I didn't like it very much. Note well - this is not me saying it's not a good game, this is me saying it's not my kind of game.
It's a tableau building game and probably the best way I could describe it is that it's RftG meets Neuroshima Hex (which is ostensibly the setting for 51st State).
At the start of your turn you draft cards. Cards have three aspects - a blue aspect which is a bar along one end of the card, a red one along the other, and a building in the centre. Each card has a point value assigned to it, say 3.
Each player has three sets of cards that contribute to the three colours - red are conquests, blue are cooperatives, and the buildings are incorporations. The number is meant to be a range, but what the units of range are is never clearly defined.
If you get a card by conquest, you tuck it under your home card with the red stripe showing. This will have something on it, say three stars which are victory points. You can cash this in at the start of the production round to take three VP and then you throw the card away.
If you take a card by cooperation, you tuck the card under your home card with the blue stripe showing. Whatever's on the stripe is something that you get every prodution turn, say a unit of fuel.
The incorporations do a variety of things, usually related to producing units of goods you'll need to activate your cards for conquest, cooperation, or incorporation. I played the mutants and conquest required 1 weapon to get 3 conquest points, my home card produced one weapon every turn, so that's easy. My incorporation required two resources (not important what they were), and so I had to figure out ways to get them.
You can use other people's incorporations to get resources by using one of the three people you get every production turn, and the nifty thing here is you are paying the other player that person token to use their widget factory and then they get to use that person themselves.
Some incorporation cards can only be used by you and the icon on the card will show that. Another interesting twist is that some cards generate VP if you feed them the right resources, but they can only produce three times before they're depleted at which point you'll need to upgrade them to something else.
Whatever resources you produce on any given turn must be used on that turn. Anything leftover gets tossed.
I'm not covering all the cards and interplays here. There are also leader cards that confer certain benefits.
The iconography takes some getting used to, but for whatever reason it clicked with me pretty quickly, unlike RftG.
My quick verdict based on one late evening play at BGG.Con is that it's well designed, it's thematic, and it's not my kind of game.
I'm not sure how to rate 7 Wonders. It's so much fun to play, and yet at the same time it's just not all that much depth to it.
And yet, I'm hard pressed to name any game that plays up to seven people in about half an hour that's actually interesting. I guess time is really the key point here; no matter how badly you might be doing, it'll be over soon. And you can just play again.
Or to paraphrase a friend of mine: I don't feel bad about losing; I can't imagine feeling good about winning; I make some decisions, am informed of a result, and go about my day.
A decent little card game. The run of play is not difficult, and the only thing you need to remember is what your opponents still have in their hands. Works well as a kids game, light starter to a gaming night, or something to finish off your gaming night.
I like this much better than the original Blokus - in part it's because it's harder to analyze the board position, and unlike the original, flipping a piece over or twisting it this way and that trying to figure out where it can go is a lot harder. I like abstract games in general, but I don't like pure abstraction - I like an element of "luck".
I understand how to play, and I agree that it's a marvellous card game, but this is the WorstGameEver(tm) for engendering what I call the "sore winner" behaviour that I loathe. Yes, I understand that you won this hand, I don't need the trick by trick analysis of the last hand. Let's move on. Next!
A lot of the tiles help finish cities/roads that you might not have been able to fit in the original. The added risk/reward of cathedrals and taverns, don't really add much to the game for me. Personally I'd take out the cathedrals and ignore the taverns (scoring wise).
Pros: Easy to learn, quick to set up, and it can be played in less than two hours. The graphics are nice and simple and easily read, and the rules are well written. Also - fun!
Cons: The system doesn't have massive replay value - don't get me wrong - you *will* get your money's worth and then some playing this little game, but once you've played all the scenarios a few times and won them, then it'll be one of those "Oh yeah, I remember that game!" items in your games closet that hits the table out of nostalgia every five years.
A fun dice rolling game where you're trying to balance the resources you have to maximize the odds of collecting more resources and airships (and ultimately pieces of the Hindenburg). Plays in just under an hour with four players.
Comparisons have been made between Java and Tikal and arguments abound as to which is better, but my summation is this - they're different enough to warrant playing on their own, and similar enough that if you know how to play one, you can play the other. Java is slightly more complex in strategy.
Rating after one (incomplete) play. I've heard of Phil Eklund's designs, and this was my first experience with it. We were six and we didn't manage to finish out the first decade (for a whole variety of reasons, not all of which were related to time constraints).
I can see the rating going up, and I would play this again, but would want to do so with fewer players and enough time to grind it out. I can certainly see that it would go much more quickly once you got your faction built up - question is, given how dry it is to get there, do I want to invest the time?
Essentially a Rummy style game with tiles and fancy designs, but a lot of fun. If it wasn't for all the wierd scoring variants (everyone has their own set of rules), I'd play it a lot more often...
In fact, while I used to rate this an "8", I think my new rating of "5" is more appropriate. It would take some persuasion (and careful negotiation of which of the many rules variants out there) to get it to hit the table.
Stole this great quote from user sobriquet - "Yeah, so I don't think Monopoly is very good any more... so what? It was a huge part of my game playing childhood, and I'm sure I owe my enjoyment of the hobby to it, at least to some extent. So bugger those who slag Monopoly -- rate it poorly, sure, according to your enjoyment, but why slag it?"
I really like this game - the cards add just a light element of luck because you never know what you'll draw. But that aside, hand management is key, as is managing your hero cards. Nice blend of strategy and tactics.
Notwithstanding anything else, I didn't feel a lot of tension in the game, and I can't pin my finger on it too well. To some extent it's because the system has been simplified almost to the point of being generic. Partly it's that the combat system feels bland. In any event, I never had that little electric tingle along my spine that something really exciting was about to happen.
I'd like to try this again, ideally with the campaign scenario, or at least a much longer one, and I think it would be fun to try it with 4 players.
Many have compared Tikal and Java. In short, they're both different enough to warrant playing on their own, but both similar enough that if you can play one, you can easily learn the other. Tikal is less strategically challenging than Java, but on the other hand, Tikal is more accessible to the casual gamer.
A fun little game. Reminds me of Metro, but without the pretension of trying to make routes! The elimination aspect is very interesting. The game is also scalable to 8 players, and it plays very quickly, which makes it very appealing as a filler.
A comment on the rating: this game is, for me, in the same class as Pit; namely, it fills the need as a simple and fun filler. In other words, in the right crowd and at the right time, it's a lot of fun.
Signed by Jeremiah Lee himself - how cool is that?
This is a great little solo game. It's a fun race against time and I like the nice simple mechanics. You don't have to think too hard, you can push your luck a little, and ultimately, it's a very satisfying way to spend 10-15 minutes.