Go easy on me folks; newbie reviewer, long-time BGGer.
Qualifying Disclaimer: This review is based entirely on 2-player games and only about 6-8 plays.
I picked up the game in a recent bundle for three reasons:
1) I wanted an engaging game that I could successfully introduce to "non-gamers"
2) I wanted lighter games in my collection with shorter play times
3) The reviews were so good that I decided to check it out
I'll use those factors as the structure of this review.
1. "Non-Gamer" Accessibility
After cracking the box, whipping through the two-page ruleset, and recognizing the potential brilliance in the game's simplicity, I was immediately excited about bringing this game to the table. That excitement didn't dissipate once I explained the rules, gave a few examples of gameplay, and saw the light of interest in my opponent's eyes.
To confirm all of your sneaking suspicions, yes, the "opponent" was my wife. I continually add quotes to the term "non-gamer" since I don't believe that there are non-gamers. I believe that there are those that are less interested in gaming, but can easily be sucked into the competition when faced with the correct game.
She quickly grasped the game's mechanic and we began playing. Granted, early on she fell into the trap of focusing on gaining big points in a color that she already had a solid amount of points in, but saw the error of her ways without me having to point it out to her. She learned to look at my scoreboard and block off colors that I was weak in. Of course, I'll admit that I had to coax her into making some "screwgie" moves, but her competitive side came out and didn't need too much coaxing after that.
The rules are easy to learn and the game moves quickly until a tough choice is reached. It's fun and engaging. I would recommend calling out the scoring of each tile for the first few games (i.e. 2 red, 3 blue) so everyone gets used to it.
Ruling: Complete Success
2. Lighter Game/Shorter Play Time
The games lasted about 15-30 minutes each. Obviously, we reached the shorter time frame after playing a few games, but even then, there were those tough decisions that slowed up gameplay, but it wasn't overwhelming. Honestly, even with a four-player game I could see table conversation overshadowing the perceived down time.
Ruling: Complete Success
Now, some may consider this game too light, but they'd be wrong. You can easily try to plan two to three moves ahead and have those plans dashed, forcing you to react with a new plan. Letting a single color fall too far behind can happen and then your opponent could easily begin passing on big points for moderate points while limiting (or removing) your options. Relying on aggressive gameplay while keeping an eye on your opponent's weak color(s) can be a path to victory, but the board can remain open enough for this strategy to be crazy if employed too early.
Ruling: Overwhelming Success
I've given most of the conclusions already, but here's a closing section. Overall, I'm going to give this game a solid 9. Honestly, it's a great game and fun. Don't consider this to be a heavy, brain buster though.
It's so clean and straightforward that I can't think of too many negatives. The immediate one is that I could see a solid group of gamers overlooking this for something more meaty, but how can that be a knock against it really?
The best thing about the game was this. After my wife and I played the first game, she looked at me and said, "Wanna play another?" Those words alone make the game worth it.
A solid addition to my collection and one that'll definitly see further table time.
Ruling: PLAY THIS GAME!
Great review. And, I completely agree with you on all aspects of this game! It's a lot of fun and very easy to learn.
j b Goodwin
I agree. This is an easy-in for gamers and non-gamers alike, and it plays equally well for two, four, and (one of the few that really works with) three. Great replayability, non-confrontational play. A hit with everyone I've introduced it to, from wargamers to non-gamers.
Very nice review. It's definitely accesible to non-gamers and has a short playtime. It's amazing that it got such high marks on BGG though- as a gamegeek I find it to be very boring (that's after a couple of 2 player and one 3 player game).