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Subject: This game scratches an itch rss

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steve steve
United Kingdom
Newcastle Upon Tyne
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I heard Zee Garcia once say about a game "does it scratch that itch."

I have to say it really does. This is an excellent game.

Whats my view
I have only played this solo - many times since getting it.
I either love a game or i dont bother with it.
Other games I rank highly for solo:

Castle of Burgundy: Card game & Dice game.
La Granja: no siesta
Pandemic: the cure(dice game)
Lost Expedition
San Juan(ipad app)

In a nutshell
Each round you will turn over 6 cards into the display. They will be Lands and Buildings.
You will buy Lands that produce resources: stone, wood, grain. You will buy Buildings and construct them with the stone and wood.
When the time comes you will feed your population with the grain.

The lands and buildings sometimes provide other things: population, money, luxury goods. Buildings give you more victory points. Some buildings also provide resources - highly desirable.

The more population you have: the more coin-cards you draw at the end of the round.
These coin-cards are multi-purpose; they are used as coins or they are used for what the icon shows: stone, wood, grain, population.
So you use them as coins to buy lands/buildings or the icon to cover shortfalls when building(stone/wood) or feeding(grain).
The cards have other subtle uses but this is the main gist.

Agonising choices - not analysis paralysis
5 reasons why you will love making choices:

1. you want a card because it produces a lot of stone or wood or grain
2. you want a card because it really increases your population
3. you want a card for its victory points
4. you want a card to stop the dummy player taking it
5. you want a card because it can protect you against the Disasters

You will have a strategy in mind, which you can enact but you must be mindful of everything. At all times you will subtly adjust your plans. But you will never be stuck or suffer AP. And sometimes you will push-your-luck.

What are the disasters
They're great.
Its you vs. the game. The game is trying to wreck you.
This is a lot of fun tension in the solo game. I will mention multi-player in a minute.
When you reveal the 6 cards into the display they drive the disaster events. But you can see the events building up and have many ways to mitigate them. And even when they strike, you can still undo the damage at the end of the game, if you make that part of your strategy.

The number 1 niggle with some people is that the disasters make it too hard. But i think that only affects multi-player when someone is not winning the bid for a particular land/building card in the display; you bid on cards in the multi-player. For solo there is very good replacement for bidding which adds a new strategy element; i wont detail it here, its on irongames website.

Setup time, play time
Setup time is 1 minute.
Play time is about 20 minutes.

The artwork is that wonderful heavy acrylic impressionist style. Thematically its brilliant. Very easy to learn. A nice light-to-mid weight game. You'll manage resources whilst developing your tableau, and have the thinking space to actually enjoy the game and not just number-crunch.

If you like the sound of it and maybe own some of the other games i mention above then you would definitely like this. Its my number 1 game until it gets knocked off its perch.
And the designer has released an expansion which is available on his site.


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Simon Maynard
United Kingdom
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Great review.

In multi-player, it's harder to get what you want and you have to sometimes pay more than you might like for cards (because of the bidding) and the scores tend to be lower than the solo game but I don't think that has much bearing on the harshness of catastrophes. After all, they effect everyone (potentially). The solo opponent is not affected by catastrophes.

Although the solo game lacks the turn order and bidding elements of the multiplayer game, it doesn't feel any less of a game for it. Indeed, one of the few (competitive) games that I like as much solo as I do multiplayer.
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