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Subject: A Brief Look at Mesopotamia rss

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Huzonfirst
United States
Manassas
Virginia
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Since I’ve seen this game described as Tikal Lite more than once, it was an automatic purchase for me. Light it is — our three player game played very fast. Positioning yourself to carry out the actions efficiently requires some thought and the ending was very close (we were all in position to win on our next turn). And the game really looks terrific and is more than a little overproduced (real stones; interlocking hexes; the totally unnecessary, but very nice, temple; not to mention the dynamic picture of Greg Schloesser on the box cover).

But in the end, the game is somewhat disappointing. The biggest problem is that there seems to be just one path to victory. Everyone has to dunk four stones into the temple to get their max Mana level up to 7; everyone has to build four more huts to get their offerings into play; and everyone then has to add 15 more Mana so that their offerings can be delivered. After that, it’s just a matter of birthing enough babies to get things done, performing multiple actions simultaneously whenever possible, getting your huts and holy places nearby if you can (to minimize movement costs), and getting lucky with your tile explorations and card draws. The latter wouldn’t be such a big factor except that there’s so little else to differentiate your relative progress in the game. The order in which players do things varies, so it looks like everyone is following different strategies, but as the game reaches its climax, you realize you’ve all wound up following the same paths and reached the final destination at about the same time. As a result, the closeness of the game feels decidedly artificial. Don’t get me wrong, this is a pleasant game and I wouldn’t mind playing again, particularly with a group that likes lighter designs. But it lacks a necessary spark. Maybe if there was another way of spending your Mana, something that would give the game another dimension and allow for an alternate victory path, I’d be more enthused. But the game in the box doesn’t feel like a keeper. I guess I’m just not a big fan of Klaus-Jürgen Wrede (although Mesopotamia is certainly far better than his dreadful Krone und Schwert). I rate this a 6.5, by no means bad, but headed for the trade pile unless future games reveal further depth.
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Pierce Ostrander
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Larry,

Next time you play, try this:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/1285609

 
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