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Subject: Don't ruin the sense of Wonder... rss

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Ken Ferguson
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Recently picked this up at Tanga and got it extremely quickly in the mail! Played several games almost immediately.

Box: 10--strong! As all of the Days of Wonder boxes are.

Smell: 5--a mild odor of catnip came out of the box upon opening it for the first time. It seems to be dispersing, but it wasn't horribly upsetting.

Board: 10--beautiful artwork, quite attractive to non-gamers.

Organizer Tray: 9--almost perfect but for the fact that they forgot to provide a place for the wooden scoring bits.

Bits: 10--combination of bits is perfect, colorful and, like the board, great artwork. You've got to love the amazing noble pieces.

Rules: 9--a bit of confusion at first, but overall the directions were very clear and concise with good examples. We did need BGG for some rules clarification.

Learning Curve: 10--for a game with this many bits, we only took about 20 minutes to get started with 2 non-gamer family members. Amazing!

Startup Time: 6--a bit fiddley to start up the game, but thankfully the box is an excellent organizer and helps the process greatly.

Fun: 8--though a bit jumbled at first, the game begins to smooth out and players tend to get excited about their next "show"

Theme: 8--a unique and compelling theme that draws you into game play. I would knock it down to eight because the theme would suggest more violence. There is no violence and only losing one piece due to "being worn out" is a touch lame. Yet, it remains playable to tenderest of family or friend hearts.

Time: 10--perfect. It scratches the gaming itch without becoming burdensome to a day with the family or work. I almost wanted it to last one more round. It's about 1 hour.

Number of Players: 3--It irritates me that some of the best games are designed for 3 or more players since most of the time it's just my wife and I who are playing. There is a 2-player variant and it works alright I guess. It's just missing some of the buzz of a 3-player.

Interaction: 8--There's a medium level of interraction because of trading and auctioning. Those two phases bring the game to life and create the necessary tension.

Mechanics: 7--not perfect and doesn't seem to "fit" exactly the theme of the game.

Complexity: This is an medium complexity game. It is not for a hard-core gamer if that's all they want to play. It's perfect for light gaming if you still want a heavier feeling.

Children: I have a 6 year old and would not begin to introduce this to her. I would think that maybe an 8 year old might begin to get it.

Major Flaws: I've heard rumors that this game has a "major flaw." I tend to not look that deeply at games and simply enjoy them for what they are. I have not looked into this flaw, and, because I want to enjoy the game, I never will. It's like enjoying a fun movie and then reading a critic's scathing review. Why bother if you enjoy the movie?

Overall: 8--I am ALWAYS happy to own a Days of Wonder game. They are heavy and light at the same time. They have wonderful artwork and bits. They are fun. This will probably hit the table frequently for these reasons alone. I am, however, always under the delusion that many of their games are "broken" in some unknown way. I choose not to investigate, because I don't want to ruin the sense of "wonder" every time I play these games.

GET IT!


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alan beaumont
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tanzania wrote:
I've heard rumors that this game has a "major flaw." I tend to not look that deeply at games and simply enjoy them for what they are. I have not looked into this flaw, and, because I want to enjoy the game, I never will. It's like enjoying a fun movie and then reading a critic's scathing review. Why bother if you enjoy the movie?
The major flaw is where someone deliberately, or otherwise, happens to put on 'your' show just as you were hoping to do so. There is simply no real way to recover from this, so it is pretty fatal for the victim's chances. Obviously this is much less likely in a 3 player game than a 5 player one, but it happened to me in my only (5 player) game.
Conclusion: Don't buy it! (Or stick to 3 players)
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Jason Lott
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I completely disagree, Alan. My friends and I have played this game dozens of times, and the situation you describe has never happened.

Ken - I think the major flaw that people take umbrage with is that the roll of the dice when moving nobles is so powerful - that alone can (in some cases) determine the winner.

But overall I find it to be a really fun medium-weight game, and your review is spot-on. Thanks!
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Ben Lott
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tanzania wrote:
Major Flaws: I've heard rumors that this game has a "major flaw." I tend to not look that deeply at games and simply enjoy them for what they are. I have not looked into this flaw, and, because I want to enjoy the game, I never will. It's like enjoying a fun movie and then reading a critic's scathing review. Why bother if you enjoy the movie?

You get my thumbsup for that statement alone.
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Sean
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My impression has been that the accusation of "major flaw" has to do with the "endgame" - the criticism that all that matters is the last round thus making the preceding rounds a pointless exercise. But it's shallow thinking for anyone to reduce the game to that. You are playing for the last round, of course, but the decisions of the preceding rounds accumulate to put you in a good (or bad) position for the finale.
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Aaron Tubb
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misteralan wrote:
tanzania wrote:
I've heard rumors that this game has a "major flaw." I tend to not look that deeply at games and simply enjoy them for what they are. I have not looked into this flaw, and, because I want to enjoy the game, I never will. It's like enjoying a fun movie and then reading a critic's scathing review. Why bother if you enjoy the movie?
The major flaw is where someone deliberately, or otherwise, happens to put on 'your' show just as you were hoping to do so. There is simply no real way to recover from this, so it is pretty fatal for the victim's chances. Obviously this is much less likely in a 3 player game than a 5 player one, but it happened to me in my only (5 player) game.
Conclusion: Don't buy it! (Or stick to 3 players)

How is this even possible? Each show can only be bought by one player.

Do you mean someone bought the show you wanted to buy first? In that case, it's probably not the end of the world, since the auction and trading phase will come before you have to perform your show.
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alan beaumont
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DancerInDC wrote:
I completely disagree, Alan. My friends and I have played this game dozens of times, and the situation you describe has never happened.
Except to me, the one time I played......
 
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Blott wrote:
tanzania wrote:
Major Flaws: I've heard rumors that this game has a "major flaw." I tend to not look that deeply at games and simply enjoy them for what they are. I have not looked into this flaw, and, because I want to enjoy the game, I never will. It's like enjoying a fun movie and then reading a critic's scathing review. Why bother if you enjoy the movie?

You get my thumbsup for that statement alone.


Not to derail the commentary here, but if you enjoy something and then read a scathing review, I would assume you disagree with the reviewer's points, not that the reviewer has a deeper knowledge that can retroactively spoil your enjoyment.

I see this reaction to reviews a lot and I just don't get it. But then, I've never thought to myself "you know, if I thought about this more, I wouldn't like it."
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alan beaumont
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Aarontu wrote:
misteralan wrote:
The major flaw is where someone deliberately, or otherwise, happens to put on 'your' show just as you were hoping to do so. There is simply no real way to recover from this, so it is pretty fatal for the victim's chances.

How is this even possible? Each show can only be bought by one player.
Do you mean someone bought the show you wanted to buy first?

As I recall we each had at least one show down and I was a couple of tiles off something rather bigger when another player put down the one I was attempting. On checking the remaining shows there was no other option possible with what I had and the tiles available. It took a couple of rounds to get back in, but there was no way of being competitive. I would characterise it as trying to turn an oil tanker; you can do it but it is so slooow. I would say we were still in the early mid-game, which means I was a long time losing, far worse than being thwarted in an end game position, the latter being fair enough in any game. Can't be much more specific as it was back in 2007 but that was that for me. Understand it is a bit irritating to be confidently told this kind of thing can't happen, there it is, it did and that's all folks!
 
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Tim Collins
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misteralan wrote:
DancerInDC wrote:
I completely disagree, Alan. My friends and I have played this game dozens of times, and the situation you describe has never happened.
Except to me, the one time I played......


I think you may want to re read the rules on his one. It would be impossible for someone to put on a show that you were trying to put out RIGHT before you did it. The only way this could happen where it would hurt you that bad is if you and this other person were competing for the exact same resources the whole game at which point both players would suffer because of it. After the first round of my last game it became evident to me that someone else was attempting to put on the same final show as I was, I had to scrap that idea and go for a new show. I ended up coming in third out of 5 and the person who kept the show I was going for came in 4th.
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Andreas Krüger
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With some different opinions which "flaw" makes the game "broken", it seems to me that it is probably not broken at all. But it seems that some players prefer different games. I like to play the game, but if you take away all the chrome, it is just an auction game with simple mechanics. It is entertaining, but there is not much "meat".

A two player auction game is, of course, not very interesting, so you should try to find more players.
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alan beaumont
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Unicorniclops wrote:
misteralan wrote:
DancerInDC wrote:
I completely disagree, Alan. My friends and I have played this game dozens of times, and the situation you describe has never happened.
Except to me, the one time I played......


I think you may want to re read the rules on his one. It would be impossible for someone to put on a show that you were trying to put out RIGHT before you did it. The only way this could happen where it would hurt you that bad is if you and this other person were competing for the exact same resources the whole game at which point both players would suffer because of it. After the first round of my last game it became evident to me that someone else was attempting to put on the same final show as I was, I had to scrap that idea and go for a new show. I ended up coming in third out of 5 and the person who kept the show I was going for came in 4th.

Well, that is one scenario. As I said it was early on and it really was not obvious that we were going for the same thing, so he must have put together much of it from the odds and ends left over from his first show. He won an auction then BANG, my game was gone. I can't go into the precise nuances of it, but that's what I remember. I would play again if pushed, but I wonder if this is mostly a problem thrown up by a 5 player game.
 
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David Tolin
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misteralan wrote:
Unicorniclops wrote:
misteralan wrote:
DancerInDC wrote:
I completely disagree, Alan. My friends and I have played this game dozens of times, and the situation you describe has never happened.
Except to me, the one time I played......


I think you may want to re read the rules on his one. It would be impossible for someone to put on a show that you were trying to put out RIGHT before you did it. The only way this could happen where it would hurt you that bad is if you and this other person were competing for the exact same resources the whole game at which point both players would suffer because of it. After the first round of my last game it became evident to me that someone else was attempting to put on the same final show as I was, I had to scrap that idea and go for a new show. I ended up coming in third out of 5 and the person who kept the show I was going for came in 4th.

Well, that is one scenario. As I said it was early on and it really was not obvious that we were going for the same thing, so he must have put together much of it from the odds and ends left over from his first show. He won an auction then BANG, my game was gone. I can't go into the precise nuances of it, but that's what I remember. I would play again if pushed, but I wonder if this is mostly a problem thrown up by a 5 player game.


Hrm. All I can say about this is that I think you're a little off-base blaming it on the game, rather than the player. The show you wanted was available to you for the same length of time it was available to the other player. If you needed that specific show so badly in order to remain competitive, then you should have purchased it before the other player.

Saying the game has a major flaw because your particular strategy was foiled is just not fair. I've played lots of games where I miscalculated somewhere along the way and ended up in a losing position because of it. That doesn't mean the game was broken--it just means I wasn't playing very well.
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alan beaumont
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DavidT wrote:
misteralan wrote:
He won an auction then BANG, my game was gone. I can't go into the precise nuances of it, but that's what I remember. I would play again if pushed, but I wonder if this is mostly a problem thrown up by a 5 player game.


Hrm. All I can say about this is that I think you're a little off-base blaming it on the game, rather than the player. The show you wanted was available to you for the same length of time it was available to the other player. If you needed that specific show so badly in order to remain competitive, then you should have purchased it before the other player.

Saying the game has a major flaw because your particular strategy was foiled is just not fair. I've played lots of games where I miscalculated somewhere along the way and ended up in a losing position because of it. That doesn't mean the game was broken--it just means I wasn't playing very well.

Yes, my lack of psychic ability is a constant pain to me. I really should have known that that purchase was for the exact same goal I was going for. You cannot calculate the unknown unknowns you know! My source of disquiet was not so much the ZAP, rather that the game offered no ready way to change course, hence the supertanker analogy.
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misteralan wrote:
DavidT wrote:
misteralan wrote:
He won an auction then BANG, my game was gone. I can't go into the precise nuances of it, but that's what I remember. I would play again if pushed, but I wonder if this is mostly a problem thrown up by a 5 player game.


Hrm. All I can say about this is that I think you're a little off-base blaming it on the game, rather than the player. The show you wanted was available to you for the same length of time it was available to the other player. If you needed that specific show so badly in order to remain competitive, then you should have purchased it before the other player.

Saying the game has a major flaw because your particular strategy was foiled is just not fair. I've played lots of games where I miscalculated somewhere along the way and ended up in a losing position because of it. That doesn't mean the game was broken--it just means I wasn't playing very well.

Yes, my lack of psychic ability is a constant pain to me. I really should have known that that purchase was for the exact same goal I was going for. You cannot calculate the unknown unknowns you know! My source of disquiet was not so much the ZAP, rather that the game offered no ready way to change course, hence the supertanker analogy.


First, I don't accept your proposition that it's so difficult to shift gears mid-game. It sucks to have to do it, but it's not impossible.

Second, you don't have to be psychic to know which show program you want. You also don't have to be psychic to know that there's a possibility that someone might purchase it before you--it's kind of the way the game's structured. With those two things as absolute knowns, the rest is up to you. If you knew that there was a single show available, without which you were destined to lose, whose fault was it that you didn't buy it earlier? Juggling the timing of when to invest in a new show program is a big part of the game.

Having said all of that, I feel you're perfectly entitled to your opinion. I'm not trying to give you a hard time about it. I just think it's regrettable that you had such a bad experience with such a good game--it'd be a shame if you didn't give it another shot. It'd also be a shame if readers of this review walk away thinking there's some huge flaw in the game that doesn't really exist.
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David Tolin
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misteralan wrote:
I really should have known that that purchase was for the exact same goal I was going for. You cannot calculate the unknown unknowns you know!


Sorry to double-post on this, but I was reading over this again and now I'm wondering if maybe you weren't playing correctly. It would seem obvious that the purchase was for the exact same goal you were going for, because the purchase *is* the goal--i.e., the show program.

You were requiring players to actually buy the show programs before staging them, right? That's why I'm confused. If you wanted that particular show program so badly, why didn't you just buy it early to prevent anyone else from taking it?
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DavidT wrote:
If you wanted that particular show program so badly, why didn't you just buy it early to prevent anyone else from taking it?

Bearing in mind that I haven't played it in the subsequent 15 months I remember it as follows. It would have taken all my money to make the sale, I had no idea anyone else wanted that tile set, nor that they would immediately complete the show I was targeting. Once it had happened there were no other useful options going in that round (points against me there). There was some post game discussion of what had happened and I concluded that tiles simply don't enter the game fast enough to mitigate this effect. I reiterate that this was 5 player and I would assume it is much less likely to happen with fewer players.
We were playing at a Con with a borrowed set and it is interesting to note that none of my fellow club members, who hadn't suffered this problem, were sufficiently impressed with the game to purchase it.
 
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The "someone bought my show" issue sounds similar to the "someone blocked my road" issue in Settlers. It can be debilitating in certain circumstances if both players turn out to be going for the same thing. That seems to be a factor in any game where people are competing for similar resources. I wouldn't call it a major flaw unless it was relatively easy for someone to manufacture, or accidentally happened regularly. I haven't played Collosseum, so I can't comment on how easy this is to happen.
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silasthecat wrote:
The "someone bought my show" issue sounds similar to the "someone blocked my road" issue in Settlers. It can be debilitating in certain circumstances if both players turn out to be going for the same thing. That seems to be a factor in any game where people are competing for similar resources. I wouldn't call it a major flaw unless it was relatively easy for someone to manufacture, or accidentally happened regularly. I haven't played Collosseum, so I can't comment on how easy this is to happen.
If they block your road in Settlers the Wood and Brick is good for somewhere else, at least in the early part of the game where I was. As for how likely it is to happen I've got 1 for 1, which is at least some empirical evidence. I suspect 5 is not the optimal number for the game.
 
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Dan C
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If all of the roads are blocked going into a city in Ticket to Ride - and it's a city I have a ticket for - it doesn't mean the game is broken, it just means I've been outplayed to that point in the game. I need to draw more tickets and adjust my strategy. Same with Colosseum: those EATs are still valuable, your still flush with cash... make it work for you. You might be behind, but you don't have to be out.
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alan beaumont
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Drew1365 wrote:
Alan, you essentially must purchase the rights to put on a show before actually putting on the show. You buy the tile, and then later have the show. If you'd bought the tile for the show you wanted, the other player would have given up trying to collect those bits. Or, if he'd bought the tile, you wouldn't have bothered to keep collecting them.
No, it was definately missed one crucial purchase then BANG. All you are saying in effect is that I could have done the same thing to him, given his other tiles were duplicates of mine. Irrespective of who struck first, one of us was going to be cut off at the knees.
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misteralan wrote:
]No, it was definately missed one crucial purchase then BANG. All you are saying in effect is that I could have done the same thing to him, given his other tiles were duplicates of mine. Irrespective of who struck first, one of us was going to be cut off at the knees.


Which is merely proof of one or both of you playing poorly.

I've seen it happen a couple times. It's always been the guy who waits to buy until he knows he can pull it off who suffers for it.

There are only a few programs for which such a monomaniacal focus is potentially crippling (3, if I recall correctly), simply because no other program needs that many of that resource, and all of them are level 3 programs.

Quite simply put, you played poorly, and mistook it for a flaw of the game.
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Jason Lott
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misteralan wrote:
I suspect 5 is not the optimal number for the game.

I respectfully disagree after having played many times, and with anywhere from 3 - 5 players. We like it with 4 but definitely prefer it with 5. And the poll on the game's main page shows that dozens of players agree with me.
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alan beaumont
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aramis wrote:
There are only a few programs for which such a monomaniacal focus is potentially crippling (3, if I recall correctly), simply because no other program needs that many of that resource, and all of them are level 3 programs.

Quite simply put, you played poorly, and mistook it for a flaw of the game.
Since I cannot remember, I cannot refute this point precisely, but it is a bit of a puzzle that you seem to know what particular resource I was beaten to, when I am no longer sure myself. Can I borrow your magic ESP hat please?
 
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Christopher Dodge
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All I know is the more I play this game the more I like it. I got it at Christmas time and every time I play it I get something more out of it. It is quickly climbing my chart of boardgame favorites. It will likely never get higher than #3 (behind Battlelore and Race for the Galaxy) but #3 is a pretty good place to be!
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