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Subject: Euphoria: From a Dad's Perspective rss

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Matthew Sanchez
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Hi, All of my reviews are written from the way I think.

1. How the game plays for me.

2. How playable and enjoyable it is for my 9 year old.

3. How playable and enjoyable it is for my 7 year old.

If my wife has played the game we may throw in a section.


I need to start with an apology. I didn't think very nice things about about it. I first saw the game this summer at a board game convention. I was invited to play late in the convention when there wasn't much else to do. So I gave it a shot. After playing a 6 person game with 3 new people (Me, One person who basically had someone else tell them what to do every turn, and one person who insulted the game the entire time) I said I liked the game but wouldn't buy it. It was just too hard to teach. I have since bought the game and taught my kids.


I'm Sorry Euphoria. I was wrong.


Game Summary/Learning curve: This is not intended as a tutorial. If you are intimidated by what I say here stop and skip to the next section. It's not that bad to learn and it's worth the effort. As I said above I got the wrong impression of the game at first as well. This section is a fan boy expressing his glee over what makes this game great and unique.

What makes this game so interesting other than the great art, amazing components, and cool theme is the variety. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong but the bump mechanic in worker placements was new as of this game. With this mechanic you don't get you workers back at the end of the round. You get them back by

1. spending a turn retrieving as many workers as you want.
2. having someone place a worker where yours currently is, bumping you.
3. other workers filling up related spots and finishing the work.

On top of that the game gives you reasons to not want some of your workers back. Over the course of the board you have around 8 distinctly different types of locations. Some bump, some block, some allow multiple workers.

In the end your goal is to get rid of stars. There are 5 different ways to do this in the game and you start with 10. Talk about variety.

Throw in dice that are your workers and you get some other great creative mechanics.
1. Multiple dice are allowed to be at certain locations which do different things based on how many pips are showing total.
2. If your total pips off the board + a number on the board exceeds 15 you loose a worker. Having more workers makes this likely. 3rd and especially 4th works are quite possibly temporary.

To top it all off you have recruits. These are cards with custom powers which give you direction in the game. The most important thing I tell new players is pay attention to your workers. They tell you how to get an advantage over the other players.


No Offense intended to the person who taught me that first game. There is a lot going on here and some of the people there clearly didn't want to learn. My Advice is to watch Jamey's setup videos and then stage a practice 2 or 3 rounds in a mid game situation. Most importantly in your first game just have fun. You will figure it out.


Replay Value: If you read the last section this should be painfully obvious. This game has markets that change every game, recruits that change every game and a subtle use of dice rolls that all together ensure that no two games will be the same. Fear not value is not a concern.


Theme: Some games have one mechanic and manage theme (For Sale). This is a game with many mechanics that all fit together into a great theme. Once you get a feel for the rules and your options you can get started on applying your influence to the world. Where this theme is strongest is the workers themselves. Managing your workers happiness and knowledge is what wins and looses games. Worry too much about it and you waste time (and in a game as fast as this that's a loss). Don't worry about it enough and you'll find your self without many workers or artifacts. Both of which are critical to winning.


Element of chance: I have covered it a couple of times so far so I will be brief. There are dice but the luck is manageable. They did a great job of using dice to make this interesting but not random.


If you are anti dice. I know some of you are out there. Don't worry, while the dice play a factor in your decision making dice are unlikely to be the reason you win or loose a game. There are ways to take advantage of high rolls and of low rolls.


Game Length: Perfect for this game. My games so far have always involved people in their first or second game so I expect things will speed up. I think 1 hour to 1.5 hours is a fair estimate on game length. The fact that some spots for placing workers are semi cooperative ensures that the game is moving along for everyone (well most everyone) nicely.


Children: This as always is the most important section for me. Again I apologize to euphoria, I wasn't going to teach the kids. It just looked too hard. In the first game we played they had a great time just managing their workers. They lost by quite a bit. What shocked me is the next day my 7 year old asked to play again. The second game (with some rules corrections, watch Jamey's videos!!) they did much better. I delayed my win by a turn or two and they were both down to 1 star each. They have it down.

I think my 7 year old (Aiden) still has trouble seeing the big picture (he is much better at tactics than strategy) and I wouldn't have him play with competitive adults but he really enjoys the game. You can see where he ranks the game in his geeklist here.

Aiden (7 Years Old) Favorite Games

It fell right where I expected it. King of Tokyo he loves Colosseum was a little hard for him.


My 9 year old (Xander) really figured out the game his second time around. He was working at all times to get his stars out. He had one rough turn where he lost a worker due to exactly a roll of 16 and then had Aiden and I complete a market without him (with a particularly harsh penalty). However he toughed it out and bought his way into the market. In the end he would have won the turn after I did. He really surprised me with his ranking.

Xander (9 years old) Favorite Games


Summary: One thing that makes this game great with the family is once they figure out how to manipulate the semi coop locations to block dad out I'm in trouble. I give them 3 games before Xander is directing traffic to ensure my loss. What a game. I would highly recommend this game to anyone with a 9+ who likes worker placement. To see Xander staring at the board planning his moves out is just fantastic.



Learning Curve: Medium High
Replay Value: Very High
Theme: Medium High
Element of Chance: Medium
Game Length: Medium
Children: Medium High
Value: Very Very High
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Matthew Sanchez
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Here is a link to my other reviews.

Board games from a Dad's Perspective (Review List)
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Dan Licata
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Wow I never even thought of trying to teach my neices and nephews and they are all over 10. I might have to try it now. Glad you like the game, one that I quite enjoy but have trouble finding people that are willing to play.
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steven smolders
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My daughter is 11 years and play this game aswel and she does a good job at it.
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Matthew Sanchez
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danlicata wrote:
Wow I never even thought of trying to teach my neices and nephews and they are all over 10. I might have to try it now. Glad you like the game, one that I quite enjoy but have trouble finding people that are willing to play.



One thing I have done in the past is introduce people to a less intimidating game that shares a major mechanic. Say Fairy Tale before 7 Wonders. I recently found a kickstarter for a great game that again shares the bump mechanic but is much less intimidating to new players. I've mentioned it in a couple of my posts over here but it doesn't hurt to do one more. The game is Asking for Trobils and it looks to be a sure thing to fund. It's quite easy to introduce (and has a fun alien theme). After they get the hang of it introduce them to Euphoria. Both great games. My 7 year old prefers asking for trobils and my 9 year old prefers Euphoria.
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Dan Licata
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sancmat wrote:
danlicata wrote:
Wow I never even thought of trying to teach my neices and nephews and they are all over 10. I might have to try it now. Glad you like the game, one that I quite enjoy but have trouble finding people that are willing to play.



One thing I have done in the past is introduce people to a less intimidating game that shares a major mechanic. Say Fairy Tale before 7 Wonders. I recently found a kickstarter for a great game that again shares the bump mechanic but is much less intimidating to new players. I've mentioned it in a couple of my posts over here but it doesn't hurt to do one more. The game is Asking for Trobils and it looks to be a sure thing to fund. It's quite easy to introduce (and has a fun alien theme). After they get the hang of it introduce them to Euphoria. Both great games. My 7 year old prefers asking for trobils and my 9 year old prefers Euphoria.


I've had my eye on 'Asking for Trobils', I had it backed on the first run. Unfortunately my gaming budget sits at 0 right now and for the forseeable future so I'm unsure if I'll get to back it again.
 
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Jamey Stegmaier
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Thanks so much for giving Euphoria a second chance and for writing this review, Matthew. I've added it to our official review list.

It's really interesting for me to hear your take as a father. I just got back from Gen Con, and I spoke with another dad on family day about his concern about the bliss in the game. He didn't want to get a game that had drugs as a resource (bliss is more like futuristic alcohol, but I saw his point). It certainly wasn't my intention when designing the game to promote drug use or anything like that, but I think it was important for me to hear that from someone as I continue to design and develop other games.
 
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Matthew Sanchez
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jameystegmaier wrote:
Thanks so much for giving Euphoria a second chance and for writing this review, Matthew. I've added it to our official review list.

It's really interesting for me to hear your take as a father. I just got back from Gen Con, and I spoke with another dad on family day about his concern about the bliss in the game. He didn't want to get a game that had drugs as a resource (bliss is more like futuristic alcohol, but I saw his point). It certainly wasn't my intention when designing the game to promote drug use or anything like that, but I think it was important for me to hear that from someone as I continue to design and develop other games.


I glossed over the whole drug thing. We generally call them clouds. Also they have seen the Dr. Who episode which has happiness drugs in a dystopian future. When they saw it we discussed how the drugs were being used to control people. I find it is better to discuss the context of the scenario than to avoid it. It is my hope that when my kids are exposed to the real thing that they know the right thing to do.


I did forget to mention that they think keeping their workers happy and dumb is really funny. I think it would be really awesome if someday there was a "sequel" to the game where there is a revolution of sorts going on.
 
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Jamey Stegmaier
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Thanks Matthew--I like that thematic explanation. There's something similar to it in the book Brave New World--I'm not sure what the recommended age is for that book.

We've been discussing and brainstorming both a prequel and a sequel for a quite a while now. Neither one is officially in development, but I'm sure they'll happen at some point.
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