The roads are full of crossroads. When you trust them and allow them to lead you somewhere, sometimes you get away and arrive in other place, than you were originally headed. But these new places, hidden from the eyes of ordinary travelers, are often much nicer, than the actual destination of your trip. But for us are important those means of how you got here. Milestones. Their names are appearing since ancient times and mean always the same – crossroad is ahead. One indicator can be a simple stone bearing the arrow. History for modern age? Maybe.. But people still use them. Build it and lead tourists and buyers into your town..
Milestones game puts you ahead of the seemingly simple task. Build roads and intersections and arrange marketplace for tourism on these crossroads. But you’re not the only pitchman, who wants to do it. A ruthless fight begins.
Its authors are Stefan Dorra and Ralf zur Linde, who already have created a lot of successful games. The combination of these two big names covered by publishing house eggertspiele and Pegasus Spiele servers as a distributor for this game. Illustration of the whole game were obtained in draughtsmanship skills of Klemens Franz.
Milestones is novelty, that came out just before this year’s exhibition Spiel 2012 in Essen. And we had the opportunity to test it properly and now will share with you our impressions, which, as always, we start with contents of a box. There is large number of cardboard pieces to punch out – they are square tiles with a pair of workers, but also several individual rectangles with milestones (to overlap some of your workers), but also tokens for money, flour or bonus features.
All of this would be useless to you, if you did not have game board. However, it does not have a shape, we are accustomed to. Instead, it reaches across the table like a snake in length. In its left third, there is another snake winding up in waves from the bottom and forms a scoring scale. It has in fact shape of some mansion maze, formed by a high green fence. You can see only a hint from the town itself, where are four stalls behing the gate – reminder of rules for players.
Most of the board is occupied by meadows located outside the city walls. Here are outlined cobwebs of path, connected by traveling stones. Each wears a numerical value obtained by a player, who is able to travel here first and establish a milestone there. There are some bushes to find on the plains and hills. And then on the extreme right, there is a forest, separating the city from other provinces. But they are of no concern for us, because we are interested only in what ends with the forest.
But that of course does not end up a list of things, which are in the bottom of the box. There are four paper boards for individual players. They are made of thick paper, but it is not cardboard. They still serve its purpose well, although they are a little curved. But as you lay your worker large tokens down, it does not involve any problems. This time with your board, you can finally peep into the city, where you will find buildings: store, workers guild, but also a mill and castle. Outside the walls, there is green grass, where your workers are staying, since you employ them.
But to go through the town and make all the important events, you need some kind of embodiment. And that is the first colored wooden piece, we will mention. Its one pawn for each of the four player colors. To players belongs also a colored disc indicating your position on the road of victory points.
Then there are piles of other wooden components – four material species (sand, grain, wood and stone), 48 elongated black bars mark the roads built, 24 hexahedron serving as milestones, and also a dozen of black houses and white marketplaces.
You have just emptied the last bag from the box and now we can start to teach you, how to play Milestones. It is quite obvious, that you put a game board in the center of the table and each player takes one city board for himself. He must also chooses one color piece, and stand it on the bottom left part of his board – on the castle image. A wooden token of the same color is placed on the gardens to zero victory points. In the beginning, each player gets one coin to start with.
You still have to prepare a game board, where you distribute bonus tokens (randomly) on all triangular meadows areas, where bushes grow. There is a total twelve of them. Once you have scattered tokens, you can rotate them with picture up, so everyone could see, where which advantage lies.
Now shuffle all 35 pieces with pair of workers and make a pile of them. Reveal top five, which will form the initial offer. Besides you create a pile of covering pieces, which are half the size. You then create piles of the other wooden and cardboard pieces near the board.
Each player has to have some starting workes, before you begin to play. And this is precisely the time, when we should describe them and explain a little bit closer, how they work. Figures are located on tiles always in pairs and have a very important number listed below each one of them ranging from one to eight. Every worker has also a cube color over his head, which points to his job. But because the pieces are in pairs, it often happens, you need only one of them. You can overlap the second later with another plate, but now you have to put him to his job. Workers cost you nothing, they just extend the possibilities of your strategy and income.
Their working place is behind the walls of the city on your own game board. There are a total of eight separate locations marked. At the beginning of the game, the players among gradually split worker tiles, selecting them by one out of common offer. The most important thing for your employees is their location on the meadow. If you succeed to order their numbers in increasing trend from left to right, you can benefit from it during the game.
But we will return to that during the game description. Now you have your first four workers (two tiles) and you can finally get down to building a transport network, marketplaces and houses. Fate of the city expansion and its trade profit is only in your hands.. And those of your opponents.
The main principle of the game will probably at first glance remind you of great game Village (review in Czech). Here you also have your figure circling around the city. But circuit here is not only for measuring time, but also for choosing the very actions, that you can make during your turn.
Players alternate with two pawn moves possible for each player in one turn. You can move any distance ahead on the track within one jump, skipping workers or some of the houses in the city. The only place, where you have to stop each time to visit, is the castle. You always have to end your pawn movement here and evaluate actions arising from your visit to kings court.
But we will follow locations gradually, as you meet them on your way around the city map. First the workers are standing in your way. If you pay visit to somebody, you get raw material from him. In the event, that you skip some of them with this particular move and land on another employee growing or mining the same product, then you get materials also for the skipped one. They simply work in the same place, so they can easily send product of their work over his colleagues.
All other characters, which you jump over, will not bring you anything. You must therefore decide with each move, whether to sacrifice one of the two actions to get raw materials or if you want to jump whole way into action in the city. You will need these colored cubes in a few moments for a variety of activities. So you simply stop at workers, whose product you have not enough for your plans.
Once you go through the meadow outside the city, you arrive in the store. Here is place, where you got payed, when you have workers on your meadow in ascending order (two same numbers in a row do not interrupt the line). Provided, that you comply with this condition, you will immediately get one coin upon entering one gold coin. In the house, you can also exchange money for raw materials and other way around. In addition, there also unemployed workers waiting for you to give them a chance. So you can for a fee of two coins hire a couple.
We already know, where you’re placing it and what to watch out for, but there is one more important point. Individual workers can overlap – this basically means, that you released them from your services. To ensure, that you double tokens would not lean, you can use those smaller pieces with indicators, which have no other purpose, than to support these bigger tokens.
In guild house you can make a contract to build a road, house or marketplace. Because this part is crucial for the whole game, we will now skip it and come back to it in a minute. Now we are left only with mill, from where you can supply a marketplace outside the city walls and get victory points. And then there’s little favorite castle.
Its existence is justified only with one reason. It is there to prevent you from moving too fast around your city board. If you gather too much material and did not spend it before this, you must pay taxes here and hand over any cube, which is above three pieces of one kind. Lord of the castle also wants one servant to his service from your workers, so you must always send one to the castle and give up his abilities. You therefore covers his picture on the board with the overlapping token. Now our way around the city ends and we can get back to building and set off on an adventure outside of civilization, beyond the gates of your home.
With the help of the guild and their location in the city, players can build routes, houses, milestones, but also marketplaces. Each of them will bring them some victory points. For one stone and one sand, you simply get two black bars representing the path and one hexagonal stone, which is a milestone. At this point, you usually skip one junction and surround the second with your roads. Then you lay a milestone on it, and get as many victory points, as is stated on this place.
Roads must continue and be build wherever the previous player ended his construction. The only exception, when you can divide road into two, is the marketplace. From here you can start a new branch and increase the number of paths, which are crawling around the board.
The house can be built next to any road, so its inhabitants can easily get into town. For its construction, you get many victory points – the exact number is decided by the sum of all free junctions (numbers without covering milestones or marketplaces) in the corners of a triangle, where it is built. The house costs you one stone and one wood.
The last important building option is the marketplace, that needs sand and wood. You can build it on any unoccupied crossroad. You get points for it (number, you built it on) and in addition, you can stock it up in your future turns with grain from the mill. But it can be done also by your opponents.For supplying, you get one coin and some points from free intersections in the neighborhood.
Game ends, when a player reaches a predetermined (indicated on the scoring scale for different numbers of players) space through the points obtained directly from the game. Then each player is awarded with points for the dominance in various types of workers. These points are added to the original score and the player with the highest total wins.
Milestones is an interesting strategy game, that actually is a little like worker placement. But this time, you have one figure representing you as the player in the city, and are strictly bound, because you can only move in one direction and you only have two jumps each turn. At the same time, the possibility to move to events, you are interested in is not blocked by others.
During the game, you come across so many important decisions. A lot of them revolves around building of roads and milestones. Often, building a road means allowing your rivals an access to far better positions and more points. But the game is not played only on the roads. Houses and marketplaces are also very important, and they can bring great victory point gains.
Superiority in the number of workers in the various crafts is decided just before the end. During the game, you make no conflicts with your opponents and meet with them only on the game board, when you consider roads or other structures. In addition, Milestones are a lot of reclusive experience, where players simply use the common board. But it’s a bit of a conundrum for everyone too.
The most interesting principle remains running around town and trying to use events in the most efficient way. With this running is also strongly connected purchasing of workers and their overlapping distribution in the meadow. It is here, with the intake of raw materials, where the victory position breaks. The game board then just servers to lay bricks, connecting places, but first you have to have enough material to do it. Yes, there are some more valuable combinations of workers, than others, but for most of the time, you can select several nice options from the offer at any time.
Players can not gather and keep materials, since the excess will be thrown away, when passing through a castle, which is excellent. The game is therefore constantly moving forwards, as you are forced to spend your cubes as soon as possible.
Game is interesting with the raising number of players. With two, its a lot of tactics and you can somewhat expect, how the road will go. But since three players, it becomes a lot unpredictable and you have to adapt. This can please you or not, but that is the way Milestones do it.
Processing of the board is nice and detailed. The same applies to card of workers. Annoying thing is that the color of one player (yellow) is the same, as a shade for sand bricks. Much more unpleasant is another match – more pieces are black: roads, houses and milestones. And it reduces clarity and transparency of situation on the board.
Milestones are an interesting strategic game, if you do not mind, that you will not notice your opponents too much. Only in the end, when dominance in workers comes into play. On the contrary, you build your empire, although in reality all players are involved in the construction of one and the same road. That is really interesting and creates nice moments. Clarity is reduced by poorly differentiated wooden components. Still, the game contains some interesting ideas, that you might like. If you do not mind playing a reclusive approach, then you should at least try Milestones.
Milestones is a board game, which puts you inside a new city, trying to become a market crossroad for local citizens and travellers. And you have only one simple task – to build. Roads, houses, milestones, but also a minor marketplaces on the crossroads, so people have their groceries closer to their homes. You run it from distance, because the main arranging and work is to be done in the city. You run around the town, hire workers and with their help mine and grow materials to build everything and supply marketplaces. But the city has a ruler, who is constantly collecting taxes and driving your workers away to duty in his castle. You have to deal with fate and collect as many points as possible for the roads and houses bulit. Every crossroad has a number on it, which suggests number of points, you can gain there – in several possible ways and even more than one time. This road is built in joint efforts, so any of your enemies might snatch the points before you do. Moreover you have only two moves during each turn and while trying to visit some places, you have to jump over another and resign on their profits. Its only up to you, which one would you prefer. Castle guarantees, that each match will flow directly forward in constant pace, because players are forced to spend their materials right away. Unfortunately, there is little interaction in the whole game and each player is fiddling with his own board. The only interesting element (except building roads together) is dominance of workers, but that happens only in the end of the game, so you will pay attention to it few rounds before it. Also the components have a limited number of colors and some of them share the same shade, so the whole game is less transparent. But across all these minor complaints, Milestones is still a nice strategic game with a lot of interesting paths to victory, with much planning on the way.
Reader Rating0 Votes
running around city as choosing actions
roads are built together
more ways to earn points
tactical options while moving in town
bonus tokens raise production and value of workers
castle guarantees constant progress through the game
length is set according to players => game is entertaining in all numbers