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Reviewer: Mark from Farnborough
The aim of the game is to impress the locals with your masterpieces. You have 1 Master and 1 apprentice who have the option to 1) visit the temple (to get helpful scrolls, 2) the marketplace to get ivory, jade, gold or bronze resource tiles (not real), 3) a pawn shop to get tiles that enable you to change one resource type into another (e.g., swap ivory for gold) or 4) pay homage to the towns elders to get VPs. Once you have enough resources, your master takes to his workshop to craft an item of beauty worth 2, 4 or 8VP (taking 2, 3 or 4 rounds to complete). After 6 items are crafted the game ends. The 2VP and 4VP items give additional benefits like holding more scrolls, more resources, getting extra goods when you visit the marketplace. As the master slaves away, his apprentice is still able to go out and get more scrolls, visit the marketplace, etc.
It is a beautifully crafted game with superb quality pieces (hence the price). There seems to be many ways to get VPs and the game has a nice flow and balance. It plays in 60-90 mins, we took ~100 mins for 3 players first try. The key may be in aligning what minor items you choose to build early (as you are unable to build 8VP masterwork goods until later) with the scrolls, but that will take a few further plays. Our first game was close with scores of 40-38-34.