Last night I played the new big euro, Troyes. It's not the kind of thing I normally have much use for, but for whatever reason, it looked interesting to me. To my pleasant surprise, I actually liked it quite a bit.
Now make no mistake, it's a Euro. The theme is more cathedral-building, there's a little bit of worker placement, and it has victory points AND prestige points to keep track of. Having said all that, if you already feel well-disposed towards heavy Euro games like Caylus or Agricola (don't laugh), then you might find this one to your liking.
The worker-placement is kind of a fake-out, since you only do it once at the beginning of the game. It's actually more like placing your settlements in Catan. Where you put your guys determines what dice you will roll, and then you can use what you roll to activate certain locations on the board, defeat invaders, or build the cathedral. Of course, since you're only rolling a one or two dice of any color, you will probably need more. This is the nasty part: you can steal dice from other players, and that can screw them up royally. And there are a limited number of dice of each color to roll, so each player will fight for who is rolling what dice. You can use them to oust people from their spots and steal their dice from them too. The nice thing is, when that happens, you aren't completely lost. Because you can buy dice from other people, you can still do most things, you'll just need to pay.
I think my biggest problem with the game was that it had these invaders who are always throwing stuff at you. You can defeat them, and it's almost always worth your trouble to do so, but I'm a little tired of games that punish you for having the nerve to play.
Still, I think that anyone here with a taste for heavy Euros would do well to take a crack at it. It's quite abstract, which was no surprise, but it's also quite nasty, and that sold me on it.
Haven't played Carson City, so I couldn't say. I didn't find the game to be very fiddly at all. There's surprisingly little upkeep between rounds. You just get your money, and roll dice, and go into the next round. That's quite refreshing for me.
I played this a few weeks before the z-man edition came out. I posted about it in the now defunct "What Boardgames have you been Playing thread... here's what I wrote at the time;
and then this totally unmemorable little Euro called Troyes. It's the same guy who did Carson City which I love and think feels very thematic. But this one, uggh, it has no theme at all. Apparently your in some French town and theirs a military action a cathedral action...
The whole game is just a bunch of dice and you get actions from them by dividing them and applying them to cards and ... I don't know. There would be several ways to earn victory points depending on what cards come out and it's kind of interesting as an abstract puzzle but I had no clue what any of what I was doing actually meant. I won mind you, I just didn't know what that meant either. It was just a VP machine. The shitty thing was the guy brought Alien Frontiers as well because I wanted to play it but when everyone seemed to have their heart set on Troyes I caved and said fine. Dumb move, I must be more aggresive. I should have said "We agreed on that fuckin Sci-Fi game! What are you doing bringing that french shit in my house!!"
I haven't changed my opinion. I don't see how Carson City is fiddly though. They added ONE SHEET only that you can choose to use in order to make your starting position different. That's about it from what I know. Still, Carson City feels like a Western and the theme is palpable. Troyes I literally had no clue what was happening with any of my actions. I thought things like "this will get me money and that will get me points and I can make a nice little point buying engine by min maxing these fuckers.
The owner of the game didn't try to sell the theme though and the other players were ok with that. No one wanted to know what we were doing. It's possible that with a different group the theme might come through.. but I highly doubt it.