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Brian Bankler
United States
San Antonio
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"Keep Summer Safe!"
This review written in September 2007 2006

That I purchased the Scepter of Zavandor should shock nobody. I've played Outpost well over fifty times, and only sold my copy when the offers got outrageous. As Jeff Goldsmith declared, "It's Outpost."

By the time I sold Outpost, I had burnt out. If not a runaway leader problem, it had 'fallaway loser' issues. But I hadn't played in years, so I was going to get this.

[Incidentally, Jens Droegenmueller credited James Hlavaty, this is an authorized reworking.]

Overall, I like the changes. With six different characters (with different starting positions), replayability improves. The price increases (discounts) for leaders (trailers) don't kick in during the early game, but matter later on. In addition to the auctions and income production, the technology trees ("Paths") can be purchased any time, so you have more options.

I like how the endgame items ("Sentinels") are always available and not random. A few games of Outpost hinged on whether the first turn of Phase III offered up a 10 pt or 20 pt item.

A few quibbles -- I wish there were parts for two more players. Outpost's ability to play with 8 allowed for awkward numbers. That said, Outpost with 8 would be faster than Scepter with 6. Juggling technologies (etc) means more pauses. That may just be new game slowness. I can't remember how long our first games of Outpost took, perhaps I'm comparing apples to snails. Of course, I'm wondering how to make additional balanced mages. [For example, a mage that starts on no path ... how much starting money would they need to be balanced? They would presumably have six disks, should the first cost 15?]

I doubt I'll hit fifty plays on this, I play many more titles than in the old days. But I'm happy seeing this old friend, touched up with a bit of plastic surgery.

Updated December 2006

Scepter was one of my most played games (by time) this year, hitting 14 plays. Most of the games were three player, the five player game (with some new players) was a bit long for my tastes. Our group also feels that the Druid is a bit strong if played correctly (although the correct strategy for him is not obvious to new players, and it took us several games to figure him out). In spite of that, one of my best purchases of the year.
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