I was always a fan of Game Dev Story by Kariosoft, so a game where you're developing a video game appealed to me.
Creative Differences is a card game for 2-4 players that we found to take about 40 minutes for our first attempt
I'm going to attempt to tackle how you play the game, and hopefully won't lose you along the way. It does sound complicated!
Players take it in turns to try to make a computer game.
To make a computer game, the players must roll over the "Contribution" cost of an employee they have in play. If the Contribution cost is beaten, then that employee and any cards attached are moved to the side. Once a player has 4 of his employees to the side, the game ends, and the other players get to roll for 4 of their employees to quickly try and assemble their game too.
Employees come in a variety of flavours Artists, Developers, Programmers and Specialists. You "employ" them by discarding employee cards from your hand till it matches the cost of the employee you want to hire.
Some eployees can be played as ideas, which you place underneath one of your in play employees which gives a +1 to the dice result you roll when trying to contribute to the game. Other employees have special game altering abilites which make the game very competitive and you can really screw over someone's grand stratgey with a well timed power like swapping hands with another player, removing all ideas from an employee or even poaching other player's employees ideas and all.
The specialists are a mixed bunch. Some you want on your team, others you can force on other people. The Specialists along with the Special powers, really keep the game interesting.
Whilst you're trying to contribute to your game, there are also three milestone cards to achieve and each player has a personal milestone, which will add victory points up at the end of the game. It is worth noting that even if you have a tonne of victory points, like I did, if you haven't contributed to a game, you're going to lose out in the end.
Once the game has ended, the victory points are totted up. You get victory points for the milestones you achieved and the quality of your game (Each employee has a medal of bronze, silver or gold value, associated to them. The better the medal, the better the quality of the game)
THE FREE APP
The app that comes with this game is great and in my mind, essential to enjoy this experience.
It is essentially a way to calculate who won but it's more than this. It also gives you a run down of the type of game each player made depending on their contributions, with golden medal contributions churning out great game concepts and if you didn't manage to get all four contributions to your game then the app fills in those gaps with really bad concepts like "we didn't bother with a story"
You get A LOT of cards with this, the artwork is good for the theme and some of the phraises on the employee cards made me (A test analyst by trade) chuckle as they're some of the things I've heard from developers.
The card stock was a little thin for my preference, but worked well for the game. The cards were easy to read and shuffle which is essential for this kind of game.
I played one game with two friends, one of whom backed it (Jamie Bray the Artist) and I really enjoyed it. We found the rules to be a little intimidating at first, and this from a player of FFG games, but after we'd read them a couple of times and played a couple of rounds, we were well on our way.
* Special Powers and Specialist cards mix up the gameplay
* Decent level of Strategy involved
* Companion App is essential
* Card Stock isn't as robust as I'd like
* The way the rule book is structured could turn some people off
I'd play this again, it was fun, fairly quick but with a decent amount of strategy involved. It's also a unique theme that I haven't seen represent in cardboard format before.
This is a well designed game that would serve as a good addition to your game night.
4 out of 5 bits