Great Plains plays like an odd mix of Kingdom Builder and some things that aren't Kingdom Builder. I'd say Go but that's just not true. It's an cute little abstract, a good entry for a 2p line that sits alongside Kosmos both in feel and in box size.
That said, not all Kosmos 2p games were created equal. And GP, while fine, is just that. Maybe I'd be warmer towards it if it didn't come from the same brains that designed Mandala, which might be a perfect game.
Mechanically it's sound. Brief placement phase of what are effectively spawn points, then Kingdom Builder-ish chaining minus the cards. Hold areas that are worth points, use tiles do do more than just put a piece down, that kind of thing. Very straightforward procedure.
And that procedure is pleasing, if not thrilling. Thanks to a randomized board the game always demands a bit of that first-play board-parsing, but not so much that you can't have coffee and a chat over it. Thing is, the most interesting moves are made early. They determine where you'll be able to fight as well as where both of you will simply stake an irreversible claim. Depending on the board this may or may not be interesting. Cindy suspects there are degenerate board configurations and I mean, probably? But it plays in 10 minutes. I find it difficult to care.
Therein lies the true problem. That lack of arc, lack of excitement, lack of sharp play unforeseen, makes GP feel a bit limp in an area abstracts can't really afford to. It's a game meant to be played over and over but not necessarily focused on. Something to do, but not something to learn. I don't think that's in any way a bad thing. You might. Cindy certainly did; I couldn't get another game of this out of her if I wanted to. And while I find it enjoyable enough, the want really isn't there.
Game is fine, though. I might even like it a bit. But good is only good and fine is only fine.
I put the words about games in the box and hit publish. Opinions and strong takes abound!
29 Oct 2021
- [+] Dice rolls