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Subject: Kevin's Fun-Filled, Five-Point Reviews rss

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Kevin Garnica
United States
West Covina
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CALEDEA: THE EPIC STRATEGY GAME

2+ Players
30+ Minutes
By Eliot Brown & Vincent Milosevich

Background:


My reviews will not focus on the rules of the game. There are better reviewers on that format than I could ever contribute. The purpose behind my reviews are to highlight one, and only one, overriding aspect of any game: fun. That’s it. As a big kid at heart, I play games in order to have a good time. In the end, all I really care about is if I’m going to want to play the thing again, and will anyone else. Hence, I’ve chosen five areas to highlight that are all aspects of the game’s funness. Examined from this paradigm, these are all aspects that I believe should be enjoyed during the whole experience of playing board games.

All right already, enough philosophizing, on with the review…

1. Out of the Box:

Since this is a small-published game, some might be a tad disappointed with the quality of the bits. If you can get past this, there’s quite a good little game inside. The 2 boards are nicely illustrated, I think, and are interesting to look at while playing. The chips are perfectly functional, though not extravagant by any means. There are 9 crib sheets representing 9 different factions, each with a different profile that allows the player to vary their approach to strategy. There is a small misprint on 3 of the cards, but my copy came with the corrected cards reprinted. However, the color is slightly darker from the rest and thus makes them easier to spot if picked at “random.” Finally, there are dice: D6 dice for combat, and special dice (in each of the 4 colors) that represent each player’s army of soldiers. Depending on the side of the dice, there are infantry, cavalry, and generals. Overall, you get a lot of components for the reasonable price for a game that plays solidly.

Good components
Fun-o-meter: 4/5

2. Rules:


The rules are printed very plainly. There are (basically) no pictures, the font is unadventurous, and I couldn’t help but have some questions once done reading. There are a couple of wording choices that could be misleading. For example, each faction has a certain number of actions each turn, and doing stuff cost “actions.” It is written that upgrading an infantry unit to a general takes two “moves” but can be done in one turn. My logic concludes that they must mean it take two “actions” not two “moves.” It’s these kinds of little discrepancies that are sprinkled throughout the rules. Also, there are a few special circumstances during game play that ought to be covered that aren’t. Besides these little nitpicks the rules are good enough, if you don’t mind plain Jane rules.

Rules could be a little better written, but work well enough
Fun-o-meter: 3.5/5

3. Game Play


The game might seem like it takes a while to get going in the beginning, but it actually accelerates quite fast. It won’t be long before everyone is fighting everyone else. The board will fill up quickly. For a light, semi-abstract wargame, this is exactly what I was looking for. It is very easy to just pick up and play. And when your turn comes around (which will be quickly, as there is hardly any downtime) the crib sheets that summarize the different factions are laid out very user friendly. It might even give off the feel of a children’s book. It’s that easy.

Basically, the object of the game is to go around the grid on the board(s) and claim your specific outposts that only you may claim. Each time you do, you increase your army. Squares with icons pertaining to your unique faction give you bonuses in combat. Each faction has a different special ability, and you go around battling your opponents, trying to either wipe him or her out completely or overtake their capitol. Combat is resolved with dice – highest number wins. That is the basic feel of it. Everyone who has played has said that they really liked it. I mean, really enjoyed playing it.

Simple flow of play makes for an easy, yet very good time
Fun-o-meter: 5/5

4. Weight/Length Ratio:


As mentioned before, there is no down time because the game is distilled down to its move-and-fight essence. Different factions make you rethink past strategies that may have worked. Generally, I find the factions to be well balanced; no one seems at all too powerful or too weak. The other great bonus is that it doesn’t take terribly long to play. Putting the 2 boards together make for a longer game, but is still no less exciting. If anyting, it’s more epic. The box is advertised as 2+ players, presumably 9 (one player per faction), however there are only 4 colors. In the game’s defense, the designers have said that they plan on releasing an expansion that will come with more pieces for more players, but only if the current print run goes well enough (I hope I am quoting accurately). There isn’t much potential for AP either, as the choices aren’t that many, yet they are meaningful, with very real consequences resulting from poor planning.

A good, light amount of strategy for its length
Fun-o-meter: 4.5/5

5. The “F” Factor:


While this review attempts to be very objective, let me be clear in saying that I really, really do like this game. I particularly enjoy playing as different factions, and I like the whole ahistorical, early American, pioneer-esque feel to the artwork on the boards (think Dances With Wolves). There is something in this game that has met with much approval and favor. It's not too expensive, and I am highly in favor of supporting smaller games and independent design/publishing.

Bottom line, it’s fun.


Get it.



Now.

Fun-o-meter: 5/5

Overall: Recommended
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John McD
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Good review thanks.

Having read others comments on this game I've yet to read anything negative, the low score remains a mystery to me.

I hope to see this somewhere I can buy it.
 
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Aaron Silverman
United States
Halfway between Castro and Mickey Mouse
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I have a vague memory that this showed up on Tanga at some point, but something prevented me from ordering it.
 
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Justus Pendleton
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BlackSpy wrote:
Having read others comments on this game I've yet to read anything negative, the low score remains a mystery to me.


Not that much of a mystery. Just look at the comments on the game:

Quote:
I think that it really just doesn't have a bunch of options; it is too easy to get a bunch of gold and then build up a strong defense and win without really attacking. I think it is too hard to attack and the limited number of units really makes it painful if you lose any.


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First play just did not work at all for me. Not sure if its too limited or I just expected more and its relaly a shoter game. Production is fine, rules fiune, but gameplay did nothing for me.


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To abstract for so much relying on die roll luck. Strategy exists but theme is strange and seems pasted on. Just not my cup of tea.


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This game ignores the most important rule about making dice-based games: If your game uses dice, it better have enough die rolls so that luck evens itself out.


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The game is very random, and the balance of the starting powers and terrain layout is highly suspect.

The designers call it a wargame, but it's really a pure abstract with some military-sounding flavor text attached.


Quote:
not much to it, kinda boring


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But it did end up seeming like a game that you win by rolling a die and I wasn't really too excited about wandering around the wilderness and building up my army.


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the conflict and the combat itself just does not seem very appealing to me.


Quote:
Very luck-based, and too abstract for my tastes.


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it doesn't seem like there's that much of a game here: you just move cubes around the board and have dice-based combat with them. Didn't see anything particularly new or interesting. Also, I'm not convinced the variable player powers are balanced, but I'm no expert.


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it is not really "epic", and it's more prone to tactics than strategy, but it is a game.


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I'm afraid that as essentially a dice game, it simply won't be satisfying enough.


I've never played it but it's not too hard to figure out why of the 60 people who have rated it, there are a number who either did not like it at all or found it sort of meh.
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Andy Van Zandt
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Utah
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mine was included in your printed comments, i actually think it's a decent game, despite my flippant comment. it is a lightly themed, dice oriented one, so if you want historical accuracy or are afraid of dice, it's not going to be for you (and the comments listed support).
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