The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Tens of Possibilities

I’m not sure if the motto for 51st state (“One Card. Three Locations. TENS of Possibilities”) is a mistranslation, joke or genius. In any case, I’m not sure that it’s fair to review it after one game, since the rules kind of dribbled out over the course of the game. (The owner of said game having a 2 month old baby being the most likely reason).

But, as the mutant once said, “Life isn’t fair.”

Here’s how it goes. You draft cards, then get a free (random) card. Then each player produces, then you take actions. The basic action is to play a card … you either spend guns to conquer it (which will provide a big one-time boost whenever you cash it in during production). Or you can spend gas to make a trade agreement, which gives you a steady supply of production (usually one or two items per turn). Or you can spend cogs to build it, which means you get the special ability.

In essence, another combo game.

Interesting rules:

  • You earn VP chits on cards, and most cards can only hold three chits worth of VP.
  • You can spend a special resource (clay?) once a turn to destroy a building (sweeping it’s VP chits into your main pile) and replace it, earning a few VPs in the process.
  • You don’t save resources between turns. (You do save cards).
  • You have three tokens that you can only use on your opponent’s cards, assuming they build anything useful.

The downsides:

  • I’ve got plenty of fast “combo building” games. Actually, most of them are much faster, and less fiddly.
  • The “Three locations” rules aren’t clear. I’m not sure if that’s the rules fault, but it took me a while to figure out what was going on.
  • If a game is called “51st state” then the game should end the turn someone gets to 51 VPs, not 31. OBVIOUSLY.
  • My strategy of “Hey, I’ll just grab cards that produce VPs/each turn and worry about resources later” worked way too well. I suspect that’s because of the faction I played and the fact that I drafted the city hall call (which meant that I doubled the number of trade agreements I could have, so that I could then make agreements to get resources) helped. But this is the equivalent of winning a game of dominion by just “Well, I’ll start buying estates.”

Verdict — Meh, possibly induced by grumpiness. I’ll give it another shot.

Line I thought of as my review (before playing)  — “It’s no Puerto Rico”.


Written by taogaming

November 2, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Posted in Reviews

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12 Responses

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  1. Did he miss the rule that you can only generate 3VP using a cards powers then it’s power to generate VP is dead?

    Greg Williams

    November 2, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    • Whoops, missed it in your post somehow, nevermind.

      Greg Williams

      November 2, 2010 at 6:07 pm

  2. “no Puerto Rico…”

    Hey! I resent that (being from PR, and dreaming of it being the 51st state))! At the same time… Bravo, couln’t be more perfect (ditto on the reason).

    I think trying to play a strategy that didn’t come natural to the Mutants didn’t help me. I was trying to incorporate more than conquer (their strength) And Fred, for some reason, was drowning in resources he couldn’t use. I’m positive it’ll be a different 2nd game. Besides, i have a 3mo old baby…


    November 2, 2010 at 9:03 pm

  3. I think the normal phrase is “DOZENS of possibilites.”

    “TENS” makes it sound sarcastic.


    November 4, 2010 at 2:10 pm

  4. Exactly. Which is why they should have used “Dozens” as the motto.


    November 4, 2010 at 4:39 pm

  5. The “TENS” may have been a literal translation? I know in my native language (Dutch) we would say tens of possibilities and not dozens, maybe the expression is the same in Polish?


    November 5, 2010 at 6:01 am

  6. Tens are just metric dozens.

    Eric Brosius

    November 5, 2010 at 6:21 am

  7. Well, the designer IS Polish, which, like most of the rest of the world, uses the 10-based Metric system instead of our antiquated mish-mosh of measurements (many of which are based on factors of 12). Despite Trzewiczek’s excellent English, it’s obviously not his first language. So rather than a mistranslation, I wonder if “tens” is colloquially correct in that part of the world and comparable to our “dozens”.

    Larry Levy

    November 5, 2010 at 10:19 am

  8. I’m sure you’re right that it’s a direct translation, but in my book, that’s a mistranslation since it doesn’t carry the intended meaning or the tone.

    I do believe this is the source of the humor inherent in “All your base are belong to us”.


    November 5, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    • I’m not arguing … it’s juvenile. Funny, though.


      November 5, 2010 at 7:39 pm

      • Agreed, wasn’t trying to argue…my comment should have been a Reply to Larry, just commenting on the word “mistranslation”.


        November 9, 2010 at 6:42 pm

  9. it seemed very race for the galaxy to me when I read about it but I’m still very interested since I love stronghold so much(yes I know the two have nothing in common).

    I know it took me about 3 games of race b4 it clicked so I would assume to give this game the same leniency.

    thanks for the commentary curious to see if ur view changes

    how solitaire is this game compared to say dominion or race?



    November 5, 2010 at 6:45 pm

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