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Subject: Reworld: First Impressions rss

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Tiffany Caires

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I’ve had the chance to play Reword twice now and my first impression is favorable. I want to play it again, to see if I can do better, and to see if the speed of the game improves with multiple plays without getting repetitive. It’s an AP nightmare on the first play (or four) because of the fact it’s actually a game in two acts, similar to Galaxy Trucker, where the first half of the game completely decides your success or failure in the second half.

In the first phase, each player is building out their ships in Earth’s orbit and in the second, they’re purposefully disassembling those ships to build colonies on a new planet. Ship parts are basically colonization modules, like colony bots, builder pods, farms, support satellites, shuttles, etc. You’ll need a variety of modules for the colonization phase of the game, and the order in which you draft them and place them on your ship is crucial to success. It’s like packing a moving truck. You put what you want to get out first at the back of the truck, and what you can live without for awhile towards the front. In Reworld, you’re doing that but with colony bits that score you points either during colonization or end game.

Mechanically speaking, it’s a stack building game with a clever drafting system to select parts during the first phase of the game, and a tile placing game with key timing required in the second. When you draft your ship parts in the first phase of play, you have to place the received parts in one of five rows on your ship, depending on which card you used to draft the part. Then in the second phase, you place one tile at a time, pulling from the end of one of your five rows. Each row uses the “last in, first out” rule, meaning the tiles you draft last will be the tiles you end up placing first, so you must plan carefully, starting from the beginning of play. Do you see where the AP can come into play here?

The winner is determined by whoever has the most points, which you can earn a variety of ways. You’ll earn colonization points at the end of the game for majorities, and placing satellites can earn points during the game. There are some first-completed bonuses for unloading your ship and building colonies, as well. This is where you’ll get the majority of your points, but you can also earn points during the drafting phase of the game by selecting and placing colony bots on your ship. This is incentive to, ya know, ensure the new planet has people living on it and the sooner you take colony bots on board, the more points you’ll get.

Speaking of the drafting mechanic, it’s different, but in a good way. For five rounds, you deal out nearly the whole deck evenly among the players. Then you all take turns playing card(s) to one of the main ship bays to select a tile. The cards are numbered 1-5 and the number you play corresponds to the row on your ship you’ll place your gained tile into, always at the end. The twist is that whenever you play a card adjacent to an already placed card, the number on your card must match the adjacent card. If there are two cards adjacent, you must place two cards, matching both adjacent numbers (unless they are the same, and then you only place one). If you cannot match a card, you’re already to play two cards instead, with the card on top being the row you place your new tile. Two cards you can’t match? Then you play two cards (wilds) per EACH. It’s a fun and tense way to draft, but again, you might be able to see how the AP might creep in.

Trying to figure out how to build your rows with the cards you have in hand can be tricky, because you’re also balancing how you build your ship so it all comes out in the right order. There’s no point in loading your shuttles first and then burying them in builder pods – everything will burn up in atmo while trying to dig out your shuttles. There’s also no point to putting your satellites in last, as when you pull them out and place them for points, you’ll hardly earn anything. The whole game feels like the Towers of Hanoi puzzle to me, but if you get it wrong you can’t fix in until your next game. Well, depending on how wrong you get it.

Which makes me wonder – what happens when you’ve solved the puzzle? There’s definitely an ideal order for loading and unloading your ship rows. Of course, the order in which the tiles come out, what rounds they show up in, and how everyone plays their cards will change every game, but is that enough? An experienced player who’s figured out the correct order to load will have a large advantage over new players, even with the experience just one game provides. As someone who games most frequently with the same person over and over, I think this is just fine for us. But it might not be a game we pull out to play with visiting friends, and if we do, we will likely pull our punches for certain friends.

As for the other typical concerns of these sorts of games, yes, there is quite a bit of sandboxing. The drafting part of the game is a large chunk of your interactions with the other players, and even then you’re likely going to be in your own head planning your future placements so you can unload correctly. The only interaction outside of the drafting is the bonuses you race for during unloading, and the majority scoring at the end. But even those aren’t really interaction. There’s nothing you can do to trip up an opponent once drafting is done. Everyone’s just in their own little section of the world, unloading their ships. Maybe this is a good thing for you, maybe it’s bad. I’ll leave that for you and your group to decide. Me? I like sandboxing. I’d build me a castle any day!

And that’s my first impressions write-up for Reworld, drafted at 33,000 feet. I hope it helps you in your purchasing decisions.
T.
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Jennifer Schlickbernd
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They believe they've solved the puzzle

Spoilers in the thread.
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Tyler DeLisle
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Are you using "sandboxing" as a term to describe solitaire-style gaming? I've never heard it used that way. Sandbox just reminds me of a description of an open-ended game where you are free to play any way you'd like.

In any case, thanks for the write-up, it sounds neat!
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Tiffany Caires

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That's what I'm using Sandbox as, yeah. That's how it was first used to me– everyone in their own little world, building whatever they want, safe in their box. It's commonly used that way in tech (my professional background) as well.

TyDeL wrote:
Are you using "sandboxing" as a term to describe solitaire-style gaming? I've never heard it used that way. Sandbox just reminds me of a description of an open-ended game where you are free to play any way you'd like.

In any case, thanks for the write-up, it sounds neat!
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Jennifer Schlickbernd
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Just finished playing it. I really enjoyed it and am not worried now about the discussion I referenced.
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EXTRA AVOCADO! Sonderegger
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TyDeL wrote:
Are you using "sandboxing" as a term to describe solitaire-style gaming? I've never heard it used that way. Sandbox just reminds me of a description of an open-ended game where you are free to play any way you'd like.


Yeah, me too. I heard it used for Ora et Labora, and then propagated it myself, and wonder if somewhere along the line it got conflated.
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Michael Frost

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Did you ever play it a 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc time? This thread just dried up fast. Saw the game at my large game group last night. But people were hesitant to play it.
 
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Tiffany Caires

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MPMelanchthon wrote:
Did you ever play it a 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc time? This thread just dried up fast. Saw the game at my large game group last night. But people were hesitant to play it.


I played it a total of 4 times and by the time we finished the 4th play, even my husband was ready to let it go. It's an interesting draft and then placement, but the 2nd half of the game was just so boring for us on that 4th play. We knew what to do and how to do it and the only interesting bit was if so-and-so would screw up and thus, someone else would get one of the bonuses. Out of the 4 releases from Michael at Essen last year, this ended up being our 3rd favorite (Riverboat being 4th, Azul 2nd, Heaven & Ale 1st).
 
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