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Tybor the Builder Review

Board Game Review by: :
Tahsin Samma

Reviewed by:
On Aug 14, 2019
Last modified:Aug 14, 2019


We review Tybor the Builder, a card drafting, set collection, and tableau building game published by Lookout Spiel. Tybor the Builder has some connection to the well received Oh My Goods, but is a stand alone game.

Tybor the BuilderBig Hollywood movie producers love high-concept formulas. Tom Cruise opposite Cate Blanchett in a space sci-fi action drama. Big buck blockbuster bonanza! Make it so!

Game publishers can be quite fond of formulae too. Tried and true mechanisms, plus an inoffensive theme, mixed with a well-known designer and artist, and you’ve got some mediocre sales and BoardGameGeek hotness at the least. That’s where this next game comes in.

Alexander Pfister is taking new designer Dennis Rappel under his wing with this effort. Artist Klemenz Franz in all his near-comic character glory makes an appearance too. Lookout Games foots the bill for production. Oh, and throw in a theme like late medieval town building. Get the contracts signed right away!

Tybor the Builder (Tybor der Baumeister in the original German) is a card drafting, tableau-building, and, wait for it, set collection game for 2 to 4 players (plus up to 4 more with a second copy of the game). It plays best with any number.

Gameplay Overview:

The main hook with Tybor is that the game has variable game modes with a thematic tie-in to story chapters to influence the end-game scoring. These mostly affect the choices players will make while playing and not so much the gameplay itself.

Tybor the Builder Hand
Splayed cards in hand show their icons well.

At its core, Tybor is a straight drafting game much the same way 7 Wonders is. Players will choose a card from their hand, add it to one of two places in their tableau or use it to build a building card from a market row. Other players are doing the same and there’s a little bit of competition for the right cards and symbols. After selecting and playing a card, everyone passes their hand to the next player.

After each round of drafting, players will move on to a new phase and new buildings will be put out. The process begins again but the buildings become more expensive. The main choices hinge around whether to use the drafted card for end game points, as resources to construct buildings, or to discard it to construct a building.

Scoring is accomplished at the end of the game by evaluating the cards set aside for end game and building points. There are some end game objectives from the scenario and a player’s personal objective. Other than that, it’s a pretty straightforward process which makes for very fast games.

Tybor the Builder
A well-organized tableau shows all cards beautifully.

Game Experience:

Gamers who consider themselves hardcore 7 Wonders fans will laugh at this presentation. This game sits somewhere in complexity between 7 Wonders and Sushi Go!. It has some depth and there are plenty of choices each turn, but the connection to the theme is a pit of despair. This is purely a point building exercise.

Tybor the Builder Cards
Scenario cards show a horde of icons to demonstrate what happens with each round end.

It’s not that this is a bad game, it’s just that it’s so unoriginal and unworthy of Mr. Pfister’s efforts. The variable end game point opportunities are meager so any strategy adapting to the scenario mostly doesn’t make a difference. In addition, the scoring opportunities seem to be weighted towards buildings so planning a careful character strategy also seems ineffectual.

Everything else about the game is fine, and that’s about all that can be said. Klemez Franz artwork doesn’t disappoint and the card layout is very well done. The rules are clear and the game plays quick for what it is.

Final Thoughts:

Tybor the Builder is a pedestrian effort from a well-known designer and the softest of softballs in terms of effort. The game plays fine, but in terms of challenge, a nine-year-old design like 7 Wonders is a much better game. There’s a tie-in with Oh My Goods!, also designed by Alexander Pfister, and that may be of interest. However, in terms of money spent, it’s more valuable to go after an expansion to other drafting games.

Final Score: 3 Stars – Players have seen this game before in other drafting games of more storied lineage. The only necessity for this would be the art of Klemenz Franz or having another Alexander Pfister designed title.

3 StarsHits:
• Quick playtime
• Choices matter for each turn

• Uninspiring game play
• Boring theme
• Variable scoring doesn’t make much difference

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  1. I’m not quite sure why you chose to go with 7 Wonders for your comparison beyond the drafting mechanism. I really don’t think Tybor is trying to compete with 7 Wonders. One fits in your pocket, one comes in a big box. One takes up a small footprint on your table, one takes up a lot of real estate. And to suggest spending the money on expansions which will take up even more space? It really is an apples to oranges comparison. Yes, 7 Wonders is the overall better game but they both have a place in my collection. A much more apropos comparison would have been something like Fairy Tale which is also drafting on a smaller scale.

    Also, you didn’t mention that this game was originally designed as a fundraiser for the Osterreich Museum. It didn’t start out as an attempt at an easy cash grab by a board game publisher, as you kind of imply. This helps explain why Tybor is not a huge production, just a simple deck of cards.

    I don’t disagree with your rating, just some of the points you made.

  2. Thanks for the comments Eric. I agree, I could have compared it to Fairy Tale, but that game is less well known. Also, I did not know about the Osterreich Museum connection. Very good to know that Alexander Pfister was trying to help a non-profit. After you mentioned it, I looked for any information on that in English and I couldn’t find any. Thanks again for pointing that out.

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