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Subject: Fans of 2-player games should enjoy this. rss

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Tom C.
United States
Missouri
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If you dislike tactical games of drawing and playing cards, where the cards dictate your choices each turn, then there' s no need to read further.

Hello to the rest of you! Still here? Good. Very good. This is a nifty little 2 player game, with easy rules and smooth game play. You build pagodas with tiles and wooden game pieces that serve as the pagoda columns. You actually will build cool little 3 dimensional pagodas, complete with colorful tiles and colorful columns to hold each of the 4 levels of each pagoda. It's a neat looking game, for sure. Theme is a bit of a stretch here. The idea is the emperor will visit and inspect the completed pagodas, and declare who is the best builder. In fact, you get points as you build them, and most points wins at game end.

There are several colors of small wooden column pieces used for the game. There are tiles, also in those same colors. And there are 55 cards, each showing one of the colors. There is one main shared board, with spots to build pagodas. And each player gets a smaller board to track some special abilities they can gain throughout the game.

Turns are simple. Players each have a hand of 7 cards to start. Five of them are always face up, visible to both players. Two are held in hand. On your turn, you can build a maximum of 3 column pieces and any number of floor levels (with the tiles) that you can manage. The pagoda spots on the board begin with pre-printed foundations, which serve as the first floor for each one. On each corner of the square floor, there's a spot to place a column piece. You play a card to place a corner column. In the beginning, any color can be played to start the first floor of each pagoda. Once a column is placed on a corner, the other 3 corners must be constructed with the same color. Each piece is placed by playing a card of that color. Players can place pieces on different pagodas in the same turn, if they wish.

Once all 4 corner columns are in place for a pagoda, say with green pieces, a player can then build the next floor, by playing another green card. Then a green floor tile is constructed, by placing it on top of the 4 column pieces beneath it. A cool aspect of this is that there are several floor tiles of each color, which can be chosen. The green tiles, for instance, have colored spots on the corners of them. One green tile might have blue corners on it. If you choose to place it as the next floor, you are setting the color for the next columns that will be placed atop that tile. Blue, in this example. Then when those 4 corner column pieces are in place, a blue floor tile is selected, with the desired corner color for the next level's columns.

A pagoda is complete when it has 4 floors, at which time a roof tile is built, using similar rules. Players gain points for each column placement, each tile placement, and each roof construction. Additionally, each time a floor tile is added by a player, that player will gain a special ability, to be used a limited number of times. There is a unique ability you can gain for each color of floor tile that can be built.

When 3 pagodas are complete, the game round is completed and then the game ends. Whoever has the most points at that time wins. I really enjoy this. It's a colorful, eye-catching game with some interesting decisions each turn, concerning where to build, and when. There is obviously some luck with the card draws, to be sure. But it isn't all luck. It is certainly not a heavy strategy game. It is light, but interesting. The components are decent overall, but the cards are a bit thin and will likely need to be sleeved, due to frequent shuffling needed when the deck runs out. The rules are laid out nicely, in a clear and organized manner. Learning this should be easy for most people.

When I play this, I have fun. When I have fun with a game, I don't really care what it's weaknesses are. Fun is enough, for me, to recommend this for 2 players who don't mind some luck, and a very tactical feeling game with choices that change each turn. It won't win any awards. But it has found a place in my collection of nearly 400 games. That should count for something. I think the emperor would be proud to see his game among so many other fine ones I own.

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Andy Andersen
United States
Michigan
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Thanks for the review.
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Steve Kennedy

New Hampshire
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Good review. Spot on here for a great game that is fun to play. Strategy options get revealed the more you play it. What I also like is it is very teachable. Not using the bonus boards makes for an equally interesting game.
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David Hicks
United States
Evansville
IN
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I have been playing this quite a bit lately. The funny element in this game to me is the "wait for it" element. You don't want to place the second or third column because your opponent because your opponent will end up "roofing" it. It becomes a standoff. Tense moments.... lol
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