June 16, 2006

The Rules “Gathering” Effect

by Ed Rozmiarek

I got to finally play Mykerinos last night. Well, something that kind of looked like Mykerinos. Our game last night suffered from what could be called the “Gathering Effect” for game rules. You know, the problem when the rules were originally taught by someone who has not read the rules before hand. So the first game play was suspect and now, the second and third generation of the rules by word of mouth have not cleaned things up. And to make matters worse, no one has bothered to go back and reread the rules to see if they have been playing right.

Mark taught the rules to the game last night after being taught the game a week or two ago. He did do well in that he did fix one major rules problem from the first game he played. However as it turns out, several rules errors were continued, which in looking back, probably broke the game balance horribly. The rule that Mark fixed was that the several parcels of land are all considered adjacent. Therefore your excavation can expand beyond one set of tiles to another. I can’t see how they played the first game without being able to expand.

As for the broken rules, what did we play wrong?

  1. Scoring, the biggie. We played that each room next to a patron that you controlled added to that patron’s value, not just the single highest. So, Mark and Susan were are to get several patron cards that were scored as 12 points a piece, not the maximum of 5. Oops. This, of course, caused a huge swing in scoring for them. This had the secondary effect of reducing the value of sets of patrons.
  2. Extending an excavation: We did not know about the rule that when extending an excavation, the second cube must be placed next to the first cube played that turn. A subtle difference than just expanding an excavation by two cubes, but one that would have affected the game play.
  3. The Lady Violet power. We played that the Lady Violet’s power of getting an additional cube was your entire turn. In reality, you can use her to get an extra cube and you can still play cubes to the excavation areas. This was not a major issue, but it does have some drastic timing implications compared to how we played.
  4. Lastly, I misunderstood Lord Lemon’s power related to playing on pyramids. I thought that you could only play one cube to expand an excavation when using his power. If fact, you can still expand by two, it’s just that one of the cubes may be on a pyramid.
So all told, I was pretty cool on Mykerinos after last night and I was wondering about some of the early positive reports I had heard on the game. In fact, Susan and I had almost decided to scratch it from our “Buy” list. Now today, after getting all of the rules clarifications, I have to completely write off last night’s game and restart the evaluation process for Mykerinos. Just goes to show that when you think a game might be “broken”, you better double check the rules to make sure you were playing the game right.

Posted by Ed Rozmiarek at June 16, 2006 3:06 PM


Yeah Mark! You big dummy!

Mike C. (Rules Pariah)

Posted by: Mike C. -- on June 16, 2006 3:42 PM

My wife and I played a two-person game with the neutral third player and we both enjoyed it. Afterwards I found a commonly missed rule. When all players have passed but one, that player can only do one action and it moves to phase 3(scoring). You can pass early in a two player game and prevent someone else from using their cube stash against you in every area. They only get one chance to hose you.

Posted by: John Gravitt on June 16, 2006 10:51 PM

We missed an important rule out of Ostia on our first game - you can only lay up to 2 coloured types of cards in the tird phase. It made a dramatic and important difference.

Posted by: Alan How on June 18, 2006 4:11 PM
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