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Subject: Great mechanics, not a great game rss

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twesterm
United States
Lewisville
Texas
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The Colony is a bit of a mixed bag. It has great mechanics that flows really well and is easy to understand but playing it is a nightmare. The games has three large flaws that ultimately bring it down: 1) you're essentially managing six resources, 2) no real choices, and 3) near zero player interaction.

The Good
The Colony is most similar to a deck builder and has a Dominion-like feel but you're not building a deck, you're managing a dice pool. The idea is simple-- you roll so many dice per turn, keep their die value, spend those dice, and bank the ones you don't want to use. Buying cards is simple-- look at the dice on the top of the card and match those dice.

Buying cards each get you points and each player is trying to accrue so many points. It's really simple, easy to understand, and flows really well.

But Then You Realize the Game has Six Resources...
Where the game fails is trying to keep all these dice straight in your head. On your turn you'll know you'll need a 5, 5, 5, 3, and a 3 but you may have 4, 4, 6, 3, 5, 1, and a 1 showing. You then have to figure out how to convert that dice pool into your desired pool. This means doing things like turning the two ones into a 3, turning the two 4's into a 6, and then turning those two 6's into a five. It's really a nightmare to keep track in your head. It may sound interesting but I promise you, it is not, especially when you factor in the fact other players are sitting bored watching you try to figure things out in your head.

Even worse, you don't really know your final dice pool until your turn making it near impossible to plan ahead. And then you get to your turn and it's a headache because you're trying to figure out to manuever the dice into what you want.

No Choices
In other deck builders, you have four money and have a wide variety of choices because you have one currency. Even in something like Ascension that has multiple resources, you still have choices. In The Colony, you have the dice you have and then one thing you can really buy. You don't really have interesting decisions. I know this may sound conflicting with what I said above in trying to change the dice to get what you want, but you still really don't have choices in this game.

Near Zero Player Interaction
Finally, like a lot of deck builders, this game does not have good player interaction. You take your turn, and you're done. Yes, you'll get passed dice but since you don't know your final dice pool until your turn you can't really plan ahead. You essentially just take the one that matches what's in your bank or the highest value. It's mindless.

There are attack cards in the game, but they are pretty pointless if there's a Chain Link Fence available (and there should be one available if you have attack cards). We played with pirates in our setup which can either steal a dice of opponents choice, steal a dice of your choice, get you two free sixes, or just outright kill themselves losing you the points they would have given you. The random nature of that card means you cannot plan, you just roll a dice and hope you don't roll a 1.

You can upgrade the pirates so that rolling a 1 doesn't make them kill themselves, but that is pretty pointless because of the Chain Link Fence. The Chain Link Fence is an easily bought card that once bought says that when any player attacks you, you roll a dice. On a 4-6 the attack just fails. That means when I attack with my pirate, if I roll a 1, I lose my card and points, if you roll a 4-6 the attack just fails. This means there is a large chance those pirates you spent all those dice on are going to be worthless. In something like Dominion the player at least has to have the Moat in hand, in The Colony, the Chain Link Fence is always there.

To make things worse, the Chain Link Fence can be upgraded so that attacks fails on a 2-6, which destroys all motivation for me to get attack cards. At its base, the Chain Link Fence is powerful enough to make me never want to attack and then it's upgraded verion just makes all attacking not worthwhile, resulting in players never really talking to each other, they're just lost in their own dice pools. at least in something like Mystic Vale, I'm setting up my next turn while the other players are going, in The Colony, I'm just watching them struggle with how to manipulate their dice in their head.

Final Thoughts
The Colony is frustrating. I love deck builders and I love dice games, but The Colony just isn't fun to play. It's impossible to plan ahead or have any sort of strategy, you're stuck doing nothing when it's not your turn, and for such a simple game the act of converting dice to what you want them to be is such a pain that it's a major turn off. If you're a casual player, you'll hate this game because converting dice is a chore. If you're a more strategical player, you'll hate this game because there's no real strategy because it's really all random and the player interaction is rendered pointless due to a single overpowered card.

Don't waste your time with The Colony.
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Rick Teverbaugh
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Anderson
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Don't agree at all. It seems the reviewer has played the rules wrong, not played at all but just read the rules or failed to understand that dice manipulation that he found so overwhelming is what keeps the game from being a luck fest and enables it to have a puzzles quality. Colony is great fun that returns to my group's table on a regular basis.
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Jonathan Schindler
United States
Lombard
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The Chain-Link Fence, like all other cards, can only be activated once until it is refreshed at the end of your turn. So if there's only one pirate on the table, there's a good chance your fence will stop it, but if there's another one, you aren't necessarily safe.
 
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Sam Carroll
United States
Urbana
Illinois
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Thanks for your thoughts! My nitpick is that the game is not "The Colony", just "Colony."
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David desJardins
United States
Burlingame
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twesterm wrote:
On your turn you'll know you'll need a 5, 5, 5, 3, and a 3 but you may have 4, 4, 6, 3, 5, 1, and a 1 showing. You then have to figure out how to convert that dice pool into your desired pool. This means doing things like turning the two ones into a 3, turning the two 4's into a 6, and then turning those two 6's into a five.


SOLD!
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Matthew Sanchez
United States
chaska
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I'm on game three right now and still enjoying it. Amazing game? nope. but fun challenge and a lot more to think about than I expected.

To your points.

1. Turn length - really disagree on this one. I know most turns what I'm hoping to pull of and what I need to get it by the start of my turn. People taking too long has never been a problem. Pick up some extra storage so you can keep 8, 9 or more dice and there is no reason to waste your turn on converting a lot inefficiently.

2. No choice - you are managing your choices through the dice you keep. Can I always do what I wanted? nope but that's where back up plans come in.

3. near zero player interaction - can't disagree with you on this. It's a deck builder designed as a race. the race is the player interaction.

4. attack cards - no good. you mention chain link fence. I don't mind it. The barricade is totally OP and I'll never play with it again. I like the game much better without the attack cards and I like games with high conflict. This felt more like "take that" which is easy to stop. I'll pass.



Will this game stay in my collection more than 6 months (these days this is the goal for all my games). I'm not sure. I'm still having a good time. If I were to start righting full reviews again this would be my trigger to determine if it's got longevity.

The deal is I've got a couple dice chucking/tile buying games that I really like and I feel that it would need to get play time over one of them.

Nations the Dice game - Easier game on the brain. And for some people I play with that's better.

Roll through the galaxy - probably the closest comparison game. I like it more. and if Colony goes down it's because of Roll.


Given all of this if I were to project I would say it's not going to have the longevity of some others but not a "Bad" game by any stretch. I still have some card combos to try, the solo mode, and some different groups to try it with. So it's not a final rating.

Current Personal Rating 7
Guess for final rating 6



My rating system
10 - I constantly debate of it's my favorite game.
9 - Still one of my favorites and it comes out even if it's referenced.
8 - great game. If it's even been a little while since my last game I'm probably suggesting it.
7 - I'm going to recommend it regularly for the right group. nothing I go out of my way to buy but if I own it and it gets played I'm good.
6 - It's a fine game. I'll play it when it comes up.
5 - I'll only play it under the right circumstances. Basically if it's the only game being played.
4 - Nope. not going to play. Unless I'm taking one for the team. If my son or grandma isn't there I'll do something else.
3 to 1 - just bad. bad. I hate these games to varying levels. Doesn't mean the game doesn't have it's fans. for me it's an epic fail.
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Daniel Hopkins
United States
Rockford
Illinois
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Sounds like you need to buy more pirates. arrrharrrharrrh
 
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twesterm
United States
Lewisville
Texas
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spartax wrote:
Thanks for your thoughts! My nitpick is that the game is not "The Colony", just "Colony."


My apologies, I do not know how I could have been that careless.
 
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Curt Frantz
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I don't agree that their are no choices, but I found that the best choice is usually, "buy the cheapest cards and sprint to the finish line", since most cards are worth a point.

So, I agree with your conclusion that this game isn't worth the time it takes to play. The whole thing just felt very methodical and pointless.
 
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Rick Teverbaugh
United States
Anderson
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Many cards are worth more than a point and all but a couple of them can be converted into at least one more point, at least that's my point.
 
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Steve Crow
United States
Iowa City
Iowa
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" This means doing things like turning the two ones into a 3, turning the two 4's into a 6, and then turning those two 6's into a five."

Not that it disproves your argument, but... you can only use the Upgrade once per turn, can't you?

The only thing you can use multiple times (we think) is the Construction 2.0, right?
 
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Matthew Sanchez
United States
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Gislef wrote:
" This means doing things like turning the two ones into a 3, turning the two 4's into a 6, and then turning those two 6's into a five."

Not that it disproves your argument, but... you can only use the Upgrade once per turn, can't you?

The only thing you can use multiple times (we think) is the Construction 2.0, right?



Correct. Although you can purchase multiple of the same card (obviously not the starting cards)


As a side note my guess for rating was right. I'm starting to care less the more I play.
 
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