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Deon Beswick
Australia
Canberra
Australian Capital Territory
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The Opulent Review

Time to go back to the roaring 20's and be the staff of a illegal speakeasy, The Opulent! (*prohibition, only in America, heh - the rulebook does have some nice historical notes about this period of US history)

Components

The components of TO are quite good. Colourful, characterful main cards for customers (harking back to Flying Frog with pictures of costumed folk on the cards), solid player boards, some nice wooden and plastic bits for the bar sub-game, and various regular and customised dice. The only flimsy material is the tarot sized player aid cards (which were a kickstarter add-on), but nothing a nice card cover can't fix.

*Comments from the games group during the first game showed the box caught their eyes upon the crowded shelf, and the components were quite pleasing and added to the theme.*

Rules

The rules are well laid out and comprehensive. Possibly a more detailed summary of the player actions per type with all the permutations would have been nice, but it was good also to see the game scenarios can be linked to form a single campaign about the life and times of the Opulent. A little bit more eurogame style rules clarity over some things wouldn't have gone astray - like separating examples into sidebars, but really superior rulebooks usually escape even the best and most prolific game designers.

*Comments from the games group here saw a bit of information overload when trying to explain the functions (especially the band leader in our game, heh) but it came together pretty quickly in the first couple of rounds - playing with a pretty experienced crowd though when it comes to tackling new material. Still, it gels pretty well when you see how the actions work for each of the four player roles*


Gameplay

This is a straight up cooperative game. Each of the 4 staff roles is essential and there are always things to do. The Manager has the most options, but many of them are to support the other staff through difficult times. And certainly some of the roles that seem easier (like the doorman) take on a subtlety or two when actually playing (*Such as the doorman actually controlling the flow of customers, rather than trying to just get everyone in the door at maximum efficiency*).

The Doorman is playing a "Roll through the Door" type mini-game, trying to get certain patterns of dice to allow various customers into your club. They are also trying to make sure waiting customers retain their maximum "profitability". Essentially, every customer has 3 potential dollars they can put into the club coffers, but every little thing that annoys them drops it by one. If they drop them all, there's a fair chance they'll end up leaving, and besides, you won't make a profit. And the aim of the game is to make a certain amount with a fixed amount of customers passing through. (*we made 37 of 75 potential dollars in our first game, for example, from 25 customers - we needed 30 to win*).

The Band (Leader) is playing a card matching mini game. Different instrument piles give different chances of card, and they needs to match songs. They can either play people to the next area (the bar or the exit, if customers want the bar first) or play to add dollars to disgruntled customers. (*our band leader found the dance floor so crowded all the time that they had no choice but to endlessly play them away - and most of them had max dollars, so it was all good*)

The Barman is playing a supply and dice throwing mini-game. Different customers want different drinks, and they have to use dice to both roll for drink mixing and "burn" dice to resupply the bar. (*our bartender quickly got the nickname "butterfingers" dropping about 4 orders including some 5+ on 3d6 a couple of times*)

The Manager is watching everything and has two actions a turn. As well as checking incoming events. But mostly using their actions to support the doorman, the band, or the barman by making their jobs easier. They also deal with Celebrities making them worth something (*in the starting game, there aren't any celebrities coming to our no-name club. Oh well, I spent most of my time helping the bartender anyway*)

There are other thematic things, like some of the customers being mobsters, and that having a effect on who you are ordering your bootleg booze from. Or various events reflecting the times and/or prohibition agents out to bust your club.

Overall

Well, after one play, it seemed quite good. Fresh theme which is pretty consistent, the players enjoyed it and would play it again. Have to see how it holds up in the long term (you can play at least 10 games for the 1920-1930 campaign, with add on upgrades and staff for the club), but for the kickstarter price I found it quite a reasonable buy. You use a subset of the possible customers each time, so it avoids card-counting issues (or the "regular" customers always appearing, who just exist to annoy the different roles, heh). Recommended for people wanting some co-op variety (or a break from fighting Cthulhu and friends, or being trapped in any number of nightmare worlds)





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Chris Blackford
United States
Englewood
Ohio
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Hi-diddly-ho, neighborino!
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"I'll have a Shirley... No, a virgin... No, a children's... Oh, what the heck? You only live once. Give me a white wine spritzer! "
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Thanks for the review, it made my morning!

I am beyond eager to get my hands on the game soon, so I appreciate your thoughts on the game and components. I was intrigued by the teamwork between the various jobs, and it's good to know it comes through during gameplay.
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Casey Willett
United States
Chapel Hill
Tennessee
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Thanks for the time on putting this review together! Aaron and I have been anxious to see the personal reviews from those that matter the most to us...the backers.
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Jamel Rha
Canada
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Thank you for the review. I am happy to see that the quality is as expected.

Just got a notice from Amazon Canada that my copy will be home soon! Can't
wait to play it.
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J M
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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Jamelrha wrote:
Thank you for the review. I am happy to see that the quality is as expected.

Just got a notice from Amazon Canada that my copy will be home soon! Can't
wait to play it.


Have you been able to play a game yet?
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