Clickbaiting Era: Medieval Age

This kingdom is like 40% roads.

This place never stood a chance. Lots of good access to roads, at least.

Part Two: The Junk

Fine, apart from scorched or flooded terrain, nothing in Era is junk. But these remain my ten least-preferred buildings. I’ll happily tell you why. Oh, and we’re counting the other direction now — toward the worst rather than away from it. Why? Because tension.

#23. Harbor
Which Set?
Collector Set 1
What’s It Do? Four points per burgher dice. Must be built against the map’s edge, and costs a burgher die. Grants access to the special merchant die.

Of the three special buildings in the first collector set, the Harbor is the one that always goes forgotten. Maybe because it can only inhabit the edge of your kingdom, like an expensive Quarry. Maybe because it chews up a burgher die. Or maybe because its special merchant die isn’t all that focused. Culture, stone, builds, treasures, or all of them at once. Even with the possibility of trading any one resource for two others, this one is simply too unfocused to pay off.

#24. Market
Which Set?
Era: Medieval Age
What’s It Do? One point per adjacent empty space (including roads).

There was a time when Markets were a regular appearance in my kingdoms. That time was before the expansions, when empty spaces were common enough that turning them into profit was an attractive proposition. Now it’s rare that I can squeeze one of these in, let alone make it worth the treasures I could have spent elsewhere.

#25. University
Which Set?
Era: Medieval Age
What’s It Do? One point per culture.

This was once the weakest score generator in the game, all because culture was too hard to produce in bulk. Thanks to one of the collector set buildings, it now stands a chance of producing enough to swing a match. It’s still big and expensive, and there are still a fair few buildings I’d rather hit first. But in a pinch, it’ll do.

#26. Road
Which Set?
Rivers & Roads
What’s It Do? One point per adjacent building. Bonus for most extensive road network.

Roads are a great idea. They come in from the edge of the map, make everything they touch score an additional point, and offer a bonus at the end of the game. They’re also a terrain hog and a build action hog. Frankly, rivers are the better proposition, score-wise. Most of the time I pave a road or two to make the Farms and Longhouses of my outskirts worth a little extra. Bringing them into my city is more work than it’s worth, in part because I’m now looking to build at least three gates. Yuck.

Yes, this is the worst kingdom. I didn't build it.


#27. Farm
Which Set?
Era: Medieval Age
What’s It Do? One free food every turn.

The Farm. Oh, the Farm. Is there any other building in the entire game that takes up so much space for so little payout? Perhaps if it generated two food instead of a measly one. Or even three food for every two farms. Or if there were some other structure (a mill? irrigation?) for giving it a hand. Instead, it’s the sort of thing you splurge on when you have a cord of lumber and an extra build action, but there’s nothing else worth investing in. At least when there’s a fire or another natural disaster, you’ll have something you can scorch guilt-free.

#28. Manor
Which Set?
Collector Set 2
What’s It Do? Two points per farm.

That second collector set sure has a thing for meager scoring criteria. The Manor isn’t such a bad idea in theory; it just happens to be linked to, well, the Farm. I sometimes wonder if you could win with a Manor and a whole lot of Farms, but then I remember that I’d have to build a Manor and a whole lot of Farms.

#29. Bridge
Which Set?
Rivers & Roads
What’s It Do? It’s a road for going over rivers.

Remember when I said that rivers often constitute a major pain in the backside? Take that ache, add roads, carefully measure out where the roads will appear on both sides of the river, and that’s the bridge. As far as scenery goes, it looks great. It’s only occasionally worth the effort.

One more flood and that road's gonna get it, though.

Scorched terrain is never a good thing.

#30. Flood
Which Set?
Rivers & Roads
What’s It Do? Destroys a weird Tetris-piece segment of your kingdom.

Floods are the expansion’s variant of the usual scorched terrain. They’re less harmful because they take up a smaller area and can be linked together. At times they’re a bummer because they waste prime riverfront real estate. So take care: instead of walling in your entire river, leave a strip of land that can be freely flooded. That alone makes the flood a friendlier natural disaster than its counterpart.

#31. Scorch
Which Set?
Era: Medieval Age
What’s It Do? Burns up a 3×3 area. It sucks.

You know what would be a huge boon to any further expansions? A way to clean up scorch tiles. Just in case you’re reading this, Matt Leacock. I’d like to put my peasants to work somewhere. You know, since they aren’t farming.

#32. Guildhall
Which Set?
Era: Medieval Age
What’s It Do? One point for every left-over resource.

No, I’m not kidding. The Guildhall isn’t a scoring opportunity. It’s an insult. A point for every resource? Who has resources left over? If you do, you should be ashamed of yourself. And if you don’t, then why did you bother building this turd in the first place?

Next up, the ten best buildings!

Posted on February 16, 2021, in Board Game and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Love this game too and fun fact: my partner is blind. As such, the production of this game raises it exponentially. I doubt this was a consideration when they were throwing around the high concept for Era but the deluxification of tabletop games has a hidden benefit of also making them more accessible.

    • Ah, that’s fascinating, Dale! Especially since Era is usually dismissed as “too deluxe” for what it provides.

      • Yes that is a criticism I have came across too. To the contrary, my partner could certainly claim that many board games are not deluxe enough! But hey who wouldn’t want a copy of Patchwork with actual textiles swatches which “velcro” onto the board!

        There is obviously a line somewhere but shaped resources and the like are appreciated as a new wave default.

  1. Pingback: New Year, Old Year: 2019 Revisited | SPACE-BIFF!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: