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Subject: Quick Review after 3 Plays rss

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Rich Radgoski
United States
Gouldsboro
Pennsylvania
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Ventura is a pretty game that overlays some easy mechanics with a subtlety that only really starts to come around after playing for awhile. Decisions in the early game can make a fairly dramatic impact on the rest of the game.

Asthetics - 8 out of 10

This game looks pretty good. I like the hexes with the relatively simple symbology and the cards are faily effective. The look of the domain markers and company/army tokens are really striking, however. Mixing these pieces with Cards and Hex Tiles strikes a lot of positive cords with a gamer who likes Wargames, Settlers and Magic. (You don't have to like or even know these games, however, to enjoy this one).
The game loses a few points in Astehtics because the Company/Army tokens have numbers on them that are hard to read...I've taken to painting these numbers white so they stand out. This isn't necessary, but it helps with eyestrain a great deal.

Production Value - 8 out of 10

Great heavy tiles. Sturdy card. Nice, hard plastic tokens and markers. Acceptable gold tokens. All good. What hurts it's score here?? The interior of the box. There is a cardboard insert that only has a center trough...which isn't enough to hold all the pieces. (They hide pieces underneath the two ends in it's shipped state...and I guess they assume that's what you'll do too. I hate hiding pieces. I flipped the insert over and can fit everything in...but I hate doing that. Why couldn't they just have made the insert that way in the first place??

Rules Value - 7 out of 10

Positive marks for family cards that display the phases with easy to understand graphics (once you understand the rules). There are some hiccups in that some clarifications are hidden in callout boxes throughout the rules. (I much prefer my rules to be highlighted in the main text and call out boxes used for clarifications). (For example, look for the rule that tells you what 1+1x means...it's in a call out box.) The largest hit I have on the rules is that the cards reference phases of the game by name, and the helpful family cards don't. So it's easy to go from one phase to the next without stating which phase it is...and so, it's easy to forget to play a card that can only be played in a previous phase. I wrote the phases & steps on an index card for reference.

I also found an instance where the designers didn't cover a situation that came up in our first 3 player game. Player one played their city along a fairly oblong shaped constructed board. Player two played their city on the opposite end. I was forced to play my city near one of them...(although not right next to a city per rules). I may be unclear how to lay out the first 4 domains, but we laid them out 1 at a time..and my opponent was able to cut me off to only 2 extra hexes. We negotiated the start to allow each player 4 total hexes...but I found no reference in the rules that addressed the situation.

Playability Score - 8 out of 10.

I think the game is extremely playable. Each player will end up with many options which will lead to differing strategies. It feels like a strategy game wrapped around a chess like varient. I liked the subtlties and the manuevering. We didn't get into a very aggressive stance, but near the end of one game we saw where being ill prepared for agresssion was a killer. Ultimately, I believe the game is one that is relatively simple to learn (ok, perhaps moderate) but difficult to ultimately master, especially if you play with the same group. As you learn their technigues and they learn yours, you will have to adjust to be successful. I like that.

Fun Score 8 out of 10

I really had fun with this game in my 3 plays. I have played a 2 player, 3 player and 4 player game. I'm positive I don't have my strategy set yet, but feel excited about playing it again, which is a very good sign. I like the mix of cards, hexes and pieces and feel the entire game/package is exceptionally well done. I didn't like the surprise events my opponents pulled on me...but liked that it was part of the game. Getting beaten by someone who is using great strategy and some luck in card draws is like getting beat in chess. You can see how they manuevered you into position (or lulled you into a slumber) and then pounced when it was right to pounce. I really like that in a game.

Overall - 8 out of 10.

This isn't a run of the mill type of game. It's definately a thinking person's game. Lots to do and think about during the game. Positive scores in all areas with little nitpiky things that kept Ventura from scoring higher. Some of these items may not even bother many players, which is a good thing. There are no obvious flaws (at least not after 3 plays) and I look forward to future expansions that may add new cards or tiles (adding more variablity to a mix that is already fairly interesting. All in all- a very good 2, 3 or 4 person game.
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Andy Andersen
United States
Michigan
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Great review. I've been looking forward to having more information about this game.

Thank you
 
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PC ichigo
Thailand
Bangbuathong
Nonthaburi
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I like your review, really straight forward and encourage player.

By the way, I wonder about some lines of your review, so I quote it out.

Arkobla Conn wrote:
I may be unclear how to lay out the first 4 domains, but we laid them out 1 at a time..and my opponent was able to cut me off to only 2 extra hexes. We negotiated the start to allow each player 4 total hexes...but I found no reference in the rules that addressed the situation.


1 of that domain hex is your city hex and 3 other extra hex, correct?
 
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Rich Radgoski
United States
Gouldsboro
Pennsylvania
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PC ichigo

That is correct - 1 and 3. When we built the domain, it was oblong and my son and friend built on either side of it. I was forced to place my city within 2 hexes (still technically legal) from one of them). My friend went first then my son and finally myself. In either placement scenerios (one by one or all at a time) my son could effectively 'wall me off' from the rest of the map, only giving me City plus 2. I'm disappointed the rules don't address the situation...it HAD to have happened before. Still, we decided that each player MUST start with 4, making my son's placement illegal under those conditions and we adjusted.

 
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romano veronese
Italy
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I like this game and i appreciated this review. I am playing solo and I am just discovering different ways to play it. This italian review http://www.goblins.net/modules.php?name=Reviews&rop=showcont...) show a way to play avoiding battles and with the rules how they are written it looks logic,but is boring !
Ventura could played deadly aggressive !If you have a bonus move captain and a good army you could jump on turn two on an adversary city ! So to cover the esa around your city occupying with troops is a must.

The only thing that is difficult in this game it is to recover. If you are poor you cannot buy troops, while if you are rich you become more and more( you could take free esa tile and buy troops and invade more esa tiles).(may be one could house rule that the last player get one card or one esa tile instead of a VP).
To be first player is good(because you occupy territory in adversary field possibly preserve yours), but to be last is some times more good, because you shall not be attacked this turn.So i believe house rule that the last player in Vp could decide the order of players could help to recover).
In a game where they take away luck on battles, the luck is in which cards or tiles you find. So the fun is in manoeuvres(retreats, menaces,diversions) .
Also if it is mathematics it is not easy calculate at glance who wins
whom (bonus of territories,of captains, of special troop bonus,at least for myself . The most decisive phase is how you deploy and regroup. So the order of player is very important(and another reason to is not good be first player).
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