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Elasund: The First City» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Elasund First (and second) impressions rss

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Scott Kipper
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Pittsfield
Massachusetts
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First, I don't have the rules in front of me, and I've only played once, so don't take everything I say as gospel truth.

It's set in the Catan universe and kinda contains some similar game play to Settlers.
The idea is that now that Catan has been sufficiently settled, you're trying to build the first trade city.
Unlike Settlers, you play on a board. The board changes size to accommodate from 2 to 4 players.
The board is arranged in rows of tiles, each row has a number, 2 through 12 (7 excluded).

You start the game w/ 10 victory point cubes.
Once all ten of your victory point cubes are placed on the board, you win

One of the key ways to place VP's/gain resources is to build buildings within the city. Each building is one of several sizes, taking up anywhere from 1 to 6 tiles total and occupying spaces in up to 3 rows (in other words the buildings range in size from 1x1 to 2x3) .
The buildings do one of three things: Produce gold (give you a gold card), produce influence (give you an influence card), and/or allow you to place 1 or 2 victory point cubes on them.
Also, depending on where you place the building, a part of it may fall in a favorable trade space, allowing you to move a marker along a trading track. Every few spaces you advance along the track, you get to place a victory point cube.

Every round you roll the dice and move a ship marker to the corresponding row.
If a part of one of your buildings is in that row, it produces it's item (gold or influence cards).

A roll of a seven means the ship marker is now a pirate for that round.
You move it to a row of your choice. No buildings produce anything, and any player that has victory point cubes in that row must discard that number of cards.

Buildings require a certain number of permits and gold in order to be built.
A permit is a disc w/ a value of 0-4. The value represents the number of gold you choose to pay in order to place the permit disc. The higher the value, the stronger your claim to build there.
You may only place 1 permit disc per round, and it has to be on a tile in the row the ship marker is in.
Building a building requires 0-3 actual permit discs (not a "value" of 0-3), in addition to varying amounts of gold.
The building you want to build must be built on top of these permits.
Since placing a permit takes place after building, any placed permits can't get used that turn.
You may make use of other player's permits when building. The player with the highest "value" of permit discs in a given area is the one with the right to build in that area. In case of a tie, no one can build there. If you do make use of an opponents permit disc, you must reimburse them for the face value of the permit.
You may also build over a smaller building. If the built over building was one that an opponent (or you, for that matter) had a victory point cube on, they must take that cube back. If it was on a favorable trade space, the player must move his marker back down the trading track, potentially having to remove even more victory points.

The last few rules above make this a MUCH more confrontational game than Settlers was.


Also, you may attempt to win by building the church.
The church is composed of 9 tiles (3x3).
Each tile costs seven gold to play.
Every tile placed allows you to place on VP cube on it.
The church tiles are drawn randomly, and the first tile must be placed on the foundation. Since the church must be built according to an included picture, the first tile to be placed on the foundation will determine the direction the church is built in.
When a church tile is placed over a building on the board, that building is automatically destroyed...no reimbursement.

Finally, you may build the city wall.
City wall tiles cost from 2-4 gold.
Each player has 9 city wall tiles, which are always placed in a certain order.
Placing a wall may either allow you to draw an influence card (or two), or allow you to place a victory point cube.
If you roll a seven on the round's initial role (you're the pirate...see above), you get to randomly take one of the discarded cards for every VP cube you have on a wall segment.

Influence cards allow you to break many of the above rules by turning in 2 or 3 cards of the same/different colors (there are 3 colors to the cards).


So, what did I think?
I really enjoyed it.
I've only played one 2 player game. I thought that it played very well with only two players, and the game was very close.
Its certainly very different from Settlers, but has a familiar feel.
It's much more confrontational (using other's permits, building over their buildings etc), and there is no trading at all.
Overall, if you're looking for another 2 player game to add to the collection, I'd give Elasund a long, hard look!

--------------------
Elasund update:
I've now played two games. One 2 player and one 4 player.
I thought that it played very well with only two players, and the game was very close. The 4 player also played well, and ended close.

The biggest problem I see with the game I didn't notice until after my second game. It seems as if there is only one overall way to win. I doubt that anyone could win by just trying to build the church, or just trying to place buildings or just trying to build the wall. It seems that you really need to do all these things in order to be able to get enough VP cubes on the board to win. This limits the number of possible ways a person can win, and I imagine that the game could get stale fairly quickly.

There are few 2 player games that play well, and I think that Elasund is one of them. The price of admission is quite high (I believe retail is $45-$50), however. With it's questionable longevity, I'm not sure that I can justify such a high cost. That said, if you have an extra $50 in your pocket ($35 if you buy online) and want a game that plays well as both a 2 and a 4 player game, you can certainly do much much worse than Elasund.

Overall Score: 7
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Michael Ward
United States
Fort Worth
Texas
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The biggest problem I see with the game I didn't notice until after my second game. It seems as if there is only one overall way to win. I doubt that anyone could win by just trying to build the church, or just trying to place buildings or just trying to build the wall. It seems that you really need to do all these things in order to be able to get enough VP cubes on the board to win. This limits the number of possible ways a person can win, and I imagine that the game could get stale fairly quickly.



Hmm, I assume you play regular Settlers of Catan. And I assume you like it. Yet the very same "problem" is true of it (and many other games). That is, you can't win by only buildings settlements, or only building cities, or only getting VP cards, or only having the largest army or longest road. You have to do a combination of these to win. But the ratio is up to you.

So, in other words, I agree with what you said (you have to advance on multiple fronts to win Elasund). I just don't agree with your conclusion that this is a problem that will affect replayability.
 
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Giles Pritchard
Australia
Shepparton
Victoria
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Elasund is a great game, and as confrontational as it can be, it also gives something back to the people who are 'victimised' by such confrontations.

I have found that doing any of the things you've listed (building regular buildings, the wall, the church and occupying trade fields) are all viable ways of getting rid of cubes/scoring VPs. The fact of the matter is that you can do any of them, but you don't have to do all of them by a long shot - you can concentrate on doing one or two things and still be in contention for the victory.

This is why I think Elasund is quite a replayable game, and an excellent one to boot!

Thanks for the review!

Giles.

-and you're absolutely right about it scaling well - it plays just as well with 2, 3 or 4 - and excellent and flexible game to own!
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Gavin Wynford-Jones
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Having found a cheap copy at Essen I decided to give this game a second chance and bought it. (My only experience so far was a veeeery long game indeed!)

Scott, how quickly did it play as a four-player for you?

How aggressive were the players? (In other words: was there a lot of knocking down of other players just as they closed in on victory?)

Gavin
 
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Scott Kipper
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Michael Ward wrote:

Hmm, I assume you play regular Settlers of Catan. And I assume you like it. Yet the very same "problem" is true of it (and many other games). That is, you can't win by only buildings settlements, or only building cities, or only getting VP cards, or only having the largest army or longest road. You have to do a combination of these to win. But the ratio is up to you.

So, in other words, I agree with what you said (you have to advance on multiple fronts to win Elasund). I just don't agree with your conclusion that this is a problem that will affect replayability.

Not so much a conclusion as just a feeling I got. I guess I see it as a problem in Elasund vs. Settlers as the board in Elasund is static as opposed to the changing tiles in Settlers. Maybe I just need to get in a few more games w/ some different people.

--Scott
 
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Scott Kipper
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gavingva wrote:
Having found a cheap copy at Essen I decided to give this game a second chance and bought it. (My only experience so far was a veeeery long game indeed!)

Scott, how quickly did it play as a four-player for you?

How aggressive were the players? (In other words: was there a lot of knocking down of other players just as they closed in on victory?)

Gavin

I believe the 4 player game took ~1.5 to 2 hours, not including set up. Mind you this was w/ 3 people who had never played before and 1 who had played only one game before. It was very cut-throat and one of the players (who tends to take things personally in confrontational games) went away with some bad feelings. Definitely NOT a game for someone who doesn't like confrontational games.

--Scott
 
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Laszlo Molnar
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We played the 4 player game and yes, first it tok approx. 2 hours. With people who haven't played it before it is always quite long first. The rules are a bit complex and you have to check all the possibilities when it is your turn, so you check all the four points if you can do (or want to) do anything. But after it's not your first game it gets much faster; if you do know what you can and what you can't do and you don't have to check your help card each time, the gameplay lasts really less than 90 mins. (for us, now it is more like 75 mins nowadays).

This game has the problem of not being the most lovable at first play but later it grows on you and you can't help but be amazed how well balanced and interesting game it is. Yes, in case you do decide to give it a second try after a bit complicated first play.
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Joshua Noe
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Wauwatosa
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As I've only played the game once, I cannot comment too much, but the review seems right on. I would certainly agree that you have so push multiple fronts in order to win this game. That being said, it was still very enjoyable and I look forward to playing it again and with more people (I only played with 3 people).
 
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