I recently had the pleasure of having this games designer (Phil Harding) present his game to me and our group.
I really enjoyed playing it. It's an easy game to learn and play, but has enough decisions to keep me interested for 2 or 3 games in a row. A simple bit of trading and maximising the use of whatever cards you end up picking up from the pile.
So I purchased the game from Phil and tried it out at home. Sure I like the game and it's nice to play, but the absolutely unexpected bonus with this game is that my kids - ages 5 and 8 love it love it LOVE IT!
My 8 year old loves the concept and loves that he knows how to win. He has developed his own strategies and is disappointed if he doesn't win. He also loves adding up the total scores, which is not that easy (some uneven large numbers).
My 5 year old has an insatiable passion for the map cards. Her entire existence in life in this game is to pick up a map card. If she does, there is a victory dance, if she does and then it is subsequently stolen by the thief then she cries. If she ends up cashing in for a big pile of cards from the pyramid then she feels like she has won the game.
Now I'm trying to teach her that the map cards are important, but they won't win the game on their own, but she just doesn't get that. For her it's all about the thrill of the chase.
The look in her eyes when she gets to steal a card from her brother is unforgettable.
The box says 10+ but this game is perfect for my kids under supervision and comes out every few days.
My adult (questionable definition) gaming friends have also enjoyed playing this game and have indicated an interest in purchasing it.
As far as the components go - the cards are not as good as some professional games, and I'd like a bigger box, but for a small publisher it's great. I expect the cards to show some wear, but better to be worn from use than stay perfect in the box.
I'm really glad I came across it...
Thanks for the review Scott, and it is really great to hear your kids like the game!
It's funny you mention the suggested age, because I went back and forth for ages over whether to label the game ages 8+ or 10+! Looking at the way other publishers categorise their games, it seems that titles usually get the 10+ label if they include addidtion and subtraction of anything more than one digit numbers. Archaeology can have a few tough 'adding up' moments (similar to Lost Cities), but otherwise the mechanics are certainly simple enough for pretty young kids. So I have been thinking about changing future printings to 8+.
And I would love to do a printing of the game somwhere down the line with linen-fininsh cards and a nicer box, that'd be sweet. But it will all come down to available funds.
Ages is tough. My Samuel (8) regularly plays games like TTR, Lost Cities, Carcassone, Bohnanza, Memoir 44, Thurn and Taxis, Settlers of Catan - all with full rules, and most of them are 10 or 12+.. So yes he's used to gaming and a clever nut, so I always take 2 off most age recommendations.
I don't want to say your game is any 'easier' or less valuable but I do reckon the rules are straight forward enough for an 8 year old. You're right about the adding up.. that can be tricky, but on the other hand its an easier game to learn than say - Ticket to Ride Europe which has 8+.
On the other hand (3 hands) I don't know of any game that has it exactly right because kids are all different!
So do whatever you want I say!
Regarding the box / cards - I know the reason.. and it's not an issue for me at all, but thought I should mention it for completeness of the review. If you ever do an 8th edition or something I can say I had one of the rare early versions!
Can't wait to see your new one.. Let me know if you need a play test (or some kids to try it on for age testing)
Looking at the way other publishers categorise their games, it seems that titles usually get the 10+ label if they include addidtion and subtraction of anything more than one digit numbers.
My niece Samantha, who was 6 last year, was playing Scrabble with my mom. On her turn, Samantha said my mom's score out loud, and then her own. She then said how many points she needed to beat my mom's score, all of which was correct. As the game progressed, it became clear Samantha was accurately keeping score in her head. All without coaching.
I bought your game after reading Tom's Vasel's review. Haven't cracked it yet, but looking forward to it. Perhaps I'll play with Samantha...