Recently I was given the opportunity to preview an upcoming new game that is currently available to back on Kickstarter. I received a preview copy of the game along with the rules. These are my thoughts and opinions on the presented materials. Enjoy!
Ktizo is a game by Kevin Wilhelm, self-published by Kevin Wilhelm. It is for 2-5 players. In this game, players will be working to create a new ecosystem after the world has become unsuitable for sustaining life. They will score points for building new food chains using lots of different species of plants and animals. The player that can build the most thriving ecosystem and score the most points will be declared the winner.
To begin, the basic plant cards are separated from the deck. These plant cards are shuffled together and placed face down in the center of the play area to form the "Plant Pile". All the other species and special power cards are shuffled together to form the main deck. Each player is then dealt 7 cards. They will each choose 5 of the 7 cards to keep and 2 to discard. The discarded cards are shuffled back into the deck to form the Draw Pile. The deck is then placed face down beside the Plant Pile. The top card is flipped over from the Draw Pile and placed face up beside it to form the Discard Pile. The top card of the Plant Pile is also flipped face up and placed on top of the Plant Pile. Play now begins.
The game is played over a series of turns. On a player's turn they will complete 3 separate phases; action, feeding and scoring. The first phase is the action phase. In this phase, the player must take 3 actions. There are 5 different actions that the player may choose from. Each one is pretty much self explanatory. 1-The player can take the top 2 cards from the Draw Pile and put one in their hand and the other face up on the Discard Pile. 2-They can take a card from their hand and place it face up on top of the Discard Pile. They then will take the top 2 cards from the draw pile and place them both in their hand. 3-The player can take the face up card on top of the Discard Pile and add it to their hand. 4-The player can take the top card from the Plant Pile and place it into their ecosystem. They will then flip the next card on the Plant Pile face up. 5-The player can play a card from their hand into their ecosystem, if it's a species card. If it's a special powers card, the player simply follows the instructions on the card and then removes the card from the game.
The next phase is the feeding phase. In this phase, the player determines which species are able to eat and sustaining their population and which species will go extinct and perish. This is done by matching up the icons on the cards. To feed a species the thing that it eats shown in the icons on the bottom must match the resources of a different species shown in the icons on the top row of the card. The species can only eat another species from a lower tier in the ecosystem. The species must also be able to eat before it can provide any resources itself. If a species can not eat the resources it requires, it becomes extinct and the card is placed on the Discard Pile.
The final phase is the scoring phase. In this phase, points are scored for any species that remain after the previous phase. The point value in the upper right corner of each card are scored. The points are added together for the turn score, which is added to the total score.
The game continues with players taking turns and working through each of the 3 phases. Once a player reaches a total score of 100 points or more, the round is completed so each player has an equal number of turns. Players then add up all their points and the player with the most highest score is the winner.
Since this is a preview copy, I won't go into too much detail here. I will say that the card designs are really nice looking. I really enjoy the photographic art and colorful icons. Everything looks great and is easy to understand. From the way things look on the Kickstarter campaign, the quality will only get better. There appears to be some rule reference cards which should be really helpful once the game gets produced. About the only thing that I could ask for at this point would be some way of keeping track of the score instead of having to have a scratch piece of paper and a pen. Maybe this will wind up being one of the stretch goals. In any case, I'm really excited to see the final outcome of the game.
The rulebook that I received with the game was also a preview copy which came on several sheets of printed paper. From the looks of things, there should be a better looking rulebook included with the game. Looks like there will be plenty of pictures and examples as well as very concise and easy to understand rules. I had no problems reading through everything and understanding it at all. The rules are really simple to read and doesn't take very long either. Each of the different card types are explained really well, as well as the 3 different phases of a player's turn. In any event, I see nothing here that should be problematic. This should also be something that gets even better with production.
This game is really fun. In a nutshell, you're simply building a series of chains that work together to provide resources to score points. It's as simple as that. The fun part is that each link in the chain is an animal or a plant or an insect of some sort. I love it. It makes me want to make more chains and score more points. The special powers cards add just enough variety to keep things from getting to stale. Besides, what would nature be like without a little chaos every now and then. I really like how everything works together and how it all makes sense realistically. Bugs eat plants, animals eat the bugs, bigger animals eat those animals. Cue the music, "It's the CIRCLE OF LIFE!" Sorry. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoy this game and like the hand management and pattern building mechanics of the game. Fans of games like Lanterns the Harvest Festival, Tash Kalar and Best Treehouse Ever should really enjoy this one. The game doesn't take that long either. Most game sessions last around 30 minutes or so. It's easy enough that even the younger kids can play with a little help. The kids really enjoy creating chains with the different animals. For me, I even found it a bit educational. Home schoolers could probably even incorporate this into some science classes to illustrate how an ecosystem works. As I see it, this is a great family game as well as being fun for gamers too. I'd say that the designer has definitely built a winner.
9 out of 10
Ktizo is a ecosystem building card game of pattern building and hand management. The game doesn't take a long time to play. Most games sessions last around 30 minutes. The look of the game is really great with the photographic cards illustrating the different species. I really enjoy how everything fits together. Fans of games like Lanterns the Harvest Festival, Task Kalar or Best Treehouse Ever should enjoy the pattern building aspects of this game. This is a game that works well with the kids and adults alike. It has a mildly educational theme and is something I feel would be a fun addition for home school science classes. It's fairly easy and even the younger kids can play with a little help. I really enjoyed the game and look forward to seeing how nicely everything looks once the game is produced. This is a great game that I really enjoy. It really moves me. Cue the music again, "It's the CIRCLE OF LIFE!!!"
9 out of 10
You can find more information about this game and back it on Kickstarter now by following the link below.