Today my wife and I sat down to play My Village from Stronghold Games. Cortnie learns to play games in a very specific way — she plays them. Rules books, videos, explanations, none of those work. When I start to give a general overview, her eyes glaze over like a doughnut. With games like My Village, you need to have a certain idea of where you might be heading at the outset of the game, which makes it rough when it’s turn three before you have an understanding of how to play.
There is a fair amount of iconography in the game, and there are basic rules for each of the building types. If you’re not familiar with the game, Rodney Smith with Watch it Played has a great video here.
Cortnie started as first player and started building with the craftsmen. This is where not having a firm grasp on the white banner actions makes the whole games fall apart. She had almost no banner overlap in her goods producing tiles. I had two numbers across all my tiles.
After I built all my craftsmen, I started focusing on the merchant. I didn’t travel or buy council chambers. I did build a church, but only because I didn’t have anything better to do with the die roll. By the end of the game my village had 13 tiles from the merchant for a total of 49 points.
My wife however, playing to the theme very well tried to build a really well balanced village, and trying to keep all the spaces active, and spending quite a few turns on the School to do so. Final Score 36 to 60.
I honestly thought I would never see this game on the table again. When the game finished I started packing it up as Cortnie stopped me and asked to go again. I quickly set up the game again, and then waited while she made a cake. (I cake isn’t that relevant to the story, but then again, when isn’t cake relevant?) Cortnie started as first player and quickly began to build her merchant engine. Off to a great start, she had started to build up goods for the merchant, had someone in the school ready to take over when the first death happened, had attracted a fair amount of customers.
I, on the other hand, focused on three things: Church, Travel, and story points. I had a slow start, but once I got the first player marker, the dice went bad for Cortnie. Really bad. Almost every turn she moved the mayor, and rarely completed tiles at the merchant space.
The final score of the second game was 49 to 79. Cortnie wants to play again! It says a lot about a game that you can lose twice, by a fairly big margin, and want to play again.
I loved this game. One of the many things that can grab me from a game as multiple paths to victory, and this game has many. I’ve played two of them, but can see many, many more ways to win. The game also changes with each player count. I’ve heard The Secret Cabal Gaming Podcast pontificate at length about how the three player game is not good. I think the mistake that could easily be made is expecting the same experience between a two player and three player game. I’m quite excited to get this on the table with other player counts and I’m quickly becoming a Stonghold Games fan.
I can’t say what I’m playing tomorrow, because what I want to play my wife is uninterested in, so it may take come coaxing. Hint: It’s a recent reprint of an Ignacy Trzewiczek game.