Marc van Welbergen
Having played 4 games with 2, 3 and 4 players it's time for my inital review of the game.
As most games of DoW this one looks great, has little rules and plays smoothly. The game could be considered a gateway game, but there is quite some strategy involved and at first glance the game may seem overwhelming.
The components are very nice and colourful, I really like all the wooden pieces.
The mancala-system is quite different from other games, which is refreshing and it works really well. Turn order is an auction/bidding, so you have to pay coins (=VP's) to be first in line. You will not want to spend VP's unneccesary, but you would like to be first or second in line (depending on what's available on the board). If you choose to pay nothing, then you're placed in last position, but everything after you can also choose to play nothing and move you even further back. The 1 coin/vp spot is usually a better place if you're early in the auction/bidding.
In your turn you pick up all the meeples from one tile and move them, dropping one meeple on every tile you cross. Your last meeple must have the same color as one or more meeples on the destination tile. These are then removed and these perform their action, which is based on their colour:
-Blue are builders, which produce VP's for all blue tiles surrounding the one they were on;
-Green are traders, the number determines how many cards you get for free from the market;
-The white are elders, these are worth 2 VP's each and can be used to purchase Djinn cards;
-The yellow are viziers who are worth 1 VP each and who will get you additional VP's at end-game scoring: 10 VP's for every player who has less viziers;
-The red are assassins who can assassinate either a yellow or a white meeples from one of the other players or a random meeple on a adjacent tile. For every assassin you can assassinate one tile further away.
Also, the tile where you took the meeples from has an action depicted on the tile:
-a palm tree is placed, worth 3 VP's;
-a palace is placed, worht 5 vp's;
-you can go to the small market and purchase 1 of the first 3 available resources on the market for 3 coins;
-you can go to the big market and purchase 2 of the first 6 available resources on the market for 6 coins;
-you can hire a Djinn for 2 white meeples or 1 meeple and 1 slave.
If you manage to clear the tile entirely, then you can place your camel on the tile, which will get you the points depicted on the tile at end-game scoring. Using the assassins, you can sometimes clear two tiles in one turn.
The game scales quite well with all player counts, and when you play with 2, this means that you will have two meeples for determining turn order instead of one, which means that you can (and will) to achieve back-to-back turns.
I rate this game 8/10 for now.
One of my very first reviews was on Five Tribes. I loved the game then and I love it still.