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The Scepter of Zavandor» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Great Economics Game rss

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James McAllister
United States
Tallahassee
Florida
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I had been staring at the box of this game for almost a year, and thought it looked terrible. It sat and sat on our Gaming Store shelves with nary a person even looking at it. Finally by chance, I saw a picture of someone playing it here on the Geek, and was intrigued. After doing some research, I picked this up and have been very pleased by it.

I won't go into the details of the game, as that has been covered in other reviews already, but it is esentially an economics management game. If you know what Opportunity Cost means, then you will do well. As a person with business experience, I loved this game and did rather well with 120 Victory Points at the end, the second closest in the 70's.

Pros: Very meaty. I felt like I had many possible actions to take each round, and that many of them had a similar benefits. I never felt locked into taking a certain action that was clearly better than others.

It also rewards good play. Smart decisions early on pay huge dividends towards the end of the game. The player in last place did not agree that this was a benefit, as he felt that there was nothing he could do to catch up to a runaway lead in this game.

Non-Conflicting. Our groups like games with a minimum of conflict, but cooperateive is the best. With this one, the only real conflict is in the bidding, and really that is just competition. Beyond that there isnt a huge amount of interaction, and very little interfeerence from other players other than the errant Mirror that is easily negated.

Cons: The theme isn't really a Con, but it is kinda weak. I only recently learned that this was a retheming of a colony building game, but I think something like a Company or Business would better suit the theme of the game system. Then again, there are already plenty of games with that theme, so maybe that helps this stand out.

The game begins to feel inevitable towards the last few turns. When a person has a huge lead and is raking in money, there is little that can be done to stop them. They can't be outbid. Furthermore, this is a game where you have to spend money to make money, and the system is explicitly designed that way through the hand size limit. With that in mind, if you have a lot to spend, you will make a lot.

If you are bad with money, and do not really understand economics, this may not be the game for you. Then again, the game could teach you a lot if you are willing to learn from other players!

Final: Given everything, I really liked this game. I would rate it about an 8, as I can't see myself turning it down for any reason other than the time commitment. The game probably takes a minimum of two hours to play with four people, but can take much longer if you add even just one person with analysis paralysis. With that factor, I'd have to lower my total review to a 7, as it is not totally accessable. I love it, but you have to play it with the right crew.
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Paul King
United Kingdom
Cambridge
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Scepter is a bit more more than a retheming of Outpost. They are closely related but not really the same game.

Phoenicia is another Outpost variant - maybe you'd prefer the ancient civilisation theme ? And it plays in less time than either Outpost or Scepter.

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Nathan Hoffmann
United States
Fitchburg
Wisconsin
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JamesMc wrote:
I loved this game and did rather well with 120 Victory Points at the end,



Ummmm... no?
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Werner Bär
Germany
Karlsruhe
Baden
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rydiafan wrote:
JamesMc wrote:
I loved this game and did rather well with 120 Victory Points at the end,

Ummmm... no?

Right.
There are rumours of possible 80+ scores in a 3 player game. But 120 is too high.
Sounds like a (not uncommon) rules error.

James,
you don't add your VP each round to your total. You only keep a running track of your current points; nothing gets accumulated. You score is the number of VP you have at hand in the last round.
 
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James McAllister
United States
Tallahassee
Florida
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I counted several times, lemme see if I can figure it up again.

5 Rubies - 15 Points
4 Sapphires - 4 Points
Master of all 6 Fields - 12 Points
Talisman - 8 Points
Belt - 2 Points
2 Mirrors - 4 Points
Some other Artifacts I don't remember - 10+ moreish
3 Sentinels each giving max value of about 17 each

That right there is 106 points. I may have had more artifacts, and there may be other things that I am forgetting that contribute to victory points. I counted several times, and we 100% did not just keep adding the points up.


 
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