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Subject: A Review After One Play (ends 8 out of 10) rss

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David Belk
United States
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So I was a backer of this as of day 1. I'm a fan of Gloomhaven but also enjoy good light to heavy euros.

I was extremely excited for this before it arrived from the KS. So much so I played multiple city builders both table top and PC. Then a few days before it arrived I watched Paul Grogan's how to play. His walk through did not brim with excitement and the game seemed a bit of a overly wrought nightmare. Not that I couldnt understand it, but it just seemed very... wonky.

Then the first reviews came in and I watched that rating number plummet. It went so far I didn't bother even punching my copy (which is unheard of for me as that is a huge part of the fun for me). In fact without even playing it I had buyers remorse, big time. I didn't even consider bringing it to the game meet ups I went to. It just sat there.

About a month ago a member of our group asked me to bring it and I kinda blew im off, 'ya ya I'll bring it some time." Then he bought it and I was like well crap I feel bad you bought this cause man it doesn't seem any fun. He brought it around for a week or two and I kinda dodged him on it.

Finally this past Saturday at the big monthly game day I said sure I'll give it a try as long as I get 2 other games I actually want to play in. So I did. I enjoyed them. Then I had to sit down to Founders and almost immediately which I had tried something else (not for any other reason than that buyers remorse kicking in).

Finally through the rules we started and I'll be honest I did not start off engaged. I kinda knew what I was doing but really not excited... but slowly... I started to see the puzzle that the game is. Not only that but I not only found myself engaged and winning but really pleased with it. A third of the way in I got the whole thing... it clicked. There were a few minor rules I had to keep remembering but nothing another plan soon won't iron out. But I did not find it as difficult, slow, or miserable as others have suggested.

Now in the end I took 2nd. But I had a blast and am typing this having my copy half way punched out. Now I will be fair, I can say this game might not be for everyone. It is complex, not very obvious in what to do at first, and could fall victim to massive screwing people over (we almost hit something like that but at the last second someone changed a move that prevented it). It is also certainly longer than say Concordia (my all time favorite), and might not tick everyone's boxes. I can see some people in our group saying ya that was just too complex for what it wanted to do.

But at its core I believe there is a great game here. The person who won our game is a very good and experienced Euro-gamer and she struggled the first half of the game just figuring out what to do. Once I built stone and did a massive delivery to 3 buildings at once it clicked for her and she kinda caught on really quick.

Its definitely thinky (but thinky in a good way at least to my tastes). If you're playing with a "take that" group I can see where some of the fun might be edged out by the possible blocking and what not, but with a good group and 3-4 hours I think its very solid. I'm actually really excited to try it again soon.

So while there are a lot of negative things out there about this, its not bad... in fact its pretty darn good. After my 1st play it jumped into my 54th top game... which may not seem high, but I constantly track my top 200, so for it to jump 150 or so spots, it definitely has something that speaks to me.

Overall I'm giving it an 8 to start with only 1 play. If after another 2 plays I will like it this much it probably will break into my top 30 which is nearly impenetrable these days. Only time will tell, but I am really happy I backed this after all.

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