Jason Martin
Canada
Torbay
Newfoundland
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OK guys, I have to say I am excited to be able to look in my collection view and see a "1" next to plays finally, this is a long time coming!

On Saturday, we had a 2-table board game night, and a group of us had just played Chicago Express on table 1. We moved to table 2, and the guys wanted to play something different. Andrew had heard that I had Shadow, and liked the sound of it, so we dug in!

We had to unpunch the game and read over the rules, and boy, the rulebook was something else! I think part of the confusion was the fact that the game starts in phase IV, but they explain phase 1 first. We tried to read the rules from phase IV-VIII, and then I-III, but the rules are not set up to read like that. Several times, murmurs of dissent surfaced among the other players, threatening to request to cancel our game of Shadow and try something else. We stuck with it, and after the first turn, we got rolling fast.

We were really playing by the seat of our pants, but we got into the groove soon enough. I remarked that it felt similar to Caylus in some ways, with the action cards representing the buildings, and the jockeying for power in each district was satisfying. I am a political science graduate, and a lover of Roman/Holy Roman history, so this game scratched several thematic itches for me.

In terms of game play, Ian was the emperor, and focused on the upper leftmost dioceses. Craig battled for the upper right diocese, while I largely focused on the lower left districts, and Andrew the lower right. Oddly enough, this almost completely corresponded to our seating arrangement!

Ian was the emperor, as I said, and used every first action to grab the victory point card, and by turn 3 or so, we all decided that he was pulling too far ahead. I grabbed the "Control of the Church" card which gave an extra vote, and stated that I "just wanted to get a son" to try to hide my intent to push for the throne. I excommunicated Craig, who had one vote, to enable Andrew to choose if I would usurp Ian or not. Andrew choose me, and I held the throne for the remainder of the game, as we were all fighting for VP's, and noone thought to challenge me.

I ended up "winning", though in a first play of a game, the exploratory nature of the outing hardly justifies the implications of that term. We were all fascinated by the game, and of the 8-10 people that circulate through our gaming group, I can think of 2-4 besides me that would really enjoy it, which works out just fine!

My first impressions are definitely fascination. While the long start up and dreadful rules colored the experience somewhat, I definitely feel that both my continuous interest in the game, and the abundant recommendations were justified.

Definitely a game I foresee working into our regular rotation, it truly feels very similar to other eurogames I have, yet oddly unique.
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Drew
United States
Wisconsin
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It really is an excellent game that improves with experience. One of my most-played, and a definite "10" rating. Though you remind me that I haven't played it in far too long. I think it comes out this weekend.

 
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Jason Martin
Canada
Torbay
Newfoundland
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Drew1365 wrote:
It really is an excellent game that improves with experience. One of my most-played, and a definite "10" rating. Though you remind me that I haven't played it in far too long. I think it comes out this weekend.



Thanks for the encouragement! I was intrigued by it, it's a perfect game in terms of successfully marrying theme with mechanics without any chrome.
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Kevin Garnica
United States
Buena Park
California
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This game is truly...strange. And that's why I honestly love it. I hold on to it to play it whenever I get the chance (though rare it is.) I also love the theme and artwork, so geek bonus for me!
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Marcus
Singapore
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Glad to see you perserved past the initial muddling through rules and eventually had a good experience. I had the same experience as well, couldn't make any sense of the rules initially - but I played a few games online at www.mabiweb.com - fantastic implementation. Quickly got the hang of it and really enjoyed the games.

It is really a tight game with 4 experienced players, the in-built incentive to jockey constantly for control of different provinces, the risk vs reward of challenging for and retaining ownership of the emperor. Makes me sad when I see so many geeks trading or selling it off without trying it out at least once.
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Jason Martin
Canada
Torbay
Newfoundland
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mimi2 wrote:
Glad to see you perserved past the initial muddling through rules and eventually had a good experience. :) I had the same experience as well, couldn't make any sense of the rules initially - but I played a few games online at www.mabiweb.com - fantastic implementation. Quickly got the hang of it and really enjoyed the games.

It is really a tight game with 4 experienced players, the in-built incentive to jockey constantly for control of different provinces, the risk vs reward of challenging for and retaining ownership of the emperor. Makes me sad when I see so many geeks trading or selling it off without trying it out at least once.


It appears to have a lot of depth, and seems to have more direct competition than many euros.
 
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