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Edel, Stein & Reich» Forums » Reviews

Subject: First Impression rss

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Some Guy
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This is my first review, so go gentle on me.

I played this with four other close friends. That was the first game. It took a few minutes to learn the game (really it took about 1/3 of that first game before we had it), but after that it went very quickly. In fact, after one of my buddies left, we played a second game, and that one went very fast. I would say once you learn this game, a typical four person game would take 45 minutes.

This was not a game I think I would be good at, but it is an elegant, easy flowing game that is fun with friends. I am a big fan of area-control and strategy games, but playing a light negotiation game is sometimes just what the doctor ordered.

To back up, I will give a brief synopsis of Edel, Stein, and Reich. Basically, your goal is to make money. You can do this directly. You can acquire the most jewels (no points for second), or you can finance your way into it through contracts. There is a round of cards laid down in front of each player, and you secretly decide to pick the jewels on your card, the money on your card, or the contract that is available to all. The contract can give bonus points, penalize the group or just your opponents, or it can be a straight contract. You get special bonuses for acquiring straight contracts. (Its funny because you negotiating the right to take what is on your card. You don't choose of get your opponents. That is very easy to forget while playing it.)

The central idea here.... and where the fun is.... is when two people choose the same thing. If I want the specific jewels on my card, for instance, and one the other guys wants the jewels on his card. I can offer my jewels (there are four different colors) to get the jewels on the card in front of me. Or, I could take the jewels the other guy is offering. It can get interesting.

And, it can be thought-provoking. It is more a poker-style, read-your-opponent kind of game. It is easy to over-think what you are going to choose. Too often, I would over-think it, and be stuck with nothing or clash with someone else unexpectly. (You get nothing if three people choose the same thing.)

I'd play this game again. There are others that I'd prefer to play, but I certainly wouldn't mind another chance to look into the head of my friends and guess what they might be thinking.
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