$10.00

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User Rating Comment Status
Jon
United States
Urbana
Illinois
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10
Feb 2012
This hits a lot of right notes with me. Love the theme, the actions make sense, can be a bit evil or played slightly nicer depending on how upset you want the others at the table to be!
2011-11-27
Owned
Want To Play
Juuso Mattila
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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10
Jun 2012
The best game of 2011. The game looks really good and every single little mechanic fits in and doesn't look out of place. Action choosing mechanic is really cool, but could create some AP at times. The other really pleasant thing is the money/vp management system. Your needs and tactical opportunities are changing rapidly and there's some tension all the time, but it doesn't go over. First play of this felt a lot like my first ever playing of Puerto Rico. After two plays I can say that this works brilliantly with both three and five players and isn't too long.
2012-06-28
Owned
Adrian Montoya
United States
Austin
Texas
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The pen is mightier than the sword, and considerably easier to write with.
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10
Jan 2013
worker placement with aggressive blocking of actions, cool theme, nice art, smooth play and I didn't find the loss of actions due to the majority rules any more frustrating than some other games... some gamers don't seem to like this aspect, but we enjoyed the "aww crap!, I lost an action/couldn't do my actions in the right order" moments
2013-01-15
Owned
Richard Durn
France
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10
Dec 2011
Outstanding game ! Wonderful mechanism 2 + 2 + 1 workers. Best game post Essen 2011 !
2011-12-03
Owned
Javi Santos
Spain
sevilla
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10
Jul 2012
A treasure. Fantastic mechanism for the action selection, very nice environment, tense, difficult choices, and many paths to follow. Really nice components. One of the most enjoyable games I have ever tried.
2012-07-02
Owned
Tanja
Finland
Mäntsälä
Uusimaa
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10
Nov 2014
Area majority worker placement! I love it. You can't avoid interaction in this game and that's good.

Lots to think about when you play, but rules are fairly easy to teach to any gamer. Shipping goods or choosing role cards don't require long rules explanations. Still this game feels different and fresh.

2 player variant is NOT worth it.
2014-09-26
Owned
Merran Furness
Australia
Canberra
Australian Capital Territory
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10
May 2013
Anniversary Present kiss
2012-10-30
Owned
sebas herrera
Colombia
Medellin
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10
Oct 2014
que juego tan genial, el sistema de turnos con subasta simple es muy entretenido, con decisiones complicadas, de duración media y arte muy logrado
2014-10-09
Owned
Yun Youhou
Singapore
Singapore
Changi
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10
Jul 2014
This game is a pure gem !!

Very underrated among the top games as this one has his place among them.

Very thematic for a euro game. Lots of players interaction which is something that most euro games lacks.

The auction mechanic is pure genius and very tense, but most importantly... VERY FUN !!

Everything that I love combined into one masterpiece known as Vanuatu.

2014-07-16
Albo One Ken-Obi
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10
Apr 2015
excellent, lot of evil interaction!
Easy but deep!
2015-01-23
Owned
Jonathan Harrison
United States
Fisher
Illinois
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So long ...
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... and thanks for all the fish.
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9.88
Aug 2013
There are two main branches of worker placement games: the player board–driven games, like Agricola, Le Havre, and Keyflower, and the board-driven games, like Dominant Species and Snowdonia. The former are often conversion-driven (you are exploiting your tableau of resources), the latter spatially driven (you are controlling the board’s areas).

Vanuatu stands at the pinnacle of the latter group. In Agricola, you compete for resources to feed into your conversion engine. In Dominant Species, you compete for the type and specialization of your actions. In Vanuatu, you compete for the order in which you can take your actions—sometimes for the right to take actions at all. In the first game of Vanuatu I saw played, one player in a 3-player game took 0 actions (of 5 possible) her first turn. In spreading herself too thin, she got nothing. And how could she spread herself thin? That’s the magic of Vanuatu.

Playing Vanuatu is like trying to eat a full-course dinner at a revolving sushi bar. And that’s exactly what you have to do. Each round you’ll want to perform a sequence of actions: the more complex the better. Ideally, you spend your five actions building a hut, then fishing, then selling fish, then sailing toward the next island and there diving for treasure. But you don’t do that in Vanuatu, because who would let you? If Jane has more action discs on the hut-building action space (did I mention you could double up? triple up?), then you can’t take your action discs off to build a hut (you can take them off to no effect, and may be forced to) until she takes her action discs off. And if she spends her turns taking off her action discs elsewhere, you’ll be selling your fish to nowhere (you have no hut), leaving you with no money to fuel your movement, and Jesse will scavenge the lion’s share of the treasure you were hoping to plunder first. In the end you get fish.

Turn order is all-important in Vanuatu. Every turn you clear an action space of all your discs on it. If you had more discs than anyone else or break a tie by being higher in turn order, you can take the action. If not, those discs did less than nothing for you. A disc you can’t use is like throwing a dart into your own eye: Do it enough and you’re not going to be winning the game.

Spreading your discs thin can get you more actions, but only if your actions are sufficiently self-contained: Perhaps you are parked in a spot where you have access to one of your huts, to goods for sale, to fish, to treasure—you’re golden. But if you need to move to get to where you’ll be performing your other actions, things get as uncomfortably tight as an empty wallet in a pair of hot pants. If you’re low on the turn-order totem pole, you can kiss your chances of effective accomplishment goodbye. Loading up your discs on the bonus action space may be your highest priority: becoming start player next turn.

Unless you are on the other side of the board, and unless you want a character someone already has. The start player will ditch his character (each character buffs a different standard action) to claim a new one next turn, and so will each other player. If that means a particular currently held character will (in your estimation) trickle down the line to you, then you might want to stay in last place. If you’ve set up camp on the other side of an island and are doing your own thing, you might not care at all: You’ll get your actions in due time, and you’ll get more actions than anyone else will.

Because juxtaposition in Vanuatu bleeds off actions. People who are adjacent to other people choose fewer actions and pump them up more. Who takes what action when matters, especially if it’s building a hut of your own color—the quintessential act in Vanuatu. A hut of your own color lets you sell fish and sell to tourists, and that’s a lot in this game. But if someone tries to move in to join in the fishing boom or the hut rush, then even more actions bleed off as people jostle for position. It happens if someone even appears to be. Taking your whole turn in Vanuatu bears a good resemblance to trying to assassinate someone in the middle of Mardi Gras using a poisoned needle.

Play in Vanuatu is all about the spatial aspect. There are right places to be, and because there are, there are right times to be. Fishing by itself is like holding a scavenger hunt in a hurricane; carrying tourists around the islands more so. But the storm is an outworking of the players’ actions, and if you can find a path through those then you have a path through the storm to create VP-laden locations (the start player discovers additional islands in locations of his choice) and exploit them. From beginning to end a game of Vanuatu is a highly ritualized form of combat: You can win by being quick or you can win by being early or you can win by being just exactly late enough. But you can’t win by not watching where you are standing.a9Z4MnAx
2015-01-29
Owned
Randall B
United States
Grand Junction
Colorado
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9.75
Mar 2015
Pleasant game of to screw, or not to screw your friends over while giving you the false sense of security in your actions you selected. The action selection is a great mechanic, the helper cards are good for first learning the game, but the game is much tighter with out them. I only expect this game to linger in my mind after every play.

2015-02-24
Owned
leonardo balbi
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro
RJ
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9.65
Mar 2015
Amazing game. Tight. Cruel. Beautiful. Fast and Furious ! A must-have work placement !
2014-06-26
Owned
rizkar
United States
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9.5
Jan 2012
The action selection via majority control with programming and turn order implications works brilliantly. Many ways to score points in typical Euro tyle, plenty of meaningful decisions, and tons of player interaction. The theme, exploration and movement, role selection, and great artwork are all bonuses. In the running for my favorite game of 2011.
2012-01-08
Owned
Janus Basnov
United Kingdom
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9.5
Oct 2011
Joined best game of Spiel 11 with King of Tokyo
2011-10-24
Owned
ian smith
Scotland
Glasgow
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9.5
Oct 2011
If you do not enjoy this game and consider it to be the find of 2011, you do not deserve to call yourself a geek. This has everything, is streets ahead of the dry mechanics that seemed to set the Fair Play alight this year. It's tough, it's funny and it's brutally evil. An almost perfect game!
2011-10-24
Owned
Nick Case
England
Epsom
Surrey
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9.5
Nov 2011
First Play: An arborted start as we launched in and utterly failed to appreciate the nuances of the turn order. As a result we we screwed from the off and decided to start again.

This is a sublime game. The play order mechanism is one of the most refined I have encountered offering the opportunity to shaft the opposition into losing all of their turns if left to their own devices.

So many ways to score and a need to keep an eye out on how the game develops. Just an absolute joy to play. This will be in my top ten.

Second Play: Its just gets better. The oportunities for diplomacy and screwage are just a joy when combined with the broad possibilities of the game structure. I love this game. If I was ever to offer a 10 for a game rating, this has come closest so far in my gaming life.

And so the plays rack up. So much to look out for, so easy to get pulled in the wrong direction, this is perhaps my favourite game of all time.
2012-02-22
Owned
Sarinee Achavanuntakul
Thailand
Bangkok
Select a State
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9.5
Dec 2011
Excellent resource management game with a unique action selection mechanism (if you don't have simple majority you don't get to do the action you want), making for a fun competitive atmosphere (maybe too competitive for some). I really like how the very limited resources in the game forces you to optimize well, and the board art is gorgeous.
2011-12-27
Owned
Michele Badioli
Italy
Senigallia
Ancona
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9.2
Jun 2014
Dry game with a lot of interaction on modular board. Played only without characters.
2014-03-04
Owned
Paulo Renato
Portugal
Vila Nova Gaia
Porto
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9.15
Jul 2014
What an AMAZING game... the placement mechanic and then the resolving of those placements are just awesome and unique... such a shame that the designer tarnished this game with his actions regarding how he handled KS... this could be a CLASSIC!!
2014-05-02
Prev. Owned
Bryan Maxwell
United States
Burtchville
Michigan
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9
Jul 2012
Mean as shit, stabby little euro. Looks pleasant but it's not. It's MEAN. You can deny people actions, make them waste turns. It's got a little bit of brain burn to it as well, mostly in the form of trying to decide what other players are after and how figuring out how to deny them and/or protect your own interests.
2012-09-11
Owned
Want To Play
Michael Schwerdtfeger
United States
Redondo Beach
California
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9
Nov 2011
A novel, and incredibly vicious turn selection mechanic. Probably the best game I've played so far from Essen 2011.
2011-11-21
Owned
Stuart Carroll
Australia
Melbourne
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9
Dec 2011
Simply wonderful. Very tight economy, requires careful planning, and yet plays quickly with minimal downtime.

The two player variant works well too.

Definitely a keeper...
2011-12-26
Owned
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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9
Dec 2011
This is one nasty, vicious, cut-throat game with the action markers where you can cut people out of actions, particularly if they try to do too much! I realize the potential value of being the start player and winning ties for majorities, but I almost preferred being lower in turn order and being able to play strategies that required less risk. Going first almost requires you to focus on one or two actions...going later in turn order may give you the freedom to take more actions that may be of lesser value. Money is tight in this game, and this game has a nasty addition that if you have $10 on hand, you trade all your money in for 5 points. BTW, that 2 to 1 ratio is not necessarily that great and severely limits your future actions! Enjoy the simple art in this game as well. The fish and treasure are definitely fiddly and can be easily lost (round disks the size of Puerto Rico workers).
2011-12-02
Owned
Tim Seitz
United States
Glen Allen
VA
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Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. 2 Sam 14:14
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9
Nov 2011
Together, we got in our first five-player game of Vanuatu, and it was a blast! Even the kids were able to pick it up rather easily, although Jason (aged 8) was a little too concerned about getting to do what he really wanted so he usually piled too many guys on a single action, reducing the tension we might have felt from a full 5-player game.

Despite some others' comments, I don't consider this game particularly "nasty." Yea, you might lose an action here or there because you misplayed, but that can be managed by putting yourself in positions to take advantage of actions that other players don't want or can't take, allowing you to get away with placing only 1 token on some potentially highly contested actions. It's not nasty in the sense that players are actively out to get you. They aren't; they are just taking advantage of your mistakes.

Because of the theme and the action selection mechanism, I've heard comparisons to Kaivai, which we coincidentally played the next day, and Vanuatu is better, IMO. Kaivai is simpler, dryer, and slightly nastier, with nearly zero randomness, but the decisions seemed overall easier, whereas Vanuatu had many agonizing moments during both the action planning and the action resolution phases.

The game is much better with 4 or 5 than with 3. Because the action selection track has a fixed size, the tension ratchets up dramatically as you add each additional player. With only three, you can essentially lay down 1 worker on each space and still take all of your actions.
2011-11-11
Owned
Soren Vejrum
United Kingdom
Richmond
Surrey
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9
Apr 2014
Very tight, cut-throat, brain-burning, role selection, worker placement, bidding game. Like doing brain surgery while being attacked by a bunch of pitbulls. Neverending agony and misery - in a good way.

Typical reaction: "This is the meanest game I have ever played".
2014-04-16
Owned
David
United States
Overland Park
Kansas
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9
Nov 2011
Really love playing this, especially with four or five players. The action selection process has fantastic player interaction -- you can really mess up someone's plans for the round, or vice versa, and the steps you take to avoid getting diverted mean you may miss out on bigger opportunities. That aspect of gameplay keeps us coming back.
2013-08-07
Owned
Henk Rolleman
Netherlands
Leusden
Utrecht
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9
Jan 2012
Excellent worker-placement with a lot of depth and interaction. Simple Rules and fast play. Timing, decisions, less of good and money. Fabulous artwork!
The mechanics are not new but they fit good together.
2012-01-20
Owned
United States
Framingham
Massachusetts
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9
Feb 2012
Love the theme as something different. This is one of those games where I stare at the board with my head in my hands while I try to puzzle out the myriad chain reactions that will spin out from my choice of actions. A real pressure-cooker. Top-shelf gaming.
2012-12-31
Owned
Ari
United States
San Francisco
California
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La vie est un jeu
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Panem et Circenses
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9
Sep 2013
This is an excellent screw you game. The ways you block your opponents are vicious. Every time I play this, someone is royally pissed at the end. Really tight, mistakes are punished 3 fold. Unfortunately the designer is unscrupulous and stole $100 of my money.
2014-02-05
Owned
Preordered
Yoki Erdtman
Sweden
Södertälje
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Handsome devil huh?
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9
Oct 2011
I love how you bid for the actions by placing two "workers" at a time in turn order, followed by two more, and then your last remaining single worker (for 5 total). You then execute actions in turn order, one action at a time, but you are only able to execute the action if you have the majority (ties broken by turn-order). Wonderful mechanism!

The game looks good, it sort of feels like it could be a nice and sweet family game ala Settlers of Catan, but damn does it play nasty! This is one evil game of blocking, sabotaging and outplaying your opponents. You cannot get much more confrontational and interactive without actual direct conflict.
2011-11-06
Owned
Neil Cook
United Kingdom
Burton on Trent
Staffs
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9
May 2013
Wonderful. Screwage - a lot of it self-imposed - make this an excellent game. It's all very simple and straightforward to explain and play, but sometimes - just sometimes - the balance of actions, screwage, resource management and worker placement is perfectly balanced. This game might just about be my favourite game of all.
2013-05-05
Owned
Stephane Josephy
Belgium
Brussels
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9
Nov 2011
Nice to see a 2011 eurogame with some really good new ideas. I really love some of the clever mechanisms implemented here!
2011-11-05
Bill Rosgen
United States
Sunnyvale
California
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9
Jun 2013
After several plays: the action selection mechanism is very clever but also very mean. Quite tactical: the core of the game is predicting and influencing the unwinding of the action stack. With 5 this is longer than 90 minutes: we took 3 hours with rules explanation and 5 new players. This is perhaps the best of the 2011 Essen crop.
2013-06-14
Owned
Lucas Hedgren
United States
Dublin
Ohio
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9
Feb 2012
Really tight economy, and very clever and mean action selection mechanism makes for a tense and great game. My only regret for not getting at Essen.

I liked this alot. The "mean" interaction is tempered by the restrictions. (You have to do an action if you can. You must choose an action where you have a majority. You may not plan an action unless its possible.) As such, you can still puzzle through your turns, and make sure something good happens. In a way, it's risk management, in that if you go for "too many" options, you might get none, but if you focus on 2, you will probably do them. The actual stuff happening is nothing special, but the planning phase is really interesting.
2011-11-08
Owned
David Einstein
Canada
Burnaby
British Columbia
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9
Feb 2013
A first game of 5 players with role selection went too long (almost 3 hours with rules explanation)... but I can see this game is very good. Would like to play without role selection and with experience could see the time to play easily dropping to half that.
2011-11-14
Owned
Chris Keates
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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9
Dec 2011
Incredible. Just when you think the worker-placement mechanism is old and tired, along comes a game like this.
2011-12-05
Owned
For Trade
Alessandro Dipace
Italy
Cabiate CO
Lombardia
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9
Apr 2014
Uno dei migliori giochi del 2011. In 5 giocatori è oltremisura caotico e affollato, sembra ingiocabile, ma al tempo stesso offre un'interazione incredibile che litiga con la necessità di programmare ogni azione. In 3 diventa al contrario noioso e poco avvincente; forse in 4 giocatori si trova il giusto compromesso. I benefici di alcuni personaggi e quello di alcune azioni si comprendono solo dopo qualche partita. Alcuni turni potrebbero risultare frustranti se non si riescono a campiere le azioni programmate (spesso), ma questo rende il gioco bellissimo! Gioco indipendente dalla lingua; scaricabile il regolamento ufficiale per due giocatori in italiano su BGG.
2014-06-25
Owned
Brian Barnes
United States
Layton
Utah
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9
Feb 2012
Rating based on 2, 3 player games. Likely to go up with more players.

Edit: It's better with more players bumping this up to a 9.
2012-02-20
Eddie B
United States
Unspecified
Pennsylvania
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9
Jul 2015
Awesome game. Highly interactive. I love how you can mess with other players. Can get very nasty. Really need the right crowd for this game.
2015-07-01
Owned
Witek Wasilewski
Poland
Warsaw
Falenica
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9
Mar 2015
Very pleasant surprise. What I like most: interesting decisions in fast gameplay. Even with 2 game is tight but fun.

2015-01-16
Owned
Apple Paul

California
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9
Nov 2014
If you are looking for a fun to play variation on the standard worker placement mechanic, then this game really fills that need. First time playing it, we played with 5 seasoned worker placement gamers, and we had a great time with it.

It plays as a well designed player prediction and VP optimization challenge. With seasoned gamers, the game is likely to be won by the player who makes the fewest mistakes, and mistakes are tough to avoid, which is part of the fun of the game.

Notably in a five player game, to really make this game enjoyable, and more tractable, the game rules should probably encourage players to place their workers ABOVE the action boxes they desire, then dynamically re-arrange in a line trailing upward from the action box, any workers already placed for that action box, in player turn order (thus showing with that line of workers leading upward from the box, the present action priority for that action box), and of course, whenever a player has MORE workers than other players for that action box, place that players workers "ahead" of the other players fewer workers in that line of present priority for that action. (Of course, all workers placed above the boxes are considered as wanting to take the action of that box.)

In this way, the game is better visualized by the players as they consider placing their workers. Without this, if four or five players just sloppily threw their workers in the small action boxes, it might be tough for players to "see" or "get" the current action orders for each box. IMHO, visual tractability can make a substantial difference to player enjoyment in a game, and is critical to the enjoyment of the decision making in this game. September 2014- Giving the game 8 of 10.

November 2014 - After a number of plays, going to raise the rating to a 9. The worker placement variation in this game is a lot of fun and attempt to solve with player prediction. For what it aspires to create, this game does it quite well.
2014-11-15
Want In Trade
Darren Bezzant
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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"Everyone wants to be unique, but no one wants to be different."
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9
Oct 2012
MEAN MEAN game - ilove it, even if I am rubbish at it.
2012-10-10
Owned
laurent deenen
China
beijing
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9
Jul 2015
3-5p
2013-12-20
Owned
Amos Dillman
United States
Delaware
Ohio
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9
Jun 2015
Wonderful game with a ton of interesting tension in 'betting' on actions with your action markers. The skeleton of attempting to squeeze your way into executing the actions you want really drives the game. The variable character powers you select each round and the types of actions themselves complement that skeleton well. The artwork and design are also quite delightful. An overall mechanically and aesthetically pleasing Euro.
2015-04-09
Owned
Eli

Dist of Columbia
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9
Jan 2015
Interesting action selection

Tight, unique theme with good art

Beautiful components

Mean
2015-01-30
Want In Trade
Alex Simard
Canada
Quebec
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Dragons Nocturnes
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Jungle Jim
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9
Mar 2014
J'ai déjà quelques parties. Quel excellent semi-worker placement! La tension, la mécanique (et les crosses) dans le choix des actions sont excellents. Probablement un tour trop long par contre. Je le recommande 9/10.(04-2014)
2014-04-26
Owned
David Minken
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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9
Oct 2012
This game has a completely awesome, completely confrontational action pawn placement at the beginning of each round. You can only activate and use the space that your action pawn(s) are on IF you have majority of action pawns within that space. After you activate that space, you remove your action pawns, which will then pass majority to another player (provided there are other action pawns remaining in that same space from other players).

It involves a lot of speculation of the order in which other players may resolve their action pawns so that you will have majority when you need it!

It is pure nasty. Pure fun!
2014-03-31
Owned
Osamu Hirai
Japan
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9
Oct 2013
3-5(3-5)
B4
90m
2013-06-07
Owned
Lex Lim
United States
Portland
Oregon
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9
Oct 2014
Jun'13 Bloody cutthroat, but I like! Pls don't play this with narrow minded people!
2013-06-01
Owned

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