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Jayson Myers
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Conclusion: No reason to hide the ball. I wasn't expecting much with Aladdin's Dragons as it was mostly a throw in on a bigger purchase in a geek auction. I must admit I am a big fan of worker placement; I am not sure why but I am. Something about few places to "work" and few people to "work" and other people taking my spot just does it for me. It is not the only mechanic I like, but I have noticed most of my favorite games have this mechanic. No surprise, Aladdin's Dragons has this mechanic and I like this game. We had a lot of fun playing this game and it came down to the very last artifact that everyone (all 4 players) was going for and that decided the game.



Components: The game has an old look to it. Like 1980-90 look. I do not know how to put it, but the colors are bland, the artwork is "fat" and cartoony (not like Glory to Rome). I actually like that, but the colors are bland (it is not ugly by any stretch of the imagination). I actually like the board. The cards (for Magic) are not of the best stock, but not horrible. The jewels are interesting and there are big and small in four different colors. They are actually very nice. The chits you bid with (more on this later) are very nice and serve their purpose. Overall, the components are very good (not FF good, but good).



Rules: The rules are oddly set up, but work very well. There is a stater game that takes up the majority of the rule book. The last few pages explains the "gamer" version that use the magic cards. I've never played the starter game and I do not think most people would, so it is odd it takes up the majority of the rule book. Other than this odd fact, the game is very easy to understand from the rule book. The rules are laid out well and I do not remember any ambiguities when we played the game. Everything flowed and made complete sense.



Flow of the game: The basic idea is you place your "workers" on certain places of the board that allow you to do different things. The unique part of this game is you blind bid on the things to do. Everyone had chits with 1-10 (no 3 though) and you bid. The highest bid gets to do the action. The trick is you can see how many chits a player plays, but not the numbers. This is an interesting mechanic and added a lot to the game (Vasco Da Gamo has a similar mechanic with a twist). I liked this part about it a lot and it made you bid differently based on what you needed and what you thought others were bidding.

After the bidding is done, you then get to get the reward. At the bottom in the Dragon caves, you get jewels. Based on the distribution for the round, you may get something or nothing; the highest bidder gets the best (or most) jewels. There are 5 caves for each of the 5 colors and some may have jewels and some may not (you know before bidding).

Then, the city rewards are determined. This could be exchanging jewels, playing cards, playing artifacts, and/or becoming first player. These rewards allow you break the rules of the game.

The third area is the palace. This is where you can get VP via the artifacts. You win by having the most artifacts (artifacts also let you break the rules via their powers). You must bribe the guard to be able to get a shot at the artifacts (unless you use the key artifact). You would bid your workers hoping you have more than the number on the guard (guard number can be a number between 1-10 but you do not know the number until after you bid). If you fall short, you can pay in jewels.

On top of this, there are magic cards you can play at anytime.

This is almost the entire game. It is very fun and it works very smoothly.



Should you buy this?: If you like worker placement, then yes. I'd rate this with other worker placement games and it is much easier. This is more like a light worker placement, but not a filler. This could be the main event of the night and there are a lot of hard decisions to be made. The game is not overly complicated and that is a plus for the game. If you like Ameri-Trash games (I still hate that name) and like to play the occasional Euro-Game (I hate this name also), this might be the right game for you. Not too much of a brain burner and it is still a tight game. I highly recommend this game.
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kevin long
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Never thought of this as a worker placement. But i guess it is technically. I absolutely love this game and just pulled it out to take on a trip and then saw your review. I remember this game is a rework fo the author's more famous keydom, haven't tried it. I just love this gem and don't play it enough. We always play with out the magic cards and those worker spots. Feels like a better game without the chaos of those. Thanks for your pimping review on this high anticipation game!
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Jayson Myers
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In our play, I think only one card was actually played (although people had more cards). I never went after the cards so I didn't have any to use.

It is very fun and I was impressed.
 
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Henrik Lantz
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Uppsala
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Thanks for this, and your other recent reviews. Very nice to see reviews of some older titles that really are worthy of some attention (or not). Now go get yourself an avatar!
 
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Ray Smith
United States
Newburg
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AD is one of my all time favs. A 10 in my book. Plenty of decisions, strategy and great fun.
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Caleb
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I just got this recently and was pleasantly surprised. It hearkens back to the glory days of Euros before they got all bloated and filled with unnecessary mechanisms. It's a very pure design, with enough 'fluff' to keep things interesting. You NEVER feel like you have enough resources to accomplish your goals.
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James Derbyshire
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william4192 wrote:
I'd rate this with other worker placement games and it is much easier. This is more like a light worker placement, but not a filler. This could be the main event of the night and there are a lot of hard decisions to be made. The game is not overly complicated and that is a plus for the game. If you like Ameri-Trash games (I still hate that name) and like to play the occasional Euro-Game (I hate this name also), this might be the right game for you. Not too much of a brain burner and it is still a tight game. I highly recommend this game.


I'm struggling with this paragraph a bit. You call it a light game and I'd say it really isn't. Mechanically it's very simple, yes, but so is Tigris for example. That's the beauty of AD; simple rules but VERY tense game play and some tough decisions to be made. There's a lot of gambling and bluffing going on. It's easy in that anyone can pick it up, but to play it well...

Good review, thanks.
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Drew
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WoooooEeeeeee! WoooooEeeeeee!



Call the Mechanics Police!!

Worker Placement? No, no, no, no, no . . .

I think the term you're looking for is "blind bidding."
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Ian Allen
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This is an excellent game and always will be. I have had many fun sessions with this over the years although we don't play it as much any more due to the cult of the new.

Ys has some similarities, but AD is still the better game!
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bruno faidutti
France
PARIS
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Drew1365 wrote:
WoooooEeeeeee! WoooooEeeeeee!



Call the Mechanics Police!!

Worker Placement? No, no, no, no, no . . .

I think the term you're looking for is "blind bidding."


Half blind bidding indeed, but nevertheless a really great game which ought to be republished.
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tom moughan
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Rochester
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Anyone played the card game version and can compare the two? The card game version still seems like its remotely available and appears to be a distilled version of the mechanics in play (minus magic) in the big box game.

I have played the board game and love it but sadly do not own it - I am also a fan of bidding and the meta game that goes along with blind bidding -
 
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Jayson Myers
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Clermont
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Bolger wrote:
Thanks for this, and your other recent reviews. Very nice to see reviews of some older titles that really are worthy of some attention (or not). Now go get yourself an avatar!


Bolger thanks for the tip and the avatar!
 
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Jayson Myers
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cannoneer wrote:
I just got this recently and was pleasantly surprised. It hearkens back to the glory days of Euros before they got all bloated and filled with unnecessary mechanisms. It's a very pure design, with enough 'fluff' to keep things interesting. You NEVER feel like you have enough resources to accomplish your goals.


Yes, this was very interesting to go back and play an older game and it felt..well..refreshing. Just enough to play a fun game, without the added....stuff.
 
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Jayson Myers
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Drew1365 wrote:
WoooooEeeeeee! WoooooEeeeeee!



Call the Mechanics Police!!

Worker Placement? No, no, no, no, no . . .

I think the term you're looking for is "blind bidding."


Hey Drew,

I'm not the most informed gamer, but isn't it a mix? I send my workers to the cave. If someone sent "more", then I don't get it. In my experience that is how worker placement works. But I will admit, I'm not an expert by any means.
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kevin long
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Don't forget these are plexi-glass pieces - thats something to brag about
 
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Drew
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william4192 wrote:
Drew1365 wrote:
WoooooEeeeeee! WoooooEeeeeee!



Call the Mechanics Police!!

Worker Placement? No, no, no, no, no . . .

I think the term you're looking for is "blind bidding."


Hey Drew,

I'm not the most informed gamer, but isn't it a mix? I send my workers to the cave. If someone sent "more", then I don't get it. In my experience that is how worker placement works. But I will admit, I'm not an expert by any means.


I just don't think you're placing "workers" here. You're placing numbered tokens that represent . . . numbers.

But it's a pet peeve of mine how the term "worker placement" has gotten abused. For example, people call Vasco da Gama "worker placement," but it's really just action selection and sequencing. No workers involved.

cool
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Jayson Myers
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See, I think the dispute would be I think the numbers are representing workers. You are sending troops (people) to get the jewels from the dragons, not numbers. You would not send the number 7 to get past the guard, but you would send someone (or a collection of people) with "7" influence to get past him. It is abstract, I agree.


Drew1365 wrote:
william4192 wrote:
Drew1365 wrote:
WoooooEeeeeee! WoooooEeeeeee!



Call the Mechanics Police!!

Worker Placement? No, no, no, no, no . . .

I think the term you're looking for is "blind bidding."


Hey Drew,

I'm not the most informed gamer, but isn't it a mix? I send my workers to the cave. If someone sent "more", then I don't get it. In my experience that is how worker placement works. But I will admit, I'm not an expert by any means.


I just don't think you're placing "workers" here. You're placing numbered tokens that represent . . . numbers.

But it's a pet peeve of mine how the term "worker placement" has gotten abused. For example, people call Vasco da Gama "worker placement," but it's really just action selection and sequencing. No workers involved.

cool
 
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faidutti wrote:
[q="Drew1365"]WoooooEeeeeee! WoooooEeeeeee!



Call the Mechanics Police!!

Worker Placement? No, no, no, no, no . . .


Yes, it is. The best Worker Placement game I've ever played.

faidutti wrote:
Half blind bidding indeed, but nevertheless a really great game which ought to be republished.


Absolutely.
 
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Caleb
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Mechanic Police
Can't we all agree that it's blind-worker-placement-bidding-area-influence and leave it at that????


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