St Ives, Sydney
My first real outing for this Moon / Weissblum effort and quite enjoyable it was (on my first outing we botched the build rules so it didn’t really count). Some intensity is required to do well - keeping track of all the cards chosen and played (particularly the region cards), watching carefully what was being built and trying to avoid placing as long as possible so as to have the last say. And valuing that delay in terms of cards lost and therefore lost buying power at the auctions. And also having something ready to go early in the next round in case a few well placed fountains has meant a region can be closed off by a quick placement. Lots of things to think about.
The game has its most complex state in the middle rounds, where there are many viable places for well placed buildings, and you’re not sure at what height to stop, and what shape roofs to use, and who to compete with, and who’s targeting yourself. The opening round and last rounds are a bit more straight-forward. In the opening round, plonk down anywhere with the option of defending with a second building if need be. In the last round, you’ve only got a few roofs to choose from, must spend a few actions getting to the height you need and the places you can pick up points (and who you should be taking them from) are more obvious.
I can see the comparison to Manhattan, in theme and in terms of targetting players. But this is a much more refined interpretation of the genre - more engaging mechanics, more preparation, more thought required, and the game features coups as a result of the thought and preparation rather than the continual mindless seize and re-seize from whoever peeved you most that Manhattan promulgates.
In our game, Silvia and I tangled in a few regions, while Lindsay and Craig did the tango in others. There were many coups and much gnashing of teeth. I was fortunate enough to be able to close off a few regions with a lead, so pulled away a bit in the end. Craig was unlucky not to receive any pink cards when he needed them most to be able to reclaim the highest scoring region. The useless scoring mechanism was left in the box, leaving it to trusty pen and paper to record the results.
Scores: Pat 56, Silvia 36, Lindsay 33, Craig 28
A rating of 7 or 8 after 2 plays; I really liked the gameplay, but am a little unsure of the ongoing replayability, whether there is enough theme to generate an urge to pull it off the shelves more than occasionally.