I really really really like the game.
I've now played it 6 times and will share some insight on why I enjoy it.
The game is basically split into 4 rounds with scoring at the and of each, followed by a final scoring (parchment) phase.
Now I will not go through all the rules and mechanics of the game, my focus is on how is plays. So this is a drafting game where your choosing 2 cards a turn and passing your hand to the next player. All the rounds are played in the exact same way (drafting then scoring).
Round 1: This round drafts pretty quickly and the scoring is very fast.
Round 2: I would say its the same pace as round 1 on both counts.
Round 3: The drafting portion still feels fine to me here, and goes at a good pace. By the end of this round the board will be pretty full, so this is where the size of the board (too small) might start to bother some players as the scoring will require a little more time.
Round 4: The drafting portion feels the same as round 3 and so does the scoring.
Final Scoring (Parchment phase): This is the only part of the game that is truly long. It probably doesn't help that for all intent and purpose the game is done and no further decisions are to be made (with a few exceptions). Here are 2 recommendations for this round:
- Appoint one player to read the parchments.
- Appoint one player to look at the board and evaluate the value of the parchment. I would suggest for this part you use the player that has the best visual/spacial perception (essentially the one that sees the board best).
The reason this part of the game takes so long is because you can expect each player to have something like 8+ parchment cards, which quite frankly is way too much. Imagine in a 4 player game having to read out loud 32 cards and then having to evaluate their point value. I mean in theory you could have each player simultaneously do their own parchments, but then you have no oversight in case someone is making mistakes. I'm no game designer, but I feel as though half the parchment cards should have been replaced by "instant" card effects like -Provisions-.
Final Thoughts: The game is a whole lot of fun. It plays well, its easy to teach, the theme is fun. I like the drafting (you always wish you could keep more then 2 cards), and I like the overall pace. I think Richard Garfield and Iello did a great job on this one.