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Subject: Artificium. A great, unique game with a flaw. rss

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Panu Trivej
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Artificium is a little talked about game that only interested me once I found it on sale and quite cheap in a local store. I purchased the game, tried it a few times, and totally fell in love with it. I fell in love with the mechanics, the components, the artwork, and with how unique the game is. The honeymoon is rather short though, and here is the reason.

On the surface, gameplay is nothing to write home about. You collect resources and convert them in sequences that lead to two ultimate "resources": wizard and knight. What's unique is you are using cards to do so. Gathering resources is nothing in this game; it's the cards that count, or more precisely the ability to play these cards. The cards provide victory points and can only be played if you have the right resources to convert. Various structures are beautifully illustrated on the cards, but it's not like you are building anything, since they are good only for one-time use.

The thought-process involved in this game is quite topsy-turvy, and I like it a lot. The game comes with a player board and a flowchart that cleverly show you which resources you have and the potential for further conversion. Artificium supports two to six players. I have played both a two and a six player game, and am happy to report the game scales well.

One big flaw, however, is the replayability. The game has a bit of player interaction, but it's more like a puzzle than a game proper. In each round you have five cards to play, and it's most expedient that you play all of them. Figuring how is the crux of the puzzle. Once you get the hang of it, while it's still pretty satisfying to solve the puzzle, the game becomes obvious and who's winning comes down to the luck of the draw.

This flaw can be easily overcome with an expansion to spice thing up and add variations. It's quite sad the game doesn't do as well as it should, and for now we are unlikely to have any.

Still if you want to try something different, Artificium is a game I highly recommend.

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Nicola Bocchetta
Italy
Milano
MI
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I remember this as being one of the most boring games in my life.
There was a sort of initial auction or market, then someone could steal your cards, and anyway you had no control on what would happen in the game.
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David Gotteri
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CHESTERFIELD
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if it's essentially a puzzle could you work out some sort of solo equivalent? that way your aim is to solve said puzzle, but it's a question of whether you can or not. Hmm, might give it some thought. :-)
 
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Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
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van jupiter wrote:
One big flaw, however, is the replayability. The game has a bit of player interaction, but it's more like a puzzle than a game proper. In each round you have five cards to play, and it's most expedient that you play all of them. Figuring how is the crux of the puzzle. Once you get the hang of it, while it's still pretty satisfying to solve the puzzle, the game becomes obvious and who's winning comes down to the luck of the draw.

I've only played this game once, but you have a valid point.

van jupiter wrote:
This flaw can be easily overcome with an expansion to spice thing up and add variations. It's quite sad the game doesn't do as well as it should, and for now we are unlikely to have any.

The impact of the 'gotcha' cards may be amplified by the limited number of game turns (4). Luck of the draw has less opportunity to even out over the course of the game.

Perhaps playing to a certain number of points, or increasing the number of game turns, can reduce that impact.
 
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