Saturday, July 11, 2015

Systems Saturday - Praetor (2014)

A recent Friday afternoon saw the local gang laying down a recent acquisition of Tom's from an auction at the excellent Lake Geneva Games store.  In this case, since he got more than one, I am discussing Praetor (2014).  Along with Wendy, three of us sat down to try this game out.

The description on Board Game Geek is as follows:
It's the year 122 CE and the Roman Empire is at the peak of its glory. Caesar Hadrian is no longer waging war against the barbarians, but building cities and fortifications to ensure a lengthy domination of the Roman culture and wealth.
The southern part of Britain is under Roman domination, and Caesar has already begun the construction of Hadrian's Wall to protect the empire from invasions from the North. Together with the wall Caesar has ordered the founding of a new city which will remind the locals of the glory of Rome. He has appointed five of his most trusted men to take resources and workers from Rome and to build the city together – but in the end only one of them will be appointed Praetor and rule the Province in the name of Caesar.
In Praetor you will take the role of a Roman engineer and you will work together with the other players to build a magnificent city. You will manage your limited resources wisely and look for new ones, you will recruit new Workers while your old experienced ones will retire, you will build settlements to keep the population happy and you will praise the Gods to earn their favor. Caesar will reward you if you give away precious resources to build Hadrian’s Wall thus increasing your chances of becoming Praetor.
Every turn you will place your Workers on previously built City Tiles to gain resources, Morale, new Workers or Favor points. You may also assign Workers to build new City Tiles or spend resources to meet Caesar’s demands to gain Favor Points. At the end of each turn, you will have to pay your Workers. Otherwise, the mood in the city will deteriorate.
Most of the actions your Workers will perform will help them gain experience. They will become increasingly skilled in collecting resources. Your most experienced Workers will eventually retire and bring you additional Favor Points but you will still have to show solidarity and pay them until the end of the game.

Always keep an eye toward the best three ways you can maximize your points for your next turn.  If you manage not to be doing the third way, you stand a good chance of winning.  Take advantage of the market but try not to telegraph your moves.  This can be tough because it can, at times, run counter to maximizing your points but being too obvious can lead to dead turns and excess resources toward the end with no way to recover.  It doesn't hurt to appear flexible enough to steal an opportunity from another player even if you have no intention of doing so because your own best moves means more points.  It keeps them focused on their game more than yours and discourages them from using a turn to mess with your strategy.  It also does give you more outlets should things turn against you.  Even though the theme is mainly about the wall building, I think a large workforce is a must and owning lots of buildings pays off in many more way, from the start to the finish.  Get used to the building tile corners and be sure you can see them clearly to avoid missing any stray chances to gain some extra few points here and there.  That's about it from me on this one except to say that I'd play this game at least a few more times.  Intriguing and challenging.  Try it out!

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