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Beau Bailey
United States
Missoula
Montana
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Introduction:
My only previous experience with an Immortal Eyes game was Conquest of Pangea which was a horrible and boring experience. I was devastated by the games cool theme being ruined by rather poor gameplay and bland components. Now Terra Nova, it had to be bad, the instructions didn't make it seem electrifying, the theme was bad, but it had good components.

Components:
The components are fairly good. The box is sturdy and easily holds the board and it comes with a bag that holds the rest of the components. The game comes with 44 settlers in 4 different colors: 13 each of red and yellow, 10 blue, and 8 green.

This was a major copout in the component compartment because it forces you to play with set colors for different numbers of players. By simpling adding 8 more settlers, which are very small, they could have made it possible to pick any of the colors. It doesn't affect gameplay but it feels really cheap to me. Each color also has a scoring marker that is shaped like a disc.

The blocking stones are decently thick hexagons and stained a pleasant brown color. Nothing special, but they do look rather nice. The board is broken up into several different terrain types and features nice artwork for what it is and has a scoring track around the outside. The scoring track only includes the even numbers with the odds being the blank spots in between. This again doesn't affect gameply but I feel it was a poor design choice.

Rules:
The games rules are contained on three pages, but can be pretty much simplified to only a few lines.

Different number of pieces are used for different numbers of players: 13 per player for 2 players, 10 for 3 players, and 8 for 4 players. The game begins with all players taking turns and placing all of their settlers on the board.

A turn then consists of taking three actions. The first action must be to move a settler. The settler can move as far as desired along any of the six sides of the hexagonal spaces.

The second and third action can be to place stones or further move settlers. A stone can only be placed next to a settler that has moved this turn and it can be placed by either settler if two have moved.

Scoring is completed when an area is close off with three or less terrain types included. Areas are scored if a settler is present and are based on the number of hexes included not counting those covered by blocking stones. A multiplier is applied depending on the number of terrain types. If three types are included, it is x1, x2 for two terrain types, and x3 for only one terrain type. Scoring is talllied immediately upon closure of an area and all settlers are removed from the game. If more than one player is tied for the most settlers in the area, the points are split equally among them.

The game ends when only one player is able to move their settlers.

Thoughts:
The game was surprisingly enjoyable. It has a decent amount of depth stemming from a very simple ruleset. From my limited play, it seems better to try and score for yourself than to screw your opponent over. I focused primarily on trying to trap my opponent and ended up losing by a huge margin, whereas my opponent focused on scoring.

Though this type of game is not my favorite, I would play Terra Nova again and it is a major improvement from Conquest of Pangea.

6/10
 
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Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
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badweasel wrote:
The game comes with 44 settlers in 4 different colors: 13 each of red and yellow, 10 blue, and 8 green.

This was a major copout in the component compartment because it forces you to play with set colors for different numbers of players. By simpling adding 8 more settlers, which are very small, they could have made it possible to pick any of the colors. It doesn't affect gameplay but it feels really cheap to me.


I agree. I've seen several games that do this penny-wise pound-foolish "clever" gimmick, and I really dislike it.

(The meeples are also a bit tall and thin and thus fall over a little easier than I would like, but that's not a real problem.)

Quote:
The game was surprisingly enjoyable. It has a decent amount of depth stemming from a very simple ruleset. From my limited play, it seems better to try and score for yourself than to screw your opponent over. I focused primarily on trying to trap my opponent and ended up losing by a huge margin, whereas my opponent focused on scoring.


I've played 11 times now, mostly 2-player. In a 2-player game, trapping seems legitimate to me (as long as you aren't giving the opponent some golden opportunity to score big in the process of trapping one of their meeples, of course). In multiplayer, as in any multiplayer game, of course it's usually better to help yourself than hurt just 1 of several opponents (unless you know the other opponents are not a threat to you).

Terra Nova is indeed quite a nice clever game. We have discovered a variety of strategy and tactics that arise from the simple elegant rules. Very pleasing.

There is a subtle rules ambiguity about the end conditions, but in practice it hasn't come up.
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