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Subject: Thoughts after first play, and comparisons to Orleans rss

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Peter Mulholland
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Got my first play in tonight: 3 players, new to all of us. Robin and I are very familiar with Orleans, and Chris has played it a few times.

Setup takes a bit of time, probably not quite as long as Orleans and the boards have nice clear markings for how many of each resource you put out etc. It's still lots of fiddly counting out of little discs which may put some people off, but I got everyone helping and it was soon done.

The rulebook is pretty atrocious in some places. Specifically it uses excessively complex wordy sentences to get across concepts and actually just ends up muddying the waters. If you're familiar with Orleans you'll pick it up quickly, otherwise it might be a bit of a slog, and currently there's no rules videos. As a teach it's not too bad, definitely quicker than Orleans. I think the game uses some nice clear symbology which helps and once you've got the main concept of pool building and drawing from the bag it's straight forward.

Gameplay is very nice, turns are normally very quick as you are just doing one action and maybe moving, so a couple of rounds in it moves along quite quickly. It has the same first phases as Orleans (drawing and assigning) which is done simultaneously then one action each going round until everyone is done. The new movement is an interesting factor (you have to be stood on the right location to perform an action) and
adds a touch more to the planning stages. We threw in the Mission cards straight away because why not? They take 2 seconds to explain, don't add any more difficulty and add another way to get points, I doubt I'll play without them.

Some things seem a bit odd, like when you sell your goods at the market, you get the money but you get to keep your goods. We joked that you were actually just showing people how lovely your stuff is, and they were giving you money for the pleasure. Also you get different starting resources, and depending on what you get and when/if certain extensions (read Orleans buildings) come out you might not be able to get certain resources at all (looking at you fish & alpacas).

Components are very nice, possibly slighter thicker punchboard than Orleans but not by much. I love the artwork but imagine it won't be to everyone's taste. I wasn't sure about the separate location boards at first but now seeing how they function I think they're great. They allow for variable set up meaning each game will be slightly different.

One thing I did miss was my fan kit from Orleans. Pulling wooden Meeples (or discs if you have the deluxe edition) from the bag is more satisfying than card chits. I'm looking into getting some wooden discs cut that I could stick the chits too (or maybe get some stickers done).

Is there room for this and Orleans on one shelf? If you just have the Orleans base game I'd say no. They're very very similar. If you have the expansions for Orleans (especially Invasion) I'd say yes. They are both medium complex but in different ways. I'd say Orleans has far more choices and options, whereas Altiplano is a lot more streamlined and pared down, but you still have to plan your turns.

At the end of the day they're very similar games, so if you love Orleans I suspect you'll enjoy this, and if you didn't like Orleans you can probably skip this one. It's not an instant Orleans killer for me, but it's an unfair comparison as it's one play versus many, and a brand new game against one with a couple of expansions etc. Seems a bit odd as it's a game that I suspect mostly only people who enjoyed Orleans will like, but therefore might not buy it as it's very similar. Although sure there's plenty out there like me who want both.

I'm looking forward to more plays at different player counts, and I do think this game has a lot of potential (need some wood and a co-op expansion...), but for now Orleans is safe in my number one spot.







Also the first player marker is awesome, and will be even more so once I get some googly eyes on it. I have named mine Jason.
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David Chapman
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The idea behind keeping your goods is that you're creating production capacity, not producing goods. That's why so many goods cost food; your axes and picks aren't going anywhere, but you need to feed the loggers and miners. When you fill your warehouse you're committing your exports in perpetuity.

I think Altiplano's mascot is Derpy the Alpaca. Possibly there should be a naming competition.
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Matthew Robinson
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The fact that this plays 5 Players right out of the box, to me, makes at least the base game of Altiplano an Orleans base game killer.

The only expansion of Orléans I ever played was the 5 player expansion so I can’t speak to the rest, but the co-op never interested me.
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Nicola Bocchetta
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Quote:
We joked that you were actually just showing people how lovely your stuff is, and they were giving you money for the pleasure.


This is called “Kickstarter”.
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James Sinden
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Just a comment after my first play yesterday... I didn't think this compared favourably to Orleans.

It's effectively the same mechanic, with the only change being that the bag is emptied before refilling. Which means you can look ahead to what is going to come out in a future turn and plan a little better. For Orleans each turn is more of a lottery what will come out.

Along with this I felt the options seemed far less interesting than in Orleans - it's 95% a resource climber without much else going on. Orleans has the map travel, book track, monks etc... a lot more options in play, and with the expansions even more that you can do with the game. eg Co-Op modules etc...

Is Altiplano a bad game ? Not at all... but I'm not sure I have much enthusiasm to replay given I have Orleans on the shelf.

Pros - simpler game play - slightly more control over bag planning
Cons - messy table (no board) - fewer options - nothing new.

I feel the same with this as I did with Transatlantic - I wish these 2 great designers had tried to do something different rather than take a successful mechanic from a great game and aim to simplify it. Neither for me really justify their existance, and with both previous games already having a large level of support with new maps, expansions etc. I'm not sure what the actual point is of going down this route.
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Alex V
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Quick note from having tested it at Essen Spiel. NB: I have not played Orleans and after having tried Altiplano, I may acutally never bother.

I normally enjoy eurogames where you need to produce resources to trade them for other resources, which then need to be traded for points. At this stage, however, I feel that it has been done so many times before, so what can one do to keep this concept fresh? Using a bag?

I played two rounds of Altiplano and quickly had enough. It was a boring slog of going through the motions to get your resources. It's the same thing over and over again, just that time time there's an Alpaca on the box. Yes, it is quicker than other games in the sense that you only get to perform one action per turn, but....no thanks.

Don't understand the hype about this game.
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Randy Espinoza
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alexvarenna wrote:
NB: I have not played Orleans...
Don't understand the hype about this game.
You should play Orléans.
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Ian Montagne
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PeterM2158 wrote:
Some things seem a bit odd, like when you sell your goods at the market, you get the money but you get to keep your goods.


If I understand correctly the sold goods go into your container and not back into your bag. So you get to keep the points, but not the goods.
 
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Wojciech Gołowkow
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montagne14 wrote:

If I understand correctly the sold goods go into your container and not back into your bag. So you get to keep the points, but not the goods.


The contents of your container eventually get back to the bag, so yes, you keep them.
 
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James Sinden
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This was our interpretation as well... ]

The other slightly interesting, thematic idea is that you turn an alpaca into food, but the alpaca survives...

I'm trying to work out what kind of food you're eating ?

surprise
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Matthew Robinson
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jamessinden wrote:
This was our interpretation as well... ]

The other slightly interesting, thematic idea is that you turn an alpaca into food, but the alpaca survives...

I'm trying to work out what kind of food you're eating ?

surprise


Alpaca milk. Yes, that's a real thing.
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Matthew Robinson
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jamessinden wrote:
It's effectively the same mechanic, with the only change being that the bag is emptied before refilling. Which means you can look ahead to what is going to come out in a future turn and plan a little better. For Orleans each turn is more of a lottery what will come out.


I think for many euro gamers this lessening of the luck mechanic will be a huge plus.
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Peter Mulholland
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montagne14 wrote:
PeterM2158 wrote:
Some things seem a bit odd, like when you sell your goods at the market, you get the money but you get to keep your goods.


If I understand correctly the sold goods go into your container and not back into your bag. So you get to keep the points, but not the goods.


Yes the go into your container, but they will eventually go into your bag. So you still have them. Other than for orders you never lose any resources.
 
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Peter Mulholland
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jamessinden wrote:
This was our interpretation as well... ]

The other slightly interesting, thematic idea is that you turn an alpaca into food, but the alpaca survives...

I'm trying to work out what kind of food you're eating ?

surprise


Well known fact, alpacas can regrow limbs. This is why they're such useful animals.
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James Sinden
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trilamb wrote:
jamessinden wrote:
It's effectively the same mechanic, with the only change being that the bag is emptied before refilling. Which means you can look ahead to what is going to come out in a future turn and plan a little better. For Orleans each turn is more of a lottery what will come out.


I think for many euro gamers this lessening of the luck mechanic will be a huge plus.


Hmm, not sure it's such a big thing. For luck, read playing the odds, which is not an unusual mechanic in 'eurogames'... You build the bag in Orleans to match the odds against what you want to do.

Actually, if you introduced this as a variant to Orleans what would be the impact on the game ? I had a quick think and can't see any reason why this would cause any problems... ?
 
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Kaiwen Zhang
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Quote:

Is there room for this and Orleans on one shelf? If you just have the Orleans base game I'd say no. They're very very similar. If you have the expansions for Orleans (especially Invasion) I'd say yes.


I don't understand this comment, if you own the expansions you also own the base game, which means you can choose to play the vanilla game and make Altiplano obsolete
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Andrew Burnett
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PeterM2158 wrote:
jamessinden wrote:
This was our interpretation as well... ]

The other slightly interesting, thematic idea is that you turn an alpaca into food, but the alpaca survives...

I'm trying to work out what kind of food you're eating ?

surprise


Well known fact, alpacas can regrow limbs. This is why they're such useful animals.


The disc isn't a llama... it's a llama herd. When you draw it from the bag it represents the llama herd growing to the point that you have extra llamas to sell, eat, etc. When you get a fish disc it means you have a fisherman on the lake and when you draw it it means they caught some fish that you can use for something this turn.

It's not perfect but it's hardly worse than the thematic tie-ins for most eurogames.
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Brett Miller
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What if you don't own either. Which is the better one to get if I only got one?
 
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James Sinden
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galaxybear wrote:
What if you don't own either. Which is the better one to get if I only got one?


For me get Orleans... it's already really well supported with 2 big box expansions available, solo and coop varients and a number of not too hard to obtain promos... it's a more complex game, but not to any level that should deter players.

Ymmv though...
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Peter Mulholland
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johncraven wrote:
Quote:

Is there room for this and Orleans on one shelf? If you just have the Orleans base game I'd say no. They're very very similar. If you have the expansions for Orleans (especially Invasion) I'd say yes.


I don't understand this comment, if you own the expansions you also own the base game, which means you can choose to play the vanilla game and make Altiplano obsolete


I would never choose to play vanilla Orleans. I either play co-op or competitive with the improved bits from Trade & Intrigue. Base orleans (as it comes out of the box) is not getting played.
 
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Peter Mulholland
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socialsnacker wrote:
PeterM2158 wrote:
jamessinden wrote:
This was our interpretation as well... ]

The other slightly interesting, thematic idea is that you turn an alpaca into food, but the alpaca survives...

I'm trying to work out what kind of food you're eating ?

surprise


Well known fact, alpacas can regrow limbs. This is why they're such useful animals.


The disc isn't a llama... it's a llama herd. When you draw it from the bag it represents the llama herd growing to the point that you have extra llamas to sell, eat, etc. When you get a fish disc it means you have a fisherman on the lake and when you draw it it means they caught some fish that you can use for something this turn.

It's not perfect but it's hardly worse than the thematic tie-ins for most eurogames.


Hah nice try, definitely alpaca/lizard hybrids that can regrow limbs.
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Peter Mulholland
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galaxybear wrote:
What if you don't own either. Which is the better one to get if I only got one?


After one play, Orleans - because it has the potential for expansion.
 
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Stefan Malz
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PeterM2158 wrote:
Orleans - because it has the potential for expansion.

I'd expect some expansions for Altiplano to pop up over the coming years...

Best regards
Stefan Malz

[Editor for Altiplano]
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Peter Mulholland
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malzspiele wrote:
PeterM2158 wrote:
Orleans - because it has the potential for expansion.

I'd expect some expansions for Altiplano to pop up over the coming years...

Best regards
Stefan Malz

[Editor for Altiplano]


I sincerely hope so!
 
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I'm surprised the OP didn't put more emphasis on the contrasts with Orleans, namely the roles, the container and the cart movement. There's no doubting that Altiplano is an evolution of Orleans but I felt that these elements gave it quite a distinct feel.

The roles really bring an assymetrical element to the game. The Stonemason will easily be able to extend their road, and thus draw and place more tiles, their challenge will be to effectively utilise the warehouse with all the Corn they'll acquire with the journey. The Miner can produce Silver right off the bat, but can't source Wood or Stone easily to extend their own road.

I'd be interested to see what others think are strong/weak roles.
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