up the VPs.

Heng’s Civ patching. He managed to patched in the tricky Elizabeth tile and if you observed, his land mass tend to look more organized – that’s partly due to his reshaping of the land mass using the Building action to prepare for future patching.

The pic above showed Heng’s Ciz having a rather strong Military strength of 10; that’s becoz he has activated his defensive shields via his Elizabeth I hero tile which granted him 2 MIL points per worker on water (you can see some of his workers placed on water tiles – which in normal circumstances would grant him no other benefit).

This was in response to my war action on him. He still lost the war but avoided a Great Victory margin which would have lost him a further 7 VP. Warfare can generate fast VP but Patchistory also gave us a round to prepare for the war, therefore as long as you build defensive covers into your Civ, you would be able to withstand a military onslaught.

The above was my Civ land tiles in Era 2. As you can see, I’ve reached my 6×6 land mass size and it would be increasingly difficult to patch new land tiles in unless they are of the proper fit/format (wishful thinking). This spatial challenge aspect of Patchistory would annoy someone I know (wolfx, you reading this? :P)

My MIL point at a high 14 pts, enough to terrorize any neigbours. The downside is my Traffic movement of 3 pts (half of Gwanggaeto’s 6 – come on, gotta improve that!) and lack of mineral production (the black disc at zero) hampered my military ambitions. Mineral is used during war to augment your battle strength and can make the difference between just winning the war or getting a Great Victory (which would widen the gap between you and the losing opponent by 14 pts!)

Not having enough mineral may also cause you to lose a war against an opponent with well-stocked mineral!

As the game progressed, more powerful land tiles emerged. Stealth Fighter (wonder) allowed you to reclaim (Ie rebuild) an opponent’s land after winning a war! This can be painful to the opponent as you can cover his useful/key land tiles with wasteland or water!

The Eiffel Tower (wonder) came out towards game end. Ivan got this and it gave him 16 pts at game end which made a significant difference. We also had a (totally) empty land tile in this round.. See below.

An interesting errata on our play. We couldn’t figure out if the empty land tile is playable but decided to just play as-is. We allowed it to be patched underneath any existing land tiles (except water) and also allow other new land tiles to be patched over it.

After checking the FAQ, Kaz reverted this empty land tile is for us to customize with our own design (duh) otherwise it’s not in play.

Gandhi (hero) came out near the end. We’d expected a peaceful hero but strangely this Gandhi allowed his Civ to extort money or VP from another player with impunity! What??

And it went to Heng who proceeded to extort twice from me in the course of the end game!! History sure remembers Gandhi different…. or at least that’s what I was taught last time! LOL

Kaz’s land mass getting way too weird with random patching… haha. Thankfully for him, it’s near game end. Both our Civ had a big war in the last round, unfortunately I lost to him as his stockpile of minerals simply blew out my navy! L

Should have gone for the Eiffel Tower instead and ra-ra-ra the tourists for easy VP. Haiz.

A snapshot of Heng’s Civ at game end. Yes the ruffian Gandhi was very visible in his Civ. Grrr…

Ivan’s Civ at game end.

Mine at game-end. The large number of water tile was to augment Yi Sung-Sin’s Military strength just as wasteland was for Kaz’s Gwanggaeto.

Thoughts on Prosperity voting

As described earlier, at the end of each era we get to vote on the Prosperity cards which either grant us bonus VP or (if you are 4th) lose you precious VP. While the voting for the 1st Era was already tame, it heated up in the 2nd Era but really went all nova in the 3rd (as we’d expected).

Above’s the votes placed in the 3rd Era (last) of the game with the three Prosperity cards bearing votes of 15 VP, 18 VP and 24 VPs. The larger white cube counts as 3 votes.

This simply meant if you are the Civ in last position for any of these Prosperity cards, you would lose from 7 – 12 VPs for each card! And if you were the top Civ in these Prosperity cards, you stand to gain 15 – 24 VPs. If you look at the differential (ie one wins 24, you lose 12) that’s a large swing.

Which I find pretty thematic coz you can have the greatest Heroes or build the most amazing Wonders but in the end, it’s whom you vote in that matters. So next time, please make sure your votes count. :P

These pics were taken by waiyan but I can’t remember their context. They are funny.. so I thought of posting them here for the laughs.

Heng simply looked on bemused by the antics of these fellas. Yes you can see that we enjoyed our session!

How did we find the game?

Everyone agreed they had a really enjoyable time with Patchistory. Minimal downtime between players, the game plays fast (am sure if we are to do another session, our early Era would move along much quicker) and while we ended our session around 5 am, we didn’t really feel the time.

Player interaction is very high; thru the bidding for the patch tiles, trade route / war and the jostling to avoid last position in the end-era Prosperity voting. All in, a strong medium-heavy weight Civ game from Korea and certainly a notably strong addition to my Civ game library.

Well done to Kim Jun-Hyup and Jung Yeon-Min!

CK and Kaz with Patchistory designers Kim Jun-Hyup and Jung Yeon-Min in Essen 2013 with our signed copy of the game!

How does this rank with the rest of the CIV games?

I think the search for the Holy Grail of Civilization (game) is still on. One that checks all the Civilization boxes, a Tech tree that allows different development path, plays in reasonable amount of time (say no more than 4 hrs?), has a proper map, allows in-player trading and gives you the Epic feel of shaping mankind’s history – somehow that’s still a work in progress.

Having said that, I think Patchistory now occupies the front row seat of good/great Civ games along with Through the Ages (TtA). It’s not at the same level as Through the Ages (to quote Kaz) but Patchistory is more accessible and enjoyable to a wider audience compared to TtA (to quote Heng & Ivan).

TtA still hold the trumps since it has a proper tech tree path (whereas Patchistory abstracted the Tech) and a much more epic feel to the game. I also like how Corruption and Happiness are incorporated into the game play.

Patchistory has higher player interactions thru it’s bidding round, spatial management of your growing Civ land tiles and managing the end-era Prosperity voting. It’s much easier to get into, and plays well under 3 hrs (once everyone knows the game).

Another contender for Civ front row would be Asmodee’s NATIONS, which was released in Essen 2013. Strangely we have seen ppl holding copies of this game at this year’s Essen but have not seen a demo copy of the game on any table in Essen? The game also retails for a high price of USD99.99 so that makes it almost twice as expensive as Patchistory and almost 50% more expensive than Through the Ages.

Well, we are bringing in copies of Nations in our post-Essen preorder so we’ll get a chance to see how it stacks up against Through the Ages and Patchistory. :)

While Patchistory designers Kim & Jung thanked us for purchasing this game, I would like to say Thank You back to them for adding another solid Civ game to our library!

SESSREP PROMO

We are running two separate promos from this sessrep. 20% discount (from retail price) for Memoir ’44 and Stefan Feld game series until end day 29/11 Fri. If you are looking to complete your Stefan Feld or Memoir 44 collection, this is a good time to do so! PM us or contact waiyan at 012 2081780 if you have any questions.

List of Stefan Feld games
http://www.boardgamecafe.net/store/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=77&cat=Stefan+Feld+series

List of Memoir ’44 game & expansions
http://www.boardgamecafe.net/store/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=58&cat=Memoir+%2744+series

T&C applies, shipping additional, subject to available stock.

For more pictures of this preview session, pls see our Facebook photo album (below).


For more photos of this gaming session, visit our Facebook Album.
For more boardgaming reports, visit our Boardgamecafe.net Blog.

To discuss this gaming session, join us in our Facebook Page.
To buy the games played in this meetup, please visit our Web Store.

We carry over 800+ games and provide prompt and free delivery to anywhere in West Malaysia. Min order applies for free delivery. If you are a retail store looking to sell boardgames, you are most welcome to get in touch with us.

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2 Responses to “BGC Meetup Report @ OTK Cheras 4/11/2013 – Essen Preview #2 (Patchistory)”

  1. Damien (BGG ID: dtroy_de_rapcore) Reply December 13, 2013 at 12:32 am

    Excellent write up Jeff. Thanks to Kareem, I get to experience the game myself last Wed. It’s certainly a unique Civ game. The patching mechanic sounds funny at first but then it works very well in the game. It feels like TtA where you only witness behind the scenes stuff of the Civ your’re building. In TtA, all these are represented by cards and are laid out on your board. It works the same way in Patchistory but you now patch your cards instead of just laying them down.

    I wrote my first impression of the game in BGG, and I hope you don’t mind me sharing it here for other readers.

    http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/14244468#14244468

    Thanks!

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