Tybor der Baumeister / Tybor the Builder Card Game Review

Like Hero Realms game from my previous review, there are a lot of other tabletop games that use just cards as their components. We can easily bring them anywhere and play with anyone, no need to worry about losing any small pieces of the game.

Some may not like the cutthroat or battle nature of the game where player will try to defeat their opponents by destroying their progress in the game. However, there are games where player can just mind their own progress, just competing for points at the end of the game but still have enough player interaction.

If you are looking for such game, you might want to try Tybor the Builder or as in German version, Tybor de Baumeister. Another game with just cards in small box.

So, how do we play Tybor the Builder? Can we play the game solo? Are there any expansion for the game?

Those are probably just a few question that came to mind after hearing about the card game Tybor der Baumeister or Tybor the Builder. Well, in this article, I’m going to share with you my Tybor the Builder review based on my experience for playing it.

Hope this could help. Is Tybor the Builder the best card game out there?

Click or tab on any sections from the table of contents to jump right to that part. Use the red arrow button on the bottom right corner of the screen to head back to the top

Overview

Game’s Name: Tybor der Baumeister (Tybor the Builder)
Designer: Alexander Pfister, Dennis Rappel
Artist: Klemens Franz
Publisher: Lookout Spiele
Genre and Theme: City Building, Tableau Building, Medieval Era
Game Mechanism: Card Drafting, Set Collection, Multi-use Card
Number of Players: 2-4 players
Playtime: ~30 minutes
Age Range: 10+
Official Website: lookout-spiele

Contents:
2 Rulebooks (EN / DE)
Cards (59 x 92 mm):
40 Building Cards (double sided)
59 Character Cards (one sided)
4 Scenario Cards (for each language)
8 Chapter Cards
4 Overview / Secret Objective Cards
1 First Player Card

Expansion:
Tybor the Builder: At the King’s Behest (2018), $2.22

Release Year: 2017
Initial Price: $14.40

About Tybor the Builder Game

The setting of the game takes place in the same universe as Oh My Goods!, another card game from the same designer. It is considered as the prequel.

As the name suggests, the theme is not just city building but civilization building. Players are building the city of Longsdale competitively.

Not only player will build buildings but they will have to recruit people to become citizen as well. Players will have to assign characters they can choose from a multi-use character card either to become as citizen, worker or builder.

As the citizen those characters can produce some goods or help lowering the cost to build the buildings. Each building will require a number of workers and one card as builder.

There are 4 types of building, which not only they can give more victory points, but some can produce another goods for the set collection element. All of that can be played with using just cards and no other components.

Alexander Pfister, the designer, is known as the winner of Kennerspiel Award, which is like the Academy Award or Oscar for board game. Broom Service from 2014 and Isle of Skye from 2015 are two of his games that won him the award.

If you need more information about this or his other game, maybe you can contact him via BGG. His username is “AlexP”.

A unique thing about his design is a story driven content which also applies in Tybor the Builder game. The story comes as a scenario or chapter which become variables for scoring points.

With 8 chapter and 4 scenarios, we can get 32 different combinations from a single game. Coupled that with the nature of card drafting  and multi players, each with their secret objective, we can have enough setup variability.

The game can support up to 4 players but with 2 copies of the game, we can play up to 8.

The game comes with 2 languages, English and German in the same box. Even though the gameplay is not language dependent, but most people will have no trouble reading the snippet of the story.

Components

The game comes with just a small box that can fit in the palm of our hand. The size of the lid is 13 x 10 x 1.6 cm. The base box is just slightly bigger than two deck Euro size cards with insert and room enough for the two rulebooks.

The box can only fit what comes with the base game with the lid perfectly covering the base box. If we use sleeves for card, the lid can still cover it but we can no longer store the game with the box standing. We have to lay it down and we will need an elastic band to carry around the game.

With the right size of sleeve, the card still fit in the box footprint, even with the insert. However, the thickness will push the lid up.

That is just the base game. The developer already released an expansion which is another sealed deck of cards with no additional boxes. That means, we might want to consider other deck storage.

There are 120 cards in the box, divided into 2 sealed decks with several type of cards. The first deck of cards has 59 character cards and one first player cards. Then, on the second deck, we get 40 building cards, 8 scenario cards, 8 chapter cards, and  4 overview cards.

All cards use the same Euro size, which is 59 x 92mm.

I think the box itself is sturdy and thick enough for its size so it will not get bended easily. Since this is just a card game and the components are mostly just cards and rulebooks, it is reasonable to buy used copy with almost the same prize. It is very easy to tell whether the game still has all of the components or if they are still in good condition.

Rulebooks (EN/DE)

The rulebooks are the first things that we can find from the box. The game comes with 2 separate rulebook for each language, English and German. Each has 12 pages with the same size as the base box footprint.

Which means, if we use other storage, either we forget about the rulebook and use the digital one and we use deck box or just for cards. Unless, we want to create our own rulebook with the size of the card.

We can find the digital copy of the English version rulebook in this page. Here is the table of contents of the rulebook.

Game Idea and Components: Page 1
Setup: Page 2
Course of Play: Page 2 – 8
Game End: Page 8 – 11
Winner of The Game and Variant: Page 12

The Course of Play section will explain how the turn order in the game works. From dealing a card, choosing and using the card, then how each scenario and/or chapter cards we use can grant us some bonuses each stage.

The Game End section will explain how the scoring system works. How the built buildings can give VP, additional requirements for extra points, points from set collection of symbol, how each scenario and chapter can calculate points differently and VP from the secret objectives.

The last page will explain how the tie breaker works and some additional rule if we want to play with more than 4 and 2 copies of the game.

One thing that I find missing from the rulebook is the explanation for what cards are they. The components section only lists how many cards are there with no picture to indicate. The rest of the rulebook only display and explain the icon.

It is actually not that hard to understand and we can easily cross reference the number of cards with the similar look. However, since the game comes with two languages, this can be a bit confusing.

On one type of cards, they use both languages in the same card while on other type, they use separate different cards. That means, we don’t use all of the cards on any game session.

If we play with a new copy, we can understand easily. But, if we play used copy where they don’t put the cards back into the box properly, it can be confusing as well.

Hopefully this article can help to understand which cards and where to find the icons and explanation on the book.

Any designer or developer usually can have additional rules for the game which we can only get the digital copy of it. It can be a solo mode or other further clarification for any info from the game. For Tybor the Builder game, so far, there is none.

1st Player Card

After the rulebook, we can find two sealed deck of cards, each with 60 cards. The first deck has 59 character cards and one first player cards.

The first player card is the double sided card which displays the four characters in the game with the turquoise background, the same images on both sides. We can use one sided sleeve for this if we want.

The first player card can be replaced by other things like coin, etc. But the nature of card drafting mechanism where we will hand over the cards alongside the first player card to other player, the use of card shape makes it easier not to forget.

Character Cards

The character cards are a one sided card with the main character, Tybor at the back of the card. There are 6 different characters in this deck each with different number of cards.

The characters are Merchants (12 cards, with bag icon), Soldier (12 cards, with sword icon), Craftsman (11 cards, with carpentry tool icon), Captain (10 cards, with wheel icon), Farmer (9 cards, with wheat icon),  and Priest (5 cards with cross icon).

The number at the bottom right corner of the card is the amount of copies of the same character in the game. Each copy of the same character will have different stats.

These cards are multi use cards so they have several icons that indicate different functions. The name, the second row of logos and the picture will be the same for each copy of the same character.

We can also say that the right portion of the character cards displays just general info. The difference are the number at the top left corner and the colored cards icon at the bottom left corner.

The number at the top left corner right beside the fist icon, indicates how much they are worth as a worker. The rulebook call it as STRENGTH symbol.

Each colorful card icon at the bottom left corner are how much that character can lower the cost of building certain type of building. If the card has yellow card icon, that means if we use the character as citizen, the cost to build yellow building is reduced by 1.

Each card can only reduce the cost of the same type of building once but they can do for up to all of the building types. Some will reduce nothing.

The second row of icons means as a citizen, that character will give the respective goods by one. While the icon between the picture and the name only display the set collection criteria to score points for their goods.

For example, the farmer card will give 1 wheat icon as citizen. Each set of 3 of these icon in our tableau will give 5 points at the end of the game.

These character cards are also a one sided card so we can use just one sided sleeve. They will create a deck and it gets shuffled a lot.

With the multi-use card as gameplay mechanism, players will constantly have to plan how to use the card from the 3 possible ways.

Overview / Secret Objective Cards

These 4 cards come in the second deck from the box. They are the only cards in the game that we use horizontally.

On other games these are usually called as reference card which will remind the player how the turn order works. Both languages are presented on the same sides of the card.

The other side though, has a secret objective which are different from one card to another. If the player who has it fulfill the requirement, they will get additional victory points.

That means, the game has some variable player power or speciality even though they are not much. It’s more like another set collection criteria based on the building types we have in the tableau.

Basically each two of first color, and one of the second color combination. So, other player can easily notice what we will get.

These cards also serve as the starting card in our tableau. There are 3 symbols at the top part of each card. Building icon at the left, citizen icon in the middle and worker icon at the right.

Each time we get character cards, we can assign them for their purpose and place them on our tableau accordingly. If we assign them to become a builder, we instead discard the card and place the building at the left side of the overview card.

Since we will be using both sides of the cards, we will need a sleeve that is transparent on both as well. Unless we can memorize the turn order and we can cover the overview part. Maybe we can even declare our own objective to other players by revealing that side of cards on our tableau.

For people who doesn’t use sleeve to all of the cards, just on those that heavily played on hands and get shuffled a lot, these overview cards may not need it.  However, based on my experience, I keep checking the objective over and over again and ended up lifting the card many times each game session.

We will get 4 cards of these which indicates that we can play up to 4 players officially. However, I think, we can still play with some tweaks with more than 4 even with just a copy.

Chapter Cards

We usually got mixed up between Scenario Cards and Chapter Cards. Both of them has some snippet of story and additional rules for Victory points.

There are 8 different Chapter Cards in the base game of Tybor the Builder. We can easily notice a chapter card with one Roman number at the top from I to VIII. Scenario cards on the other hand has four Roman numbers.

Each side of Scenario card will tell the story in one language. So, most of the time, we will only use one side.

The story on each card is not much, just a few lines but it can help the player to memorize the additional condition for the game session. That is assuming, we follow the instruction to read the story loudly before the game starts.

Most of the chapter cards will only have one rule for scoring more points at the end of the game. However, Chapter VII has rules which will take place at the end of each stage.

We can choose one of these cards to play randomly or we can make it as a campaign and play from chapter one to the last. Other than shuffling just to choose randomly, the card will mostly stays on the table throughout the game.

The rulebook call these chapter cards as public objective. However, they are more like additional reward which if we don’t complete the objective, it doesn’t matter. It’s more about rewarding than punishing.

From the 8 chapter, the first two will affect how player build their buildings. Chapter number 3, 4, 5 and 8 are more about collecting goods which the main means to get it is from recruiting the character as citizens.

Chapter number 6 on the other hand is unique because we will get more points if we still have workers unused at the end of the game. The most interesting chapter is probably number 7 because it introduce the push your luck element to the game.

In that scenario, we will have the chance to trade our goods, the captain symbol into two random character cards which we have to use them as workers. This will happen in every end of the stage unlike the other chapters which will only give us more points at the end of the game.

Some people considered Captain symbol as the most valuable things in this game. So, we have to carefully plan if we want to take advantage of this rule. Otherwise, it can hurt us back.

Here is the list of chapters and their condition for extra points. The explanation can be found on page 10 and eleven of the rulebook.

Chapter 1: Tybor. If we have more buildings than the number of citizen on our tableau, we will get 5 extra points at the end of the game.

Chapter 2: Specialist. If we have four of the same color of buildings at the end of the game, we will get 5 extra points.

Chapter 3: Chris Chart. If we have 3 symbols of either Priest or Craftsman on our tableau, we will get 5 extra points.

Chapter 4: Famine. If we can get 3 symbols of either Craftsman or Farmers on our tableau, we will get 5 extra points.

Chapter 5: Improve Trade. If we can get 3 symbols of either Captain or Merchants on our tableau, we will get 5 extra points.

For Chapter 3 to 5, we will probably have enough characters for Captain, Merchants, Farmers or Craftsman. However, there is only 5 Priest in the game. So, if one player already has 3, there is no way the other can succeed because there is no building to generate this symbol.

Chapter 6: New City Hall. If we have at least 10 strength from workers in our tableau, not from citizen, we will get 10 extra points. This can be a tricky thing to pursue because in the last round 10 strength points means we can build the great version buildings.

There is a chance that building can give up to 9 points and probably become the secret objective with the right color. That means, in the last round, we have to carefully calculate whether to keep the worker or to build a building. It can be a problem for the player with one of the scenario.

Chapter 7: Building the Harbour. Each round or stage, if we can get the most captain symbol, we may choose to discard one, to draw 3 character cards. We can choose two of them to become the worker, and discard the last one. In the case of tie, all tied players may use this effect. That means, the one who can use this feature can change from one round to another. The rules is on page 7.

Chapter 8: Threat. There are two conditions which each will give extra points separately. If we can have 2 Soldier icons on our tableau, we will get 5 extra points. We can also get another 5 extra points if we have at least 5 citizens.

I think players that has the secret objective to collect Military buildings will have more advantage because those buildings will give the soldier symbols. There are 12 Soldier cards which are enough but some of them will be used as worker, considering how big the strength they can give.

Scenario Cards

The Tybor the Builder base game will come with 8 Scenario Cards. However, half of them are just the different language version of the other half. So, most of the time, we will only use half of these and each game session will use only one.

Compared to Chapter cards, scenario cards will have more icons and just up to 2 lines of story snippet. As we can see from the card that there will be icons which are printed upside down and on both sides.

That is because in every game sessions, we will have to rotate the card and flip to indicate the stages or round of the game. Players will play the game over four rounds and it is indicated by the Roman number on each of these scenario cards.

These scenario cards will tell us the cost to build a building whether it is a regular building or great building. In later rounds the cost will increase by one, starting with 3 for regular or little building and 7 for the great ones.

This rules are the same for every scenarios. What they display in the middle of the card is what makes them different.

The scenario with the title SIZE MATTERS! is the only card that will only give more points at the end of the game. Each time we have four great buildings on our tableau, we will get extra 2 Victory Points. Rules for this is on page 11 of the rulebook.

The other 3 scenarios are condition that will happen in every stage of each game. That means, for these three scenarios, an interesting event will occur four times each game, assuming we can fulfill the requirement.

For BUILDING FOR CITIZENS scenario, if we have certain number of buildings at the end of the stage or round, we get to draw two character cards. We can then choose one of them to become our citizen and discard the other. The later rounds will require more buildings and the last round will give more Victory Points.

The interesting thing about this scenario is that we will get bonus goods, and if we are lucky enough, we will get discount for certain type of building. That means, even though the next stage, the cost get increased, there is a chance it can get lowered.

I think this scenario works perfectly with chapter one or two. Even though we can focus on buildings, we can still get additional citizen.

For the JOB DIVERSITY scenario, if we have a number of citizen with different job at the end of the stage, we get to draw two character cards from the deck. We can choose one of them to become our Worker and discard the other. The later rounds will require more citizen with different jobs and the last round will give additional Victory Points.

This will be an interesting rule to add to the game. Who knows, maybe we can get worker with high value strength and we can skip one step of building any buildings. It will also work well if we use Chapter number 6.

This scenario will work perfectly with Chapter 3 to 5 where the focus will be on recruiting citizen.

The ESCAPE FROM THE CITY scenario is probably the most interesting thing and rule in this game because it can actually reduce our progress in the game. It is the only rule that does that, punishing instead of rewarding.

Each round, we have to sacrifice one of our Citizen or the Worker. Nothing happens if we don’t have any of that which, based on my experience, will never happen. We will most likely to have at least a Citizen.

So, in some way, the scenario is forcing the player to actually build, instead of just recruiting. However, we can still mitigate that with just recruiting lower value character as citizen because we can choose which one to discard.

But that is not all with this scenario. With this scenario, we will also draw different number of cards each round and we will take turn counterclockwise. The latter condition may be as well ignored if we only play with 2 players.

I know that we can mix any scenario with any chapter but for the last scenario, if we consider the story, it probably fits the best with Chapter 8.

The explanation for each scenario can be found in the rulebook page 7 and 8.

So, we can combine both of these Chapters and Scenarios and we will get 32 different combinations. Even though, as I mentioned before, some combination can work better together than others.

Building Cards

We will get 40 Building Cards from the base game of Tybor the Builder. There are 4 types of buildings, each has 10 cards and can be associated by the color on each cards.

The types are Military with brown or orange color, Commercial with blue color, Civil with yellow and Residential with grey. There is no exclusive association between the character symbol and these buildings except for military.

We can get Merchant symbol from Commercial and Residential. Farmer’s from Residential and Civil. Captain from Commercial and Civil. We can get double Military symbols from the Military buildings. That means, it will be easier for those with Military building types in their secret objective to score more points by collecting soldiers.

Almost each set of these type of cards is unique cards different from one to another, except for one copy. In general, each types of buildings will have almost the same set of cards. For example, all of them only has one card that can give 6 Victory Points for the little building or 9 for the great building.

What makes them different is just the goods the buildings can provide and the color of cards to generate additional points. But the rest of the stats of the similar cards are the same.

For example, in Residential Building, there is a card that can provide 4 VP for the little version and can generate 1 Merchant icon. The same card for Military building will give Soldier icon and both Civil and Commercial building will give Captain icon instead.

That means, no matter which color of building the player will pursue because of their secret objective, the chances for these buildings are the same. By understanding what kind of cards the player can get from those 10 same cards for each set can give advantage for the player. They can decide to build or just skip them.

These cards are double sided cards. One to display the little version of the building, which has monochrome picture and the great version of the building with colorful image. The great version will give additional 3 VP from the little version but the cost is higher by 4 strength points. There is an additional yellow silhouette background on the icon for the great version from the little one.

About 4 cards from each set of type buildings will give no additional bonus, like more VP, more symbols or free cards to draw. Those with the additional bonus will give less VP as the base. However, if we can meet the requirement, it is possible to get higher points.

That means, everytime we choose to build, we have to consider other options. They can score more points depending on the situation of our tableau. The cost is the same, at least when presented in the same round. We can only build them in that round.

The most interesting one is the cards with the lowest value. They will only give up to 4 VP but by building it, we get to draw more character cards as our worker. It’s a bit push your luck again and if we are lucky we can get high value worker. If that happens we can easily build again next turn.

This can be a game changer in the last round. We thought that we will have no chance to build again but suddenly we can.

I guess that 3 of the highest value cards from each set are rather a no brainer. But we can still consider which goods to get based on our tableau.

Other bonuses are more of a secondary plan. Like if we failed to complete the secret objective, we can then choose to build those and get more points.

There are cards that can give bonus if we have a set of 2 from the same color. This can be very useful if we play with the second Chapter.

Another thing is that cards with these bonus works perfectly with some of the secret objective cards. If we get the combination of blue and yellow or grey and brown as our secret objective, we will get more points.

The worst cards are probably that can give bonus if we have the most of certain type of buildings. Especially from the Yellow card and Grey card because they don’t align with other scoring options.

The art from each of these buildings is quite charming and they can easily describe the title even though there is no apparent purpose. They are also unique aside from the same copy.

Usually the game will move along so quick and probably the only way to admire the art is if we play with someone with analysis paralysis. Or if we play a long campaigns with multiple chapters. The designer come up with a clever idea to draw card from below the deck because the nature of two sided card.

However, I still think they can simplify this with just one side. Somehow it feels like a bit of waste of space compared to the scenario cards. If they use the same idea, maybe for the little version we can just rotate the card upside down.

I understand that they want to use both languages in the card. Maybe they can just get rid of the building type name because the color already represent them. Since the name is not that matter to the gameplay, maybe they can just add translation to the rulebook.

How to Play

Now that we know every cards we get from the box, the next question will be how to play Tybor the Builder game. Officially the base game was designed for 2 players up to 4. The initial setup is the same regardless the number of players but they will require more cards from the dealing building card phase.

Below are the 2 part videos from Rahdo Runs Through, board game YouTube channel. Hopefully this could help other people to understand the gameplay for people who prefer to watch video tutorial.

The first part will have some introduction about the game and how the game works up to the first round or stage. The second will display the extended gameplay for 2 more rounds.

Setup

This section can be found in the rulebook page 2.

We first take an Overview card per player randomly and look at the Secret Objective on the back of the card. This card will be a reference for the player and player can place them on the table right in front of them, horizontally so they can read the text.

The card will also become the starting point of the player’s tableau. We can return the rest if we play less than 4 players. Then we can choose which one of the Scenario cards we want to use for this game or do it randomly.

Scenario cards are those with 4 variants. The simplest one would be SIZE MATTERS! if that help us choose which. We then place the card on the table so that Stage I, is at the top position. The Roman number I is right beside 3/7 and little / great building icon. We can return the other cards to the box.

The next step is we can choose any Chapter Cards we want from Chapter 1 to 8. The rulebook suggests to start with Chapter I: Tybor, if we want to know the backstory. We then, place the Chapter card right below the Scenario cards we previously choose so the chapter card cover the lower version of scenario cards.

At this point, for those who want to use the German version, the Scenario card will have separate card but we can just flip the Chapter card.

The rulebook then suggests reading the narrative lines from both cards aloud. Don’t forget about the special conditions that both cards can give to score more points or how to trigger that condition. Return the rest of the chapter cards to the box.

The next step is we create a deck of 59 character cards, if we just use the base game, shuffle it and place them on the table face down. That means we will see the picture of Tybor character at the top of the deck. We will also need to spare a room right near this deck for the discard pile.

Then we create another deck of 40 Building Cards, if we just use the base game. They are the double sided cards and we can shuffle it and place them on the table. Since they are a double sided cards, it really doesn’t matter if we place them face down or up. We also need to have a room for a discard pile, separated from the character card discard pile.

For the last step of setup, we will determine randomly who will be the first player and give that player the First Player Card.

Course of the Play

Each game session will take over 4 rounds or this game says it as 4 Stages. Which stage we are currently on is indicated by the Scenario cards.

At the end of the first stage, we will have to rotate the Scenario card upside down so the number 2 with Roman number will be placed at the top. Before we move on to the third stage, we have to flip this card and it will display the round or stage marker for number 3 and 4.

Each stages consists of 3 parts of steps:

DEAL CARDS,
CHOOSE and USE Cards, and
END OF STAGE

Dealing Cards

Explanation for this section can be found in page 3 of the rulebook.

This is the first step of any round and it consists of 2 parts. We first deal each player 5 Character Cards from the deck. There is an exception if we use the Scenario: Escape from the City. In that scenario, we will have to draw 7 but only in odd-numbered stages. First and third round 7 cards and 5 for the second and fourth rounds.

If the deck is empty and we can’t withdraw in later rounds, we can form a new one by using the character cards from the discard pile.

The second part of this Dealing Card steps is we draw cards from the Building Cards deck. Since the building cards are double sided cards, we draw them from the bottom of the deck so we have to lift the deck first.

The number of building cards we draw each round is equal to 2 per players plus two. That means 6 cards for 2P, 8 for 3P and 10 for 4P. Then we place these cards at the center of the table so every player can reach them, with the little version of the card facing up. The little version of the cards will have monochrome color for the illustration.

We can sort or place in group these cards by their type or their border color. If they take too much space, we can stack them one on another by keep revealing the first two rows of the icons. We can let the illustration and text covered as they don’t serve any purpose to the gameplay.

The building cards we draw from the deck every round must have at least one of all types. If any color is missing, then we add more cards from the deck to the table, starting from the top of the deck until we find all of the colors. That means, we can start each round with one additional card or several more.

Now, we can start playing.

Choose and Use Cards

So, each player will have 5 (or 7) cards as their starting hand. Every player will have to choose one of the cards in their hand they want simultaneously and place the card face down on top of their Overview card. The rulebook says below the overview card, not under but it will take more table space.

Which one to choose? Well, the first thing we need to understand is that we will pass over the remaining cards we didn’t choose to the next players. This is a CARD DRAFTING game and we might not want the opponent to get the card they want.

The second thing is these character cards are multi use cards. We will assign the cards and place them into our tableau depending on the purposes they can give.

First, we can assign the character as CITIZEN and to use the card, we will place them on top of the overview card. We can see the hat icon that indicates citizen and the arrow from the overview card.

As Citizen, the important part of the Character cards are icons on the left column, the second row and the third one. The second row will have goods symbol. That means by assigning the character as citizen, we will get that goods.

The second row will have the color of building cards  which can be blank or up to all of 4 colors. If the characters have any of these colors, as citizen, they will give discount to the cost for building the corresponding type or color in later turns. It is possible that with enough discount, we can build a building without any worker.

We can also assign the character to become a WORKER, which we will place on the right side of overview card with the fist icon symbol which indicates the strength. The strength power the character can give is displayed at the top left corner of their card right beside the same strength symbol.

We can ignore the other symbols so we can place the card overlapping and only the strength symbol is revealed. These strength power is needed to build the building cards.

The third way to use the character cards is to build the building. As a BUILDER, we discard the card, put it on the discard pile alongside the workers card needed to build any building.

The cost to build is determined by the Scenario cards minus the discount from the Citizen. The Scenario Card has 3/7 number right beside the stage number 1.

This means, for this round or stage, we need 3 strength power to build the LITTLE version of the building or pay 7 strength power to build the GREAT version of the building. In later rounds, the cost will increase by one for both.

This base cost applies to any Building card regardless of the Victory Point they can generate and their type. However, not every type of building will get the same discount from the citizen. Which means, with the same cost, one building can give or potentially generate more points.

We choose and pick the building we want to build from the displayed on the table not the deck. Then, we place them on the left side of our overview card accoring to the size we pay. Flip them, if we buy the great version of the building and it will indicate the higher points.

After each player has chosen and used their card, then they will have to pass their remaining cards. This includes the FIRST PLAYER CARD if they have to the next player clockwise. With the exception for Scenario: Escape from City.

We will repeat this process until the all the cards have been played. Also, we have to pass the First Player Card one more time after playing the last card.

End of Stage

Before we repeat the process for the next stage and deal cards again, we enter the end of stage. We first need to check again the Scenario Card and Chapter card for the session.

If they have an hourglass or sand timer icon, that means an event or effects will happen at the end of stages. Otherwise they will only give more Victory Points at the end of the game. If both cards have them, the Scenario card is resolved first.

From the Scenario cards, only SIZE MATTERS! scenario has no sand timer icon. For the Chapter cards, only Chapter VII has the sand timer icon.

We can check the rulebook for this step on page 7 and 8.

Finally, before moving on to the next stage, we remove any unbuilt buildings to the discard pile and ROTATE or FLIP the scenario card. The game will end after four stages.

Game End / Scoring

There are several things in this game that can generate Victory Points if we have them in our tableau. Points can come from BUILDINGS, from SYMBOL, from the PUBLIC OBJECTIVE and the SECRET OBJECTIVE.

The explanation from the rulebook can be found on page 8 to 11.

The player with the most points, wins the game. In case of a tie, the player with more Strength symbol left breaks the tie.

Points from Buildings

Any building cards players successfully added to their tableau will give immediate victory points. We can find the amount of points from the top right corner of the card right beside the shield icon.

Each building will give 3 additional points for the great version from the little one. Players will have to make sure that they placed their buildings with the right version in their tableau.

Building can also give additional Victory Points if we fulfill the requirements and have that card in the tableau. There are three types of additional VP which will require to build certain type or color of the buildings. Here are the possible points we can get.

3 VP if player can build more buildings in one of the color than their opponents. We can get it from Bakery, Corner House, Office and Wardroom, which all of them has the word MAX. In case of a tie, every player who successfully meet the requirements gets the points.

2 VP if player can build the second one from the same color. We can get this by building Barracks, Brick House, Sawmill, Forester’s House. Since there is no 1x signs which usually indicate get points just once, maybe we can say we will get additional points for more set of two from the same color.

3 VP if player can build a set of buildings of all four colors or type. We can get this by building Clay House, Tower, Customs Office, Beer Storage. If we can get all of these four cards, all of the four cards will give VP with just a set.

Points from Symbols

There are 6 type of goods or just symbols, usually associated by the character type. So, we can get them mostly from the citizen. However, some of the buildings can also provide one of these symbols except for Priest and Craftsman symbol. The two of them only come from the Citizen.

Marketsquare and Market will give one Merchant symbol each. Port Tavern and Boardwalk will give one Captain symbol each. Farm House and Granary will give Farmer symbol. Fence and Border for Soldier symbol. Only the soldier symbols that both of them comes from the same type building, the military. The others are mixed of the three remaining type or color of the buildings.

For Farmer symbol. every third in our tableau, we will get extra 5 points. There are nine characters and 2 from the buildings. That means it is possible to get three sets.

For Merchants symbol, every fourth in our tableau, we will get a number of points equals to the number of citizen. There are 12 Merchant characters so we can get 3 sets. I’m still not sure but from what I understand we will get double the points if we can have 8 Merchant symbols.

This is probably one of the highest points generator if we focus on citizen. If we can get all 12 of them, we will get at least 36 points.

For Soldier symbols, every fourth in our tableau, we will get additional 8 points. There 12 soldier characters so we can get up to 3 sets or 24 points in total.

For Captain symbols, the more we have in our tableau, the better the multiplying factor for the points. We can see the table on the cards to find out how many points per symbol. If we get more than 5, each symbol is worth 3 points. With 10 characters and 2 from buildings, we can get 36 points.

Priest symbols are probably the easiest to score points. By having just one Priest character as our citizen, we will get 5 points but that is it. Only the first character to score the points.

Craftsmanship symbol is probably the hardest one to score since they are circumstantial based on other players. We need to have the most of them or second most compared to other players to score points. The first most will score 6 points and the second most will get 2.  In case of a tie, all tied players will get the points and if there is a tie for the first, the second place is not awarded.

Points from Public Objectives

These points will come from either Chapter cards or Scenario card. Only scenario SIZE MATTERS! will give endgame points and only Chapter VII that will not provide the endgame points.

Chapter I: Tybor. We must have more or the same number of buildings buildings than the number of Citizen in our tableau to earn additional 5 points.

Chapter II: Specialists. We must have at least 4 buildings of the same color to earn additional 5 points. I’m not sure about this but from what I understand, we can’t get more if we build 8 buildings of the same color. However we can still get more points if we have 4 buildings of another color.

Chapter III: Chris Chart. We must have 3 symbols of either Craftsman or Priest in our tableau to earn 5 points. . Both of them can only come from Citizen and no building can provide them.

Chapter IV: Famine. We must have 3 symbols of either Craftsman or Farmer in our tableau to earn 5 points. We must recruit Craftsman but we can still get Farmer symbol from the buildings.

Chapter V: Improve Trade. We must have 3 symbols of either Captain or Merchants in our tableau to earn 5 points. Both of them can be generated from either Citizen or Buildings.

Chapter VI: New City Hall. We must have at least 10 total strength from the workers left unused in our tableau at the end of the game to earn 10 points. The strength from Citizen do not count.

Chapter VIII: Threat. We must have at least  2 Soldiers symbols in our tableau to earn 5 points or 5 any Citizens to earn 5 points as well. We can meet the requirements and get the points separately.

Scenario: Size Matters!. Every fourth great buildings in our tableau is worth 2 points.

Points from Secret Objectives

These points will come based on what the player get from their Overview card. So, each player will score differently unless we play with two copies of the game.

Every set of three buildings in the tableau of the given colors from behind the overview card is worth 5 points. Every overview card will have the combination of two colors which one requires two buildings. There are only four available combinations from the 16 possible combinations.

Variants

As mentioned before, the game can support up to 4 players but we can play with more players up to 8 with two copies of the game, officially. The only difference is just the number of building cards we draw each round using the same formula, 2 cards per player plus 2. We can shuffle both building cards and character cards from both copies together.

Another special thing is that for 5 player game only, we will have to pass the first player card two positions after we play the last card. It’s because if we only do one position, the card will return to the first player again. No need to do this for other player count.

Other variants from this game will come from the combinations of both chapter cards and scenario cards. This will give us up to 32 different combinations.

Unfortunately there is no solo mode officially, but one of the fan did attempt to create his own solo variant. We can find this on BGG forum.

Comment and Suggestion

As we can see from the gameplay mechanisms, Tybor the Builder game incorporate the card drafting mechanism. Players will be encouraged not to just consider their goal but also what they will give to their opponents.

The cards we didn’t choose may not be useful for our tableau, but it can be very useful for other players and that could win them the game. Almost everything that happens in this game is known publicly. Even the secret objective is not that hard to figure out, just 4 possible combinations of color or building type.

If we understand what we should do in the game, we can tell what the opponents are planning. And we can try to take that into consideration for choosing the right card.

I think this is probably true but mostly just for 2 players. Or, should I say, it will become more interesting with two players because in the next turn, we will get the remaining of our starting card back again.

In 4 players though, we get 5 cards, we take one and probably just one of the remaining will come back. With two players, we know exactly who is going to get the card. While it is not impossible to also consider the third and the fourth player’s plan,  but it is not that interesting or worth it.

I think it will feel like just drawing from the deck. So, I think for this reason, 2 players will probably better variant then the other.

Another interesting mechanism is the Multi Use cards from the character cards. The card has three functions so everytime we choose, not only we have to consider what we will give to our opponents but we have to consider our tableau. What will be the best use of the card we can choose.

Maybe we will get a card that we need for one purpose. However, from the same card, it can give a lot of benefit for other purpose. The problem is, there is no guarantee that we can get that card again or other card with the same benefit later.

We can easily tell the number of available cards, and if we are willing we can also try to memorize every available cards. Then we can think that we will get that card again next round. So, there is a bit push your luck element but suddenly we will face a set of different choice again.

I did say that probably 2 players will be more interesting. However, there will be a trade off with more players as we can dig more cards from both decks. So, even though the card drafting planning is not that interesting, however, we will get more information of which cards has come out and which are yet to come.

So, for me, the game will change a bit if we play with more players.

I think there is also a bit of engine building element. Not only from the discount we get by recruiting citizen, but there will be building cards and the public objective that will allow us to draw or get more cards. The card itself may only generate little VP but it’s like we get additional turns. Like getting more strength or worker power right after building.

Then we have the City Building element of the building. Even though the title is the builder, I think we are very less likely to build. We will probably build like more or less 4 buildings each session. Not that it is a bad thing.

The reason is because to build a building, in general, it will take at least two turns. One for recruiting the character as worker, then the next as the builder making building a building become less interesting.

On the other hand, we will get much more benefit from just recruiting as citizen. It is easier, get immediate result and we can even score points.

Again, it is not necessarily a bad thing, but maybe there are people like me, who expect at first, the game will have more making building element like in Imperial Settlers where we can build from many turns we get. That could still happen here with Tybor the Builder but it will not be a wise decision for the game.

Building a building in Tybor the Builder game is more about scoring points but the cost will increase each round. We can build very cheap early but later rounds it will become harder. The better way to play is probably to build up the discount first from the Citizen.

It is interesting that since we will only get limited number in the market or available buildings to build per round, players will be heavily competing in the later round. So, building only in the last round is not a good idea either.

The variety of the buildings in this game is not that many either. They are just same set of 10 cards but different color and we can easily figure out which will be the best to pursue to build. But that is assuming, the players know well about the game.

With that in mind, I think the game is more like a puzzle to solve with the limited number of turns we have and less about actively play or build things. So, it’s like there is some constraining. The gameplay itself is very simple, just choose and use the card about 20 times each session.

Overall, Tybor the Builder is a great game. We can still see our tableau grows even though more about the citizen rather than the building. Also as mentioned before, the game is rather rewarding than punishing. Which is probably why we will tend to ignore the objective both the public or the secret one.

Chapter VII and all of the scenarios except for the SIZE MATTERS will make the game more interesting because they will give more opportunity in what the player can do in the game. While the rest of them will just give more points at the end of the game.

Maybe it is rather unfair if we expect too much from the game with just cards in tiny box. For its size, Tybor the Builder card game is recommended to have.

My Solo Variant

I did say that there is no official solo rule for Tybor the Builder and I’m still not sure about the fan made one on BGG forum. It’s too bad that unless we have someone to play with, we can’t have a fun with this game.

However, if you are like me, really don’t care about winning the game or the point, maybe we can try like what Rahdo did in his video above. We can try to simulate two player game and try to play for both sides.

For me, it’s like watching movie where sometimes we have the perspective of the protagonist but sometimes we can see the antagonist as well. The difference is that instead of just watching and consuming, we can make decision in the game.

Again, if I have to come back as why I play board games or card games, the reason is because this can take my eyes off the screen of my phone, TV or laptop for a while. It’s a 15 to 30 minutes entertainment and this game, simulating two players is good enough for me.

However, if that is not for you, I do have my own solo variant for the game that maybe anybody can try. Just remember that I’m not any game designer and this is just a rough idea based on the Tybor the Builder game.

So, there is no guarantee that the game will be fun at all. But if you do try it out and has some suggestion that can improve, please share your experience via the comment section below.

This picture below is the tableau will look like for this variant.

How to play

The idea of this Solo mode for Tybor the Builder is we play as Tybor the Builder and we will play against the Citizen. We will focus the gameplay to assign the character as the worker or to discard them to build any buildings.

For the Citizen, we will draw the card randomly and add them at the top of our Overview card just like regular game. They will also serve with the discount and the symbol. However, their strength will be the opponent’s points.

If we can build and score more points, we win.

For the setup we do as if we play for 2 players. We have a deck of character cards and building cards. Each round, we draw 2 building cards per player plus two, so we get six and we add more if we don’t have all of the building types available.

For our tableau, we only use one Overview Card, choose randomly and the Secret Objective will determine the point at the end. No need to use the First Player Card.

Next thing is the different. We draw 10 Character cards and without looking at it, we can shuffle and randomly choose one to become the Citizen.

Then, we can look at the remaining hand of cards we have and choose them whether as worker or builder. Obviously we have to choose the worker for the first turn.

After that, we can shuffle this hand of cards again, and without looking at the card, choose randomly again and put them as our next Citizen. We will keep doing this until the last card in our hand and that will be the end of stage or round.

Then, we move to the next round like regular game, discard the unbuilt building cards, turn upside down or flip any Scenario card we use. The building cost will increase just like the regular game. Draw again the building cards, starting with 6 or more, and 10 character cards again.

After the fourth round, we can count our score like regular game. For the opponents, we count the total of the strength from the Citizen cards only. Then we add the opponent’s score with each discount from the Citizen. If the Citizen give discount to all four types, that will be extra 4 points for the opponent.

The opponent should have at least 20 character cards. This could change if we include the special circumstances from the Chapter Card and Scenario card. But this is just the basic idea, without using any of those.

On the other hand, we can get at least 10 buildings if we play it right. Even without the extra bonus from the Scenario or Chapter, there are building cards that let us get free Worker after we build it.

If we have higher points than the opponents, we will win. The game will take like 15 minutes.

Comment and Suggestion

What I described above is just the basic gameplay without using every element from the game. I’m still not sure if the scoring system is balance or not. So far, I can get points slightly higher than the opponent.

I do consider subtracting the opponent’s worker with ours if we have some left unused in our tableau. However, that could lead to the player just keep collecting workers and not building anything.

I haven’t tried using the special circumstances from both Chapter and the Scenario because it will need additional tweaking to the numbers. For example, for CHAPTER I, we obviously will not be able to build more buildings than the number of citizens. Maybe we could try 1 every 2 Citizen or so and that is what this variant need to try more.

So, if you do try any of the combination and has some suggestion, please share it via the comment section below.

Personaly, I like this variant because we will focus on building and workers. It is obvious that we should just pick any character with high worker value but at the same time, the lower value can have discount as well. The discount can help us to build but eventually become the opponent’s score.

So, like the regular game, there is still some consideration and the choice may not be that obvious. Maybe we can let the Citizen build up the discount and we can always build the great version but very cheap.

Like in 2 player regular mode, we will immediately know what will be the first 10 cards. Since we can only choose one card at a time and if there are other high value cards, the opponent or Citizen still can get it.

In regular game, we usually have more control to collect symbols from the Citizen, but here, we can narrow them down, but still no guarantee. I do also consider open the chance for player to add their card as Citizen instead as worker or to build.

Again, like I said. This is just another fan made variant from a common player not any designer or an official rule. So there are still a lot of things to consider.

Here are some thoughts about the Chapter or Scenario if we want to include them in this variant.

Scenario: BUILDING FOR CITIZEN. This will make the game tougher because every end of round, we will get randomly another Citizen from the character deck. It can be an 8 as worker or we can also get some discount and symbol.

The additional point we can get at the end of the game is just 2 and we will certainly get it with just 7 buildings. It is rather unreasonable if we try to build less to prevent the additional Citizen.

Scenario: ESCAPE FROM THE CITY. This will also make the game more interesting with this solo variant. We can try using 14 cards for the odd-number rounds so we will get more buildings and more citizen.

Maybe we will get easier since the rule suggests removing Citizen as well every round. I will add another rule that if we have some left over workers, we have to remove the worker first before the citizen each round.

Scenario: JOB DIVERSITY. This one will make the game easier for player. It is not a guarantee but we will most likely to fulfill the job diversity for each round to trigger the special effect. That means player will get additional worker each round and build more buildings. For me, this one easier but fun to have more buildings in the tableau.

Scenario: SIZE MATTERS. This may not be that interesting as it will only give more points at the end of the game. Four Great buildings for 2 points is rather easy. With a lot of discount we will most likely to build the great version of buildings. I will suggest set it on 10 Great buildings but I’m not sure if we should stick with just 2 points.

Chapter I: Tybor. As mentioned before, there is no way we can keep up the number of buildings compared to the citizen. I suggest setting 1 building every 2 citizen to get the extra 5 points.

Chapter II: Specialists. For this one, I think it can work fine with the variant. If we want more challenge maybe set it like only if we make 2 set we can then get 5 points. Or, one set for 2 points and 2 sets for 5.

Chapter III to V have the same mechanism by getting a set of three for certain symbol to get extra 5.  Even though we don’t actually choose, but we still can narrow the possibility and we can still fail to meet the requirement.

Chapter VI: New City Hall. This could be another challenge, even in regular variant. We could either choose to build or just keep the worker. If we want to include the idea of our worker strength substracting the opponent’s from citizen, this could double the points. This one probably works well with Scenario: Job Diversity.

Chapter VII: Building the Harbor. This can be an interesting one but the base rule are meant for competition with other players. My suggestion for tweaking this rule would be if we can get Captain symbol in our buildings, we can remove that building and choose the captain in citizen to become our worker. There are 2 buildings in this game that can let us do that. Maybe the Citizen get a Captain with an 8 and we can just build cheaply and remove them.

Chapter VIII: Threat. This can be another challenge because the citizen will definitely get more points. We can get additional points from the soldier symbol but if we want to add more challenge, change this so we can only get points if the 2 symbols come from the buildings. There are exactly 2 building cards that let us do this.

For points from symbol, I don’t think we need to tweak anything except maybe for the Craftsman symbol because it is based on competition. My suggestion would be we will only get 6 points if we have odd numbers of Craftsman and 2 points if we have even numbers.

Again, all of these are just considerations we can try to make the variant more interesting, not definitive because I’m not the official. Hopefully anyone can enjoy it and if you want you can share your experience via the comment section below.

Expansion

One year after the release of Tybor the Builder base game in 2017, the publisher already has a new expansion which is called Tybor the Builder: At the King’s Behest.

It is a deck of 24 new cards that we can add to the base game. The expansion will introduce new features to the game.

The first feature is called ROYAL DECREES. It is like another public objectives within 10 cards but only one players can successfully claim each of them. Players will race to get them first while in the game, not just the end of it.

The second feature will introduce a new character type known as COUNCILMAN with a new symbol, known as Legal Text. We can get more points from this symbol if we recruit them as citizen. The requirement is we need to make a set of discount to all of the four building types.

With this feature, we will even more likely to collect citizens rather than build a building.

The last feature will comes with 4 cards to be added to the 4 existing building types. The building name is THE MYSTERY, which is the same copy just with different color. This is like a wild card for the goods. At the end of the game, players can choose which of the 4 goods this building will produce, assuming they have them in their tableau.

The victory point we get for building it is not much but we can have some flexibility depending on the outcome of our tableau building.

The expansion doesn’t come with a box, just a deck of tight sealed cards. With the additional 24 cards, we will have a total of 144 cards which will not fit to the base game box. Not to mention, if we want to sleeve them as well.

The expansion cards have the same Euro card size (59 x92 mm). Also, the expansion will not add enough cards to turn the base game for more than 4 players. We still need another copy of the base game.

If anybody want, they can purchase both the base game and expansion from the Lookout Spiel publisher directly on their website. But they are based in Germany and shipping cost will probably very high unless we are in Europe.

For US citizen, they can try Asmodee North America (www.asmodeena.com) as the distributor.

Conclusion

Tybor der Baumeister or Tybor the Builder game is one of the card drafting game that use just cards as the components. With 120 cards in the box, we can play with 2 up to 4 players, competitively.

The game comes with 2 languages, English and German, in the same box. It is language independent but the game comes with a story narrative which could add the experience and can be translated into additional rule to make the game more interesting.

These stories come as Chapter or Scenario cards which we can use the combinations of the two each play. We can have 32 different combinations from just the base game of Tybor the Builder.

The theme is more about civilization building in medieval era and less than a city building. The focus is not just to build buildings but also recruit characters to become a citizen or workers. Each character has unique ability to eventually help the players to build a building and score more points.

The game is rather simple to play, or we can say elegant and it will take only about 30 minutes per session. We just choose the card and use it. However, with the card drafting element, the game will encourage players not only to consider their own goal but their opponent’s as well and how to prevent them.

So, even if we can just focus on our tableau, but the mechanism will still trigger the player interaction.

Another interesting element to this game is the multi-use card. Each time we choose a card, we have to consider three possible uses. That means the decision we have to make will not be that obvious.

Players also start with their own secret objective which would be different from one to another and if they can meet the requirements, they can get additional points. The secret objective is based on the type of buildings we built.

The building the city or the building element is not that complex. Four types of buildings which can just score points or more points, or even give like additional turns that could change the game. Another interesting element regarding the building thing is that we can only build certain number of buildings each round from a communal market.

So, not only we will be competing with other players, but also with time since those building are only available for that round.

With all of those consideration for playing the game, Tybor the Builder card game is not just a light Euro style game. But it is very easy to teach, simple and fast to play and very compact with just small box and cards.

It is rather unfortunate that the designer doesn’t come up with official solo rule. But, we can easily bring the game anywhere, play with anyone.

The game is also rather rewarding instead of punishing for the objective. So, we can feel the sense of tableau building.

For it’s size, Tybor the Builder card game is very recommended to have.

Final Words

So, that is all I can share with you with Tybor the Builder card game. If you prefer a heavier game with similar theme, you might want to check out my Imperial Settlers review.

But if you want a similar game which is compact, competitive and use just cards with fantasy and adventure theme, you can also try to check out my Hero Realms review. Unlike Tybor the Builder game, both of them has their official solo variant.

Tybor the Builder is also one of the first games that I tried based on Rahdo’s recommendation, from the board game channel Rahdo Runs Through. You might want to check my review about his channel for more games. Hopefully you can find something that interest you better.

I have tried several other games that he recommended and I can say most of them are great games even though we don’t always share the same preferred theme. But Rahdo has done a review for more than 1,000 games at this time with many more to come so we can always find something interesting.

As I said before in other article, board games or card games can be a great way to spend the time without looking at the screen of our phone, laptop or TV. Some of them we can play very fast, up to an hour or so, which for me, is enough.

Of course, we can choose to do sports, read novel or any other activity. Tabletop games is just another alternative. It is also a good way to spend time with whoever we have nearby.

If anybody has other suggestion for similar games, please do share it via the comment section below. I would like to try them out as well, assuming I can get a copy.

This article is just my notes about the game. Hopefully it can help other people who are planning to buy the game. Thanks for reading.

 

Mark M.

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