I just got Quadropolis, and I'm confused by the Urbanist rule. The rule is that, when you take a tile, you place the Urbanist in the place where the tile used to be, and the player after you can't point an architect at the Urbanist.

This seems unnecessarily complicated. In practice we regularly forget to move the Urbanist. Also, people frequently seem to forget that they can't point an architect at the Urbanist -- I've caught a few people doing this, but I'm not sure how many have done it and not been noticed.

Here's the calculation I usually perform. I have three opponents, and clever placement of the Urbanist will inconvenience at most one of them. It probably won't inconvenience them very much, since they probably have two or three tiles they want, and multiple ways to get those tiles. If it does inconvenience them, at best I am kingmaking by hurting one opponent but not the other two. On the other hand, if I take a suboptimal tile in order to inconvenience one of my opponents, that could hurt me a lot!

Also, it takes me a lot of thinking to figure out which tiles are even good for me. If I also want to spend time evaluating my opponent's board state, that starts to get into analysis paralysis, and I want to respect the other players' time by not taking forever to evaluate something that's probably inconsequential.

Why was this rule added? If we ignore the rule, what mechanics in the game will break?

(I suspect the rule might be more important in a two-player game. I've been playing with four players.)

  • I would say that just because you forget to follow the rules doesn't mean something isn't needed. – Joe W May 23 '16 at 2:00
  • @joe you might be right -- I've only played the game four times, and I don't understand it very well yet. That's why I'm asking here! How many times have you played this game? What was your experience with this rule? – Dan B May 23 '16 at 3:00
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    I haven't played the game, but in general the rules in a game are there for a reason and forgetting to follow a rule is not a reason to get rid of it. Especially if you have only played it four times then you should be making sure you follow the rule in order to get a better understanding of the reasons behind it. – Joe W May 23 '16 at 3:02
  • @JoeW - Until you achieve sufficient mastery in a game, some actions or rules can appear inscrutable. I don't know how many times I've patiently explained the Chess En Passant rule to people. On the flip side, some designers fail to write 100% clear rules or just flat out make mistakes. – Pat Ludwig May 23 '16 at 6:53
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    @JoeW - that is why the querent is here, seeking answers and looking for enlightenment. If you have further concerns, please take them to meta. – Pat Ludwig May 23 '16 at 18:35

The rule was added because, as the sides of the board get more and more crowded, the urbanist blocks access to tiles.

It then becomes a question of which is more important -- getting the specific tile you desperately want, or taking a less optimal tile that blocks your opponent from getting the tile he desperately wants?

  • I agree that that's what it does, but it doesn't seem worth it to me. Placing the Urbanist strategically is expensive, both because I might have to take a worse tile and because I would have to spend a long time analyzing my opponent's board state. And it only hurts one of my three opponents! Even if I go to all that effort, isn't it just kingmaking, in the end? – Dan B May 23 '16 at 18:52
  • Have you found the Urbanist useful in the games you've played? Maybe you've got an example? – Dan B May 23 '16 at 18:52

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