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Tiago Perretto
Brazil
Curitiba
Parana
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Thinking about my next move.
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So, if my only options are these, then I shall...
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About Eminent Domain: Microcosm:

1) What is it?
Eminent Domain: Microcosm is a microgame, composed of 34 cards, and it tries to capture de same feeling as that present in Eminent Domain, with less rules, cards and in a fraction of time, being also a 2 players only game.

The game lasts for around 18 quick rounds, in which players can colonize or capture planets, develop technologies and use politics to have some boosts during the play, in order to create your galatic empire.

The short rules have several gaps, allowing for several doubts while playing for the first times, but once the flow is going, the pace is good enough.

While is has interaction between players, it isn't a full on attack mode like that in Star Realms. The goal is to have more points at the end of the game, considering that all cards allow to score something players can acquire during play.

In the end Eminent Domain: Microcosm is efficient in creating, in a short frame, a nice game with several options, even if for a couple of plays some quirkiness will arise.

2) How do you play?
In her turn a player takes a card from one of the three exposed or one blind from the draw deck, then she does one action - the card used to trigger the action goes to the discard pile; or she can take all the cards in the discard pile back into her hands.

The actions are of three types:
- Colonize: allow to take a planet and keep in front of you, as you can, later, use it for the benefit each has;
- Capture: take over a planet - it goes to the spoils pile;
- Research: develop a tech that can help during the play or in the final score;
- Political: usually actions that allow to mess with the other player or obtain informations/advantages during play.

Some actions, to have full effect, require cards from the player's hand to be revealed - these don't go to the discard pile.

The game ends once all the cards in the draw deck are taken. The player that took the final cards plays her turn and the game ends. All cards score something - like 1 point for each colony - and the players tally the points. The winner will be the person with the most points.

3) Which are the decisions made during play?
Which card to take, considering four things:
a) The action it allows to trigger;
b) What it will score in the end of the game;
c) The symbol it has (useful to make some actions better and/or are used to score);
d) The planet it has - used for scoring.

Then which action to trigger - these will be easier, as most of them will be driven by the cards you will have in hand (for instance, with several symbols for colonize, you will likely colonize). And when to take your discard back into your hands - this is important on itself, as it will allow for better actions and it has a nice timming in it, as it is likely that you will be doing this only once during the play.

4) What are the good things in the game?
- Fast playing time (10 to 15 minutes);
- Good set of decisions and possibilities considering the small amount of time it takes and the short supply of cards the game comes with;
- A not too agressive head to head game, but with some interesting interactions;
- The box fits the cards with sleeves.

5) Which are the bad news?
- The rules leave a lot of room for doubts, being sorely incomplete in some aspects. Maybe of the worst rulebooks I have seen in quite a while;
- Scoring isn't fun or easy, and can lead to mistakes.

6) How do you feel while playing?
Probably surprise at first: as you simply won't really understand what you are suppose to do. Then you will do - for some of it. You will think that should be enough to get the game going, as it is so small that it shouldn't need much more. But it does. You are confused about revealing planets, attacking planets or colonizing the planets of the other player - can you do it? No? Yes. Can the other player defend against this? Well... Better just do a Research or conquer a planet of the middle of the table.

Anyway, once the hurdle of learning the game and a little hurt for being betrayed by the rulebook, you became surprised that Eminent Domain: Microcosm has many more possibilities and room for tatics - even some light strategy - built in a clever way. Every choice has importance and weight, be for the moment and/or for the end game scoring. The play is always pushing towards the finish - every turn at least one card will be taken, and the game is one step to end. There is no way to stop the it - it is eminent, after all.

Therefore, in spite of the rules trying to murder the game on sight, Eminent Domain: Microcosm can survive with some effort by the players, and it surely delivers a good, smart and surprisingly rich game for those that resist against that tragedy in form of rules. Recommended.

Regards,


Image credit: cagriggs



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John
United Kingdom
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Good review - I should play this game a bit more.
tiagoVIP wrote:

- The box fits the cards with sleeves.

Perfectly - this is a great & simple design, by adding a small piece of corrugated cardboard to pad out the cards you can keep sleeved cards in the original box. I was very pleased when I realised this.

tiagoVIP wrote:
- The rules leave a lot of room for doubts, being sorely incomplete in some aspects. Maybe of the worst rulebooks I have seen in quite a while;

This seems to be a common opinion (which I'd read before I got the game) but I thought the rules were clear.

tiagoVIP wrote:

- Scoring isn't fun or easy, and can lead to mistakes.

Yeah, it can be a bit of a pain since you end up with 9 cards with variable scoring, though I've not found it too bad if I do stuff in a consistent way. I find Lost Cities for instance to be far more difficult to score (due to my inability to do mental arithmetic when tired).

tiagoVIP wrote:
Every choice has importance and weight, be for the moment and/or for the end game scoring.

Yes, this is a positive but can sometimes put me off playing - it feels like a lot of game crammed into a small package and there's lots to consider for each decision - as well as considering how much a card help me I have to consider how it helps my opponent and whether I should take a card that's worse for me to deny it to my opponent.
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Seth Jaffee
United States
Tucson
Arizona
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Thanks for the review! Sorry you had trouble with the rules. We issued an updated PDF (can be found in the files section here on BGG), hopefully that will help some players.

I'm glad you stuck with it and found that you enjoyed the game!
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