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Subject: A Little-and-Often Review - Xanadú rss

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Adam Taylor
United Kingdom
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It is my intention to write a brief review (around 300 words) of every game that I play over the coming months. It won't quite be a random sample of games but there is likely to be quite a range; some will be games that I've played many times before, others will be first impressions of games new to me, some I will like, some I will hate, some I may be predisposed to like or hate before I even sit down to them. I make no apologies for this but I will lead with an estimated number of plays and my rating.

Plays: 10ish
My Rating: 7

Thematically I was always going to like Xanadu, as it's a theme that has previously been explored by two of my heroes; Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Jeff Lynn. As for the gameplay, this was very much on my radar as soon as I read that Quined were going to publish it in Europe - I love a multi-use card game (see my love of all things Chudyk) and the description suggested that Xanadu delivered a stripped-down, elegant version of the idea.

I definitely like what Xanadu tries to do and I have been foisting it upon gaming buddies quite a bit of late. When it works, it's hugely enjoyable. So far though, experiences have really varied: Sometimes it offers a great mix of strategic hand-management and forward planning with tactical puzzle solving and (hilarious) screwage. Sometimes it offers a frustrating grind where nothing fits, the right resources are never available or are snapped up by other players and the one decent building you manage to cobble together gives the exact resources everyone else needs and gets immediately sabotaged. Sometimes it offers a random jumble of frustration and windfalls resulting in what seems like an unearned victory. Occasionally it offers all of the above - to different players in the same game or even all to one player.

In short; it's a card game. How well you do and sometimes how much you enjoy the game depends a lot on the luck of the draw. It's a short game with very few rules so I don't mind the randomness but I fear that it might ultimately reduce the longevity of my interest.
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