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Subject: Andre outlines Circle the Wagons (pros & cons) rss

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Andre Jeworutzki
Germany
Hamburg
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Circle the Wagon is a card (tile) laying micro game for 2 players. The game only consists of 18 unique cards.

What makes it special?

* A micro game that combines drafting (Patchwork), card laying (Honshu), and variable scoring objectives (Isle of Skye) in a tiny package with a lot of depth and replayability.
* Skipped cards are given to the opponent player.

Pros:

+ Artwork is simple but good and clear (functional)

+ Components (double sided cards: objectives or grid)

+ Card drafting similar to Patchwork: cards are laid out in a circle. The active player chooses the next card, or can skip cards, however, the opponent will get all skipped cards. (some planning, tactical and strategical: which card to take and which card can go to the opponent?)

+ Spatial puzzle: each card has a 2x2 grid showing 4 terrains and 4 symbols. There are 6 different terrains and symbols in the game. Cards must be placed adjacent to each other (touching edges) but do not require matching terrains or symbols (unlike Kingdomino). Cards can also overlap each other but cannot be tucked under. Cards can be flipped 180° but not rotated sideways 90°.

+ Players score points each of their largest grouped terrains

+ 18 variable public scoring objectives. 3 random objectives are used each game, e.g., "The Herd: 2 points per Cow in your largest Cow group" or "Cool Water: 3 points per Wagon adjacent to or on your largest Water group" (variability, replayability)

+ Travel-friendly: super compact (fits in each pocket)

+ Very quick playing time and set-up (filler)

+ Easy to teach and learn

+ Well written rules (3 pages)

Neutrals:

# Theme is okay (Western). Fun thematic integration of having a circle with cards, however, it still is an abstract game and could be any theme like, e.g., The X-Files...

# No hidden information, no luck

# Small package but requires some table space

# Language dependent: text objective cards

Cons:

-

Thoughts:

Circle the Wagon is a great Tile Laying To Go. There is a lot of game in a tiny box. I really appreciate the variable scoring conditions which give each game a different feel. There is quite some strategy involved since all cards are face-up from the beginning. It makes the card drafting quite challenging especially because you need to consider which cards you can skip and give to your opponent.

Similar games:

* Hokkaido (re-implements Honshu with card drafting instead of trick-taking)
* The Hanging Gardens (works well with 2 players, longer playing time, artwork is okay)
* Vadoran Gardens (creating pathways with overlapping cards, special scoring objectives, forecast of the next available cards)
* Samurai Gardener (simple, quick tile laying filler game)
* Carson City: The Card Game (blind bidding auction, simple dummy players, simplistic artwork)
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