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I put the words about games in the box and hit publish. Opinions and strong takes abound!
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Acquire All Asteraceae

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Abandon all Artichokes didn't make a strong first impression on me when it first came out. We tried it digitally at 2p and we moved on. Seemed fine, if unexciting, and I said as much in a GotM first impressions writeup. Fast forward over a year and it's become a go-to small box option for my friends and work groups alike. What? How? Why?

Multiplayer is what how and why. AAA (I truly love that acronym) is massively better at 3p and 4p. I suspected it would improve somewhat at more than 2p as any game that lets you freely target other players often does, but I never would have guessed to what extent. At 2p it's tit for tat, with many cards having minimized or even no effect depending on game state. But at higher player counts every single targeting choice maters, which compounds as the game careens towards its end and everyone tries to either flood their deck with enough veggies that they won't draw a 'choke or cull so hard that they couldn't draw one if they wanted to. The read 'em and weep reveal at the end of each game caps its arc exactly when it needs to, at its highest point of tension.

It also picks a prime mechanical decision from other deckbuilders that I want to highlight. Cards chosen from the garden row go directly to hand, ready to be played immediately. I prefer this method to the traditional discard and draw after a shuffle, or to the roguelike deckbuilder method of just chucking your acquisitions into a fresh shuffle where you may or may not see it for a while. It lends a tactical edge to the long-term strategic decision of what to add to your deck, and sometimes that short term choice outweighs what may be useful later. Do you take the humble Potato, tilling the top of your deck again and again to remove those pesky artichokes over time? Or the flashy Carrot, which immediately composts two of the spiky veggies for you but takes itself out as well?

I compared AAA to a salad earlier. It's an easy metaphor to use, but after many plays I've realized that's a bit off target. It's more like a cup of 11 veggie stew: unassuming, surprisingly satisfying, and a prime choice for extra helpings.
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