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Subject: Two-player Seal of Approval rss

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Matt
United Kingdom
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This isn’t an in-depth review, there are some excellent written and video reviews already posted if that is what you are looking for. I’m just focusing on my personal two-player experiences, both face-to face and on Yucata.

Arkadia is a game by Rüdiger Dorn, released way back in 2006. The only other Dorn game I have played is Jambo which never really grabbed my attention, despite the favourable reviews. I don’t usually mind randomness in games but Jambo proved just too frustrating and was soon traded away. However, Arkadia has earned a place on my game shelf for many years to come.

On paper Arkadia sounds like an unholy mishmash of game styles that shouldn’t work. Players develop the city of Arkadia by placing Tetris shaped buildings on the board. They then claim seals by placing workers around the buildings. There is also a castle that needs to be built, which introduces a stock market element. The seals need to be exchanged for money but are subject to changing values, influenced by the actions of the players as they construct the aforementioned castle.

So in a nutshell that is the game and here is why I rate it a 9:

The rules are easy to learn, and once learnt there is no need to refer back to the rulebook since there are no easily forgotten exceptions or extra fiddly little rules.
It plays quickly; two players can get through a game in thirty minutes.
It requires a satisfying range of thought processes, players need to work out where to place buildings and their limited supply of workers and also judge how to manipulate the market to get the best price for their seals.
Every move counts -no wasted or empty moves.

The above points apply to the game in general but with two players the placement of buildings becomes even more crucial. Since the board will not change radically between your turns there is more opportunity to plan ahead. A shrewd player will have a definite plan for placing buildings and workers to yield the maximum seals.

What doesn’t work quite as well with two is the seal trading aspect of the game. The market tends to be rather predictable and lacks the fluctuations that more players create.

According to the Geek 67% recommend Arkadia as a two player game and 24% think it actually plays best with two. I would agree with the consensus view that it plays best with three, but playing with two still makes for a very enjoyable half hour. What is lost in the variety and rapidity of changes to the stock market is compensated for by the extra thinking and forward planning that can be applied to the placement of buildings and workers.
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Kathy Sheets
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Stuart
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I agree with everything you say here. I think 2p is a really nice way to play, and especially to learn the game. 3p mixes it up quite a bit and makes it so much harder to plan ahead and time the market to your best advantage. It's lots of fun either way and time for us to get this one to the table again!
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Andy Andersen
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I've only played with 2 and found it be very enjoyable, even though my wife has clobbered me every time we've played.

There is also a new video review just added.

Thanks
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Andrew Lloyd
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Orangemoose wrote:
I've only played with 2 and found it be very enjoyable, even though my wife has clobbered me every time we've played.

There is also a new video review just added.

Thanks


Thanks for the great, concise review! I'm glad you mentioned how well it plays with 2. Definitely a well scaling game. As Orangemoose mentioned, there is a new video review of the game.

WARNING: Shameless self promotion! ninja
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Ed G.
United States
Fort Wayne
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Thanks for the two-player viewpoint. Sounds like a game my wife and I would enjoy and one I was previously unaware of. Added it to my "want-in-trade" list.
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Tyler DeLisle
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I love concise reviews like this, it's the first thing I look for when I'm skimming through games. Thanks!
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Matt
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Thank you. Glad you found the review useful, and sorry for not seeing your comment earlier.
 
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Michael Kandrac
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It's never too late to contribute to a good thread. Arkadia is an elegant design that would be one of the 10 games I would keep if I had to forsake all others. It is probably best as a two player game since there is less of a chaotic element. I recall a four player years ago when it seemed that one player frequently set up the player to her left for big scores and there wasn't anything to be done about it.

The only rule that I once mangled was that castle blocks are not required to match the building just completed - silly, I know. Yesterday, my wife and I played the game (she won with 120 points) and on one play she completed 3 buildings and placed 3 castle blocks!

The trajectory of the game is quite interesting. The first phase is almost all building placement and the goal (for me at least) is to acquire as many neutral workers as possible. The point at which the game shifts into worker placement and the banners are turned in for more workers and seals converted into gold must be timed carefully to gain the greatest benefit. I enjoy the card play especially when the placing of a building can complete another. The time it takes to play the game will never seem too short but often not long enough!

Arkadia is a beautiful game and the best $12.50 plus tax I ever spent.

Gg
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tom tom
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If Arkadia came out today on Kickstarter, I bet it would fund in 24 hours. Fantastic components. Great at 2 and 3 player. Beautiful table presence.
 
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