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A Derk appears from the mists...
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Portland
Oregon
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I've played this game a couple times now, and I really like some aspects of it. The idea is that only one person makes actual decisions on a given turn, but the pieces used are drawn from a bag randomly, so the pieces you're using may not even be yours. Obviously, the whole game is about using your opponents' pieces as inefficiently as possible within the rules' restrictions, while making the most of your pieces when you have them. It's difficult to play quickly because it's all about cranking through all the options and figuring out which is best for you right at this moment. Now what makes this whole thing fit together is that each player can use part of his court to fortify the troops he's using on a given turn, but those must be selected before drawing of the random pieces commences and those in your court aren't replaced for the entire game. Depending on the length of the game selected, each player is given a number of taxation counters, which allow you to score everyone, with your stuff going for double points. Here's my problem with the game: you need to play the long version in order to mitigate the luck of having someone pull a bunch of their own pieces during their turn and then use this fortunate occurance to score a ton of points. But the long game is likely too darn long for its dryness for most groups, weighing in at more than two hours in my experience with little to do between turns except pleading your case to your fellow players. Another issue is that this game is only good for the magic number of players, four, which means it'll have a whole lot of competition for table-time. The production is great, even if the colors they chose are hard to tell in less than perfect lighting (likely, these are colorblind friendly colors or they had a sale at the printers), the cloth board is a nice touch. I want to play this game a couple times more, but unfortunately it might be one of those that simply won't happen because the cons (length and dryness) outweigh the pros (neat central mechanism). This game would be good for a group of more serious gamers or perhaps ex-wargamers.
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