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In the Year of the Dragon» Forums » Reviews

Subject: First Play - 5 Players - Impressions rss

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Philippe Keppens
Belgium
Meldert (Aalst)
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You can say I am a Stefan Feld - fan. I like Rum & Pirates and I really, really LOVE Notre Dame (one of the 2 games I rated a 10). So I wanted to try his new game In The Year of the Dragon for a while and thanks to Tim I had a chance to play the game last saturday. Finally!

I'm not gone explain the rules here, there are other fine reviews where you can read all about them. This short review is just about what I think about the game after first play.

The box

As always with Alea and the games of Stefan Feld (except maybe for the plastic pirates in Rum & Pirates) the box contains beautiful components. There are tons of tiles which nice artwork on them. There is a nice big board with 2 scoretracks and spots to put most of the tiles (all kind of people) on. You get Yuan as money (gold and silver, 3 silver = 1 gold), rice tiles, firework tiles and temples which host your people.

For me: 9/10

The rules

Tim explained the rules in about 20 - 25 minutes. There are a lot of different people, but Tim explained it very well, linking most people with the corresponding disaster tile, or explaining why you need him/her. To quote Tim about the rulebook itself: "It's well written, but it's probably best if you play the game with somebody who already knows it and can explain it".

After listening to all the rules, some of us had a head that could explode every minute. Personally I could see how I could stop the disasters, but how do I also score points in the mean time?

Because I haven't read the rules myself, I don't quote this part.

The game(play)

The different things you have to do during 1 turn are clear after a couple of rounds. I had a lack of money during the whole game and that is something you really need in this game (like in the other games of Feld as a fact). Tim had a good strategy: take a banker as one of your starting people, add another one, make sure you are in front on the influence track and grab the money. He did this twice and then replaced his bankers by other people in his temples. He used the money to pay the taxes and to buy a pamflet or something like that which give you 2 points every round. I think this was the base for his victory.

As newbies (all other players were) it's hard to see such things. Most of us just tried to survive all those disasters. In fact it's nice to save some people, but after playing this game I think it's better to calculate some losses then try to save all of them.
However: I had 9 people at the end of the game in my temples, which gave me 18 points and brought me from the last to the second place, but still 12 points behind Tim, which is a lot in this game, I think.

It took us about 2 hours to actually play the game, which is for me a bit too long. But I must say that there were 2 people in our group who needed some time to think every turn. If you play with all experienced players, it will probably last for one hour and a half, with 5 players.

For me: 8/10 for gameplay

Overall

Controlling the rats in Notre Dame is a child's game comparing with controlling all the different disasters in In The Year of the Dragon. There are different ways to score points, which leads to different possible strategy's, which is always nice in a game.
Just as in Notre Dame (and in contrast with Rum & Pirates) it's impossible as a newbie to win from an experienced player, but you can learn a lot from their gameplay. I think it's better with 4 then with 5.

Overall I give this game a 8/10, but I think this is one of those games I'll give a higher score after more games. It's a game I absolutely wanna play again (but not right again after 2 hours of endurance : ).
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Dan Poole
United States
Goldsboro
North Carolina
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Quote:
Controlling the rats in Notre Dame is a child's game comparing with controlling all the different disasters in In The Year of the Dragon.


I've never played Notre Dame, but I totally understand where you are coming from. This game is like trying to juggle chainsaws.
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Robert R
United States
San Antonio
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Don't be discouraged. Try it again...I would recommend with 4 instead. I played my second game with 4, and it was just a bit over 1hr, but equally satisfying (to my previous 5 player game).

Quote:
I had a lack of money during the whole game and that is something you really need in this game (like in the other games of Feld as a fact).


You know, that is one of the beauties of this game. I'd say, no, you don't NEED money beacause the game provides different ways of achieving the same thing. If you have soldiers and/or hire the younger specialists with the higher 'person number', you won't need money because you'll end up being first picking action tiles for free. That would also allow you to pick up some cash once or twice in the game to pay your tributes (which true, can be devastating if completely ignored), but otherwise, money is not essential.

Now, if everyone is doing this same thing, then you probably will need more money.

 
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Kevin Dusik
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Richmond
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Quote:
Controlling the rats in Notre Dame is a child's game comparing with controlling all the different disasters in In The Year of the Dragon.


Wow, that's just what I was thinking from having read this game's rules! I too love Notre Dame and I have recently bought In the Year of the Dragon. Can hardly wait to play!
 
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