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Subject: Nerd Weekend Reviews Snowdonia rss

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Justin Baumgartner
United States
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My wife isn't really a gamer, but she tends to enjoy worker-placement games most. This has led me to play and own more worker placement games than almost any other type. I found Snowdonia I think through Rahdo's reviews, and it was pretty cheap on Amazon so I gave it a try.

Snowdonia is an interesting beast in the board game world for me. The setup is kind of daunting, there are a lot of bits to place. Once you get the hang of it though, it isn't so bad.

Once you get to playing though, this is one of the cleanest, smoothest games I've ever played. You typically only have two workers to place (though that might be 3 more often than not in the middle part of the game) so each decision is meaningful. The actions don't really have much in the way of decision trees, so each action resolves quickly. As long as someone is paying attention and knows how to do the round end maintenance (contracts, weather, stockyard, events) the game runs fast. It's a middle-weight worker placement, but as long as someone in the group is a "gamer" and knows the rules I wouldn't hesitate to have new players of all types give this game a try.

I think this is one of my higher-rated games personally because every decision is meaningful and the pace is great.

There are plenty of run-through reviews so I don't really do those myself.

I rate games in certain categories from low (1) to high (10). These ratings allow you to make your own determination on whether this is a game for you. I also avoid gameplay overview, I suggest checking out some of the professional reviewers (I like Rahdo) for those.

Theme: 5/10 - Theme exists, but some thought needs to go into it.
Complexity: 4/10 - Snowdonia has limited number of options and they aren't really that deep. One of the less complex worker placement games I've played. That being said, the complexity is probably a couple notches higher for the person "running" the game.
Stress: 4/10 - This is a pretty low stress game. Every once in a while you'll get some close competition for the actions you need for your contracts, but every action you take still moves you forward.
Components: 6/10 - The components are pretty standard. The cards are good quality, but the bits are standard wood. Not el cheapo, but not super high grade either.
Pace: 10/10 - I've replaced length with pace in my reviews because it's more meaningful. Snowdonia is probably the best-paced game I've played, even when playing with new people the game moves smoothly.
Accessibility: 8/10 - As long as one person knows and understands the rules, this is a game I'd teach to gamers and non gamers alike.

The other element to my reviews is through breaking down the types of gamers I've encountered and making a statement based on their point of view. Snowdonia is a rare game in that I think pretty much every gamer type would be at least okay with this hitting the table, even if they wouldn't consider it a favorite.

The Tactical Gamer: This is me, and I prefer games that give me the ability to outplay my opponent through clever maneuvering and variable objectives. Your own objectives are numerous, and you can certainly switch strategies mid-game. Understanding what your opponents are likely to do is a big part of this game because actions are limited. There are lots of viable options, and this game allows for and encourages varied play. Tactical gamers will play and even suggest Snowdonia.

The Race Runner: This person tends to prefer games where you are making constant forward progress, utilizing each turn to it's maximum effectiveness. Snowdonia probably isn't really a favorite of the race runner as there are many times the optimal action won't be available. I doubt there is enough negatives for a race runner to decline playing the game, but it probably won't be a suggestion.

The Theme Junky: A gamer who prizes theme and prefers games where the complexity of the mechanics doesn't break their immersion. A lot of people will criticize Snowdonia on it's weak theme, but the weather, the contracts, and the actions all fit decently well together within the theme. I think a Theme Junky will be fine playing the game, even if they don't suggest it.

The Strategist: Strategists tend to like to develop a big metagame strategy early in the game and then work to execute it as well as possible. Snowdonia is much more tactical than strategic, but there are some longer term elements. Like most of the gamer types, Strategists likely wouldn't sit out, but it also might be a stretch to suggest it.

The Casual Gamer: Casual gamers prefer games that aren't complex and have enough variability to make them feel competitive even if they lack knowledge of the game in comparison to other people. Snowdonia works incredibly well with varying levels of gamer (even though the more experienced players will usually win) because aside from some major blunders in worker placement (which can be avoided with some good sportsmanship) everything you do feels meaningful. I'd expect Snowdonia to be enough of a hit for the Casual Gamer to always play it and probably suggest it.

The Social Gamer: Social gamers prefer games that are easy to teach, highly replayable, and naturally generate interaction with other people. Snowdonia is so fast paced that there is little time for personal interaction, and with the setup time and maintenance it probably isn't a great fit. Social gamers will play whatever the group wants, but I doubt they'd suggest this game.

I have a GeekList where I go a little more in-depth on the Gamer Types:
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Przemyslaw Kozlowski
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For theme you really want to look at the expansions like Necropolis Line, Daffodil Line, Australian Outback, etc
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