Which is your favorite building and why? (4 players base game without expansions)

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Santa Maria
Posts: 17
Joined: 24 July 2015, 18:55

Which is your favorite building and why? (4 players base game without expansions)

Post by Santa Maria »

Intro: I play 4-player games exclusively, so it is meant for 4-player games

Note: 2, 3, 5 player games are different and the buildings are also of different value

Note: I play 'classical' games only, cause I am convinced that 'balanced' option breaks the strategic depth of the game

Which one is your favorite building and why?
What is your strategy with it?

Also which building do you never seem to make work?
Last edited by Santa Maria on 08 July 2023, 20:32, edited 2 times in total.
Santa Maria
Posts: 17
Joined: 24 July 2015, 18:55

Re: Which is your favorite building and why? (4 players base game without expansions)

Post by Santa Maria »

Coffee Roaster

One of my favorites is Coffee Roaster.

I usually go the builder route and Coffee is very strong play in that case. You can trade it for at least 4 db (db = doubloons) which is very solid and handy if you also have 2 or 3 or 4 quarries.

If you want to build you need db and there are only 3 sources of how to get them:
- db on the role card you choose
- db from trading a good
- db from Factory when crafting

So as you can see db form trading a good are the main source of them, db on role card will not carry you if you are a builder so if you don't trade and don't have a Factory you will not be able to build fast enough.

So by trading Coffee you earn a fair amount (4+ db) and as a builder paired with 3-4 quarries will be suffiecient to build 3rd tier and / or Large buildings.

I also like to pair it with Office and / or Markets, so you you can always trade. Quarries are also essential to be able to build with speed.

So what are the problems you face with it?

It costs 6 db which is quite steep. You may say Tobacco Storage costs just 1 db less at 5 db, yes that is true but that 1 db is all the difference in the early game. Very often you can afford the Tobacco Storage but can't afford the Coffee Roaster, only 1-2 rounds later and that can be your downfall.

Also if you spend all your db on Roaster early and then can not trade, you are done.

Not be able to trade:
- if the player in seat right before you also goes for Coffee (then Office is needed)
- if you are forced to ship it
- if the Trading House is blocked
- if there is no space in the Trading House (player before you trades and so fills the last Trading House space (so all 4 are filled)

I like to compare the Coffee and Coffee Roaster to Black Dragon in Heroes of Might and Magic 3.
Black Dragon is arguably the greatest creature in the game but the dwelling is very expensive as well as the Black Dragon to purchase.

So if you can trade it, it is very strong but if not, you are out of the game.

Yes you can build it later with 3 quarries discount so paying 3 db only, but that will be in the mid-game and it might be too late to matter.

The early trades are very important and Coffee can easily be the winning play or loosing play.

So what is your experience?
Last edited by Santa Maria on 08 July 2023, 22:17, edited 2 times in total.
Santa Maria
Posts: 17
Joined: 24 July 2015, 18:55

Re: Which is your favorite building and why? (4 players base game without expansions)

Post by Santa Maria »


Lately I try Office.

So why Office? I like to pair it with Coffee so I can always have the option to trade it even when other players have Coffee or if there is a Coffee already in the Trading House.

I go the builder route so I try for 3-4 quarries and in that case Office costs 3 db or if I choose the builder only 2 db, and from Coffee trade I get 4+ db which is quite a lot and enough to be able to build with speed.

Why do I prefer it over the Markets?
Yes Markets are also very handy in this case but the ability to be able to always have the option to trade is more valuable, cause Coffee will get 4+ db and it is about how many times I can trade not how powerful are the trades (well Coffee trades are powerful on its own). Large Market with Coffee is a bit overkill and you still need to trade to get the value.
What is better 2 trades of Coffee with Large Market (will get you 12 db) or 3 trades of Coffee (will get you 12 db)?
So it seems equal but, if the Trading House is blocked with Coffee you can't trade at all, while with Office you can.

So yes myabe if you have monopolized Coffee and other players have Tobacco, Sugar and Indigo and so all 4 players always trade Large Market is very strong, but even then if 1 player doesn't trade to block, Office can be really good.

My point is if you get 4+ db from a trade the ability to be able to trade is more important then to get 6+ db from the trade.

Still what you have to watch out for:
- the danger of being forced to ship your trade good
- if the Trading House doesn't have any more space for your good so you are not able to trade (player before you traded and filled the last space)

In recent games I found Office more and more useful, especially with Coffee or if the trades are getting me 4+ db, paired with quarries.

The cons:
If you don't have quarries you have to dish out a whoppin 5 db for the Office and if your trade is gettin you 3 db or less, then it is a very questionable build.
Also if you goin for shippin and have 3-4 types of goods and don't really care which one you trade maybe then it is too pricey.

So what you say about the Office?
Santa Maria
Posts: 17
Joined: 24 July 2015, 18:55

Re: Which is your favorite building and why? (4 players base game without expansions)

Post by Santa Maria »

Building which I have trouble makin work is Large Warehouse.

I did build a bunch of games around Large Warehouse, but usually it is too expensive to be able to purchase or I am not producing enough barrels to make it worthwhile.

Clearly it is the shippers building, so you need to produce to have something to store.
- I bought it once with producing 4-5 Corn, 1 Indigo and 1 Sugar and it was surprisingly effective cause I could also mass the Indigo / Sugar

So why is it so hard to make a game around it?
- it costs 6 db, which is a lot and helps you zero to generate the db back
- you need to have a decent barrel production
- you have to produce and especially ship as often as possible to make it worthwhile
- you can only purchase a very few buildings beside the Warehouse when it actually is usefull

- I go the builder route and then it is not a strong purchase although it is easier to get it in that case, but maybe then there are better buildings to
- On the other hand when you are a shipper it is hard to get the 6 db and when you purchase the Large Warehouse it will be awhile you amass that
much db to be able to purchase another building.

I think for shippers the Large Warehouse is a very strong building but also very hard to make it work, cause of its cost and production needed.

Don't know yet how to play with it, it seems when other players have Small Warehouse and a bunch of corn, they will bank the corn and you need to produce other goods then corn, and usually when you are producing a bunch, you don't have the db.

The pros
- you can store and mass 2 types of goods which can be very strong for shippin them and conrolling the boats
- all you produce will get turned to VP chips if you can ship, which you eventually can
- you are not forced to captain after craftsman and can choose different roles like craftsman

Can you make the Large Warehouse work as a key building for your play?
Maybe the shippers know how.

Edit 1:
I have seen some great play around Large Warehouse, where you try for 3+ Corn with Small Indigo Plant with Small Sugar Mill, and then Large Warehouse and try to flood the ships.

More advanced strategy is build Smal Indigo Plant with Small Sugar Mill, 1-2 Quarries when you can afford then Hospice, then either Large Sugar Mill
or Large Indigo Plant and then Large Warehouse and crafting to flood the ships and storing large quantities of Corn+Indigo/Sugar, with trying for Wharf late or Customs House if able with game end.

The danger is if 6 and 7 barrel ships get blocked with Tobacco and Coffee and filling very slowly, so beware for that.
Last edited by Santa Maria on 08 July 2023, 22:23, edited 5 times in total.
Santa Maria
Posts: 17
Joined: 24 July 2015, 18:55

Re: Which is your favorite building and why? (4 players base game without expansions)

Post by Santa Maria »

City Hall

Those who played with me already know, my favorite Large building City Hall

So why do I think it is the best Large building?

I try to go the builder route and aim to build 2-3 Large buildings and build out and in that case City Hall can provide 6-7 or even 8 VP.
I do like to build more Commercial buildings and only 1-2 or 3 production buildings and in that case City Hall provides the needed VP bonus while being able to build with speed.

Compared to Guild Hall, with Guild Hall you aim to build 4-6 production buildings with low economy so you need many Builders best with 1-2 quarries.
With City Hall you want more Large buildings to be faster and have larger bonus through more Large buildings and don't have space to hold all the production buildings.

There are many routes how to get there, either Small and/or Large Market paired with production building and or Office, or 3 production buildings paired with Factory, with University being also very helpful to have your Large buildings activated and so be able to build out.

The problem compared to Guild Hall is that the Guild Hall player only needs 1-2 db here and there to be able to build the large production buildings (if he has 1-2 quarries), while the City Hall player needs 6-7 db to be able to build Large building and build out, also if you only build small commercial buildings and have only City Hall than Guild Hall might have been the better choice.

Advantage of City Hall is that the commercial buildings help you to develop with speed while the Guild Hall player's production buildings only bring shipment VP (you only need one - the one you are trading (though for factory you need more)).

So it is all about style.
Which one is yours?
Santa Maria
Posts: 17
Joined: 24 July 2015, 18:55

Re: Which is your favorite building and why? (4 players base game without expansions)

Post by Santa Maria »

So now the new favorites of mine Hospice and University. Lets start with the premiere building:


Costs 8 db and when manned, every building that is build is instantly being manned with 1 colonist so is instantly in effect.

This gives tempo with building, so you can build and have the building immidiately active and don't have to rely on mayor. For a builder this is very important and can speed the development enormously to move with speed.

You dont have to care to build Large building very late cause it always will be manned and gives you options also for buildings like Harbour, Wharf, maybe Factory earlier or Large Market or Office, or even Warehouse or production building.

Somewhere I have read that University is overpriced and there it has been suggested it should cost less and was mentioned that for a price of 5 db it would be very good and you should build it every game (for the suggested 5 db).
Well if you are a builder you should have Quarries and preferably 3-4 and then University will cost the suggested 5 db. So when going the builder route University is at least as strong as Harbour for shipper. The tempo advantage is extremely valuable.

So what are the problems?

You need to have power for University, because it is only as strong as the buildings you build after the University is manned.
So you have to be able to build still right after you purchased it. That means you either have many db in hand (9+ with some 2-4 Quarries) or have the power to generate db with either Factory or huge trades, if you just build University with 1 Quarry and then have to skip next builder actions you should not build it.
There is where Harbour is better cause if you are producing 3-4 different goods and build Harbour, you can start shipping and only need maybe a Warehouse and then one large building in end.
With University the aim is 2 large buildings and maybe even Harbour or Wharf (or other beneficial building) depending on circumstance.

So not every game makes University possible but when it is, the game is tremendous.

I say.
Last edited by Santa Maria on 09 July 2023, 20:39, edited 1 time in total.
Santa Maria
Posts: 17
Joined: 24 July 2015, 18:55

Re: Which is your favorite building and why? (4 players base game without expansions)

Post by Santa Maria »

So now:


When playing the builder game I have noticed that I can't move with speed becasue of huge colonist shortage. The building that helps to solve this is Hospice.

When manned every plantation comes with a colonist so is insantly manned. This helps to develop production building goods and also to have manned Quarries which help to build, also you get to have more colonists to man everything as needed.

The strategies with Hospice:

It is useful as in a builder game as well as in a shipper game.

With shipping, it makes the production building goods (Indigo, Sugar, Tobacco, Coffee) as a Corn cause their respective plantations come with a colonist so you only need 1 colonist more (and not 2) in mayor to be able to produce.
And Corn is even better cause you get it manned and can deploy the mayor colonists elsewhere.
You can have huge production and go from there (Warehouse, Wharf, maybe Harbour and/or Customs House).

In a builder game it helps with developing production and when taking Quarry it is instantly manned so it gives a huge advantage for building.
You can then select the Quarry yourself and or get one with Construction Hut and so have it in play for instant builder without needing Mayor.

Problems are that it is valuable mostly in early to mid game and it costs 4 db which is not that cheap for early game when it gives no db income.
So I like to have 1-2 Quarries in play and then build it, but then maybe Large Market can be more useful to give db.
But if you have the income in play, it can be considered, it is best as an early purchase and you can develop Indigo, Sugar (with small production buildings) cheaply and then go from there.

In seat 2, you can build it as your first pick and then go Quarry (which will be manned) and build Indigo then Sugar (or Hacienda, Construction Hut), and go from there.
Also it makes Settler pick Corn (or another Quarry) very good cause it is instantly active.

So Hospice can be very good to help with development, but in cases it can be too much to want to setup.

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