This was my first game of Reef Encounter, and it seemed a little complicated at the beginning but it made sense to me after a few turns. I enjoyed the game quite a bit. It is probably at my upper limit as far as game weight is concerned.
I took the liberty of attacking Al the first chance I got. Of course I always kept an eye out for Richard, who i expected to move in on my turf as soon as he would get a chance. Steven was the first one to eat polyps and to manipulate the sea board. Al was second to eat polyps and made good use of the algea to slow down the growth of my corals.
I then realized who important it was to get in on the sea board action, and quickly decided to eat polyps myself, so i could start messing around with the sea board, too.
The manipulation of the sea board tiles can be a bit of a headache. I decided to take my chances and concentrate on orange and white coral, and manipulated the sea board to my advantage.
It always had a hard time obtaining the correct color of larvae (cubes). Several times i realized that I picked up the wrong ones (during action #10) after it was too late. Oh well. During the end game I had a good sized white coral reef and was able to set up the seaboard to make white a 5-pointer, which in the end gave me the lead.
I find this an excellent meaty game and actually liked it a little better than T&E.