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Subject: Why it will see more playtime than....it's a great Euro Stew rss

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Wade Broadhead
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The 'meat' of this game has already been reviewed in depth and done so with particular skill, so I won't elaborate on the game process. Instead I'd like to make a few brief comments on why I think this game will see lots of play this year instead of Caylus, Florence, Puerto Rico, or similar games. I don’t want to debate games, I love these other titles, but I really feel Leonardo will hit the table a lot this year. Leonardo is a great Euro-stew made up of mechanics and aspects of other great games, but brings them together in a novel way that just tastes right.

1. Ok, it's new. This is a no brainer, but we have a number of new gamers in our group (including me really) that never played PR or Princes for a year straight. To some of us Florence and PR are new too. Despite this fact I think Leonardo will see more play time. Ok moving on...

2. Interaction and Fun. The interaction is integral to the game, and is much more stimulating and rewarding than some similar games. I have much more "fun" than playing similar games. The sighs and cajoling while placing apprentices is just plain fun... or agony depending on how you're doing.

3. There a lot going on. Long and Short term planning is crucial, and with the interaction and unknown of placing workers it makes the game a delight.

4. Time. Caveat-the first game will probably not be short. My experience with 2 'first-time games' was that the game took much longer than advertised, while all of us had at least one serious mulligan when building inventions. That said, my last game with 3 of the 4 seasoned veterans seemed quick and perfect for the weight of the game. I can suggest this game and know we can finish with enough time for another 1-2 meatier games in a regular game night.

5. Delicious Decisions. The game just has those delicious decisions that makes a great Euro Stew. Couple the decisions together with the long term planning, and it's not until 2 turns later you realize you've made a big mistake. The regulations on worker placement are a great mechanic that adds tension as well.

6. "Playing" the game. Like Goa for me, this is a game where you play your opponents but it's deep enough to where you're playing to better your score. A better score really feels like you've accomplished something to me, and I don't really mind losing because there is just so much going on.

7. Hidden Information. The hidden lab invention aspect is really enjoyable. Although it's not always very secretive if you're paying attention, it does add extra tension and variability to the game that I really enjoy. It's also fun to watch somebody complete an invention on to realize it was never requested, and the player confused material types. I've been designing games and playing games lately with hidden movement or information, and I find that it's an underused delightful mechanic, and it works well in Leonardo.

8. Theme. There is great and universal respect for Leonardo’s work around the globe and the idea of Leonardo is more appealing than an abstract castle building in Caylus or some other games. A game about building inventions just sounds kind of interesting and novel and usually peaks newer player interest.

I've played 3 games now, with a good range of people including some seasoned gamers in my area as well as my light gaming wife. All who have played have really enjoyed the game, and were eager to try and improve their score.

With two little kiddos I'm not able to play as many as some so I don't think the game will tire for me. Perhaps you will "figure it out" after a ton of plays, but when I can only expect 8-12 plays a year for a good meaty game with even the best circumstances I'm pretty sure I'll see lots of Leonardo this year.

If you don't have it buy it, you'll get your moneys worth.
If you see it-try it: I think you'll be happy you did.
If you've played once: try it again, the first game can seem a little bewildering.

This is a great Eurostew that can keep most warm and satiated till their next game night.
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Tony Wai-kit FUNG
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Very good review where your points are those all I agree with. Our group particularly enjoy "Couple the decisions together with the long term planning, and it's not until 2 turns later you realize you've made a big mistake."
 
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Skip Maloney
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I suspect that even the most seasoned of players will find themselves making a mid-game mistake that puts them out of the running, now and again; whether it be the assumption of a revealed invention or the acquisition of the wrong resource, or the failure to upgrade a laboratory at the proper time. Ever get on a subway or other form of public transportation and miss your stop? You might curse yourself, but you're not likely to stop taking trains.
 
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Wade Broadhead
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Good comments.
Some things I see in the game are that you should play more competitively. At first it feels like you should maximize your plans, but after a few games I realized I needed to pay attention and really hamper the leader when possible, since money is victory. One guy has won 2 games with an amazing margin, and nobody ever really considered making it harder for him to get anything.
1) Play competitive and always make some screwage moves if you can afford it against a leader. Don't let someone get all 5 cards for Gods sake: 20 pts bam, he wins!
2) Have a goal (probably 2) each round. Obviously you want the most benefit for the least expenditure BUT I get screwed when I don't remember what my goal is first, then try and get easy gravy. If you can really accomplish 2 goals per turn you can do fairly well.

I would dis-regard the criticism of knowing you’re out of the game and skipping turns. Any game could have the same criticism. A game that allows someone way behind to shoot forward really irks many. I know- I've designed some and the common refrain was that they didn't like wild swings in scoring. I'm ok with them as long as there's a number of wild swings, but like them if they allow a high-medium placed player to shoot forward due to some good play and a little luck.
THAT said. If you planned poorly (my game this week) or just couldn’t get enough resources for the last 2 rounds it is frustrating, but it ends quickly so it's not a big deal. I think it would be wise two have 2 separate areas to compete that stay open during the last 2 rounds.

One idea: an area to win $. The majority gets the sum of the apprentices in cash. 1 person enters and wins 1$ big whoop. If people fight for it the prize grows!
 
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Skip Maloney
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I don't think you can self-destruct on the first turn in this game. You might slow down your 'break from the gate' with a bad decision, but a few judicious moves in round two should get you back on track.

Then, too, for some reason, though I have been in a few 'losing position' situations, I've found that I don't get overly discouraged playing Leonardo. It's not, for example, like Monopoly, where once your doom has been established, you can sit for hours rolling pointless dice and making useless decisions until someone else wins. Leonardo, for some reason, manages to hold my interest and engage my brain no matter what the circumstances. . then again, maybe that's just me

 
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