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Subject: Beta Version 4-player Play-through = Gems, Gems, Gems!!! rss

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Jonathan West
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So tonight we played this through for the first time at our regular gaming group. It was a 4-player game, the first time I'd played with 4 and it made a subtly different experience from playing 3 up. (I'd played the game a few times before - no one else in the group had even seen it before.)

We played the current PnP version which excludes the Kickstarter stretch goals under development. This is a sort of review/session report cross-over - didn't think it detailed enough to classify as a Detailed Review so decided to post it in the sessions forum!

First off after a brief 5-minute explanation, everyone was into the game really quickly. I only needed to make a few clarifications on rules (the use of some land and tower cards) and occasionally remind people through the game of what cards did (in fact the game was picked so easily that I was being reminded of other players when I missed something).

The mechanics are really simply - it's basically worker/resource placement and get what the place says. The variable location limits (e.g. some cards can have only one goblin, others allowed 4) makes for challenging decisions. The field control mechanic is a truly excellent idea - the player with the most goblins on the field at the end of each round gains control, granting them, gems and first player. There's a single-location land card which adds to your goblin count for control and does nothing else - it seems like s waste but everyone quickly grasped the idea that control of the field is important and it was hotly disputed on almost every round.

The Gambling Table (a location in the game I need to add!) was really popular early on and resulted in moments of triumph and tragedy - typically one player having a run of bad luck much to the hilarity and delight of the other players - until someone came in and won like 15 gems on one hand! Gambling became less frequent as the game went on, but was used occasionally to try and gain control of the field or for someone desperate for more gems gambling all they had - sometimes to lose it all, occasionally to win it all!

The Berzerkinator location, while expensive (5 gems), was regularly used: mostly to gain control rather than what I expected (to construct tower rooms when "Under Construkshun" was occupied!)

People were surprised by how involved the game was (and how long it lasted), as at first it seems like a "simple little game" as someone said - but the decisions and conflict over spaces (as well as occasional direct "take that" moments) makes the whole thing a lot more involved than you might think, Our game lasted about 90 minutes, and one of the new players won despite having two goblins in different players dungeons. He released both goblins (14 gems) and built the Tax Collector room (15 gems) on the same turn to win.

Everyone enjoyed playing it, and at least one of the new players is interested in the physical game once it's released. And we're all looking forward to seeing the additional cards and rules/mechanics being released over the next few weeks to see how it enriches an already fun and entertaining game.
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