We ran five players through our first game of Llamanomics.
Positive things about this game:
- Lots of charm. The names and photos of the llamas are cute and engaging.
- Plenty of player interaction. The action cards (allowing llama theft, commodities movements, llama 'upgrades' [and of course the inevitable counterspells] are fun and occasionally pointed.
- The mechanics are fundamentally promising ones.
Negative things about this game:
- Poorly edited cards. Spelling errors (per subject, above) abound.
- Poorly edited rules. We are told twice that players draw on reveal of a new DEMAND card, but the "Swap" actions are probably actually "Move" or "Steal" cards and there are no clarifications for specific cards/powers. In fact, I'm writing this review after hitting the Geek seeking rules clarifications.
- The pace of play is actually rather slow. Our group was in no hurry to conduct trades (it's very hard to judge the value of anything when the market mechanic is so capricious). There exists no mechanic for getting more cards to hand, so it's just as hard to know when you should spend your extremely precious action(s). Once everyone has effectively blown through their hands, it's a whole lot of hope-for-something-good-this-draw.
- The game doesn't appear to have been heavily playtested outside of the designer's core group, perhaps. Seems that even early plays (like ours) would have revealed the huge number of editing errors and rules questions.
-- These editing gaffes are amusingly compounded by an ironic reminder that cacao is in fact spelled, 'cacao' on the rulesheet. The game goes on to put "COCAO" on half the deck..
We finished feeling disappointed that we weren't better friends with the designer, as perhaps a more intimate (read: focused) introduction might have helped us grasp the gameplay to match the product's charm.