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Subject: A couples review of a great new game (and no Carnival puns in the title!) rss

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G W M
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Very exciting to arrive home from work today to discover my Carnival package had arrived in Australia from Game Salute. I had been a little worried when another game package posted after Carnival (Set) arrived ahead of it, but then I realized its funny how I think everything from the US should be arriving at roughly the same time - the US only has 50 states and is a bloody huge land mass!!! - DOH!

Anyway, the game was unpackaged and I convinced Nic to have a game tonight while it was still fresh from the postman. I had liked the look of this game on Kickstarter as it was well marketed with some good bonuses. On that score the custom dice and bag are great quality, and the sideshow expansion looks neat - we didn't play it tonight, but I can see that it will spice the game up for an experienced player. Likewise the tickets used in the game are a nice thick card stock.

The game was pretty easy to understand, with a nice rules sheet and the iconography is not too bad, although for some reason we both struggled a little with the hand and card graphics that accompany the dice - suspect this will greatly ease with time. The box is also a nice compact size, roughly the same as Jaipur for those who know that game.

As many of my readers will know, I am always on the lookout for games that can be played by time poor couples in a minimal amount of time while still actually enjoying themselves. I have already posted Carnival to that list tonight, it certainly deserves to be there - just watch the sound of those dice if you play close to your sleeping children

The Game

First up, can I say that the theme of this game really works for me. As we were playing, I could certainly see myself assembling attractions and getting ready to welcome punters through the door. In a previous review I lamented the fact that I am the theme lover for games in my marriage, but Nic tonight commented she actually liked the theme for this game, which means it must have struck a chord. So theme lovers, off to a good start with this one!

Ignoring the theme for one moment, the game mechanics for me fall as a combination of the dice driven action taking of Roma, combined with the thieving of cards from opponents inWyatt Earp. It made me realise how few games I play these days that make use of dice - I could only think of three that had been played in recent memory - namely ASL, Settlers and Roma. It was actually great to get the dice out again and in the context of a card game.

Very Basic Rules Summary

* Discard down to 6 cards at start of turn if you hold greater than 6
* You are trying to build four of your five attractions - you do this by collecting four cards of that colour which can include a wild card.
* An attraction must be started by playing two cards of the same colour (similarities here to diamonds and gold in Jaipur and starting sets in Wyatt Earp).
* Until an attraction is built, you can have cards stolen from your play area, once built it is immune and out of play (UNLESS a wild card is used in construction which case the attraction remains vulnerable).
* You roll three dice and get to take two of those actions (a triple means you take all three of the same action).
* You get three 'tickets' that allow you to change a dice's value by 1, re-roll all 3 dice, or block an opponents action - use only one per turn.
* If you build an attraction with no wild cards, you can reclaim one of your 3 tickets if used, not so if you still hold 3.
* Draw up to three cards if you hold less than 3 at turn end.

Dice Actions
1 - Pick a card up from the deck
2 - Pick a card up from the discard pile
3 - Steal a card from opponent
4 - Steal a card from opponent, replace with one of your own
5 - Swap a card from your play area with that of an opponent
6- Steal a card from an opponents play area, discard a card from your hand.

The Verdict

Well Nic won the first game we played tonight which is always a great way to get an initial positive marital review Seriously though we really enjoyed this game, it was light, fast and fun. I think we will definitely be using the sideshow expansion for our second game as this will definitely add some spice to our future plays. I also really like the artwork for the expansion - very 'carnivalesque' and only adds to the theme.

This one will certainly work for time poor couples and the theme for me makes this game somewhat more fun than games where the theme is paper thin (sorry Lost Cities but I have to bag you for once there).

I think the tickets are a really neat add to the game, and introduce a level of strategy into the use of the dice in the game. I had been exploring a similar mechanic in In my own private game design that I am currently working on with plans to 'Kickstart' in the next 12 months - seeing this in action with Carnival only reinforces that I like it. I think the truly innovative part of the Carnival design is the replenishment of tickets by collecting sets of cards to complete an attraction without a wild card - this is really neat.

On that note, will also be interesting to see another Kickstarter project hit the table in 2012 - Super Showdown which also has a neat (but different) dice mechanic - future games I foresee building on the excellent work of new games like Carnival and Super Showdown in terms of fun dice mechanics.

For me, this game really does feel like a nice blend of Roma and Wyatt Earp with the Carnival theme. What makes it better than Roma is the way the dice work, i.e. ticket influence, plus the fact that a triple means a forced set of three actions. For some reason I also think of Jaipur (and not just because of the box size!) - probably for me about similar complexity and replay likelihood - I would play Jaipur if I had a bit more brain capacity available that session, Carnival would be better I think if I was looking for a slightly more relaxed play.

Finally, can't speak highly enough of the component quality - plus the art really suppports the theme.

So, in summary, if you didn't get on board with the Kickstarter project, I strongly encourage you to pick up a copy of this game if you (a) enjoy fun and fast games with dice and cards, (b) enjoy Carnivals and this sort of theme grabs you and (c) you like set collection games with some fun twists.

Jump in and enjoy the Carnival atmosphere - there you go just one pun saved for the very last sentance! GM

Very Important post-script - NEVER USE the mathematical 'less than' symbol in BGG content - as a consequence of doing this last night, the site destroyed half of the review and I have had to re-write the last half of this review a second time, also a good note to self to save the offline copy regularly during writing!
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Stefano Castelli
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Re: Do review titles really influence people clicking on reviews? (Also Carnival is great!)
*looks*


*looks better*

Huh...

Where is the review?
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David Hoffman
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Re: Do review titles really influence people clicking on reviews? (Also Carnival is great!)
I have a feeling there was a "less than" sign after the word "hold" and that ate the rest of his review. It's one of those annoying things BGG does you only learn after it bites you.
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Scott Nelson
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Re: Do review titles really influence people clicking on reviews? (Also Carnival is great!)
ohbalto wrote:
I have a feeling there was a "less than" sign after the word "hold" and that ate the rest of his review. It's one of those annoying things BGG does you only learn after it bites you.


I concur as it has happened to me on more than one occasion. For that reason, I usually to it in notepad, then preview it before posting it.
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Olav Fakkeldij
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Re: Do review titles really influence people clicking on reviews? (Also Carnival is great!)
Quote:
Do review titles really influence people clicking on reviews?
No
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Stefano Castelli
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Re: Do review titles really influence people clicking on reviews? (Also Carnival is great!)
ohbalto wrote:
I have a feeling there was a "less than" sign after the word "hold" and that ate the rest of his review. It's one of those annoying things BGG does you only learn after it bites you.


Actually, it also works if you replace "hold" with "dare".
 
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G W M
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Re: Do review titles really influence people clicking on reviews? (Also Carnival is great!)
Curses, thanks David there was indeed a less than symbol and the review was eaten am contacting the admins now to see if it can be retrieved - now that is an issue I haven't encountered before!
 
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G W M
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Re: Do review titles really influence people clicking on reviews? (Also Carnival is great!)
4.30am in Sydney, just heard back from the Admins - David is right the second half has been lost - commence physical memory retrieval (and future note to update my offline at the end of writing ) GM

Review now re-posted to the best of my recollections after a five hour sleep between first and second writing. In a funny twist I just had to leave the PC to settle my daughter who woke up at 4.50am, just as I am writing about games to play as a time poor couple with kids - classic!
 
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ɹɹǝʞ uɐɥʇɐu
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Nice review! We found it to be a great filler between heavier games.

One note, the line:
Quote:
Until an attraction is built, you can have cards stolen from your play area, once built it is immune and out of play.


Isn't exactly true. Only when it is a "natural" set (no wilds) is it immune and out of play. If the ride still has wilds, it counts as a complete ride, but can be stolen from.
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Dice Hate Me
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Guy,

Thanks for the great review of Carnival! We're really glad you and Nic are liking the game. I'm also glad that you took the time to rewrite your review after BGG ate it!

Let us know how you like The Sideshow and the game variants as you two explore the game further.

All the best,
Chris & Cherilyn
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G W M
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Thanks Chris/Cherilyn, it is great to see how you are interacting with your customers/players with the game, you really set the standard for Kickstarter communications, and the BGG work is in the same vein - glad you liked the review, I am looking forward to trying the sideshow soon!

Also, Nathan, thanks for the rules pickup - edit in now - appreciate that, this would have had an impact on our first game, so thanks! GM
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