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Eminent Domain: Microcosm» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Concordia in Space (and in 10-15 minutes) rss

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Scott Sexton
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Elevator Pitch- Eminent Domain Microcosm is a 2 player, 10-15 minute card drafting deck builder that is highly evocative of the mechanics found in Concordia while using the theme and flavor of Eminent Domain.

Each turn of EDM is broken into two parts, Draft a card and play a card (or draw up your discard pile). Think Concordia if you narrowed the game down to the purchasing and playing of cards and you are on the right track. Over the course of the game, players will draft cards from a 18 card deck (meaning that each player will only have 9 cards in their "deck"). On their turn, each player can either draft one of three face up cards, or take the top card from the draw deck (which is face down). When the second player drafts the final card from this pool of 18 cards, the end game is triggered and the player with the most points wins. Points are calculated by looking at the VP conditions listed in the top right corner of the cards they drafted (just like in Concordia) and adding any VP awarded by any Colonies/Spoils cards.


What is there to like?

Quick and streamlined gameplay. Assuming both players know the game, it plays lightning quick and it is entirely possible to get a game in around 10 minutes.

Crunchy decisions for this being a micro game. I've never seen a micro game full of as many decisions as EDM. Most turns will find you facing 3 or 4 cards you can pick from, and the process of picking out the perfect draft choice is almost never obvious. Then, once you've drafted the card, you may be forced to make a tricky decision about what card to play or if you want to draw your discard pile up. In Concordia the choice to draw your discard pile is a critical one because that is the gauge of efficiency in how your engine is being built. If you choose to draw your discard pile up in Concordia, you lose some momentum, but hardly anything you can't recover from. In EDM, the timing of when or even IF you draw your discard can mean the difference between winning and losing the game.

This is a gamer's filler. Most fillers don't offer much more then a quick distraction or warm up. EDM is a true meaty game, with significant and interesting decisions packed down to a very small timeframe.


What isn't to like?

The game may feel a bit repetitive if you overplay it. 18 cards isn't much and if you play somebody who always goes for certain strategies, you may start to feel like this is more of the same eventually.

Learning the game is a bit tricky (unless you watch Rahdo's run through). The rulebook is pretty minimalistic (because most rules are on the cards) but they are sparse enough to leave many gamers wondering what to do upon opening the box.

There is a possibility that some players will struggle with AP. Watch Rahdo's video to get a sense of how hard some choices in this game can be. Do I hate draft this card to keep my opponent from getting it or do I draft this other card with great scoring potential, or do I draft this other card that will allow me to have enough resources for my power card?

Almost every criticism of Concordia's deck building portions apply here as well. This shouldn't come as any surprise because EDM draws so heavily from Concordia for inspiration.

It is quite difficult to gauge how good or bad you are doing until the very end. You may feel good about your deck until you count up the score and realize you were blown out.

The scoring is every bit as awkward as Concordia's (because it works pretty much exactly the same way).

Many of Concordia's shortcomings though aren't that big of a deal here because EDM is such a quick game, and you don't feel as if you've invested quite as much effort for it to be frustrating.

Conclusion- EDM is probably the heaviest microgame published to date, and is certainly the heaviest I'm aware of. Once past the initial learning curve of this game, a real depth of strategy and card comboing reveals itself. EDM is a very successfully designed game and certainly is worth the humble sales price. For those who want a heavier filler game and enjoyed Concordia, this game will be an obvious winner.
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Bryant Hudson
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Great review. I can't wait to purchase myself. It has a great price that could be used to get one just over the hump to obtain free s/h on an order. That low price will make it a big seller as well.
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Seth Jaffee
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Thanks for the great write up! I'm glad to hear you're enjoying Microcosm.

I'm interested to see how it fares once it hits retail stores (any time now, I think).
 
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Tom Dillon
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Agreed. I've taught this game four times now and seem to have it more or less down, but the first couple of times were a but rough. The scoring is the least fun part of the game, though I imagine that could be fixed by a simple app or web calculator that allows you to increment your multipliers and scoring factors then totals everything for you. Those issues aside, great game.
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Peter Rabinowitz
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I don't find the scoring to be that hard. First, I sort all the cards according to what they score. So all the "1 per Tech" go in a little fanned out pile, all the "1 per Red planet" go in another fanned out pile, etc. Then I process each pile one at a time. Since everything is fanned out, I can count up relevant symbols without moving the cards around. Maybe I'll post a video.
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Tom Dillon
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That's what I do, too, and it isn't bad, but it seems like something that would benefit from automation, especially for first time players. I was thinking that it would be super easy to code into a web page.
 
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Ray Greenley
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I don't think it's too bad. By the time you entered who had which cards into a web page, you could probably just sort and count the points normally.
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James VB
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Wow this game looks amazing... and the board game budget just got refilled....
 
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Peter Rabinowitz
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I added a video showing how I score a hand.
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Seth Jaffee
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kc2dpt wrote:
I added a video showing how I score a hand.
This is definitely how I count it up!
 
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