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Subject: Steph's Initial Impressions and Insights to Uwe's Newest Release! rss

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Steph Hodge
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New Hampshire
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This review was taken directly from my blog All the Meeples of the Rainbow. I don't regularly post reviews, but for games I am passionate about, I feel the need to spread the word!





OH MY GOD FINALLY!!!! I have been anxiously awaiting this game since, forever, it seems. Well Since last summer 2015 when I first learned of this. It took an hour to get through the rules and then we had to sleep. Fortunately, we got to try this game on Wednesday for the first time.

Wednesday night we got home and had some dinner then I was on this game like it was my prey. This Uwe game is much different than his other games. For me this was super heavy and not just in physical weight but mental weight. There is an abundance of options, but you have to be particularly selective and hone in on a certain strategy and go with it. There is no room for trying different options in this game.

If you are interested in this game then you likely know something about it. You have been hearing it compared to Arle and Patchwork. Sure, the huge board (actually tiny in comparison to Arle) with a wide variety of options compares to Arle and the tokens you are using to fill up the negative spaces on your player board and additional boards you acquire reminds you of patchwork.

Sure, it shares those traits with those games but there is so much more to it. As I have only played the one time, I can't really say how it will hold up, even though I am sure it will be amazing in 2 years time as well. After my one and only play I can't say I like it more than Arle or Caverna, however, there might be potential for equal status. Of course I just love this game.

While this game offers a wide variety of options and spaces to gain material goods, it can be quite challenging to acquire the resources you actually need at the time you need it. You really do have to plan ahead of time and think about things wisely. So many times in the game I was 1 dude short of what I actually wanted/ needed to do. Everything matters, and it is best you go in with a game plan.

I think I can safely say that if you enjoy Uwe Rosenberg games you will very much enjoy this title. I caution you to play 2 or 3 player games at first and refrain from playing with AP prone players.

Ron and I are very fast players and we were incredibly AP as it took us 2 hours to complete the first game averaging 1 hour per player! That to me is insane, AND it was after the 1 hours rules explanation the day before. Breakdown of the game at the end was a good 15 minutes as well. So many small bits and stuff everywhere. I might need another plano or insert. :P

As for our game play, it seemed to go super fast. The first many rounds flew by as you have fewer workers. Each round you acquire a new worker so the rounds get longer as you go. By mid game we were shocked at how fast the game seemed to be progressing, not necessarily in duration of time, but in that we still has SO MUCH to do and very little covered on our boards.

The boards are really cool, you have to completely surround the resources to get the resource as income. Then you will get a stead income once you do! For future I will make sure to make a rush to do this. I mad a rush to get the early income for $2 which was much needed. You can use money for a number of things or simply $1= 1 point. It can also be used for covering space on your board. Coving the spaces on your board is crucial. It helps gain more income for resources and money. It also covers a TON of negative points. No one wants negative points... I was working hard to cover the main players board all game. I kept looking over at Ron and he was no where near filling his up. He decided to go a different route and pick up a mini board to work off and gain different income. There are 4 of the island boards each with 2 sides. During game play as the round progress the islands will flip over, if not purchased. He picked one of those boards up and I went with the bigger scoring boards.

I was working the breeding route and had ton's of sheep and a few cattle. I had an easier time with the cards I was drawing to work the food aspect and get the small boards covered up and score a bunch of points from them. This worked very well for me. Ron was off raiding and whaling so he was working a different game. I was so immersed in my game I wasn't really paying attention to him at all.

People are worried that there is not much interaction, but this doesn't bother me so much. It is like Arle in that way. We are doing our own thing and that's fine. Some spaces might get taken but you work around it. This part of the game I don't mind so much. If it doesn't bother you in Arle or Caverna, then it won't be an issue here. I also think the board will be more crowded with more players and making it harder to complete the tasks you want to. Even in the 2p game I was finding Ron taking the spaces I wanted, much like Arle. I think it works perfectly awesome with 2p.

I seemed to be honed in better than Ron this game and it really worked in my favor. I got a lot of points from the smaller boards with my being able to fill them in. This was definitely an experience game! Placement is everything, if you place badly then you get some negative points and there is no removing anything. No green next to green allowed on the main player board and that is super hard. The small boards it was OK AND you can use red and orange tiles so a lot more opportunity to complete. Which I did!

I totally took Ron to school in this game. I ended with 101 points and he was 71 I think. It was shocking how much further behind he was. I think it was because I had all the extra points from animals and the small boards. He wasn't getting as many points from that. But, he did get a ton of points from his long ships. I managed to fill my big board by the end but he still had a ton of negative points, so all of that combined. He might have been less focused than I was too.

As I recall this is what happened with Arle. I won the first like 20 games then he caught on and started destroying me each time. Typical. I feel he will be better than me in no time.

The randomness in the card draw's didn't bother me so much but the starting card was a bit annoying. I suppose it might give you a path to try and follow, but it was challenging and hardly worth the effort if your other cards you get don't follow suit. I had been collecting a ton of cards in game and getting them played was easy enough. Many times I didn't carry out the action but just played them down to get the points for final scoring. It worked out well!

I can say with confidence, I will need more score sheets. :D





































Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph



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Murr Rockstroh
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Sounds like fun. We punched and sorted my copy today and hope to get it to the table soon. Tomorrow, however, we have scheduled a game of Die Macher. All of us playing it for the first time.
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Thomas Leitner
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I didn't have high expectations for this game, especially as it has spaces requiring a die roll. Dice are really not my thing.

It turns out, that I just love the game. I've played it four times now, and I can't stop thinking about it.
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Mark O'Reilly
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Brilliant review, thank you
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Mark O'Reilly
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Murr wrote:
Sounds like fun. We punched and sorted my copy today and hope to get it to the table soon. Tomorrow, however, we have scheduled a game of Die Macher. All of us playing it for the first time.


Die Macher is a masterpiece. Enjoy!
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Bruno Valerio
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Better than Caverna and Fields of Arle? devil
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Steph Hodge
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Murr wrote:
Sounds like fun. We punched and sorted my copy today and hope to get it to the table soon. Tomorrow, however, we have scheduled a game of Die Macher. All of us playing it for the first time.


Nice! You gotta get it played!!

Die macher will take all day though lol
 
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Steph Hodge
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MDJD wrote:
I didn't have high expectations for this game, especially as it has spaces requiring a die roll. Dice are really not my thing.

It turns out, that I just love the game. I've played it four times now, and I can't stop thinking about it.


That's awesome Thomas!! I can't wait to play it again and again!!! Probably not this weekend though. Doh! Soon, however!

I did have high expectations, of course!
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Apollo Melo
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MDJD wrote:
I didn't have high expectations for this game, especially as it has spaces requiring a die roll. Dice are really not my thing.

It turns out, that I just love the game. I've played it four times now, and I can't stop thinking about it.


I think a few people were put off by the dice, but I had a good feeling about it. I know Uwe doesn't like dice, either, so if he put them in there must have been a good implementation. And he did! Using dice for those hunting-type actions was very thematic. Hunting is rewarding but not a guarantee, and you're given three good rolls combined with a handful of cards and resources to make the best of it. On top of all that, it seems entirely possible to play a very strong while completing ignoring the few spaces which use a die at all.

I've been having a ton of fun with this one. It's a great big thinky puzzle that manages to remain a bit more thematic than his other offerings. Theme isn't a big deal with me, but I like the patchwork mechanic here. Storing goods in houses feels like... well... storing goods in houses. And laying about tiles on the islands feels like exploiting those island's resources.

If I had one complaint, it's a touch fiddly. I think he's done the best he can with his idea, here, but there's definitely a lot going on and sometimes you can miss a phase or two if you forget to reference the phase tracker.
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Steph Hodge
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biffta wrote:
Brilliant review, thank you :)


Thanks very much Mark!!
 
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Steph Hodge
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Oblivion wrote:
Better than Caverna and Fields of Arle? :devil:



It's only been one play but I can see it being better than Caverna...

To beat Arle will take a lot of plays and even then I am skeptical. I just love Arle.
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Steph Hodge
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raika11182 wrote:
MDJD wrote:
I didn't have high expectations for this game, especially as it has spaces requiring a die roll. Dice are really not my thing.

It turns out, that I just love the game. I've played it four times now, and I can't stop thinking about it.


I think a few people were put off by the dice, but I had a good feeling about it. I know Uwe doesn't like dice, either, so if he put them in there must have been a good implementation. And he did! Using dice for those hunting-type actions was very thematic. Hunting is rewarding but not a guarantee, and you're given three good rolls combined with a handful of cards and resources to make the best of it. On top of all that, it seems entirely possible to play a very strong while completing ignoring the few spaces which use a die at all.

I've been having a ton of fun with this one. It's a great big thinky puzzle that manages to remain a bit more thematic than his other offerings. Theme isn't a big deal with me, but I like the patchwork mechanic here. Storing goods in houses feels like... well... storing goods in houses. And laying about tiles on the islands feels like exploiting those island's resources.

If I had one complaint, it's a touch fiddly. I think he's done the best he can with his idea, here, but there's definitely a lot going on and sometimes you can miss a phase or two if you forget to reference the phase tracker.



Thanks Apollo! Yes, i agree with all you said here. I have still only played it the one time but I totally won the game with rolling the die one time and it didn't even need to happen and I would have still won.

It is a bit fiddly but at least the pieces are placed and they stay there forever. But yah lots of little pieces everywhere easy to miscalculate something.
 
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Larry Rice
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My first impression was different. Perhaps future plays will change my perspective, but I prefer Agricola, Caverna, and Fields of Arle at this point. However, I'm sure I'll have plenty of chances for that opinion to change.
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Björn Fink
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Wow...this game is screaming...well i dont know what it's screaming but its not "VIKINGS"...for sure...
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Steph Hodge
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larryjrice wrote:
My first impression was different. Perhaps future plays will change my perspective, but I prefer Agricola, Caverna, and Fields of Arle at this point. However, I'm sure I'll have plenty of chances for that opinion to change.


Well, I mean I agree on Arle and Caverna still being better. I need to play a few more times- or tens more times... a lot more and then I would know for sure!

:D

I can't wait!
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Steph Hodge
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xbjoernx wrote:
Wow...this game is screaming...well I dont know what it's screaming but its not "VIKINGS"...for sure...:what::p


haha perhaps not. I am not a huge on theme so it wouldn't btoher me as it might bother others.
 
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Peter Dringautzki
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punkin312 wrote:
larryjrice wrote:
My first impression was different. Perhaps future plays will change my perspective, but I prefer Agricola, Caverna, and Fields of Arle at this point. However, I'm sure I'll have plenty of chances for that opinion to change.


Well, I mean I agree on Arle and Caverna still being better. I need to play a few more times- or tens more times... a lot more and then I would know for sure!



I can't wait!


Ok, so I stay with playing Arle first *hides*
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Marlon Kruis
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Really anxious to know where this will fall for you after more plays.
Great photo's as always Steph thumbsup
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Mark O'Reilly
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el_crosso wrote:
Really anxious to know where this will fall for you after more plays.
Great photo's as always Steph thumbsup


Yes the photos are excellent . Steph, what do you use/do to get such great photos?
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Steph Hodge
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MeeplePeat wrote:
punkin312 wrote:
larryjrice wrote:
My first impression was different. Perhaps future plays will change my perspective, but I prefer Agricola, Caverna, and Fields of Arle at this point. However, I'm sure I'll have plenty of chances for that opinion to change.


Well, I mean I agree on Arle and Caverna still being better. I need to play a few more times- or tens more times... a lot more and then I would know for sure!

:D

I can't wait!


Ok, so I stay with playing Arle first *hides*


GO HIDE!
 
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Steph Hodge
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el_crosso wrote:
Really anxious to know where this will fall for you after more plays.
Great photo's as always Steph :thumbsup:


Thanks Marlon!

:D

I can't wait to find out myself. You know me though, one game a week. :P for the next 10 years.
 
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Steph Hodge
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biffta wrote:
el_crosso wrote:
Really anxious to know where this will fall for you after more plays.
Great photo's as always Steph :thumbsup:


Yes the photos are excellent . Steph, what do you use/do to get such great photos?


Thanks Mark!

Nikon D7000 with SB 900 flash- It also depends on location. I get the best photos like these when I am playing at home so I can use the set up I know and like. I do post work in lightroom. :)
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Mikko Saari
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I'm sure Steph could get photos this good with just about any decent camera, given good light. Cameras are so good these days, it doesn't really matter which one you use if you just like using it.

If you want to take photos like this, investing in good light is a bright idea. I've got a Yongnuo YN600 led light, and I love it - something like that is much easier to use than a flash and works really well, if you're shooting at home and don't have to worry about portability.

I'm a bit jealous of your reds, Steph – if I try to get reds like that in my photos, they often blow out in weird ways and don't really come out that nice.

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Steph Hodge
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msaari wrote:
I'm sure Steph could get photos this good with just about any decent camera, given good light. Cameras are so good these days, it doesn't really matter which one you use if you just like using it.

If you want to take photos like this, investing in good light is a bright idea. I've got a Yongnuo YN600 led light, and I love it - something like that is much easier to use than a flash and works really well, if you're shooting at home and don't have to worry about portability.

I'm a bit jealous of your reds, Steph – if I try to get reds like that in my photos, they often blow out in weird ways and don't really come out that nice.




Thansk Mikko! :D

Yah lighting is definitely key. Red can be difficult to shoot as you say. I can have problems too but I suppose I am a bit used to it now.
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J J
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Any updates on your feelings after more plays? Especially wondering about 2 player. We already have Arle and were wondering if we really need to try this as well?

Thanks!
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