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Subject: sennaho's impressions of The Oracle of Delphi rss

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Johannes Lindrupsen
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This year, it’s time for another big, new game from designer Stefan Feld. That game is The Oracle of Delphi and these are my first impressions:

First off, I want to say that I am a fan of Feld games, but I do not love them all. (And I have not played all of them) I have played around 10 titles from mr. Feld, and my favorite is The Castles of Burgundy, with Trajan coming in at number two.

I think Aquasphere is great as well. Amerigo is too long and not interesting enough after some plays of it. Bruges feels to random, but I like to play it. Luna was great the one time I have played it. Strasbourg is also a cute little game. Notre Dame didn’t really give me anything the time I tried it, but I would like to try it again.

Now enter The Oracle of Delphi. A pick up and deliver race game, with a greek mythology theme. What is this? No points in the hundreds? You don’t get points for everything you do? There are monsters to fight? Yeah, that’s right! Let’s dive in to The Oracle and see what she has to offer.

Gameplay:

I will not go trough the rules in these first impressions, but hopefully I will give you some feelings about how the game plays.

In the oracle of Delphi you are racing to complete tasks in a competition for the possibility to visit Zeus in Olympus. You race around a randomly made map and pick up offerings, build statues, fight monsters and raise shrines to please Zeus and win his competition. The first player to complete all 12 tasks, and gets back to Zeus is the winner.

The main mechanic in this Feld game is a dice mechanic that feels a lot like the one in Castles of Burgundy, but it adds enough new and different elements to make it fresh, even if it feels a bit familiar (and for me, the familiarity is not a bad thing) You have three dice with different color sides and at the end of each of your turns you roll them all and place them on their spaces. These are the action colors you have each round and you can change them by using favor tokens, much like the workers in Burgundy.

Everything in the game is color coded, which makes the game really intuitive to play. To do something, you must match the color. Want to move? Choose a color that matches the place you want to go. Want to fight a monster? Use a die with the same color as the monster. This makes all the different actions you can do blend together really well, in a way that makes it easy to remember all the rules and how the game works.

One thing that I was looking forward to see, was how the fighting system works. To fight a monster, you roll a d10 and you have to roll a 9 (the 0 on the die is actually a 0 here) If you don’t roll a 9, you can discard a favor tile to roll again, but this time you only have to roll an 8. You can continue to do this as long as you have favor tiles, reducing the number you need to roll by one for each favor tile you use. You can also rise your shield value with a couple of game effects, and this also makes the monsters easier to kill. For each shield you have, you subtract it from the 9 you need to roll. If you have a shield value of 4, you only have to roll a 5 and so on.

Besides the dice that you use for actions, there are a lot of different mechanics in the game. When you complete a task, you will get a reward for it. Some tasks give you heroes that gives your dice new abilities. Some gives you ability scrolls, which, surprisingly enough, gives you new abilities or one shot actions. There are also the six gods that you can get up on a track, and when you have them all the way to the top, you can use a one-time very powerful action that can help you swing the game in your favor.

You also have the injury cards. Cards you can get by fighting monsters and also there is a high possibility that you will get at least one every round that the game last. These are kind of an anti-set collection mechanic. You don’t want to ever get three of the same color or six in total. If you do, you have to basically skip a turn, which is huge in this game.

Components:

The game looks really nice. It’s colorful and fun to look at. The map tiles are thick and they feel very durable. The monster tiles are thick and I really love how they look on the map. The only beef I have with the components, is that the pink and red color on the dice is basically the same color. Luckily they also have symbols, but the first game I played, I misread red for pink and visa versa some times.

Replay value:

I believe that this game has a huge amount of replay value. Even though the tasks you get are mostly the same each game, the ways you can make the game board is mostly infinite. This will make the game feel pretty different every time you play it. You also will get different ability scrolls and also you get different starting powers every game.

Final Thoughts:

If you haven’t already understood, I really like this game. It’s fun, it’s fast and it’s really good. I love the dice mechanics and the use of colors, I love the race elements, and that you have to try to optimize everything you do so that you can get to those tasks before your opponents and end up as the winner.

I love how you can focus on different paths and still make a close race. If you start of with raising a statue and getting a hero, that’s great, but it might also be good to explore the islands around you and get some good bonuses. It feels like there is a lot of room to explore the game and the strategies in it, and I think I will get many plays out of this one.

The game is also way shorter than I thought. I don’t mind long games at all, but I love it when you manage to make a great, deeper strategy game that doesn’t run for too long. I have only played this with 2 and 3 players so far, but the playing time has never exceeded 70 minutes. The turns go quick and there is little downtime. You care about what the other players are doing (especially if they are near you) and it has been a pretty close race every time.

For me, I think this is my new second favorite Feld game. Castles is still at the top, but this feels a bit like it (even if it is vastly different) and I would gladly play 3 or 4 players (which I wouldn’t with Burgundy)

I highly recommend checking out this game, if you are a feld fan or not.

My rating is

I hope you enjoyed my review of The Oracle of Delphi. Please comment below and tell me what you think. Are you looking forward to play this one? Have a great time gaming, everyone!




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Greg Goodman
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Nice review, thanks! I too am a Feld fan, and have been excited about this game before I knew much about it. Now I am even more excited!
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Mike M
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Thanks for the review. I'm excited to try this one, and I'm sad it didn't come out in the US in time for Feldtober.
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Michael Frost

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Thanks for the nice, concise review.

Is always fascinating to see how various gamers react to different games by the same designer. Love Feld's In the Year of the Dragon, Trajan, and Bora Bora. You couldn't pay me to play Aquasphere again (I hated it so much I had someone finish a game for me once). And really haven't cared for the other Feld games you mentioned that you like. They just leave me blah.

Is interesting that he moved away from his famous point salad approach. Makes me think he was looking for something different that was heavier than the relatively light (and rather mediocre) La Isla.

Can't wait to play it. But won't buy unless and until I do. Pick-up-and-deliver race-type games one of my least favorite genres. Same for ancient Greece-themed games. But who knows, maybe his will be decent. (At least one of the video reviews gives it a pass for this reason.)
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Bill Kunes
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I am excited about getting and trying this one. It will be interesting to try something different. At first glance it isn't the most appealing (I'm thinking different color outlined hexes), but its the gameplay that is most important.

I'm glad to read your positive thoughts as I've read mixed thoughts, but yours was more reassuring. We too are huge Feld fans (BK's His & Hers Stefan Feld Rankings).

meeple Keep playing...
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Christopher Telcontar
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Good details to have. Information has been thin to come by for this game. I started off loving Burgundy but that love has faded, and this may fit the bill to take its place.
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Tim Koppang
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Nice write-up!

I found Castles of Burgundy to suffer heavily from analysis paralysis, especially amongst new players. So your comparison worries me. On the other hand, you said that turns fly by in Oracle. What do you think the potential for AP is in this game?
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Johannes Lindrupsen
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Backlash27 wrote:
Thanks for the review. I'm excited to try this one, and I'm sad it didn't come out in the US in time for Feldtober.


My "local" online retailer has not gotten it into the system yet. I was really lucky that a friend had room for a copy in a suitcase he brought back from Spiel
 
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Johannes Lindrupsen
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bkunes wrote:
I am excited about getting and trying this one. It will be interesting to try something different. At first glance it isn't the most appealing (I'm thinking different color outlined hexes), but its the gameplay that is most important.

I'm glad to read your positive thoughts as I've read mixed thoughts, but yours was more reassuring. We too are huge Feld fans (BK's His & Hers Stefan Feld Rankings).

meeple Keep playing...


I hope that the excitement pays off, and that you will enjoy the game as much as I have

There is a possibility to turn the hex-pieces around, so that you don't get the outlines, but instead the symbols for each color colored in in the middle of the hex. I do think I like the colored outlines the most, but I like that they made two different versions
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Johannes Lindrupsen
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MPMelanchthon wrote:
Thanks for the nice, concise review.

Is always fascinating to see how various gamers react to different games by the same designer. Love Feld's In the Year of the Dragon, Trajan, and Bora Bora. You couldn't pay me to play Aquasphere again (I hated it so much I had someone finish a game for me once). And really haven't cared for the other Feld games you mentioned that you like. They just leave me blah.

Is interesting that he moved away from his famous point salad approach. Makes me think he was looking for something different that was heavier than the relatively light (and rather mediocre) La Isla.

Can't wait to play it. But won't buy unless and until I do. Pick-up-and-deliver race-type games one of my least favorite genres. Same for ancient Greece-themed games. But who knows, maybe his will be decent. (At least one of the video reviews gives it a pass for this reason.)


The game doesn't really feel like a race, at least not for me. It's more about being efficient and maximizing your actions as good as you can. It feels kind of more like Scythe in the way you have to optimize and get out your stars. I don't mean the two games feel the same to play, just that the mechanic reminds me of it.

I hope that you get to play it soon, and that you will like it! Please let me know when you have
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Johannes Lindrupsen
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tckoppang wrote:
Nice write-up!

I found Castles of Burgundy to suffer heavily from analysis paralysis, especially amongst new players. So your comparison worries me. On the other hand, you said that turns fly by in Oracle. What do you think the potential for AP is in this game?



Hmm, that's a hard question to answer. For me, I never had a lot of AP problems with Burgundy, but I can understand it happening.

The thing with Delphi, is that you have definite tasks that need to be finished, so it might be easier for AP prone players to choose what to do.

As an example, I played the game 4 player with my gf and parents (parents play a little, but this is by far the heaviest they played) and it only took around 2 hours. A little slow in the beginning to get to know the rules and understand what they where doing, but after some turns, it got faster and faster!
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Nicola Bocchetta
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I found there's a lot of randomness in this game. Both when you roll your dice, when you draw monsters and so on.
So, if you don't like randomness, be wary!
 
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Michael Frost

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sennaho wrote:
MPMelanchthon wrote:
Thanks for the nice, concise review.

Is always fascinating to see how various gamers react to different games by the same designer. Love Feld's In the Year of the Dragon, Trajan, and Bora Bora. You couldn't pay me to play Aquasphere again (I hated it so much I had someone finish a game for me once). And really haven't cared for the other Feld games you mentioned that you like. They just leave me blah.

Is interesting that he moved away from his famous point salad approach. Makes me think he was looking for something different that was heavier than the relatively light (and rather mediocre) La Isla.

Can't wait to play it. But won't buy unless and until I do. Pick-up-and-deliver race-type games one of my least favorite genres. Same for ancient Greece-themed games. But who knows, maybe his will be decent. (At least one of the video reviews gives it a pass for this reason.)


The game doesn't really feel like a race, at least not for me. It's more about being efficient and maximizing your actions as good as you can. It feels kind of more like Scythe in the way you have to optimize and get out your stars. I don't mean the two games feel the same to play, just that the mechanic reminds me of it.

I hope that you get to play it soon, and that you will like it! Please let me know when you have


If someone else buys it and brings it to our big game night, I will certainly play it once. Though I was pretty unimpressed with Scythe. Just not all that much game there. Far too uninteractive and way too solitaire-like, all about building up some VP engine on your own player board and not even knowing or caring what other players were doing on theirs. Much prefer Terra Mystica or Kemet to Scythe.
 
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Johannes Lindrupsen
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Faso74it wrote:
I found there's a lot of randomness in this game. Both when you roll your dice, when you draw monsters and so on.
So, if you don't like randomness, be wary!


I take it that you did not like the game because of the randomness? What parts of the randomness did you find to be too much?

For me, I didn't really find this a lot more random than most games that has randomness in them, and there are a lot of ways to mitigate the randomness if you plan well for what you want to do.

The dice can "screw" you of maybe a round if you are really unlucky, but if you have stocked up on some favor tiles or can change your plans, I feel like you will always get to do something that is pretty good, even though you might not get a perfect round every time.

I think that because you roll quite a bit, it will be pretty even around the table how many amazing, great and "bad" rounds every player have had. Of course some players may be more lucky more often, but that is also the case in a lot of games that have dice and cards in them.

I don't think the randomness is too much in this game, as I thought it was in Bruges. If you like game with no randomness, then I don't think this is for you!

Thanks for the comment, it's appreciated!
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Johannes Lindrupsen
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MPMelanchthon wrote:
sennaho wrote:
MPMelanchthon wrote:
Thanks for the nice, concise review.

Is always fascinating to see how various gamers react to different games by the same designer. Love Feld's In the Year of the Dragon, Trajan, and Bora Bora. You couldn't pay me to play Aquasphere again (I hated it so much I had someone finish a game for me once). And really haven't cared for the other Feld games you mentioned that you like. They just leave me blah.

Is interesting that he moved away from his famous point salad approach. Makes me think he was looking for something different that was heavier than the relatively light (and rather mediocre) La Isla.

Can't wait to play it. But won't buy unless and until I do. Pick-up-and-deliver race-type games one of my least favorite genres. Same for ancient Greece-themed games. But who knows, maybe his will be decent. (At least one of the video reviews gives it a pass for this reason.)


The game doesn't really feel like a race, at least not for me. It's more about being efficient and maximizing your actions as good as you can. It feels kind of more like Scythe in the way you have to optimize and get out your stars. I don't mean the two games feel the same to play, just that the mechanic reminds me of it.

I hope that you get to play it soon, and that you will like it! Please let me know when you have


If someone else buys it and brings it to our big game night, I will certainly play it once. Though I was pretty unimpressed with Scythe. Just not all that much game there. Far too uninteractive and way too solitaire-like, all about building up some VP engine on your own player board and not even knowing or caring what other players were doing on theirs. Much prefer Terra Mystica or Kemet to Scythe.


I don't really think this feels like Scythe in many ways, it was just a way to explain how I thought about this race mechanic! I hope you get to play it
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