Rio de Janeiro
Senior Game Developer at CMON
Hey, my name is Andre and I decided to write about this game after a couple of plays yesterday, at a local gaming convention we had here. Since there are so little reviews about it, I decided to give a more handful insight about the game.
First, my gaming background lies around eurogames mainly. The closest I got to wargaming was Blackbeard and it wasn't the best world at all. I am a worker placement fan and usually like games with low interaction and economic stuff. I don't really care for theme but I do enjoy beautiful components/artwork and I am yet to play Twilight Struggle until I see the anticipated mounted board. Among my favourites lies Agricola , Dominion, Tikal, Scepter of Zavandor, Antiquity and more recently Automobile. Finally, ANY game that require the 3D vision or spatial vision is a nightmare for me. I do enjoy such games like Cavum and Steam but in the end, i just SUCK really bad at those (save this information, will come out handy later)
Well, the game itself is gorgeous. You have a nice box with a huge name which is some sort of ancient puzzle which will always catch people attention specially for being a palindrome which is really cool. The box is small , always handy for those events and you have some nice plastic high-detailed stuff (I love plastic high-detailed stuff and it's nice to see it outside the FFG big boxes).
You have some nice books, nice acolytes and a scary gargoyle (which has some sort of story in the manual).
The board is divided in four quadrants and it pictures a bottomless pit. Besides being nice to have a bottomless pit in a board , you can always kick your friends acolyte out of his tile into the bottomless pit (even if it doesn't have any effect in-game) it's fun.
One grip I had was the player aid. It's pretty small and kinda confusing for newbies. I forgot to mention that I am a BIG fan of player aids (I am a short-memory guy) and I hate Martin Wallace for not being fond of them even with those great games. So yes, this player aid isn't good and I will be waiting for that one geek that will make a better/more informative player aid.
Well, unless you play with some 3D pros, the game might take a while. Basically you have tiles in different Tetris shapes and a lot of 180 degrees/double 180 degrees kind of stuff. You can imagine my despair when I first listened to the rules. ( I was already mortified by the tetris stuff, reminds me of my first Rumis attempt when I was owned hard for some gifted 9 years old kids).
You have two kind of cards. Some high-tech cards like the cool Leap of Faith (yes, your acolyte is crazy enough to try to jump out of bottomless pit to another place) and some regular move cards. The cards are either Rotas (which let you do the rotation shanenigans and yes, I barely used them as rotate using some pivot point is way out of league for me) and move which let you move the tiles in the bottomless pit (as jumping is rarely a good option).
You have four highly-detailed plastic books split among four quadrants. Each player receive one set of books (with a book from each player) and one card picturing a quadrant and the position of those 3/4 books you got. In the end, each player will have placed a book in his own quadrant and you will whenever you get all of them.
Your acolyte will move through the tetris tiles using either the special cards or the ammount of regular (rotas/move) cards you used.
All that with 6 action points you have to use per turn (and as every game of action points, you will find yourself short of points to do your shanenigans)
Here is where the game shine. If you don't like to mess with other people plans and don't like people messing with yours, you'd better play Notre Dame, Agricola or others "building my own world" kind of games.
Most of the cards allow you to move any empty tiles any way you like it. And since you can only move through the tiles (you are in a bottomless pit, remember that) you can always mess with tiles people are trying to reach and this is FUN!
You have a card that allows you to move other people acolyte and you will laugh right before that (and get people angst in the process). You have the gargoyle to block their way, a tile explosive and all kind of jedi tricks to make their life harder!
As I said up there, I have the narrowest spatial vision of all but I wasn't really up for the challenge but instead, we had a GREAT time avoiding people to reach their books. In the first game while the other guys had 3 books and reaching the 4th I was struggling for the second!
I got a gargoyle and later blew up a key tile and it was funny. As I read in the other review this might lead to kingmaking if people decided to mess with a particular person and choose to do destructive plays against a particular person.
Well, I am not a theme fan but the components and the bottomless pit create a really "creepy" atmosphere. Also, from the title until the unique theme with the scary artwork, you have a very nice and creative theme. I am working on my own game with an "animal farm updated" theme because I really enjoy games with this kind of treatment.
If you don't mind AP-Prone, heavy interaction and good use of spatial vision you will certainly enjoy this game. Loads of fun screwing with other people plans
-Unique theme beginning with the game title.
-Great use of plastic components and the cool bottomless board. Nice artwork in the box as well
-Heavy screwage factor with the right group, lots of good laughs
-Bad player aid
-Ap prone if people like to brainburn
-You will forget the game name
-Might be bad for spatial blinds like myself
This review is part of "climbing to get my bgg avatar plan" so any tips are welcome
Enjoyed reading your review.
Well, if like the reviewer, you are not good with spatial manoevres ala Tetris...no, this game might cause AP. But, in all honesty:this game can be great fun providing you put in a little more effort in planning your next move.
There is an agrressiveness in gameplay, too. You can place your gargolye so that you obstruct a player's next move Wait until this tactic is performed on you and then take your revenge is my motto !
At first the rules seem somewhat bizarre (maybe it is because of the translation) however, after about your third game you have mastered the basics .SATOR can become addictive. As for AP,yes there is some at first and it can be aggravating, but in the long-run you will not feel that way.
I played this game nine times today and won four times (not because I am that spatially aware) but mainly because I was patient enough to overcome some weird rule or rather and get on with the game.
Bet some of you think that it really is so much like Tetris from the description. Well, it is not so, IMHO. Tactics are involved, decisions as to which cards to keep and which to discard, whether to use a special LF card or save it for later etc, but all will gel if you just give it a few rounds.
I love SATOR. I like the board, the pieces and the gameplay.
Personally, I give it a score of 8.
- Last edited Sun Jun 28, 2009 10:37 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Sun Jun 28, 2009 10:31 pm
Rio de Janeiro
Fantastic review Fel, it's a shame I didn't play this game yet... I'm tottaly buy these game right now (I'm very fan of games like that, as you know)...
Nicolai Broen Thorning
Great review - thank you.
I was on the fence on this one but had room on my order... you just sold me... and hopefully the missus.
- Last edited Thu Aug 13, 2009 9:50 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Thu Aug 13, 2009 9:49 am
Simply love SATOR
Maybe I like spatial games and a bit of AP.