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My first review, I won't bore you with the rules. They are available online and there are a couple of videos on YouTube.
Can't believe there's not more buzz around this. Absolutely brilliant. The play is swift, the card play, alliances and fun interactions happen on every turn. It will replace Cosmic Encounter for me, for reasons outlined below...
- Quick to teach and play (~1 hour). It is a simple game defined by the interactions between the players.
- Hostage rules are brilliant, essentially you take cards from each other and can choose to return them or torment them (doing big damage to your enemy). This adds loads to the diplomacy as how you treat hostages effects all the relationships at the table. You can also bluff about what the card is that you have. We had lots of chain interactions sparked off by someone murdering a hostage. Brilliant.
- Negotiations are varied, you can offer crowns and hostages as well as the standard influence.
- The card play is clever, your character cards have neat interactions and once you know what they do, you start getting suspicious when 'character x' is presented in an encounter. Also, your leader's card is smartly designed compliment it's main power, resulting in some really neat moments. For example Tyrion's power is to make encounter cards subtract instead of add, then if you play his character card you can force your opponent to discard their chosen card and play a higher one if they have one, giving you the advantage.
- The theme fits the gameplay really perfectly, betrayal, intrigue, alliances, death and greed. The discussions are more thematic than "help me", it's more like "never trust the filthy Lannisters!"
- The cards are not quite as explicit about when they can be played. Cosmic has the neat graphics at the bottom showing the phases. This just has text.
- Lots of reviews would put lack of variety here but this is NOT a complaint from me, it has loads of it and expansions will come. Yes cosmic has more but that's like saying Syrup is sweeter than Honey.
In comparison to... Cosmic Encounter
Easier to teach, more thematic, quicker playing, more appealing to 'normals', more interesting discussion/negotiating points beyond "help me I'm weak" or "stop him he's strong".
Ways which it is simpler:
- all players draw up to 5 cards if they have less at end of turn
- all defenders (allies and main defender) get same reward for winning
- less card types - attacks, truces and character cards
- 1 turn each even if you win encounter instead of possibly 2
- character powers are usually 1 or 2 sentences instead of a whole paragraph.
- set up is easier as there are no flares to shuffle in
Could/should you own both? Yes maybe. They're very similar though. Cosmic might suit people that love space themes and/or hate Game of Thrones. I'm debating this now. If I keep one though it'll be this
Thanks for reading, any feedback would be great. I might write more!
- Last edited Mon Nov 28, 2016 12:28 pm (Total Number of Edits: 3)
- Posted Tue Nov 22, 2016 10:28 pm
We just got this game for Thanksgiving Family holiday gaming, and agree with you. It has been a real winner in our family so far.