Author Topic: Limes  (Read 7973 times)

Offline jungleboy

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Limes
« on: May 06, 2016, 11:25:53 AM »
I bought Limes last week as part of my Oxford meetup purchase madness. Decar asked for a review, so here it is.



Limes is a card-laying game for 1-2 people that plays very quickly (10-15 minutes). The two-player game is 100% multiplayer solitaire, so even though I've only played it solo so far (12 plays), the review is valid for the two-player game as well.

I describe Limes as a combination of Carcassonne, Karuba, and the Little Prince. Carcassonne because you place meeples to claim one of four features; Karuba because in the two-player game, one player is the 'caller' who draws a card and calls out the number in the centre of it, after which both players play the same card; and the Little Prince because you will finish with a 4x4 square of 16 cards (with 8 cards left unplayed for each player).

Firstly, let me say that I love the game. The theme of the game has nothing to do with small green citrus fruits, and is instead a reference to ancient Roman border defensive systems, such as the Limes Germanicus which bridged the gap between the Rhine and Danube frontiers. I'm a Roman history buff, so this is right up my alley.

Each player has seven meeples to play with (and, again, 16 cards to play). You never 'complete' a feature in the Carcassonne sense, so you can't reuse a meeple and score multiple times with it. What you can do, however, is move a meeple to an adjacent feature on a turn in which you don't play a meeple. So if you realise that you've missed the boat on playing a meeple on a certain card, you can place a card adjacent or nearby, place your meeple, and eventually move it over to where you want it.

Each card is divided into four zones, each depicting one of the four features. It's possible to have the same feature twice on one card, either diagonally to each other (in different zones), or adjacent (as part of the same zone). The four features you can claim are rivers (as a fisherman/ferryman), forests (woodcutter), towers (watchman) or field (farmer). I think the strongest aspect of the gameplay is that all four features are scored differently yet are scored more or less equally. In any given game, any one of your seven workers in four distinct roles could be worth the most. This contrasts with Carcassonne, where scoring favours farms and cities at the expense of cloisters and roads.

Briefly, the scoring works like this: farmers score one point per zone (so per 1/4th of a card) in a connected field - so like a road in Carcassonne. If you have a farm with eight connected zones, you score eight points. Fishermen score one point per hut that is on the river bank of the river your fisherman is in - so the larger the river, the more points you are likely to score from huts, but not necessarily. Woodcutters score one point per different zone that is adjacent to the forest the woodcutter is in, so the larger the forest, the better, but if a forest extends for four zones adjacent to a river of four zones, that's only one point for that section, not four (towers, however, always count as separate zones for this purpose, even when two or more are adjacent). Watchmen score one point per forest zone they can see orthogonally, as long as that view is not interrupted by another tower.

So the game is mostly about maximising the scoring for workers you've already placed while trying not to hurt the scoring of other workers, because it doesn't always work in harmony. If you have a large river or farm, that's great, but if you claim a forest that's surrounded by this river or farm, that's not great. You might want to extend a farm in one space on one hand, but you might also want to add forests to that space for your watchman on the other hand.

Some other things I like are the artwork, which is simple but pleasing; the fact that you don't play all your cards in any one game, so learning the configurations doesn't necessarily help; and the fact that you always end up with a nice 4x4 grid. Each game is different because of the random card draw, but it's not hugely luck-dependant with the draw like Carcassonne can be. No matter what cards you draw and in what order, the equal worker scoring means that you still have an opportunity to maximise your score with good planning and decision-making (i.e. there's no real equivalent of the Carcassonne experience of drawing road after road when all you want is to extend your builder city).

There is a pro variant where each feature scores in two different ways, not just one. I haven't played that yet (I don't want to get too far ahead of my potential 2-player partner who hasn't played yet), but that will certainly add more complexity to the game. There are also a couple of promo expansions to change it up a bit.

This is a photo of my highest score so far - 51 (49+ is considered excellent according to the rule book). If you're super keen, you can try to count up the score to see how the scoring works. Also, here's a post I wrote on BGG using some statistics to analyse strategy in the game through my first 10 plays.

 

Even though the lack of gameplay interaction between players in a two-player game might not suit everyone, the fact that it's a quick game means this isn't really a big deal, in my opinion. If you like the look of these two photos and if you're the kind of Carcassonne player who likes to analyse the board each turn and figure out what the best-scoring move is with any given tile, then Limes is definitely for you.

Linkback: https://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=2705.0

Offline franks

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Re: Limes
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2016, 11:47:45 AM »
Great write up Paul, AKA Nick  ;D

I've passed on this one before but gave in last night and ordered a copy. Look forward to trying it out.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2016, 04:48:03 PM by franks »
Franks

Wanna play Carc? Can we add just one more expansion?

Offline jungleboy

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Re: Limes
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2016, 12:01:48 PM »
Today I scored 55 which is my highest score using the base rules. It might be time to move onto the pro rules!


Offline Decar

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Re: Limes
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2016, 01:26:55 PM »
Great write up Paul.

Great write up Nick!

Will power...crumbling...must stop buying things....

Offline franks

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Re: Limes
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2016, 04:47:02 PM »
Great write up Paul.

Great write up Nick!

Will power...crumbling...must stop buying things....

Where the heck did I get Paul from?  :o

Decar, you know you want it  ;D

Offline Carcking

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Re: Limes
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2016, 07:48:27 AM »
Hey Nick. Cool game.

I count 56 points in your second game. Did I count something wrong?

How is the Pro scoring different?
I just drew the perfect tile for my MonKnighThieFarmer!

Offline jungleboy

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Re: Limes
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2016, 02:14:36 PM »
Hey Nick. Cool game.

I count 56 points in your second game. Did I count something wrong?

How is the Pro scoring different?

For the watchman at the very top right, did you count three forests horizontally to the left? It's only two because the next tower blocks the view of the third forest.

In the pro rules, there are two ways of scoring each feature instead of one. So the scores are higher and there's more to think about with each move.

Offline Carcking

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Re: Limes
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2016, 05:10:52 AM »
Hey Nick. Cool game.

I count 56 points in your second game. Did I count something wrong?

How is the Pro scoring different?

For the watchman at the very top right, did you count three forests horizontally to the left? It's only two because the next tower blocks the view of the third forest.

In the pro rules, there are two ways of scoring each feature instead of one. So the scores are higher and there's more to think about with each move.

Ah, I see it. I was thinking intuitively that the tower had to be occupied to block line of sight.

Looks like a neat little game.

Offline jungleboy

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Re: Limes
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2016, 01:12:17 PM »
I just scored a new personal best: 58. As far as I can tell, this is the equal best score that anyone has managed of those who have posted about it on BGG.



I also established today that it's possible to score at least 66 (I did a test where I laid out the cards in what I thought was the best configuration and that's what I got - it might be possible to add a point or two to that score).

Offline jungleboy

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Re: Limes
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2016, 12:50:29 PM »
Each game is different because of the random card draw, but it's not hugely luck-dependant with the draw like Carcassonne can be. No matter what cards you draw and in what order, the equal worker scoring means that you still have an opportunity to maximise your score with good planning and decision-making (i.e. there's no real equivalent of the Carcassonne experience of drawing road after road when all you want is to extend your builder city).

After well over 100 plays, I might have to revise this part of my original review. There are about 8-9 cards that are really useful (the 6 double-double cards, and two or three with watchmen and forests), and if you want a super high score (approaching 60), you pretty much need all of them or all bar one.

While I'm here, I received the lighthouse expansion in the post today and I scored my highest score - 60 - with my first play with it. It's a very powerful card where, if you play a lighthouse keeper on it, you score one point for all connected water zones (of which there are already three on the card itself). But the 'catch' is that you can only play this card if you draw card 24, so it doesn't always come out. But still, very cool.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2016, 12:58:44 PM by jungleboy »

Offline Hounk

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Re: Limes
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2016, 12:27:54 PM »
Do I get you right? You bought Limes end of April, and have played it so far over a 100 times? Wow!

Offline danisthirty

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Re: Limes
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2016, 12:47:46 PM »
Do I get you right? You bought Limes end of April, and have played it so far over a 100 times? Wow!

Yes, this seemed extreme to me too. Have you given up work, food and sleep in order to do this?

Offline Hounk

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Re: Limes
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2016, 12:50:37 PM »
Have you given up work, food and sleep in order to do this?
And even more important... Carcassonne?  :o

Offline jungleboy

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Re: Limes
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2016, 12:56:06 PM »
Have you given up work, food and sleep in order to do this?
And even more important... Carcassonne?  :o

You can play it solo in about 5 minutes, so it's pretty easy to get in a lot of plays! Although it's true that I haven't played Carcassonne in a while...

Meanwhile I got the lighthouse expansion cards yesterday, so I'm crossposting here from BGG:

I just got this expansion yesterday and have been enjoying playing with it. A few thoughts:

Firstly, if you are lucky enough to play it, the lighthouse is very powerful. It's not hard to score 10+ points with the lighthouse, and my best is 16, making it the single most powerful feature in the game. I have hit 60 points twice already in about 6 games using the lighthouse (once using the 17th card and once not), compared with never before in 150-odd games without it.

Secondly, the water zones on three-quarters of the card are also very useful. It's the only card that has three of the same zone, so it allows you to expand your water zones and subsequently get more points for your main fisherman even though there are no huts on the card (this obviously helps expand your lighthouse score too).

Thirdly, I'm finding that I often don't play a woodcutter at all if I'm able to play a lighthouse keeper instead. Since I use the four double-forest cards (if drawn) for watchmen purposes along the outside of the area, it's hard for me to create a large forest area for decent woodcutter scoring to begin with, so this is the worker that I replace with the lighthouse keeper if I can.

Offline Decar

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Re: Limes
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2016, 01:12:06 AM »
Great work jungleboy  :(y) :(y)

Sounds like you've got the solo play well under-wraps.


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