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Subject: 2 player Yedo Review rss

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J B
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This is my first review so please don't expect too much.

Anticipation

I'll start off by stating I had been eagerly awaiting this game since I first heard of it. I pre-ordered the game and waited quite impatiently for longer than I had hoped but I did finally receive my copy from MM.

Components

The game is beautiful and the components are top notch. But this brings me to my first complaint.

The game board is a little overwhelming. Its beauty is actually its largest downfall. The board is way too busy and it can be quite daunting to pick out the important information that the different locations have to offer. The symbols are buried in the artwork of the city. I would honestly have no problem paying a premium to have a double sided board that didn't have the city layout in the background. It might take away from the theme but it would be easier to get a feel for all the options whilst learning the game. After half dozen games I'm sure all the future games would be played on the normal artsy side.

The cardboard tile weapons deck is a neat but unnecessary idea. I'm not sure it adds anything to the game other than production costs. The downside to it is that it stacks so high that my wife knocked it over several times while reaching over it to place a meeple. We ended up with 2 stacks of tiles isntead of just the one.

There are little (tiny) gates that you use on the locations to shrink the available locations based on the number of players. I like the idea but I wish they would have included about 2 dozen extra because I know they are going to get lost. They also don't weigh anything so even the lightest gust of wind from an open window will blow them off of where they are.

I've gotten spoiled by a lot of games that include personal cheat sheets for turn/phase order. So I was a little disappointed that there weren't any included. There is a summary on the player mats

Those are all minor complaints but I feel worthy of noting because they're also very easy to fix if there is ever a 2nd edition planned.

The play mats and cards are beautiful and of high quality. I certainly don't have any complaints about the quality or art of the game itself.

Gameplay

Every idea behind the game is fantastic. In theory, this should probably be the best game ever made. There's backstabbing, negotiation/trading, weapons, auction, goals, mission with bonus missions, worker placement, a patrol, and events.

Backstabbing
There's a few missions cards that have you attack another player and essentially cost them one less meeple until the buy it back. There's action cards that might move the patrol over to your opponent and arrest them, again costing them one less meeple. There's action cards that cancel other players action cards, thus foiling their plans. And then there's trading...

Negotiating/Trading
I'm not a big fan of trading in games, which is a large part of why I don't think I get much enjoyment out of the Catan series. However, the trading is done pretty well here. You're allowed to ask other players prior to your movement placement if they want to work a trade. If they agree you will meet either in the market where you can trade only weapons or you could meet in the Tavern where you can negotiate any type of deal you desire. There's 2 types of backstabbery I could see coming into play here. First, you could agree to meet someone for a trade and then not show up, thus causing them a wasted move. Second, you're not allowed to tell or show your cards, so you could say "trust me this is a really good bonus card for you, trade me some rope and it's your" when in reality it's a bonus card that they cannot complete because it would require they never completed a kidnapping mission and they already completed 2 earlier in the game.

Auction
The auction is a cool concept that is very rough in 2 and I think 3 player games. There's normally 7 things to bid on but to make things more interesting they divided those into 3 groups for a 2 player game.

Goals/Bonus
These are very similar to the Lord cards in Lords of Waterdeep. This is an area that I think we're going to house rule, at least for the Geisha skill level. As far as I can tell you don't start out with any goal cards (maximum 2). To obtain them you either have to win one in an auction (one auction per round) or complete a mission that gives one out as a reward. It's fairly important to know what your goals are in the begging of the game or your fairly likely to be unable to complete them by the end of the game. With that said I think we're probably going to start with at least one if not both of our goal cards in the beginning of the game.

Mission Cards
This is probably my favorite part of the game. I really like the idea of complete the mission and receive X, complete the mission and this bonus mission receive X and Y. The missions are great, my only complaint is the placement of the locations you have to have your meeples on on the mission cards themselves. Quite a few times throughout the game my wife and I would have our meeples on their respective locations needed on the gameboard but not in the Annexes on our placemats as well. I blame it on 2 things, the locations are typically round icons and the annexes are rectangles and the locations are typically the top line and the annexes are below them. I'm sure it's a noob mistake that after several playthroughs we won't make anymore. However, I think if the cards (which are more than large enough) had all the locations that your meeples needed to be in, in a straight line and then a line for money/blessings/geishes/etc in the next line it would be a lot more clear. It's been clarified in the comments below that it is not necessary to have a disciple on your annex to complete the mission, you only need to own the annex.

Worker Placement
This is an area that the game really takes a turn from what I'm used to in a typical worker placement. When you activate a worker you can use him to complete a missions OR use him to cash in on the location he's residing at. The worker rewards are not very balanced between the different locations. Some outright suck, I think the foreshadowing in most instances is a total waste. We both had a few times throughout the game where we didn't even bother activating out workers, they just sat there.

Patrol
Quite an annoying but welcomed addition, I think if someone wanted to play a shorter game (less than 11 turns) removing the Patrol from the game would be necessary. He really can put a damper on the time it takes to complete a mission since you have to wait on him to leave a location before you send a worker in.

Events
The events are nice, these close random locations or make stuff cheaper, etc. I'm sure you can imagine what a pain it can be when an event closes and area off and then the next turn the patrol visits the same location, thus setting you back 3 turns from completing a mission.

Rules
The rules are done pretty well, compared to FFG rules I would say they are 11 out of 10. The only rule I really had trouble with was which spot to put the patrol on at the very beginning of the game. I end up starting him in the the Gates District, but I'm still unsure if that is the right spot, maybe a dice roll would be a good way to pick.

I wish there was a cheat sheet for the phases if nothing more than the back page of the instructions having a quick run down, but I plan on making my own. On every round of the game I found we had to refer to the rules just to make sure we didn't forget anything. It would look similar to this (bolding the stuff I found myself forgetting):

Phase 1: Prep
- Move Round Marker
- Return player Markers
- Add 3 Mon to Church if empty Add 1 Mon if not
- Give 1 Mon to each player that owns a Dojo
Phase 2: Bid
- Ask if everyone is participating in the Auction
- Anyone who isn't recieves 3 Mon
- Start bidding, opening bid has to match minimum bid
Phase 3: Event
- Adjust Market, slide leftmost 2 to the furthers right and add 3
- Turn over Event Card
Phase 4: Assigning Phase
- Place your meeples by turn order
Phase 5: Watch Patrol
- a) Move the Patrol
- b) Play Patrol Movement Action Cards
- c) Play Action Cards to save your disciple
- d) Arrest disciples
Phase 6: Trade Phase
- Market - Trade Weapons and Mon
- Tavern - Trade anything
Phase 7: Action
- Complete a Missions OR Use an Ability of an Annex OR Use the Space

Overall
I really like the game and the few complaints I have about it are going to be cleared up with experience. Will it get more plays than Lords of Waterdeep? The simple answer is probably no, not because it isn't a better game but because it is a longer game and more complicated. I can knock out a game of LOWD in a weeknight, our first game of Yedo with only two players took nearly 3 hours. This will get faster with experience but will still be a longer game than LOWD. LOWD is also a more accessible game and much easier to teach. I have some friends that suffer from analasis paralasis (whether they know it or not) and I just can't imagine the agony of playing this game with them, considering there's about 50 options to choose from when placing a worker. I think my wife and I will be playing it a lot with ourselves.

Like I said I have no regrets of this game, the price was great, the quality of the components are fantastic and it's a very well thought out game. I found it to be quite enjoyable and can't wait to play another game, unfortunately it takes a long time to play so it will be competing with my Runewars timeblock and not my LoWD timeblock.

9.5/10

Edited with strike-through's to clarify rules that have been pointed out further down in the comments.
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Paul S
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Nice review. I agree with it - length is the only downside for me; and you can mitigate that with e.g. fewer turns, but this is a game that begs to be played full length, I think, so that the black missions come into play. Not seeing as much of it as I'd like, but a keeper.
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Mark Nicosia
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I agree the board is busy, visually, but I wouldn't want them to raise the cost of the game any just to print something on the other side of the board that I'd only use once. Maybe this is something someone can do... upload a simplified map that first-timers can print out to look at for their first play. I might work on that when I find the time, if no one else does it first.

I guess that could solve your other grip too. I find the turn/phase order printed on everyone's clan board sufficient, but if you wanted more explicit descriptions of each phase the map sheet might be a good place to put this too.

Great first effort, though, to a great game... I look forward to reading your future reviews. thumbsup
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Joel Brighton
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Nice first review chap (a lot better than some experienced reviewers)! I played my first 2 games last week so am by no means expert but thought I would reply with some personal ramblings...

Quote:
I've gotten spoiled by a lot of games that include personal cheat sheets for turn/phase order.

Did you not find the phase order quick reference on the playmats useful? I'd created a cheatsheet before playing but ended up using the one on the mat after just a few rounds.

I can see where you're coming from with your other comments about the components but the thing that bothered me most was the thickness of the coins.

Quote:
There's 2 types of backstabbery I could see coming into play here

While this is possible, I always think this is a 'one-off' tactic. I've found that once a person shows themselves as untrustworthy they are treated as such subsequently, and not just in the current game! Maybe the difference between lying (in the game) and inflicting damage is a subtle one (& is just in my head). Hmmm, one to ponder.

Quote:
The auction is a cool concept that is very rough in 2 and I think 3 player games.

Interesting - this was exactly what I said of the game afterwards!

Quote:
my only complaint is the placement of the locations

Didn't have this issue at all I'm afraid; maybe just a learning point (which we all have on different things).

Quote:
Some outright suck, I think the foreshadowing in most instances is a total waste. We both had a few times throughout the game where we didn't even bother activating out workers, they just sat there.

Yes, we had the same issue. Thinking about this subsequently the only advantage I could see for foresight was if you knew you were going to complete a mission that gave you a card. Gain your foresight benefit & reorder the cards with one activation and then take the top card on your mission activation.

Quote:
which spot to put the patrol on

We placed him at the Gates also, so we must have read that in the rules somewhere.

Quote:
I can knock out a game of LOWD in a weeknight, our first game of Yedo with only two players took nearly 3 hours

A long first game is pretty standard but our subsequent game went fairly quickly - in c. 60-70 minutes. Like many games I suppose it depends on those playing.

Quote:
LOWD is also a more accessible game and much easier to teach

Not sure I agree with this. Yes, there are lots of different options and combinations which provide complexity but the underlying mechanics of Yedo are pretty straightforward. Look at your cheat-sheet - the game is summarised in a few lines. Compared to the summaries of some games I think that's pretty good.

Personnally, I'm still on the fence as to where Yedo sits with respect to LOWD. It would also be interesting to compare thoughts again after some more games.





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Igor B.
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madaxer wrote:

Mission Cards
This is probably my favorite part of the game. I really like the idea of complete the mission and receive X, complete the mission and this bonus mission receive X and Y. The missions are great, my only complaint is the placement of the locations you have to have your meeples on on the mission cards themselves. Quite a few times throughout the game my wife and I would have our meeples on their respective locations needed on the gameboard but not in the Annexes on our placemats as well. I blame it on 2 things, the locations are typically round icons and the annexes are rectangles and the locations are typically the top line and the annexes are below them. I'm sure it's a noob mistake that after several playthroughs we won't make anymore. However, I think if the cards (which are more than large enough) had all the locations that your meeples needed to be in, in a straight line and then a line for money/blessings/geishes/etc in the next line it would be a lot more clear.


You do not need to have people on annexes to complete missions at all. You only need to have the needed annexes on your playerboard, that's it.
That's why they aren't in the same line as map locations on the mission cards.
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James Moline
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Do any of the missions actually require you to have your meeple on an Annex? I don't think they do. The round district icons mean you have to have a meeple in those spots, but the rectangular annex icons just mean you have to have that annex, not that a meeple needs to be there.

Can someone confirm this? I'm pretty sure I'm right, but can't swear to it.

Also, someone else already mentioned it, but in case you missed it, the phase/turn order cheat sheet you want is printed on the player board. Although, I could understand wanting one on a card or something, too.
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Paul S
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You put minions on an annexe to get the specific benefit of the annexe.

You only need to own the annexe to use it for a mission.

I think.
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James Moline
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Oh, and definitely Agreed on the auction being particularly brutal in a 2 or 3 player game. Especially a 3 player. In a 3 player game it becomes particularly glaring that the only way to get a bonus card is through the auction (or a lucky mission draw). In one of our games, I only won the auction for that section a couple of times and each one of those I was desperate for a particular weapon, so I never got a bonus card. As a result, when the end rolled around, I really wasn't even in it.

That and the relative usefulness of several of the board positions just make it apparent that this is a pretty unforgiving game. I kind of love it for that in a way that I don't necessarily like some other similarly unforgiving games like Agricola.

I do think you're selling foresight short, though. Particularly with regard to weapons, missions and event cards. The tavern in concert with the dojo can be a huge help in getting that last weapon you need for (almost) free. The temple district in combination with the castle district can make getting the perfect mission something you don't have to worry about in the auction phase, which can be super valuable in lower player counts especially. Events might be the least obvious, yet most useful foresight on the board. Finding out in round 9 that the red light district is going to be inaccessible in round 11 can be seriously helpful when prioritizing your meeple placements in round 10 to try and finish that last Black mission, and it can easily make the difference between winning and losing the game.

Edit: wrong district
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Mark Nicosia
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Yes, the patrol starts at the Gates. You flip the blue/red coin at the start to see which way it is going.

and yes, you only need to own the annexes that are needed for missions, you don't need workers on the annexes to fulfill that mission's requirements. A worker on an annex is just used to use that annex's ability as an action on your turn
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J B
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Wow, thanks for all the positive responses guys/gals.

I completely overlooked the fact that the player sheets had a phase summary on them, not surprising since the first time I picked one up it was in French and I almost had a heart attack.

I didn't see anywhere in the rules that you don't need to have a disciple on an annex to complete the mission but that certainly makes the missions a lot easier.

The reason we chose the Gates to start our patrol on was because the example picture had a square highlighting it. Does it actually state in writing somewhere to start there as well.

Cheers!
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Mark Nicosia
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madaxer wrote:
I didn't see anywhere in the rules that you don't need to have a disciple on an annex to complete the mission but that certainly makes the missions a lot easier.

Well, I don't really think it has to say you don't need one on there if you don't need one... it just has to say if you need one if you do. Get my drift? Like... does it have to explicitly say you don't have to stand on your chair and squalk like a chicken when you buy a weapon? I mean, if you are looking in the rules for all the things you don't have to do, you will be looking a long time.

It is in the rules on page 11, though, under the first picture on the page. It says, referring to the picture, that you need to have a disciple on the market AND the temple, and that you must own a Geisha, a Metsubushi, and the annex (no mention of anyone on it).

Also on page 11 it directly says "you neither surrender the Annex nor need a Disciple on them", in the bottom left box.

madaxer wrote:
Does it actually state in writing somewhere to start (the patrol) there as well.

Yes, it does. Last paragraph on page 4.
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Thomas Vande Ginste
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100% correct!
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