J. Chris Miller
I was looking for a 2 player game to play with my mother over the holidays, and after reading a little on the geek, this one struck my fancy. Note that this game is 2 player only. It's made by Queen games and is around 20 dollars. It has a Carcassone feel because of the random landscape tiles and wooden pieces, but I felt there was a bit more strategy to it (at least compared to the base game of Carcassone.) I'll give a brief rules overview, as well as some thoughts.
The rules are pretty simple once understood, but I did feel the rule pamphlet was somewhat poorly translated, and so there was a lot of interpreting.
The object of the game is to build many houses in diagonal rows, without mistakes in the landscape. There are two types of tiles, landscape and residential. During the game, the two types are separated into stacks, with 3 of each type to choose from. On a person's turn they must choose two tiles and place them next to others already set out. Here are the rules governing tile placement:
--When placing a tile, landscape and residential tiles must be placed next to one another. That is, no landscape tile can be orthogonally adjacent to another, and the same goes for residential. This forms a checkerboard pattern of the tiles, and admittedly is very pleasing to the eye.
--When you place a residential tile, you must take one of your wooden residences and place it on that tile. A residence tile's borders must match the color of landscape next to it, e.g., a water side matching a water landscape.
--A landscape tile however, must only match one color for placement.
--A player scores a Victory Point if he has a residential tile surrounded by perfect landscape on all 4 orthogonal sides. If one side is wrong, he scores none. If two sides are wrong, he must give back a VP. Three wrong sides he gives back 2 VP. Note that the 2 latter scenarios are rare.
--Play continues until no tiles remain.
End Game Scoring
Each player removes all tiles in error from around a residential tile where it has 2 or more errors, as well as the houses placed on those tiles. Then, score all of the houses that form one long diagonal group, 1 VP for each. It doesn't matter if that group zig-zags, but it must be a continuous diagonal line. Player with the most VP wins, can't remember if there's a tie-breaker.
This is a cute, simple little game for a decent price that is perfect for playing with close relatives if you're looking for a one-on-one experience. The tiles are of high quality, and the art is very well done. The wooden houses are great too. I guess if the production was a little cheaper, that would come through in the retail cost, but I didn't mind spending the 20 dollars for a decent experience, considering the high production value. If you like Carcassone or Mondo, and games of that nature, this may be worth taking a look at.
Thanks for your review. I keep looking at this game and can't decide.