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Subject: Initial Thoughts rss

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グース
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I haven't yet played a full era, but I wanted to post my initial thoughts for those who might be interested in the game.


Components

There is a lot of cardboard in this box. If Terra Mystica is the king/queen of wooden pieces, this is the king/queen of cardboard ones. I spent a good deal of time punching out the cardboard and then sorting it, but the process did whet my appetite for playing the game. Due to most pieces being cardboard the quality is good, but the 9 colony cards are on cardstock. One downside to the pieces are that some of the text on the maps is quite small. It's sometimes difficult to tell which builders are next to you. In my two player game I was able to position the pieces so that both players could easily see the text - by leaning over - but I could easily see this being a real problem with higher player counts.

Rulebook

After punching out all of the cardboard I gave the rules a good read. My wife and I decided not to play the introductory game since we feel like we have a good grasp on games. In this case, it wasn't a big deal. The only thing that I felt the introductory game would have given us was a better grasp of how to setup the map at the beginning. Not yet knowing how things interact with each other could have led to a bad map being generated, but for the most part it's easy to see which tiles work well next to each other.

The rules themselves are fairly straightforward. There are lots of edge cases for some of the rules, but they're what you'd expect so it wasn't difficult to understand. It did take a while to read them since the rules are a bit long, but a lot of the rules could easily be distilled into a much shorter rules explanation. While I'm not great at spotting typos or errors in rulebooks, nothing stood out to me when reading it.

Setup

Setup time for our initial game was long. Mainly because I didn't yet know what was important or how we'd interact with the pieces, so I sorted them into neat piles and tried to arrange them according to what seemed related. The way I had organized everything the game ended up taking quite a lot of space on the table. This game is definitely not going to work on small tables.

I'm interested to see if the setup for my next game takes less time, especially since everything is a bit more organized in the box now. I tried to separate the components based on Era to make it easier to pick out an era to play.

Gameplay

Gameplay is fairly straightforward at the beginning. You insert your first steward onto a market and move them three times taking an action at the three places you go to. You'll get to do this twice per year - or once each half-year as the game calls it. At the end of the year whoever is "first player" will put out three new tiles, switch out the market card (which determines what you can do at a market), and a new round will begin.

The actions you take allow you to improve your player board, giving you more buildings and more "workers" to work in those buildings. A worker has to be in a building to provide its effect so you'll need to manage how many buildings you grab with how many workers you have at your colony.

All of this feels like classical engine building and the game rounds I played felt smooth and fun, but the best part of the game in my opinion are the Colonies you setup the game with. There are nine colonies and at the start of the game (if starting in Era 1), you'll have 4 randomly chosen. Each of these colonies focuses on a different aspect of the game. During the game you can build an embassy for a colony on your player board providing you with a permanent benefit (provided you don't raze the embassy you built). In my case, I build an "Envoy Embassy" which provided me with a second steward to move around the game map. Unlocking this felt amazing and I can't wait to try out the other colonies to see how the work together. If you're playing a full game, you'll add a 5th colony in Era 3 for even more fun and excitement.

Another aspect of gameplay I enjoyed were the large number of improvement cards. These felt a lot like the cards from Agricola, but you don't draft them at the beginning (I smell a possible variant!). Instead there are locations that let you draw cards and there are also locations that let you play them. Each card has some fun flavor text that might make you smile while reading them. Some of these will give you buildings that don't take up your limited space on your player board. Others provide you with one time or limited-use effects. I didn't get to see too many of these cards during our game, but I enjoyed what they brought to the table quite a bit.

Overall Reaction

As mentioned I didn't play through an entire Era, but both my wife and I were definitely excited to play the game again all the way through (probably one of the first things we'll do once we get home from our Essen trip). I do have the concern that the game might feel a little bit solitaire-like given that for the most part there isn't a lot of player interaction (aside from potentially blocking a spot your opponent might want to use, forcing them to pay you a fee of tools or resources). I don't yet know if this is a good or bad thing, but I do know that I can't wait to have my colonists start settling again.

Initial Rating: 8/10
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Dimitris Costopoulos
Greece
Athens
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Great description,thank you for your time.


That was an "impulse buy" for me based on the published playthrough on BGG,so I was a bit anxious to see how it really plays.


Now I can't wait to get my hands on it
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Joost Kleppe
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Nijmegen
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Thanks for putting this down. I was so interested in this game that I let my friend Arlette buy the English version for me in Essen on thursday. Yesterday I watched it being played.

- Overal look: A deception. Very tiny hexes, tiny text, standard illustrations, standard 'pawns' as playing pieces. The small workers are a bit nicer. The game looks like a dry green-brown labyrinth of tiny hexes and personal lay-out sheets, when put on the table.

- Gameplay/ flow: Seems nice, I can imagine it to be good with 1-3 players. 4 causes to much downtime I would guess, as it is indeed multiplayer solitaire for the most part. (Which is not that bad, as long as you can plan your turns during the turns of the others, which is the case.)

- The overall scope of the game is very impressive. It really is a development game where you start with almost nothing, and over the course of max. 4 hours build up your 'big city' , with colonies etcetera. This really makes it stand out! Maybe also good as a solo game?

- Gameplay/ rules have a refreshing straightforwardness. On 1 spot you can usually do 1 thing and not 3. The storing mechanism seems original, the 'move worker placement' is also new. Cannot tell yet if this is a real great invention, in fact it just limits your options. (But that could help in making things a bit lighter.)

NEED TO PLAY THIS but my conclusion for now:

Could be very good. If the building up mechanism works well I could forget about the looks of the game. If it is fun and fulfilling it will be fun for hours and hours, with all the stuff you get in the box.
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El Peludo
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Bought this one in Essen as well and played the game for the first time yesterday with the introduction setup. Some thoughts:

1. Unboxing: I never ever had this much difficulty in deciding what belongs together and what should go in which bag! What a mess of tiles, great! (of course I sorted it the wrong way and setup for the introductory game took a long time. now I put everything needed for the introductory in one larger bag - of course seperated in small bags - as this will be the setup for the next 2-4 games until we feel comfortable with everything.) No need to rush ^^

2. Material: A looot of stuff in the box, still for the price point I agree with your review: the colony tiles are a bit disappointing. I also expected the ressources to be wooden pieces (e.g. cubes), but that might have been complicated with the upgraded ressources and maybe increased the price. I also expected the maptiles to be larger, but that is a minor point. Maybe (hopefully) there will be an upgrade kit in the future with wooden pieces, or maybe I will simply try to collect something on my own (I can post this on BGG if I should do that one day ^^).

3. Gameplay: Caveat: I just played ONE game in the introction setup, so I can not say a lot except for: I WANT MORE! I can clearly see how this one will turn into a great experience. Yes, it feels multiplayer-solitairish, so if you are a fan of huge interaction and conflicts, thats not for you. This is all about building your stuff (almost) without external influence. If you win/loose it was because of your strategy, here is no space for the excuses like "I would have won, if you did not ....". I love it like this!

4.Overall: Great design, i can't wait to bring it back to the table again and go for deeper scenarios and explore the "real" game! Thanks Tim Puls, great job!
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E M
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We played the first era with 3 players.

Same here with the punching bits- and sorting-mess

I'm a bit bummed that the actions as of now seem rather "samey". Get ressources, build stuff, repeat.

In our case the setup was totally random, so one guy went directly to get cards and had a very lucky draw. He built so much faster than the rest of us could because he had a "lucky triangle" of getting ressources via cards, build actions and getting new cards/playing them.

After the 1st era (which he won by ~10 points) we all had almost the same setup, so I'm curious how it diverges from there with more buildings and different strategies to try - at least I hope those are in there.

Another thing is the duration of the game: it could very well bei 6 hours or more to play through completely. That might kill ist in my group, so I might not ever get it back on the table cry

We'll see, and I hope my concerns will all be blown away with the next try
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John Burt
United States
Portland
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Quote:
I do have the concern that the game might feel a little bit solitaire-like given that for the most part there isn't a lot of player interaction (aside from potentially blocking a spot your opponent might want to use, forcing them to pay you a fee of tools or resources).


"Different strokes for different folks": your "concern" is my preference in a big engine building game. Thanks for the initial impressions - I'm looking forward even more to receiving my copy and playing this game!

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Richard Dewsbery
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I wish that the hexes were a little bigger - but then they wouldn't fit on the table by era 4!

I also think that I might add an extra disc in each player colour, so that we can mark and keep track of where the pawns started that turn.
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Georg D.
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Brandigan wrote:

After the 1st era (which he won by ~10 points) we all had almost the same setup, so I'm curious how it diverges from there with more buildings and different strategies to try - at least I hope those are in there.

If you have a look at the examplegame you can see that different strategies are possible. I haven't played the game but I suppose that this will increase i later ages.

Quote:

Another thing is the duration of the game: it could very well bei 6 hours or more to play through completely. That might kill ist in my group, so I might not ever get it back on the table cry

You don't have to play all ages. The designer told me in Essen that he uses age I only for teaching purposes and at home he always starts in age II or age III. You just have to decide before the game how many ages you want to play.

About interaction: The designer told me that he didn't want to ceate a game with high interaction but wnated to focus on the engine building aspect. But he said that about half the colonies increase indirect interaction as you gat a second steward so that you can camp on a hex others wnat to use with one steward and move aroun with the second one. Or you get a piece that belongs to everyone and each player with an embassy in that colony can move that piece around so if you plan with it you must have an eye on your opponents plan. Another way of interaction is that there is a way to switch hexes so you can move an intersting hex away from your opponent and near to you.
I don't know how interactive it will be in the end but there are some ways to increase interaction in the game.
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Jonny Green Thumbs
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Brandigan wrote:

I'm a bit bummed that the actions as of now seem rather "samey". Get ressources, build stuff, repeat.

After the 1st era (which he won by ~10 points) we all had almost the same setup, so I'm curious how it diverges from there with more buildings and different strategies to try - at least I hope those are in there.

Another thing is the duration of the game


We played until the start of age II and I totally agree with you.

Most actions felt to be the same. If you do something different, its crap and waste of ressources. So I guess, there will be the same perfect engine/strategy in each game.

Including rules it took more than 3 hours for the first age and it was really boring. Not only solitaire but all doing exactly the same things over and over again. In my opionion the game developement seems to be unfinished.

Maybe I will give this game another try playing only age I, but I dont think so.
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Richard Dewsbery
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That might well be why the designer doesn't usually start in age I.

So far I've played the introductory game (with the easy setup) twice. I might play it a third time on hard, to see how much of a difference the board layout makes, before staring to play it "properly".
 
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Andrew Burnett
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Thronx wrote:
Brandigan wrote:

I'm a bit bummed that the actions as of now seem rather "samey". Get ressources, build stuff, repeat.

After the 1st era (which he won by ~10 points) we all had almost the same setup, so I'm curious how it diverges from there with more buildings and different strategies to try - at least I hope those are in there.

Another thing is the duration of the game


We played until the start of age II and I totally agree with you.

Most actions felt to be the same. If you do something different, its crap and waste of ressources. So I guess, there will be the same perfect engine/strategy in each game.

Including rules it took more than 3 hours for the first age and it was really boring. Not only solitaire but all doing exactly the same things over and over again. In my opionion the game developement seems to be unfinished.

Maybe I will give this game another try playing only age I, but I dont think so.


The first age is by far the least interesting. If you're only gonna give it one more shot I would highly recommend starting at a later age to see if you find it more interesting. I find the higher level embassies add a lot of interesting decisions. I also don't think it is especially solvable because the order that the buildings come out will mix up what is possible each game.

My biggest concern is definitely the length of the game. The best part about the game is the sense of progress from start to finish and I wonder how that will hold up if you only play an era or two.
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