Lorenzo Pacq
Italy
Novara
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After the “Essen compulsory buying spree” we now have quite a number of games to try, and the Halloween Horror Night scheduled in our Ludoteca Galliatese gave us the possibility to arrange a first session of the latest game of Sir Wallace: A Study in Emerald.
Well, before all I have to say that it was quite difficult to catch immediately all the rules - and some were not so clear even after reading them several times.
Anyway the game gave me a big satisfaction, Lovecraftian themes are literally spreading out from all components, starting from the “Alien and Lisergic” game board colours (tentacolous green mainly, with a spray of shocking pink) as well as the wonderful cards’ drawings, perfectly fit for the 19th century setting.


Quick details of the components

Short story summary: Two factions are competing, Restorationists and Loyalists, which are correspondingly trying to push the masses to revolution against the control of the Old Ones or to plunge the world into madness, delighted food of the Cthulhoid Gods.
To achieve these goals a light deck-building system is used, adding to the 10 starting cards the game cards present on the different cities’ boxes, the cards representing the cities themselves, and some powerful limited “Permanent Effect” cards.
To claim the cards you need to have more influence on them than anyone else, which is given by the played cards as well as by influence cubes and by agents’ counters present in the city.
The mechanics concerning the use of influence cubes is quite light: using the cards’ indications they can be bought from the pool, used on the board, or retrieved back to you for use on the next move.
Assassinate the Royals/Agents, Hiding the Royals, Control the Cities: these are some of the main ways to get victory points in order to close the game.


Card example, I love it!

The big twist of A Study in Emerald is the secret identity given to each player at the start of the game; especially with experienced players, in my opinion it could bring good possibilities to bluff, with a sprinkle of paranoia which can increase the game’s experience.
Indeed the Victory Points gained during the game could be removed at the end if not compatible to your faction goals, but at the same time this system can bring even more good bluffing to the game.
It must be noted that the lowest player’s faction (in VPs) at the game’s end will automatically lose, so it’s important to check what your “supposed” ally are doing in terms of success!
One minor concern (but quite typical of this kind of game) is the dead time while waiting for your turn, which could be even longer if there are some heavy-thinker players who can be lost having too many available options to choose from, even if in the end only two actions (plus some free actions card) can be done during your turn.
Anyway I’m reasonably sure that with 1-2 sessions under the belt, any player’s performance will become quicker and it will be possible to focus on strategies more easily, allowing yourself to be immersed into the foggy European cities of 19th century, playing intrigues and double game with your agents, planning assassinate attempts and having just madness as final prize!

PRO :
- Astounding theme, absolutely felt during the game.
- Nice and mild deck-building system.
- Great re-playability, considering that not all the cards will be present at every game.
- Deep interaction and secret identity, which makes difficult to figure the winner until last turn’s end.

CON :
- Not always clear rules, still we have a couple of minor doubts.
- Longer time if players suffering from Analysis Paralysis are present.
- It’s difficult to have Zombeeples out in every game, but they are too awesome to let them rest in the game box…


Beware of the Zombeeples!

VOTE : a solid 7
If really it will become quicker once we get the grasp of the rules, it could easily bump to 8.
To be honest just for the feeling and the “storytelling” session we had, I’m eagerly waiting to play it again soon!

Thanks to the awesome team of LG (Ludoteca Galliatese)
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Matteo Boca
Italy
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Thank you! Great micro-review!
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Max T
Italy
Novara
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Lollosven, you are the Number One!
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Italy
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Italians do it better....even reviews!

I'm still waiting my copy....

Thank you!
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Danilo Festa
Italy
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Amazing review! meeple
 
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Stephan
Germany
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Thanks for the short review. I´ve played the game once with just two players. How many players were there in your session?
 
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Lorenzo Pacq
Italy
Novara
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Hi Stephen, 5 players, three of them were Loyalist and they won.
I was one of the Restorationist and i was second as final scoring, game ends due to three mad tokens rules.
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Shane Larsen
United States
Salt Lake City
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Silenus wrote:
Thanks for the short review. I´ve played the game once with just two players. How many players were there in your session?


How was it with 2?
 
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