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Subject: ERA Review rss

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Aaron Bentz
United States
Illinois
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So this being my first review on BGG, I'm not sure if there is a specific pattern or form to these but hopefully they'll get better over time. I'll try and touch on a variety of topics, but if there's something I miss or someone would like elaborated on please comment.

Theme/Concept: 8/10
ERA is first and foremost rooted in its subject matter. No matter if one is playing with the Crusaders deck or the Space Race, historical fact is never sacrificed for simplicity. It's a learning game and requires no former historical knowledge and thus it teaches and promotes a better understanding of each of the time periods included. One of the greatest novelties of ERA is that it never limits itself to just one aspect of history. Wars, inventions, rebellions, explorations, and more are all included and treated equally, the game is really about reliving a specific historical period.

Mechanics: 9/10
While not a big card game player, ERA intrigued me with its three building deck style. The poker-esque thrill of hedging one's bet on the statistical probability of having a required card available to you or resigning it unseen to a building deck always kept me weighing the risks and rewards of my current strategy and constantly adapting as the game progressed. The added benefit of cards serving multiple functions whether building, engaging in conflict, or adding to one's era's progress level also provided for multiple layers of depth and strategy. One final note on the mechanics is the blending of the historical events portrayed in each deck and the actual strategy behind using the deck effectively. Using the Space Race deck one must thematically and literally invest in one's resources to build the rocket program. With the American Revolution, one must slog through the conflicts and setbacks that the early revolutionary army and congress encountered to finally achieve the
lynch pin "Constitution" card.

Artwork: 7/10
Being an almost text free game, the artwork and symbology definitely were key to providing a clear understanding of how everything worked. While sometimes a little clustered on the more strategically valuable cards in the game, the design behind everything never became distracting or deterrent from the game's main theme of historical progression through one's respective deck.

Replay-ability: 8/10
Realistically each deck can be played one of two ways. One can worry about building one's own era up and achieving enough progress points for victory, or one can focus on stopping the other player's era with "conflict" cards, inhibiting their progress and bringing them to devastation. The trick is figuring out how and when to employ which strategy and for each combination of decks dozens of possibilities exist, not to mention one has to figure out which strategy one's opponent is enacting as well and respond to that. All together ERA lends itself to multiple replayings thanks to it's variety of decks as well as approaches one can take to playing each deck.

Overall Impression: 8/10
There are many things that make me consider ERA a wonderful game, but I believe that its unique blending of historical events with the actual mechanics and strategies of the game that make it quite endearing. It's provides simple accessibility as well as without never needing to dumb down its subject material and creates a fine representation of educational combined with engagement.
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Mike Windsor
United States
Fort Worth
Texas
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Finally, a game about the Equal Rights Amendment.
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sunday silence
United States
Maryland
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I wish your review would explain a little more how the game is played. All I know is it has three decks and you build stuff. It's not like poker is it? What is it like? How exactly do you play it???
 
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Joel
United States
ANDOVER
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mwindsor wrote:
Finally, a game about the Equal Rights Amendment.


I thought the game was about Earned Run Average during different times.
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Steven Lykowski
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Although the look of the main title wouldn't be changed, maybe I should type ERA as Era when using it in writing to not make it look like an acronym.
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sunday silence
United States
Maryland
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I think that's a good point.
 
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Jake Salwitz
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My "numbers"..........(from pnp)

Theme/Concept: 8/10 - Not a history fan, but each deck is really different from the others and drew me in that way. I liked the slow, storehouse strategy of the Egyptians (store units to grow them into points later) while you try to keep your slaves shake in line with your slave drivers. Also tried the knight deck and sacked Jerusalem and had a village wiped out by the plague.

Mechanics: 9/10 - Clean and polished for the most part. Money seemed a tad OP.

Artwork: 6/10 - Not a fan so far. Thomas Edison looks like my uncle, not the great inventr!

Replay-ability: 9/10 - Probably the shining star of this game. If you play just one deck in the pnp, you can look at the rest and see what each faction has going for them. Looks like plenty of variety to me, or at least as decent as any other card game. You can build basically indestructible rockets or cheap ones in the space deck, the Continental army is so tiny and weak and you got to hold onto it dearly as the founding bigwigs try to make the declaration, etc.

Overall Impression: 9/10 - Crossing my fingers for the game. Hope it gets published. If not, I hope other history games are more interactive and fast like this one.
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