Recommend
5 
 Thumb up
 Hide
4 Posts

Shadows over the Empire» Forums » General

Subject: First thoughts: it takes a certain mindset rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Mark Turner
United Kingdom
Farnham
Surrey
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I finally played a few games of this tonight, 2 player, and my basic thought is that this is one of those games that requires a certain mindset to enjoy.

Aesthetically, it's lovely. Some may not like the gears and wheels (too steampunky, says my wife) but to my jaded eye it cuts quite a swathe on the table, and sets the mood. I am a fan of the cards and the layout.

Ruleswise, it's very teachable - but I must say, that rule book could have done with some more critical editing. I can't help feel it was reviewed by people who already knew the game, and needed a few more blind play testers give their feedback. It's not the end of the world, but it's the kind of thing that could have been remedied with more time. (Ps, what on earth is the oblong player token for?)

Now to the gameplay. Basically, each setup creates a competitive puzzle. After a few rounds, certain things become more apparent. Limited tokens is an important feature, as is token removal. Soon the game becomes a battle for control over cards with removal powers, and the use of adjacent cards to achieve dominance over those key cards.

This is where the stalemate issue can creep in... Unless you pull off a lightning surprise, the key points of the battlefield soon become clear, and it can go back and forth over those points until it gets boring.

Some setups will be more satisfying than others... offer more interesting possibilities for surprise attacks and so on. And this is where the mindset comes in.

The challenge is to find those surprise routes to victory before your opponent. If you spot one, and press the advantage, you can pull off an entertaining victory. If you both fiddle around too long, and go in circles, the game can slow down... But, no biggie. Call a halt and start again.

Seems to me it helps to accept some games will work better than others, and not worry too much if one gets bogged down. Don't be afraid to chalk it down to experience and restart. Just enjoy the variety and combinations, and see if you can spot a path to victory before everyone realizes what all the other cards can do.

Obviously some will have played this many more times than I have, but I feel a relaxed approach to a randomly generated puzzle is a good way to enjoy it.

I feel this may face an uphill struggle in this instant gratification age, but over time I can imagine pulling this out and enjoying it every so often. Cheers!
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
duncan easton
England
Leeds
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
MrMT wrote:
what on earth is the oblong player token for?


I think it might be to easily identify opponents in a 3 or 4 player game.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Turner
United Kingdom
Farnham
Surrey
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
dreaming_idiot wrote:
MrMT wrote:
what on earth is the oblong player token for?


I think it might be to easily identify opponents in a 3 or 4 player game.

Ah, yes... I can see that.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bryan McNeely
United States
Indiana
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I KickStarted this game and was finally able to try it out last night. My wife and I played against each other; she was Bonifatius and I was Ornatto.

We went three rounds and she pulled out the win despite me spending the majority of the time with no tokens to play and no conflicts to worry about. She made a great move to dump her remaining tokens via a strategic Influence action after I had passed to squeak out a victory at the end.

The game is, to me, a straight-up tactical abstract game. Oddly enough, it's thematic as all hell. I love how the characters act as their jobs would suggest. ...and how influence passes throughout the city via proxy and using the leaders' traits in comparison. I think it's very fun, smart game.

My problems with it also come from the way tokens are named as well as a lot of the text on the cards themselves.

I think there should be another name for either the marionette puppet strings tokens or the guild tokens. I tend to look at both as being "influence" tokens, but for the sake of how some characters interact, understand which is being referred to could mean the difference between an overpowered or underpowered card.

I've been calling the tokens featuring the guild logos "Ownership Tokens" or "Player Tokens" while the others I've been calling "Influence Tokens." I hope that in future releases of the game, more time is spent cleaning up the definitions and names of the components; as well as re-writing the text for many of the character cards to make them either less convoluted or a little more streamlined with new wording.

I would only suggest this game to someone who enjoys abstract games or likes tactics over strategy.

EDIT: Also, those rectangular guild tokens you speak of? I place those with my leader as a reminder of what their compulsory trait is. It doesn't work as well for me as a player token to be placed in front of people since they're likely to already have the circular tokens there anyways.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.