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Subject: A HOT game, and not only theme-wise! rss

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Oliver Graf
Germany
Koblenz
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I received a free PnP version of the game in order to do this review.

Eruption - a HOT game, and not only theme-wise!


Quick PnP build
From the first look the game looked like something I could like, and so I accepted the review deal offered by the designer. I received files to build a PnP version of the game on my own, so I could do some test plays and write this review. The actual game will differ in the components, but I will talk a bit about the design, which should be the same.

Gameplay

In Eruption you play villagers who build their many villages on an island with an active volcano. And not only one village is on the island, there are 6 villages!

And, guess what, the volcano erupts and threatens to bury the villages. But the brave villagers all try to safe their village and to guide the hot lava toward the other villages (I guess they don't like each other) or into the ocean (nah, burning others is better!).

Each round the active player checks for any lava-flows connecting to his village and raises the temperature of his village accordingly. If he did build walls, the might prevent this, but sooner than later the lava will break through.

After this a new lava tile is drawn and the player may place it on the board, so that it connects correctly the the flows already there. If he manages to flow over construction material he may collect it to use it later to build walls. And if he manages to flow the lava into a other village (see, the don't like each other!), he may collect new cards.

Then he may play cards for effect, to get new construction material or two draw additional tiles (this costs two cards). The effects of the cards let you manipulate tiles and walls or even your villages temperature (let it rain, baby!). Then he may build one wall.

The walls are have a unsure quality: they might safe you, but they can also just burn away (but this still keeps some temperature away from you). If a wall burns or not... well, that's a roll with two dice, one for the lava and one for the wall (wood gets +1, stone +2). If the lava die is at least as high as the wall result, the wall will burn.


Eruption!
You can not only place the walls to protect your village directly, you may also place them at any open lava flow, requiring a player who wants to place a tile there to roll the dice.

If your temperature rises above certain values, additional eruptions may take place! This gives the player who broke the threshold an extra eruption tile he may place as he sees fit, without following the connection requirement a normal tile requires.

The game ends if the last tile was drawn or one player reaches the top of the temperature scale. Then a final round (without tile placement) is played and the player with the coolest village is the winner!

Theme

I think the theme fits really well. Not only the design fits, also the mechanics model the heated race to safe the own village perfectly. Through the scarcity of cards and materials every decision is important. And with the right combination of card and tile play, you might let the lava flow farther than one hex, which might surprise your opponents. And this is again something I would also expect from a real eruption: you never know what might happen.

Components

The design is cartoon-like and very good. I really like the style. The markers in the non-PnP version are wooden blocks, which I think will do a great job. I used materials from my pimped Agricola, which also worked fine. I can say nothing about the quality about the actual components, as I mentioned before.

Conclusion

My friends and I all think that this is a fun game to play. It will certainly hit the table again in the future. My kids also had fun playing it.

From a strategic view it is a light game, that has some tactical decisions. There is some randomness in it, with the dice rolls being the biggest. The cards have a good distribution, so here the randomness is not that big. AP prone players might suffer a bit.

So if a bit of randomness does not bother you, I can certainly recommend this game to you!

Session Reports

I also wrote session reports about some plays. Feel free to take a look at them to see the fun we had playing:
* Session 1 of 3: Friends and relatives aflame
* Session 2 of 3: Kids on Fire!
* Session 3 of 3: Burning coworkers!

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Andy Andersen
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Thank you for the review. I ordered directly from the company and look forward to playing this one.
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