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I am a harsh marker but, in my harshness, I like to think I am fair.
I don't like saying that every game I enjoy is "amazing" or "brilliant" or that every game I don't like is "crap" or "awful". I think such hyperbole is pointless and worthless rhetoric.
I mention all this so that you know that when I say Yggdrasil is very good, you know I don't say so lightly.
The idea of Yggdrasil is simply to survive.
You work with the other players to survive the onslaught of Enemy tokens and if, once the the last turn of the game has resolved, you're still alive - you all collectively win together. The only way the game can end is either with a loss or - effectively - a "final whistle".
Each turn starts with the new player drawing an Enemy card to see which Enemy token advances, they then also carry out the special power of the Enemny, and then take three actions of their own to fight back, Each action you take on your turn must be different (so you can't, for example, fight the Enemies twice on the same turn) and there are enough different actions available that you're never going to have enough actions to do all that you want to do. And it is here, in determining which actions to take and in what order, that the skill and tactics of the player is put to the test.
As previously mentioned, the whole game revolves around stopping the Enemy from killing you. The Enemy Tokens advance up the board and if one ever reaches the end, you lose. But it's not quite as simple as that because if three Enemies all get 2/3s of the way, you also lose. And if 5 ever get 1/3 then, guess what, game over again. So you have to try your best to keep on top of all the Enemy tokens and it is this struggle which governs the entire game. Everything else you do in the game is done with this essential mechanic in mind - you knock the Enemy back down the board enough times or you lose.
Aiding you in your quest are two different types of tokens, a stack of cards (not a deck; the distinction being that with a stack you look through for a specific card rather than draw a random one) and a die. You have to manage these resources as best you can to maximise their ability to help you while at the same time navigating the Enemy powers which often do their best to cripple these resources. For example, one of the Enemies is capable of completely removing the die from Combat - this can make things VERY tricky if you are not prepared properly and can lead to several frantic turns while the players try and get enough gear together to get their precious die back.
By way of a second example, there is only one card in the stack that gives a +3 bonus against each Enemy. If Player A has it, player B can't get the +3 bonus. In a 4 player game this can be tricky as you'll have three turns in a row in which it is harder to fight that Enemy because no one has access to the strongest card to use against him. If that Enemy moves up the board several times in those turns, it can prove disasterous.
Care and attention and co-operation is therefore needed at every step along the way. If that doesn't sound like you sort of game then Yggrdasil is probably not for you. But for those who have a group with which they can co-ordinate well, Yggdrasil proves an interesting challenge and is simple enough and addictive enough that you'll want to keep coming back for more. And when you find that you can beat the game with boring regularity, there are several ways of making the game harder - possibly MUCH harder - and it will take a great deal of expertise to beat the game at it's hardest.
For me, the look of the game is extremely secondary to the gameplay itself but for those who want to know, the artwork is top rate and while everything on the board and cards is done through symbols instead of text, you should have no trouble learning most of them after a game or three.
Yggdrasil is a rare game where co-operation is a must instead of an optional extra. If you play as a colleciton of individulas all aiming for the same goal (as happens in so many other co-op games), then you'll lose; but if you work as a proper team then you'll find a very rewarding game that you'll want to return to time and again.
8 out of 10. Strongly recommended.
Nice review. Welcome aboard! Wait'll you try with a few of the difficulty cards thrown in. The game becomes quite hard.
I'd buy it, if I didn't already own it that is
- Last edited Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:05 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:04 am
DARK IN HERE, ISN'T IT?
Good review. I agree with all of it I think.