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Subject: Why it's on My Shelf rss

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Rick Spray
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Today we are talking my first co-op game. That means I got to talk co-ops before I talk Commissioned. So here’s the deal with co-ops, they usually make them too hard. They think that more brains should be smarter than one. But that is not always the case. Secondly, co-ops are based off of an automated system, which means they are based upon the luck of how the cards come out or the dice rolls. This makes for a single game to be either to easy, just right, really hard, or all but impossible. So you could really lose a co-op without any chance to win. Especially if you set the difficult to a more challenging level. There are two things I love about boardgames, seeing how other people think and solve problems, and learning from them so that I can see personal growth within my own thought process to solve gaming problems. I love to lose. I do my best but if I lose I’m like, “Great, I have a goal to reach. I’m going to play and improve until I can beat this person.” I get excited about someone beating me. I love learning from others and being challenged.

But I HATE when a system beats me. Not because I’m a sore loser, but just because I can’t see what my opponent is doing to beat me most of the time. There is no opponent to learn from, and I can never tell if I am the reason for my loss, or just because of the stupid order of the cards. Hence the reason I hate really hard co-ops like Xenoshyft and Ghost Stories. Now there are some co-ops that I have fun playing at times. We will get to those. And in fact the one we are talking about today I have fun at times. Just not as much fun as I have playing competitive games. I’m not saying I think co-ops are bad, they just rarely give me the enjoyment I am expecting from them. When I do win I feel like I got lucky, and when I lose I feel like I got lucky. I never feel like there was real growth in strategy to get me to a place where I can win more often. I want to see a development that leads to a higher winning percentage. Part of the problem is perhaps I don’t play them enough to gain that strategy, but I struggle to want to invest in them.
Now Commissioned is a co-op game that is based off of the early church from roughly 33AD to 100AD attempting to grow in the midst of persecution, heresy from within, famines, and other challenges. Now whether you are a Christian or not, this game is historically accurate as far as the historical persecution and growth of the church in the midst of the challenges of the first century AD. Therefore this is a historical boardgame that has educational value if nothing else for you. So don’t let the theme cause you to miss out on a very solid co-op.
In Commissioned you take on the role of one of the apostles to start churches and maintain them. Mechanically you basically do the opposite of Pandemic. You put cubes in regions and try to keep them there while the game attempts to remove them and cause other problems. If you ever lose the last cube in a region after you have started it one of your, I believe, 5 candles are extinguished. When all five candles are all extinguished you lose the game. If the “screw you over” deck, I can’t remember the name, runs out before you accomplish your objective you lose the game. There are five scenarios with totally different objectives which are all pretty cool. There is neat a deckbuilding mechanic, as well as a really good work together mechanic that makes people contribute to the cause on everybody’s turn, but also takes the alpha gamer out better than most co-ops. I’m telling you, this is a good co-op.

Now that being said, Commissioned is not my favorite co-op. But just remember I am not a co-op player. If you love co-ops, or even like them a good bit, then this one should be in your collection. For me, if I liked co-ops I know I would like this one more. I actually like the mechanics better than Pandemic, but Pandemic plays in 45 minutes and this one plays in about an hour to an hour and a half. I don’t like co-ops enough to put that time in to co-ops. And that is the biggest issue. I would rather play a quick game of Marvel Legendary, Flashpoint Fire Rescue, Forbidden Island, or Pandemic if I am going to play a co-op. But for you guys who like them, this would not be an issue. An hour and a half would be nothing and you would get some nice meaty game play out of this one.

For me and my collection this is how I feel about Commissioned being on my shelf. I’m glad I was able to support Chara Games by purchasing this game, I am glad I have a biblically/historical themed game on my shelf, and I am glad that I have this one to play from time to time especially when my kids get a bit older. This one will never leave my shelf just out of principle, but I really do think it is a great co-op. I just really don’t like co-ops.

So, has anyone else given this one a try and can testify to how solid of a co-op Commissioned is? Tell me what you guys think.

Check out my Geeklist for other games on my shelf. https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/236719/why-its-my-shelf
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Patrick Lysaght
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Thanks for your review! We appreciate your support. Our next game, Soul of the Empire, will probably be a better fit for you. Kickstarter soon!
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Rick Spray
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Madison
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Looking forward to it. Thanks for what you guys do. Post a reminder here when you are about to start the Kickstarter so I get a notification.
 
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Patrick Lysaght
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Will do! The other option is to join our monthly email list. If you are interested, shoot me a note at: plysaght@charagames.com
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Nick Van Dam
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Check out my reviews Geeklist! Have a great day!
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Great review,
Have you gotten to play all the different scenarios? They are all definitely cooperative, but they do provide different levels of difficulty. Something to consider when introducing to kids.
I finally played through them all and am also excited about what Chara games has coming next.
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