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Subject: Mina's Not-So-Mini Review - Loving Colonizing With Two rss

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Milena Guberinic
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Mina's Not-So-Mini Review - Loving Colonizing With Two




The Overview


In Colony, you will enter a race to build the best colony on a post-apocalyptic earth. By rolling dice, you will gain resources that will help you acquire locations and recruit people, which will increase your influence and help you win the game.

To set up the game, you lay out 6 basic card stacks on their 1.0 sides, as well as 7 randomly chosen variable card stacks. An app will be available in the app stores to help you select sets of variable card stacks randomly once the game is fully released.



You will receive a Warehouse, Supply Exchange, Upgrade, and Construction building in your player color and roll 3 white stable resource dice to place in your Warehouse at the start of the game.



Each turn, you will:

1. Prepare
Place all the dice from your Warehouse into your play area.

2. Scavenge
In a 2-player game, roll 3 white stable resource dice, select 1 to keep, offer the remaining 2 to your opponent who must place the die taken in his Warehouse, and keep the final one. You may roll up to 3 CHIPIs you have to gain 3 unstable grey resource dice.

3. Activate
Activate any number of cards in any order. You may only activate each card once per turn. Your basic cards allow you to construct new location cards and add them to your tableau by paying the resources shown on those locations (this will also give you CHIPIs, which you will be able to use on a future turn to add to the dice in your pool), to exchange any two like-valued resource dice to any other die value, or to upgrade any location. Upgraded locations generally provide more powerful versions of their basic actions and in many cases provide additional points.

You may discard one card to gain a number of stable resources equal to the difference between your score and the leader's score. Most cards give you points, so if you discard a card that provides points, you will lose the ones from the discarded card at the end of the game.

4. Clean up
Add all your newly built cards and return all unused unstable grey resource dice to the supply. Add the VP from your newly built buildings to your current score.

If you have at least 20 VP at the end of your turn, you win the game!


Basic and upgraded versions of the same cards


Mid-game tableau


The Review


Played prior to review: 6.5x






1. Great insert, game support, and components
Colony is a well-produced and well-supported game. With an app to generate random card combinations and a very handy insert that effectively organizes all the cards, setup takes very little time. Also, I quite enjoy the frosted dice.


How great is this insert!?


2. Compulsively replayable due to the multitude of cards and card combinations
Colony is not the most brainy of games, but its replay value is enhanced by its multitude of variable location cards and the ways you use those location cards to race for victory. Each game will feature a different combination of possibilities for gaining more dice, manipulating those dice, storing those dice, and making points, so you will have to figure out the best combination of those locations to shoot for at the start of each game. In this sense, Colony feels a bit like Dominion; you have a set of options at the start of the game and you have to figure out the best combination of those options that will help you race to victory. Of course, your ability to do that in the order you want to may be hindered by the dice you roll early in the game, so you may have to make more detours and concessions.

Despite not being the brainiest of games, Colony does seem to grow the more you play it. It seems all random at first, but the more you play, the more

3. Great sense of progress and escalation
Colony is an engine-building race game in which you start small and build large. You begin the game with 3 dice and add 2 (in a 2-player game) to that on your first turn. So you have 5 dice and likely limited options based on how those dice have been rolled at the start of the game. You feel impotent and limited and entirely subject to the fickle forces of the universe. And that isn't far from the truth. The choices you face early in the game are relatively restricted to the few dice you roll.

As you add cards to your tableau and upgrade your existing ones, you not only acquire additional dice that will present you with additional opportunities, but you also acquire different ways to use and manipulate the dice you have at your disposal, which increases both the quantity of choices you face and your ability to make them. And as you approach the middle of the game with multiple cards that produce resource dice of various values and you become able to consistently pump out points, you start to feel omnipotent. Nothing can slow you down! Not even the fickle forces of the universe!

I love games that make me feel like I am creating something awesome and Colony does just that!

4. Great combination of strategy and tactics
Colony is a dice game that strikes a perfect balance between strategy and tactics. Each game begins with a different set of location cards that you have to survey to determine which die values will be most useful in helping you acquire additional location cards and thus points. Each location card has a different die value requirement for its acquisition and potentially its activation, so determining which basic locations to pursue in order to help you increase your production of those dice values is vital. Many of the locations (i.e. the orange) that will allow you to most quickly and effectively shoot up the point track feature certain requirements, so determining the die values that will help you meet those is vital. For example, the Infrastructure location gives you a point for each two upgraded location cards, meaning that you will want to find a way to upgrade your cards quickly and efficiently in a game with Infrastructure in play. A Fabric Replicator (which gives you an extra 4-pip die), a Portein Lab (which gives you an extra 3-pip die), and a GMO Farm (which gives you an extra 2-pip die each turn) would help you achieve this. As another example, the Investment Bank increases in value for each set of 1-pip dice you spend on it, so you will want to focus on finding ways to acquire 1-pip dice in a game with the Investment Bank in play. With multiple orange locations, you have to figure out which would be easiest and quickest to pull off. So you have to think about what kind of engine you need to build from the start of the game.

The game also allows you to make some mid/long-term plans by allowing you to store dice from turn to turn using your warehouse, which you are able to upgrade to store even more resources and set yourself up for even bigger moves! Whether you choose to use your resource dice for short-term gains or with a long-term perspective is up to you thanks to this element.

Now, being a dice game, Colony is as tactical as it is strategic, particularly early in the game; you can make all the plans you want, but if you just don't see the dice you want to see and have a limited dice pool, you may have to make some detours along the way to your goals. Piles of variable location cards may become depleted before you can get to them and an opponent may force you to delay a plan with an attack. Early in the game, you may simply have to acquire the locations you are able to acquire just to get an engine going. And that's ok because as the game progresses, your options will expand and you should be able to put your earlier plans into effect.

5. Plenty of options each turn
Colony may be a light dice game, but it gives you plenty of options from the very beginning. Early in the game, you have to determine whether to simply start to build your engine using whatever the dice tell you to use or whether to hold off, storing the dice you have been given, in the hopes of being able to acquire a more location card that fits your chosen strategy. And how do you build your engine? Do you acquire the locations that give you unstable resources? Do you acquire attack cards to help you steal other players' dice? Do you upgrade locations for their enhanced effects and additional point values or do you simply go for raw power, acquiring as many different locations as you possibly can? Or do you do some combination thereof?

As the game goes on and you acquire CHIPIs by building various buildings, your options open up, not only as a result of the dice and actions those locations provide, but also as a result of the CHIPIs you accumulate. Early in the game, with limited CHIPIs, you may choose to either use the CHIPIs you have to help you build your engine more quickly or you may choose to save them for the opportunity to build multiple locations later in the game. However, given the fact that you can only use a maximum of 3 CHIPIs a turn, you have to ensure you don't wait for too long.

Another thing you are constantly thinking about in this game is the supply of variable locations. Particularly the orange scoring locations. These special locations are available in very limited quantities (i.e. as many as the number of players), so if you desperately want one, you have to ensure you race to get it. The only issue is that scoring locations don't help your engine. They simply become lumps of card, sitting on the table and consuming your resources for no good reason. You often have to make some difficult tradeoffs between building up your engine and ability to acquire cards and stalling a bit to acquire a long-term investment.

6. The two-player version of the game may make for a slightly more strategic experience than when playing at higher player counts
This is a review for the two-player version of the game, so this is a positive. When playing with two players, you get at least two resource dice on each of your turns and you are guaranteed to get one resource dice when it isn't your turn. This is 1 more die per turn than you would receive when playing with more players, which means you have a slightly expanded decision space from the start. Additionally, the fact that the 2-player version of the game demands that you reach a higher point threshold to win means you have more time to build and play with your engine and make some decisions with a longer-term perspective.

7. Well balanced by the option to discard locations for resources
Colony is a race, but it isn't a race in which you can fall behind and feel like you have no way to push forward. Strategically jettisoning cards can help you pull ahead if you are behind, as doing so nets you as many resources as the number of points you are behind the leader. This can give you the push you need to acquire that extra point or two and land on the 20-point mark. Because this is a pure race and no extra turns are awarded to players once one has reached twenty, all you have to do is get yourself to that point. In fact, in one game, I NEARLY managed to win the game despite the fact that Peter was 5 points ahead! I abandoned a card that was giving me zero points, got myself some extra resources and pushed to 19! It was an exciting final round! And that is precisely why I love this game! It is filled with exciting moments and decision points and you always feel like you are in the race!



soblue


soblue 1. No theme
You don't feel like you are in a post-apocalyptic future while playing this game, but that is to be expected going into a light dice-rolling card-acquisition game. Some of the cards have thematic effects, like the Swindler, who allows you to exchange one of your own resources with an opponent's or the Pirate who gambles and does mean things to others or whose crazy temper can blow up in your face. Other than some minor relations between card effects and theme, there isn't much thematic immersion here.

soblue 2. Some cards are less exciting when playing with only two players than they would be when playing with more than two players
The trading, attack, and defense cards are relatively less interesting when playing with only two players than they would be with more players. With more players, you can tactically select targets for your attacks (i.e. players who have yet to acquire defense cards or players who are in the lead) and trades. With only two players, your target is always the same and if he acquires a good defense card on the turn after you've acquired an attack, your attacks may only be helping him. Fortunately, the game comes with a huge assortment of cards and if attacking and defending with only two players seems boring to you, you can simply ignore those stacks and choose from the rest. That does limit the selection somewhat, but there is still plenty of choice.

soblue 3. It can be a bit annoying to have to count and re-count your score at the end of each turn
This is a specific complaint that is targeted mostly at the Stockpile card. The VP value of this card depends on the number of like resources you have in your warehouse at the end of each turn, meaning that its value fluctuates. This makes for a very annoying counting exercise each turn. You have to stay on top of the VPs you are acquiring and occasionally have to recount them in order to make sure you haven't missed anything, but Stockpile makes it necessary to do this EVERY TURN. If you're like me, you don't like having to count the same darn thing turn after turn.

Final Word


I don't like Machi Koro. I don't like Card Kingdoms. I don't like CV. I don't like any number of light, dice and card-based roll-and-see-what-happens games. They just make me yawn. The first of such games I was actually enthused about was Favor of the Pharaoh, an earlier Bezier Games release. Favor of the Pharaoh is exciting and interesting and engaging, despite the inevitable luck of the roll. Like Favor of the Pharaoh, Colony is exciting and engaging and fun! Much more so than any number of its dice-based cousins.

That said, I have a confession to make - I HATED my first play of Colony. In fact, I couldn't even finish our first game. We quit halfway because I couldn't stand how random the game felt. I felt like I was just rolling and seeing what happened and had ZERO agency. A few hours later, after I had gone through a cool-down period, we tried it again and I didn't hate it. And each time I've played it since, I have enjoyed it more because I've come to realize that I do have agency, that I do have strategic and tactical options, and that I am presented with multiple options with each turn. It is easy to become blinded by all the dice and feel like you aren't capable of doing anything when you first play this game, but the more you play it, the more capable you become of restraining yourself, of keeping yourself from simply going with the flow and instead using your warehouse to build up to turns that will work to further your plans. And the more you play, the more capable you become of seeing the interactions between the cards and building an effective engine that won't sputter, but hurl you towards the finish line. Because that is what this game is about. It is about speed, efficiency, and flexibility. And it is about fun! Compulsively replayable, addictively exciting, dice-rolling, engine-building, colonizing FUN!

MINA'S LOVE METER heart heart heart heart LOTS OF LOVE




***


Mina's Love Meter


angry Burn it! - I dislike this game so much that it makes me angry. (I rate these 4 or less on the BGG scale)
Dislike - I don't like this game, but I can see why others like it.
(5 on BGG scale)
heart Some like - I find this game somewhat appealing, but it doesn't really grab me. I am glad to have had the opportunity to try this game, but it is unlikely to stay in my collection for very long.
(5.5 to 6.5) on BGG scale)
heart heart Like - I like this game and appreciate the design. I am happy to play this game occasionally when the mood strikes and enjoy doing so.
(7 to 7.5 on BGG scale)
heart heart heart Some love - I love this game. It's not perfect, but it really appeals to me and I will play it frequently.
(7.5 to 8 on BGG scale)
heart heart heart heart Lots of love - I really love this game. The design really speaks to me. I want to play it most of the time.
(8 to 9 on BGG scale)
heart heart heart heart heart All love all the time - I ADORE this game and can see myself playing it many times and for many years. I would go to sleep clutching it in my arms and want to play it all day every day...only not literally because that would be insane.
(9 to 10 on BGG scale)



To see my other reviews, visit this geeklist.



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Feld Fan
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Great review! I have been "thinking about" this one. Thanks!
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Milena Guberinic
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feldfan2014 wrote:
Great review! I have been "thinking about" this one. Thanks!

Thank you!
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Curt Frantz
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Each player does have a lot of options each turn, but when almost every card is worth 1 point, what prevents players from simply buying as many cheap cards as possible and racing to 14 points (or scaled for player count)? I found that the game isn't really long enough (with 3p and 4p) to reward strategic approaches.
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Milena Guberinic
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tribefan07 wrote:
Each player does have a lot of options each turn, but when almost every card is worth 1 point, what prevents players from simply buying as many cheap cards as possible and racing to 14 points (or scaled for player count)? I found that the game isn't really long enough (with 3p and 4p) to reward strategic approaches.


That's why I speculated that it may be more strategic with 2, which is what this review is about. With two players, you absolutely cannot do that. The game goes to 20 points.
 
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Curt Frantz
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milenaguberinic wrote:
tribefan07 wrote:
Each player does have a lot of options each turn, but when almost every card is worth 1 point, what prevents players from simply buying as many cheap cards as possible and racing to 14 points (or scaled for player count)? I found that the game isn't really long enough (with 3p and 4p) to reward strategic approaches.


That's why I speculated that it may be more strategic with 2, which is what this review is about. With two players, you absolutely cannot do that. The game goes to 20 points.


That's true. I can see how 2 players would make a significant difference. I do wish the 2 player balance strategy/tactics scaled better
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Mikko Saari
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If the game feels too short, just up the VP conditions a bit. They were lowered in the game development process and while I understand why that was done, I think the game might be more fun for experienced players if it's a tad longer.
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Jason Miller
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Thanks for the review, Mina. My wife and I have had our eyes on this one since we heard about it.

We're also considering Grand Austria Hotel as a future purchase. Since you've done reviews for both, would you think these games are similar enough to only get one of them, or is there enough difference to consider both?

Thanks, and happy Wednesday!
Jason
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Milena Guberinic
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msaari wrote:
If the game feels too short, just up the VP conditions a bit. They were lowered in the game development process and while I understand why that was done, I think the game might be more fun for experienced players if it's a tad longer.


I agree.
 
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Milena Guberinic
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GiantCoyoteBird wrote:
Thanks for the review, Mina. My wife and I have had our eyes on this one since we heard about it.

We're also considering Grand Austria Hotel as a future purchase. Since you've done reviews for both, would you think these games are similar enough to only get one of them, or is there enough difference to consider both?

Thanks, and happy Wednesday!
Jason


Hi Jason!

Happy Wednesday! Grand Austria and Colony have some similar elements, but the end results are quite different. Colony is much lighter and shorter in play time. I think they can comfortably co-exist.
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Adrian Hague
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How would you say this game compares to Roll for the Galaxy?
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