After a couple plays, it seems the chance to win or lose is not just dependent on the players. Sure, bad players can lose the game when it is winnable, but there are times when perfect play will not win the day.
I still like the original Settlers, and I like this addition to the series as well. If you are looking for a more complex experience than the base Settlers of Catan game, this is a great upgrade. The addition of rails (and a goods delivery mechanism) seems out of place at first, but by the end of the game I stopped comparing this game to the original and I really liked the whole package. The addition of gold and the extraordinary building phase are strong additions as well.
I've managed to play this, and it is fun, however it's a rough start because the terminology is awkward the rules book needs work, and it feels more like a prototype than a completed game. (A prototype I'd gladly play again!)
Also, you really need a good idea about what cards you have in your deck or you are likely to feel lost or useless at some points during the game.
Game play is smooth and works for a streamlined dungeon crawl game. The one failing is the art and production quality is so bland Castle Ravenloft fails to evoke the rich fantasy theme that Descent does through rich illustrations, textures, and strong design.
I suspect my rating of this game will change but right now it's a 7 on game play, and cool use of components. And of course I dominated the first game I played of it.
It's all about the numbers. Three kinds of numbers in fact - the number of people you get, the number of victory points you have, and the ascending order of votes to join the EU.
Get an early lead so you can be the one to propose deals first, and have the most units. Remember, VPs are different than people. If possible, set up your influence so you can roll from one successful election to the next. (If two countries next to each other cost the same, and one will come to election first, make sure you can take the one that will come to election first then take the next one after moving one of your bits to it when winning the first vote.)
Not a bad game, but it requires a great deal of micromanagement - the kind of micromanagement that makes you wonder what exactly you were doing when it was all over. Perhaps with more plays it's secrets will be revealed. The big key seems to be when to spend your money, encourage the others to spend loads of theirs and make sure you have a big handfull of cash for the last three auctions - you want to be able to prevent anyone from getting two out of those final three auctions.
I'm still not exactly sure how I won the one game I played.
Much more interaction than most deck building games. Still has fast metabolism because resources are use'em or lose them each turn. Chaining mechanism is interesting and the heart and soul of this game, and will keep me from every being truly great at this game.
Build up your military in an arms race or prepare to meet your secret objectives? Principato is a card game in three phases where you really must manage resource gathering and storing vs. building and paying off mercenaries. Absolutely worth a few plays.
Needed a little more graphic differentiation between the harvest and storage tiles.
Requires quick thought and perception. Simultaneous play, with fastest correct deduction getting the highest points. It would have a higher rating, except it requires intense concentration and I'm not always up for that kind of game. Components are of EXCELLENT quality, and the game looks great. Sadly the pirate theme is not important to the game.
This very streamlined print & play game can be easily assembled. Temporary coalitions form only to disintegrate when they would be most valuable. Very concentrated games play, with questionable long term replayablity.
An interesting fantasy poker game, like a cross between blackjack and Colossal Arena.
Between thieving from the pot, or building up your hand for successive rounds, it can sometimes benefit you to lose a hand, and that's a great element. Each hand plays quickly, and it'd be possible to keep a running tab of points/chips so games could be held over for multiple game sessions, or used as the ultimate filler.
Tzolkin, a worker placement where the value of the work your workers do evolves over time. As the game proceeds players advance/rotate the gears moving the workers to different action spots. Actions located "later" on the gears are more valuable, so waiting can be good, but being able to pay your workers in corn is more important.
On their turn players can either place 1(+) workers claim the work from 1(+) workers. The game ends after a revolution of the central gear. To allow for many paths to victory, and variable starting setup for each player, the game has to be a bit fiddly. There is a lot on the board, but it comes together pretty well.
I like the way this game plays out, but it is not as exciting as the theme promises. Even though the base mechanics would be applicable to other themes, this is a good fit, for an age of sale game, and does not feel pasted on. It feels a little like a cross between Pirate's Cove (crew, cannon, and goods management) and Niagara (wind direction/river speed). The one thing this game lacks is the ability to actually pirate - apparently there are only as many ships in the new world as there are players, and on retrospect that seems ... odd.
The first time I played W&W I didn't really care for it that much, it seemed to lack... substance. However, we've played it several times and it really steps up to the plate for replay ability something I find most trivia games lack. Most likely it's due to the same thing I thought was a problem the first time. Games are short, bite-sized for trivia games, that still satisfy. Lending themselves to doing four or five games in a row to try and find an ultimate winner. In all, a unique play experience for trivia games.
Zoon is a fun two player game. The factions are entertaining and different enough that it affects the way the game plays. It could easily be adapted into a three or four player game, but if I were doing that I’d include spaces that would allow the player to change the orientation of cards for movement purposes. I think I have all the factions released in the USA, at some point I’ll trot them out and make sure they are listed here.