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Subject: A 2+ Player Review rss

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Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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Who I am/ Who Might Find This Useful
My gaming habits have changed over the past year and these days I tend to play very few solo games or games with my kids; instead, most of my plays are 2-player with my girlfriend (who is an avid gamer) or Agricola on Sundays or occasional games with groups on Friday night. As a result, my focus has been much more on games that are a bit more meaty and play well with 2 but can be played with more on occasion.

So the most important things for me are: (1) meaty (I'm looking for games with tough choices and meaningful decisions), (2) number of players/ scalability, (3) playing time (sometimes the games have to be quick, sometimes they can be long), , (4) re-playability (doesn't have to go on forever, but at least 20-30 games before it gets old) (5) player interaction (I don't mind multi-player solitaire but my girlfriend like the competitiveness and opportunity for screwage), (6) downtime (7) mechanics (something different to help me justify getting it) and (8) the extras - theme and components (not necessary but a nice touch).

Number of times I've played: 18 (5 2-players, 1 3-player, 2 4-players, 2 6-players, 6 solo)

Overview
A quick playing (30 minute) 2 to 7 player set collection and drafting card game. There are 3 Ages. In each age, you start with a hand of 7 cards. You play one and pass the remainder to your neighbor (Age 1 & 3 - left, Age 2 - right). This is repeated until you've played 6 cards (the last is discarded). Cards either provide resources, help with buying resources, give VPs, or provide military strength. Most cards either costs resources or build on other cards. To pay resources, you must either have them or pay an adjacent neighbor whose has them. At the end of each age, you compare military strength with your 2 neighbors and gain/lose VPs based on who is stronger. At the end of the game, you score VPs based on science sets collected and VP-generating cards. In a 2-player game, there is a 3rd dummy player and players alternate gaining an extra card and playing one card for themselves and one card for the dummy player.

Meaty (1 = luck-fest, 10 = brain hurts when done)
This a light filler. With higher player counts, you only see each hand once, so there is very little ability to plan. Even if you know what cards are in the deck (which you will after a couple of plays), you don't know if a particular card started out just before you (so you'll get it next turn) or just after you (which means someone else will almost certainly grab it before it gets around to you). With low player counts (2 or 3), you are able to plan to some extent. Particularly in a 2-player game, you will get the cards back on your next turn. If your opponent is playing the dummy player this turn, that means all but one of the cards you give him/her will come back to you. If you are playing the dummy player this turn, you can dump a card your opponent needs on the dummy player or have the dummy build a card that requires him to pay you. That said, this game is not meaty by any stretch. Score: 4

Number of Players/ Scalability
This is a very different game with 2 (or even 3) than with a higher player count. With 2 or 3, there is some strategy; with 4+ it is a light filler. That said, I think it's fun at all player counts. Score: 10

Playing Time
30 minutes regardless of player count plus maybe 5 minutes to set up. It's a light game and 30 minutes may be a trifle long for low player counts but how many 7-player games do you know that are over in 30 minutes? Since it's simultaneous card selection, there is no downtime. Score: 10

Re-playability
I think the lightness of the game makes it replayable. After 2 or 3 games, you know what you have to do. By that point, you either (1) don't want to play it again or (2) are fine with passing and playing cards while waiting to see who else is showing up for the evening. I don't see any reason that with people who like this game that replayability won't exceed 100 games. Score: 10

Player Interaction
While there is some interaction with higher player counts (building military, building/not building manufactured resources your neighbors need), it is with 2 or 3 players that this game shines. With low play counts, there is a lot of opportunity to mess with your opponent, bury cards they want, take resources that they will then need to buy from you, take Science cards that would benefit them much more, etc. Score: 7

Downtime
Since it's simultaneous card selection, the only downtime is when waiting for someone with AP (maybe 30 seconds). Score: 10

Mechanics
There's nothing new here. It's a drafting, set collection game. That said, using that mechanic to create a game that scales from 2 to 7 in 30 minutes is pretty cool. Score: 3

Extras
The components are good (not great but good) and there are enough of them that it feels almost like playing a board game. The theme is also strong enough that you feel like you're playing a Civ-lite game. Am I overwhelmed by the extras? No. But they add enough to make the game appealing. Score: 7

Summary:
With more than 3 players, this is a way to pass the time. There's a little bit of thinking that goes on and a little bit of nervousness about whether you'll get the cards you want. With 2 or 3 players, there is a little bit of meat to it (probably less than any other game I'll play but more than Monopoly or Settlers of Catan). At any player count, it's a filler but a fun one that plays in about 30 minutes. As a 2-player, I'd give it a 7; as a game that scales from 2 to 7 in 30 minutes, I'd give it an 8. Personal Score: 8
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Andy Andersen
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Great review. I've looked at this game so often I feel I've played it even though I haven't. Somehow it just doesn't appeal to me - and I can't get a handle on it as to why.

Thank you.thumbsup
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Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
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Orangemoose wrote:
Great review. I've looked at this game so often I feel I've played it even though I haven't. Somehow it just doesn't appeal to me - and I can't get a handle on it as to why.

Thank you.thumbsup


Speaking for myself, it is much lighter than any other game that I'll play with gamers (with the possible exception of Tsuro). I like this game under two circumnstance:

1. Playing something while waiting for other people to show up. We game at a FLGS on Friday nights and though a bunch of us get there at 6:30, we wait till 7:00 to start a longer game; so, this is a good game to keep us busy till 7:00.

2. Playing 2-player when my brain is mostly asleep but I want to play a short game with my girlfriend before bed. If we're willing to go for an hour, I'd play Carc instead but for 30 minutes, this works

Other than that, the reason I have this game is because I was able to get it in a math trade. I like it more than I thought I would but it is definitely much lighter than most of the other games I play.
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