I am writing immediately after finishing my fifth game of Village – the first game which I played with the Village Inn expansion. Rather pleasingly, we actually played the game in an actual Village Inn!
(Well… to be honest, calling Cheltenham a village is a bit of a strech. “We played it in a town centre pub” would be more accurate, but why let accuracy get in the way of a nice story?)
Anyway, I came second in the game, out of four players, and I made quite a few mistakes. So, next time I play Village, I want to learn from those mistakes; but it might be several months before I manage to get it out again, by which time I will probably have forgotten.
Here, then, is a letter from me, to me in the future, reminding me what I learned this evening.
Dear Future Steve,
The last time you played, your main strategies to get points were as follows:
- Getting meeples into the chronicle
This did not really work so well. Yes, you can score some points from those methods, but not enough to win. Next time, I want you to make those two your secondary strategies, and focus instead on these three:
- Using the mill and the village hall to turn grain into coins, then points.
- Getting loads of meeples into the church, and moving them along the windows.
- Selling items in the market
Early in the game your target should be to get a plough and a horse or a cow, plus some spare cows/horses to sell at market. So, some early actions could be:
- Get a second generation meeple early on, preferably the first action, and put it into horse / cow production.
- Put first generation meeples on cart production, the church, the village hall, and leave one on the farm. We are aiming to get all 4 of your first generation into the book of remembrance: church, crafts, farmer, politics.
- Use the cubes to get get a plough
Other than the plough (which we only need one of), use time to purchase items rather than cubes so as to get your people into the book of remembrance, and allow you to store up your cubes for later. Don’t be afraid of the passage of time, or plague cubes for that matter. Your first 4 guys are probably going to die at some point anyway, and the sooner they die the more likely they are to get into the book of remembrance. For this reason it makes sense to do all the time consuming tasks early in the game.
I think it is probably a good idea to get a few carts at the beginning too. I don’t think travel is the most efficient way of scoring points, but you won’t want to ignore it completely, so get the carts now to run the clock out.
Steve, do not sell your only horse at the market in the first turn, like you did the last time you played! You will need one to get grain in your farm! Make sure you have some spare horses before you sell them, dumbass.
(If you can though, try to sell the horse and card at the market on the last turn.)
Now, once you have got the grain production and things to sell at market, and a few carts, maybe think about using the Village Inn. Don’t forget to get some beer first, to buy villager cards.
We don’t want to put a first generation meeple into the pub, because he will not make it into the chronicle, so his death would be a wasted opportunity. Put a second generation one in there and start getting cards that fit (or change) the main strategy.
So what is the main strategy? Well, it is going to be a combination of the three things I mentioned at the beginning. You have probably forgotten what the are though, because you aren’t very good at retaining information, so here they are again:
- Get one meeple to the far end of the town hall, then get lots of grain and convert them to coins, then points.
- Put lots of meeples (ones that will survive to the end of the game) into the church, then use grain to advance them for end of game scoring.
- Churn out loads of things to sell at market.
I suggest that the way you choose between these strategies is to do what everyone else is not doing.
Also, ask yourself – is this going to be a long or short game? Different strategies apply for each. Probably. Maybe travel works better in a long game, I don’t know.
A few general thoughts that come to mind:
- Try to anticipate which cubes are going to run out first. In your last game, travellers, crafts and marriages went quickly, then the village hall, then village inn, then church.
- If not sure which colour cubes to go far, try to collect three of a kind, those are very useful. Choose a common colour in the game.
- Green cubes are valuable for markets.
- Some villager cards have rewards that says something like – have 3 cubes of a particular colour at the end of the game but no more. If you get a card like this early in the game, it freaks you out and makes you play bad moves!
- Nobody is interested in your observation that it makes no sense that a traveller in a far-off village can use a cart (especially considering carts seem to fall apart after every journey) that was made in your village.
- They also are not interested in your complaint that the meeples who make it into the chronicle generally achieve less in their lives than the ones who survive to the end of the game.
Oh, and one last thing, Steve – you got a very important rule wrong in your game this evening. You can buy scrolls using cubes without having a meeple there. It is even written in bold font in the rules.
Hope this helps.
Lots of love,
Well, Past Steve, I took your advice when I played the game last night, and it actually worked; I won. Admittedly my opponents were both beginners, but one of them picked up the strategy really quickly, and it was actually quite close. He immediately started earning grain, them converted it to coins at the mill, then got his meeple into the town hall and converted the coins to points every turn. He also used the market very well, beating me to a sale more than once. The other player, unfortunately for her, played the same travel-and-book-of-remembrance strategy that you used to play when you first started out. Just like you, she got a lot of points from these two, but not enough to win. I did everything you said with the horses/cattle/ploughs and did really well in the market and the church, as well as the book of remembrance; I did a bit of travelling too, for old times’ sake.
Thanks past Steve!