Can anyone who played it post their impressions? What is this game all about?
I just played this a few times at Lobster Trap this past weekend (a local Con near Boston), that gets some Essen/Spiel releases to play. This was one of them.
Quick summary: such a great game for a quick, 'race', card game for 2. Wow, I'm always surprised at game design, didn't have too many expectations going into this one, but this one really has some tough choices to balance for it's limited rule set. And, it does it with only a few types of cards and colors. All game you're trying to balance hand size limit, colors of cards needed for you in hand, types of cards needed as penalties to play on opponents, cards that can be used for either yourself or opponent or more deck draw, and timing of when to optimally play them all. Definitely a push/pull/balance resources feel (or in a way, NOT a balance because you have many mini committals to offense, for yourself, then detriment to opponent, aka, sometimes balancing your cards for future hands backfires and you can't do either optimally/efficiently). I hope this helps!
The other fun factor in the game, is that if you collectively go through the source deck 2 times, you both 'freeze to death' on your journey. Just one example of something else to balance within the game (because if you knew you were behind and not going to make it to the pole near game end, you could force the deck to run out sooner, to limit your opponent. This factor, in turn, might make you choose not to punish your opponent the 2nd half of the game, so that they don't do this to you). OMG! I'm going to pre-order it right now!
Great job, design team!
It's incredible to see something so fun, in such a small box. Big thumbs up. This will be a purchase for me, definitely.
I've been excited about this game since I first saw it was coming out. Luckily, I played this game four times at Lobster Trap this past weekend.
Two players race to the South Pole. One player is Amundsen, the other is Scott. The winner is the first one to reach the South Pole. If you exhaust the deck twice, you both freeze to death.
A double-sided board (one side is normal game, the other is expansion)
A deck of cards
Four (or five) benefactor cards per players (these give extra bonuses)
A deck of weather cards (an expansion)
One dice (for use with weather expansion)
Place the board between both players. The board has 20 or so feet icons of various colors that allow you to travel to the South Pole.
Each player receives one card to start (unless you're playing with the benefactor deck, which may let you start with four). You have a hand limit of seven cards. You can never have more than your hand limit, so you might be forced to discard cards you want for less desirable cards (especially if your hand limit is five) or play a card early that you were saving.
There is a set of three cards from which the players draft cards into their hand. You can take the first card for "free". The first and second card for one card, which you discard. All three cards for three cards, which are also discarded.
On your turn, you can either pick up cards or play cards. Some cards can be activated as you discard them to pick up more than one card from the available cards. There are several types of cards:
1) Feet Cards - When a card matches the next feet icon the board, you can play it to move up the board. You can make several moves at the cost of one card for the first move and two matching cards for each additional move. Blue feet only apply to Scott and red feet only apply to Amundsen.
2) Wild Cards - Amundsen has dogs. Scott has horses. Assuming you have the card that matches your character, you can use it to move up a space.
3) Blizzard and Crevasse Cards - Amundsen has Blizzards. Scott has Crevasses. Play two down to make the other player "lose their path". This knocks them off the main track until they are able to play a card matching the feet icon behind their current location. If a player is already lost, playing another of either type knocks them back another question mark icon (the lost path).
4) Sacrifice Card - Force the other player to kill all dogs or horses in their hand based on their character. (I think. It may be kill both.)
5) Dropped Supplies - Randomly take one card from your opponents hand.
6) Good Weather - Draw one card from the face down deck. If it matches the next space on your path, play it immediately and move ahead. Otherwise, add it to your hand.
7) (Something I Can't Remember the Name Of) - Limits your opponent to a hand of five cards for the rest of the game.
8) Compass Card - If you're below the 85th Parallel, you may use this to move up a space for free.
Weather Expansion - The first time someone crosses a parallel line he rolls a dice and applies the associated effect on the game. There's a Good Weather effect that lets each player draw a face down card. One effect, I think Windy, forces you and your opponent to randomly draw one card from your hand. Stormy (maybe on the name) wipes away all of the face up cards for new ones. There are two more that I can't remember at the moment, but the weather expansion definitely adds to the game.
Benefactor Expansion - I'm not sure if this is what it's called, but you have a small deck from which to randomly draw one person who will "help" your journey. You may be allowed to start with a larger hand. You may have a free wild card. There's one that kills the first horse or dog that is drawn from the deck. One person lets you start on the first feet space instead of from your boat. These were interesting, but I'm not sure I'd always have to play with them like the weather expansion.
The Way Back Expansion - You have to make it back to your boat after you reach the South Pole. I never made it to the South Pole, so I didn't get to participate in the escalated tension this one is sure to provide.
So, basically, you're trying to get to the South Pole first. And, they call it a "race" to the South Pole, but it's more like a frozen death march; if I ever had plans of traveling to the South Pole using dogs or horses, I'm sure it would be a lot like this game.
In all four games, we froze to death. I think the closest I ever got was the just below the 85th parallel. Do I care that I lost every time I played? Not one bit. What is amazing about this little game is that it keeps you invested and engaged the entire time. The tension level is high because you want to get to the South Pole, but your opponent is trying to stop you. And, both of you are trying to NOT freeze to death. You're never bored.
I played it with two different people (one of which was Sparkles, the other guy to post so far). He was surprised by how good it was. So was the other guy I played with. I don't think either knew much about it going in. The second guy I played with was intrigued by the fact it is a two player game. He immediately wanted to buy it. I'm pretty sure Sparkles wants to buy it too.
Oh, and I play a lot of two player only games. This one rockets up to near the top of the list. It offers so much with so little. It strikes the right amount of balance for tension and progress and interactions. I highly recommend it!
- Last edited Mon Nov 18, 2013 9:49 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Mon Nov 18, 2013 9:41 pm
If you like two player games, this is a must buy. The game only takes up a small amount of room and the box is very easy to cart along to your favorite restaurant, pub, coffee house, etc. I found the game offered a great deal of tension and "take that" card play. There is nothing more frustrating that having your next two moves undone by your opponent's play of a blizzard / crevice (forcing you off the main track, onto the "lost" track and back one space when you manage to find your way). There are a number of methods you can mess with your opponent's progress while both of you are playing against the game. I have played it 3 times and can't wait to play it again. My opponent (Rhiochs) and I froze to death in my first two games. In my third game, a new opponent got lucky and reached the South Pole right before we ran out of cards. I felt this game offers more than Lost Cities, Mystery Rummy or Battle Line as there is the very real possibility that no one will win the game. This third outcome adds a new element to a two player game. Figuring out how to win without running out of cards AND stopping your opponent from reaching the goal first makes for a great game with potential for multiple plays. The expansions add more and I agreed with Rhiochs that the weather expansion is required for all games. I hope to get a full race in(to/from the South Pole) next time we play; provided we don't freeze to death again on the way there.
- Last edited Thu Nov 21, 2013 7:55 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Thu Nov 21, 2013 6:11 pm