W. Eric Martin
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I've written a lot about Innovation since its debut in 2010, but since most of that writing went down with the implosion of BoardgameNews.com in December 2010, I'm compiling those comments here in an updated and edited manner.

From May 8, 2010 after eight plays:

Playing Carl Chudyk's Innovation is like arriving at an airport in a country where you don't speak the language. Surrounded by strangeness, you scan the area for comforting touchstones and familiar elements: the iconic representation of men and women indicating bathrooms; the profile of a suitcase directing you to the baggage claim area; the running man on an exit sign. Those elements calm you, they center you – then you exit the airport and find yourself lost in a linguistic sea.

Initially you'll think that playing Innovation will be a breeze as the rules are brief and relatively clear; then you run across the glossary and FAQ that's the same length as the rules; then you notice that each of the 105 cards in the game has a unique special power, in addition to three icons (of which there are six types); then when you actually start playing the game, you realize that you're drowning in information and possibilities and nothing makes any sense and that winning feeling that enveloped you because you were doing all these cool card tricks vanishes once you realize that you've scored no points and have no sense of what to do next.

When you start playing Innovation, you'll recognize all the game-y elements in the mix – some cards let you draw or score points; having a majority of one or more icons is usually good; you can exchange points or cards in your hand for other cards – yet it will also seem bewildering and foreign.

If you've played Chudyk's Glory to Rome, you'll experience a bit of déjà vu as that game also takes you on a trip outside familiar waters. In Glory to Rome, each card can be a client, a role, a building, building components, raw materials, points or just a card. Learning how the materials transform from one state to another – in addition to learning how to manipulate that process to your advantage – takes a few games, and before things click into place you're taking actions on a piecemeal basis, taking them to do something and see how the situation plays out.

Tripping Through the Ages

The conceit of Innovation is that players are advancing through the ages with the cards they draw, play and use. Each player starts with two cards from Era 1 – Prehistory – in hand, and as the game progresses you move into decks of cards for Classical, Medieval, Renaissance up through Postmodern and Information.

The six types of icons on the cards roughly line up with the ages. "The Wheel", for example, bears three castles, but castles disappear from the age decks after Medieval times to represent their lack of importance in modern eras; factories first appear during the Renaissance and continue to show up through the Information age. The icons tie into the dogma effects on the various cards, as well as to a couple of the special achievement cards that any player can claim. (The hexagonal image is unique to each card and a placeholder with no bearing on the game, making me wish it was smaller so that I can ignore it more easily.) Each card has one or more dogma effects, and those are the special powers that give Innovation so much of its "Say, what?" power.

Each turn a player takes two actions from four possibilities – draw a card, meld a card, claim an achievement, use a card's dogma – with actions being repeatable. When you meld, you start a pile of cards in the color that you play or add to an existing pile. (Play "The Wheel", and you'll start a green pile or cover the green card(s) you already have.) Once you cover a card, you can no longer use its dogma. Time's moving on, kiddo!

When you draw, you draw a card from the age deck matching the highest valued card on top of your piles. If you have 1s on two piles and a 3 on one pile, then you must draw a 3, even if you'd prefer to draw from an earlier age. If the age you would draw from is empty, then you draw from the next higher age. Again, time passes – "The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on..."

Much nastier than "The Wheel"
but not showing up until
the Postmodern era
Dogma effects come in two flavors: "I demand...." and all the other ones. When you choose dogma, you do all the effects on a card in order. With an "I demand..." effect, you compare the number of icons showing on all your cards against each individual opponent; if you have more of the depicted icon than an opponent, then you zap them. Opponents who are at least as advanced as you in that icon are immune to your attack.

For the other dogma effects, any opponent with as many icons as you can choose to take that dogma effect for himself. Use "The Wheel", for example, and anyone with as many castles as you will draw two 1s before you take the action yourself. Giving opponents free actions sounds like a losing plan, but (1) you take the action last, so if your opponents have now emptied the Prehistory deck, you'll draw from the Classical deck and (2) if any opponent mooches off you, you get a free draw in compensation.

To claim an achievement, you need points (five points to claim the Prehistory achievement, ten points for the next one, and so on) or you must meet the specific conditions on any of the five special achievements that are always in play, such as scoring six cards on one turn or having a certain number of icons in play. Only one achievement is up for grabs at each point level, so if someone else claims the five point Prehistory achievement, you need ten points for the next one. You don't discard the points to claim an achievement, but others can steal them and you can sometimes use points for various dogma effects.

Why do you care about achievements? Because the first player to hit a preset achievement threshold wins the game. Keep that goal in mind because it's all too easy to get caught up in cool dogma effects that let you draw lots of cards or manipulate your card piles or steal things and you forget about the whole score points/claim achievements thing.

Play, Rewind, Play Again

Innovation has the potato chip appeal of Dominion, Race for the Galaxy and Magic: The Gathering. You start the game having no clue as to what you're doing; you take cards because you know you should, because cards = potential and physics clues us in to the possibility of converting that potential energy to action. At some point you do something cool with a card or two, kicking that kinetic energy into an opponent's face like sand on a wimp. You start to imagine what you should have done at the start of the game; you see potential moves both forward and backward in time, but as in Innovation time flows only forward, so you struggle through to the game's end, not caring so much who won or lost but thinking only of the next outing, one that will commence as soon as you shuffle the decks and deal.

Yay, mathematics!
Boo, mathematics!
In my first game, my opponent and I didn't look through the decks; we examined a few cards from the Prehistoric age to try to understand how the cards work, then we dove into playing. Every draw was a discovery, every card featured something new to absorb. It's rare that I've found a game so baffling, yet so exciting at the same time. In this way Innovation brought back memories of real analysis in college, with me suffering through Walter Rudin's decades-old Principles of Mathematical Analysis, knowing that thousands of students had marched down this trail previously and despite all my confusion, through persistence I could match my footsteps to theirs and find the way forward.

Even after eight games, I feel that I'm in the prehistory stage of learning how to play Innovation. I've become aware of how the strength of icon types ebbs and flows throughout the game; I have an awareness of the five special achievements when previously I had to look at them over and over again; I know some of the cards that can wreck my score or hand or card piles, and I can play to minimize that damage or progress down safer paths. I've absorbed the importance of splaying – a dogma effect that lets you splay card piles left, right or up in order to display more icons and thereby increase your strength despite being limited to five piles. I can use the draw rule – in which you draw from the next highest stack if the one you're supposed to draw from is empty – to my advantage, while sometimes being able to return cards to stacks so that opponents draw less technologically advanced cards.

I can do all these things, yet a professor of analysis would undoubtedly show me a different path to the proof by walking there first and faster.

In truth, Innovation is more like Magic: The Gathering than the other potato chip games mentioned because the game board is dynamic, with card powers constantly changing and huge swings of points, powers and potential. When you scratch up a few points, you grab that achievement as soon as you can because that's one thing that can't be stolen. Your tiny place in history is fixed – "two vast and trunkless legs of stone" – even if the opponents' forces erode points and piles back to sand.

While you can enter the game with a grand plan for what you want to achieve and how you'll nab those achievements, you must confront the turn-by-turn actions of opponents and be ready to change course at any moment since you never know what an age will bring you or whether a card you pine to play is out of the game as an achievement or a points card. You react to the past and look to the future, while struggling through the day-to-day, aiming to become a winner – if only for a moment.

•••

From December 31, 2010 after 90+ plays:

With the year's odometer now turning over for those of us who don't run our lives on the Chinese or Hebrew calendar, "Best of the Year" lists are starting to appear and while I've never rarely participated in such folly in the past, I'll break tradition and state that Carl Chudyk's Innovation (Asmadi Games) is far and away my favorite game of 2010. I've already puked out thousands of words of appreciation for this fantastic design, but here's the short version: Innovation is the Civilization card game for those who don't want to read a lot of rules prior to playing.

What do I know of Civilization? Almost nothing. I've never played the Tresham design; I've never played the computer game (or almost any computer games); I've seen only a few segments of the Civilization series from Kenneth Clark; I haven't played (gasp) Through the Ages; and so on. I'm essentially one of those troglodytes who hasn't seen Star Wars, yet has absorbed enough about what goes on to give an amusingly misguided summary of Hans Solo, Darth Vader, the white-faced guy, and all the rest.

But for some reason I decided to pick up Kevin Wilson's Civilization: The Board Game (Fantasy Flight Games), which a knowing friend immediately mocked because the board game uses graphics from Civ IV while Civ V had debuted mere days earlier. How outré, said my friend, how shoddily half-assed of FFG to pitch gamers a new design in old clothes.

Me, in my ignorance, thought nothing of this as I was too busy being bowled over by the 32-page rulebook. I've never been one to shiver with delight at the site of a beefy rulebook, thinking ahead to the long, luxurious hours I'll spend soaking in the bathtub while relishing every little detail on its pages. No, I'm more of a shower guy, content with a quick hosedown of rules that span no more than a few pages – enough to get my hair wet without leaving my digits crinkly. I don't care to learn in detail how the car works; instead give me key, ignition, gas pedal, gear shift, mirrors – okay, I'm set to take it out for a spin to see what happens.

In practice the Civilization rulebook proved less imposing than it did at first glance. Four pages are devoted to a component list and detailed description of every last chit; a few more to the game set-up. Hey, this is more like a LEGO instruction book than a rulebook! I can handle this. Oh, wait, now we're into the rules, nevermind.

My brain has a tough time keeping lots of details in it for a single game. I can remember the rules for dozens, if not hundreds, of games – a party trick that never fails to impress the ladies when I bust out a few rule descriptions while in mid-limbo – yet I cannot recall hundreds, or even dozens, of details for a single, particular game. Essentially my brain has endless rows of lockers, "Library of Babel"-style, each of which can hold the contents of a single game and while the lockers themselves are infinite, no game can spill over into multiple lockers, which means that I've found myself at a loss when confronted by any big box FFG game and the attempt to embed an entire family history and details of how to make bread by first constructing a Wonder factory in its rulebook.

Having said that, I read the rules for Civilization: The Board Game and had a Civ-loving friend (who had also read the rules) over to play. The game lasted 2.5 hours, and I consulted the rulebook many, many times during play to make sure I was doing things right and not forgetting various details and I was completely smoked as my friend had an Actual Plan for how to win the game and I was busy treading water in the rules. I did spot his impending victory a couple of turns prior to him achieving it, but that knowledge was merely enough to earn me a solid second place.

Okay, having been through that, what did I learn:

-----How to play better: I can see how I would play the game better on a second go-round, partly due to not having to look things up in the rulebook so much and partly due to having some idea of how I could tie actions together to build synergy into my advancement efforts.

-----Why computer games sell so well: Not because of whatever was done with the Civ V graphics, but because the software handles many of the game details for you, often allowing you to learn a game directly from installation and random button-pushing – something not possible with analog games unless the players are toddlers.

-----How much I love Innovation: Which is the point of this post.

While Civ: The Board Game is apparently faithful to the computer game, according to my friend, all I noticed was the busyness of the design, with lots of little parts meshed into a design that I couldn't keep straight during play. I spent so much time watching the wheels turn and checking the framistan that I was barely cognizant of where I was going within the game. Did I end up creating an effective civilization that would eventually develop roll-on deodorant and wireless technology if the game had lasted long enough? Perhaps, but I was too busy with the details to notice such things.

With Innovation, on the other hand, I can set up and teach the game within ten minutes. All of history has been reduced to 105 cards, with each player starting with two cards from the prehistoric age. At the start of the game, you have one choice of two items to put into play. On your first real turn, you typically take two actions, with those actions being:

-----• Draw a card.
-----• Meld a card.
-----• Use a card in play.
-----• Claim an achievement card (which isn't possible until you score points, which takes at least a couple of turns and sometimes far longer).

So simple and straightforward. Each card says what it can do, which means the choices available to you are evident. What will the consequences of these actions be? Will action A lead to better results than action B? Give one of them a try and find out what happens.

Effectively you have been reduced to the position of gaming neanderthal. You're not trying to chart a path through the dozens of tech cards available to you in Civ: The Board Game: Which two of the ten level 1 cards should I build first? And which of the ten level 2 cards should follow that? And which of the nine level 3 cards? How would I know what to choose given that I know nothing about the course of the game? And all those choices come on top of multiple others about where to build cities and buildings, and which of the multiple wonders to build, and how to spend your points, and so on. In Civ, the number of choices is too much for me. I'm doing tons of things, but I can't see how they fit together. I feel like I'm managing a second life, and that's hardly a playing experience I need.

Again, with Innovation I have one choice to start the game. Then I have three choices – meld, draw or use the card in play – then I have three or four more, then perhaps five, and so on. I'm pulling LEGO bricks out of a black box and slowly assembling something that might turn into a dynamic machine. Each turn I have exactly two actions available to me, so even when I have 5-10 choices – from the cards in play in front of me, the pile from which I can draw, and the cards in hand – the number of possible combinations is still limited.

As I've become more familiar with the game – 90 plays and counting! – I can now consider whether to do the best thing possible this turn or to focus on what I might do this turn that will allow me to do something even better next turn. I can react to an opponent's play, or try to build a structure that will eventually topple over on him and render him lifeless. I can anticipate future plays from opponents and dig for cards in particular decks that fit with my plans. I can work on splaying my cards to display more of the six types of icons in order to mooch from the actions of others and protect me from (some) attacks, or I can try to jump the ages and get a "technological" edge on my opponents.

And there's still much more to learn – or at least that's how I feel each time I play. I've never gone through all 105 cards and tried to memorize what each of them does and which icons they have where, and this lack of out-of-game exploration has delivered a far richer sense of exploration during play. After my first couple of games, for example, I knew the 15 cards in age 1 cold, while knowing the specifics of most cards in age 2 and several in age 3. I had reached the higher ages, but they still felt nebulous. I had experienced their power, both in my hands and in others', but I couldn't recall precisely which cards were in which decks. Instead of trying to grab knowledge of the game all at once, I let it sink in through repeated exposure, akin to a computer game (I suppose) in which you know enough to start the game, then just see what happens. (See point #2 above.)

As I and my friends have achieved more experience with the game, we've adjusted our play styles. In the early days, two-player games would rarely dig deep into decks from age 7 and above as we played somewhat conservatively, feeling our way around the early stages of history and hitting the special achievements with little interference from opponents. Now, we blast through the ages, having a better idea of what's possible in two turns and how to counter what opponents might do. We pocket specific cards for certain situations; we encounter high-level cards that seem insanely powerful, then figure out how to play against those threats in the early game to keep ourselves from being vulnerable later. We shoot for instant win cards in the later decks, ceding advantages to others on the assumption – the hope! – that they'll never bring those advantages to bear.

Three-player seems like the sweet spot for the game as you avoid the freewheeling, almost out-of-control feeling of the four-player game and the somewhat tight, zero-sum feeling of the two-player game. If I had a choice for number of players, I'd choose three, then two, then four. (If I had five, I'd choose two simultaneous games of Innovation.)

Do the cards feel like a simulacrum of reality and history? No, but that's not what I play games for. I play for the intellectual challenge, the ability to best my opponent in some tiny sandbox with rules particular to that location. I want to feel like I can make clever plays, affect my destiny in positive ways, prepare contingency plans for the disasters that will surely come, and be surprised by what both I and my opponents can do. Innovation hits all of these markers. Even after 90 games – which includes a dozen games in a week over the Christmas holiday when my brother, friends and I neglected a half-dozen Spiel 2010 releases he had brought me from Europe – I continually find myself saying, "I've never seen that before," or "I thought that card was worthless, but it really proved to be the right tool to save my bacon that game," or "I can't believe you figured out how to escape that trap," or (most often of all) "Want to play again?"

My opponents say yes. I say yes. Yesyesyes. Set up the cards once again, and let's go!

•••

Comments on April 30, 2012 after 168 plays:

So now what? My Innovation play rate took a steep drop after I moved out of New Hampshire in June 2011 and away from the other fans in my old game group, so I've yet to double the play count of that last report despite sixteen months having passed and despite my love for the game never ebbing.

What else have I learned about the game since that posting? Perhaps little more about the cards themselves – their interactions, the specfic ways they can be used for attack and defense – but I have greatly enjoyed the team rules, which were introduced long after the game's initial publication. Four-player Innovation is messy and strategy warping: You need to track icon counts of three opponents to know who can hit you in which ways, and the age decks disappear far more quickly than in two- and three-player games, obviating the use of certain cards (Writing, Masonry) that are effective with fewer players. The game is still interesting with four, but even more of a ride and experience than normal, with you playing far more randomly than with fewer players. (I've never tried the game with five, the top playing count when using the Innovation: Echoes of the Past expansion, and I don't plan to.)

The team rules keep the messiness and quickness of the standard four-player game, but since you're now paired with the player opposite you, you don't need to worry about threats from three players, only two. Now you look for opportunities to share with your partner and provide them with more play options. (You don't draw a free card when only your partner shares a dogma, but the team is benefitting twice anyway, so you're still gaining ground on the opponents – or at least you should be!)

Teammates don't share points or icon counts, only the number of achievements gained, so in practice one player tends to worry about gaining points while the other tries to help her feed her engine while playing enforcer on the opponents. As with the standard game, your role and actions are fluid, changing as the cards change in your hand and on the game board. The game remains tactical with teams, but that partner leads you in directions other than you might gone on your own – working together to thwart an opponent from achieving, for example, whereas individual players tend to be willing to let someone achieve when they are gaining in other ways.

Whether in teams or on my own, however, I'm still just as eager to play this game over nearly any other. The problem lies in finding others in my area who feel the same way. As with the other potato chip games I mentioned above, Innovation can be as much of a lifestyle game as Dominion, Race and Magic, with people playing it to the exclusion of everything else. The variety and joy it continues to offer to me – even after 168 plays – is immense, and I'm anticipating many, many more games in the years ahead.
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Hunter Bennett-Daggett
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Excellent review. I'm sorry I never got a chance to meet you and play Innovation while you were still in NH.

Now I need to decide whether I should also review Innovation for Voices of Experience as planned, or go for a different game instead. I was likely going to focus on Innovation as a 2 player game, since I think 108 of my 112 plays are with just 2 players. Given that, I think I can go a different way...
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Jeff Kayati
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Nice review of a game I detest. I'm learning to appreciate there are different games for different people. You say it's a potato chip game, I say it's a cow chip game.

Tomato, tomatoe.

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Chris Wood
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This review made me glad I did not trade this game out, like I planned to do.
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W. Eric Martin
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DiAtros wrote:
Excellent review. I'm sorry I never got a chance to meet you and play Innovation while you were still in NH.

Maybe it's something in the NH air...

jkayati wrote:
Nice review of a game I detest. I'm learning to appreciate there are different games for different people. You say it's a potato chip game, I say it's a cow chip game.

So you get to play a completely different game of tossing the box as far as possible. Everyone wins!
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Mark Schlatter
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Great review --- I only wish I could play the game as often as this!

Super double bonus points for working Rudin into the piece.
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:C.h.r.i.s. M.c.G.o.w.a.n:
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Eric - nice compilation of comments over time.

Do you plan on a separate review of the Echoes expansion for Innovation or could you elaborate here in this post?
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Adam O'Brien
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I'm one of the locals preventing poor Eric from playing his favorite game. I ORDER YOU to play something else, MWAHAHAHAHA!

Sorry Eric, just not my cup o' tea.
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W. Eric Martin
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3dicebombers wrote:
I'm one of the locals preventing poor Eric from playing his favorite game. I ORDER YOU to play something else, MWAHAHAHAHA!

Should I point out that you botched the "I demand you..." wording and blew the joke, or just let your comment stand?

3dicebombers wrote:
Sorry Eric, just not my cup o' tea.

You and Dan both - what's wrong with you guys?!

UsanaChris wrote:
Do you plan on a separate review of the Echoes expansion for Innovation or could you elaborate here in this post?

Despite having ten plays of Echoes, most of them during the beta playtest period open to those who preordered the expansion, I don't feel I have enough experience to talk about it at any length. That said, I'll give it a go...

In some ways Echoes is just too much; it's Innovation squared as you're just hanging on and seeing what comes out of the crazy contraption you build. Part of that problem is due to the game set-up rules introduced with Echoes, with players taking X number of cards from the base game and Y number of cards from Echoes, with the numbers varying depending on the number of players, then shuffling them all together. With the base game you know that one card from the first nine ages is out of play, so you have variability yet consistency; each deck is slightly different each game, yet you know most of what's available, giving you some ability to plan ahead, take chances on what you draw, work against what an opponent might be holding, and so on.

When you have a subset of those decks, you're whiffing with your guesses half the time, unsure of what you'll see from game to game. Will Alchemy blow up in your face or not? With just the base game, you can play the odds, based on what you might have seen; with Echoes added, you're just playing randomly. (Some might say you're always playing randomly no matter the set-up, but nertz to them!)

The other issue, at least for my group, is that the introduction of Echoes, Foreshadowing and Bonuses was too much all at once. Instead of adding one new element, the expansion added three – and since the decks were different each time, whatever you learned in one game might not carry over into the next. I petitioned Asmadi's Chris Cieslik to include suggested subsets of Echoes cards with the rules, as with Dominion's lists of ten Kingdom cards, so that someone could play Innovation + Bonuses, Innovation + Echoes, or Innovation + Foreshadow – something that would let players learn a new element of the game within the context of what they already know, but Chris never ran with the suggestion.

The published expansion shipped after I had already moved, so I haven't had a chance to buckle down and learn Echoes for real. I didn't feel like I had a good grasp on how to play Innovation well until after two dozen or so plays, so perhaps some day folks like Adam or Dan will come around and I'll get that much experience with Echoes, too. (I'll note that I've played the Figures in the Sand expansion in beta form four times, all while visiting my old NH group, and that set has gone over much better. It's different, but without throwing too much into the mix at once. Hard to say for sure after only four plays, though...)
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W. Eric Martin
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I forgot to mention in my prior note about Echoes that I haven't tried the expansion with the revised set-up rules for Echoes and future expansions posted by Chris Cieslik in February 2012. This change would alleviate my concern about the decks changing too much from one game to the next; just need to get enough people around here playing Innovation first before busting out the expansion on them...
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:C.h.r.i.s. M.c.G.o.w.a.n:
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Thanks for your thoughts on the 1st (and 2nd) expansion.

I am at roughly 50 plays of Innovation - mainly 2p vs my brother in law who really only plays games with me the 6 to 10 times a year we see each other when visiting.

We are both going through similar experiences as you and others - finally feel we have enough plays under our belts to "control" things a bit around game 25 or so. Both of us enjoyed the exploration of the ages and especially recently getting to the age 9 & 10 piles more consistently.

I have the expansion and we looked into adding it to the mix, BUT both of us felt like you do - too much to add to the game at one time.

I REALLY like the idea of "preset Dominion" like suggestions to get a taste and learn what is possible. Will have to check out revised set-up rules that Chris Cieslik posted in Feb 2012.

 
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Warren Smith
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Innovation is a great game. While I haven't played anywhere near as many times, I was able to recognize the greatness of this game after about 10 plays and bumped it up from my initial first impression (8) to a 10.

Thanks for the consolidated review!!
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Chris Cieslik
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I do think you could craft pre-set echoes sub-sets -- although color balance becomes an issue. I'd be interested to hear how it plays out!
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Anthony
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I made my wife cry the first time we played Innovation...ok in her defense she was early in her pregancy and her hormones were changing wildly. I felt so bad (I had just destroyed her score pile) and we just quit and I packed the game away and we watched a movie she liked.

She wanted to try it again that weekend and we did and we liked it decently. We continued to play it afterwards and it has become one of our very favorite 2 player games. It is truly a game that gets better over time. You have to know whats in the deck to truly feel in control and like this game. Therefore the more you play it the more it grows on you as you learn to recognize various interactions both as you employ them and as you see them set up against you and you can react against it.

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W. Eric Martin
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angelkurisu wrote:
I do think you could craft pre-set echoes sub-sets -- although color balance becomes an issue. I'd be interested to hear how it plays out!

Color balance wouldn't be as much of an issue as long as the sets were fixed. Then you'd be able to adjust or adapt your play accordingly to use that knowledge to our advantage. Not that I'm volunteering to undertake this project...
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Moe45673
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Fantastic review. I could easily see this being my desert island game. Other games may have better trees, but this one is a beautiful forest with weirdly boring trees.
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Bryan Maxwell
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Burtchville
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117 plays here. My wife and I are still loving this game.

Nice review!
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Richard Hills
Australia
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In W. Eric Martin's review I counted 168 paeans of praise and only 1 niggle:

"(The hexagonal image is unique to each card and a placeholder with no bearing on the game, making me wish it was smaller so that I can ignore it more easily.)"

But even this niggle is solved in the aeshetic excellence of the IELLO version of Innovation, with the placeholder being a small circular Age Number.
 
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Conor Hickey
Ireland
Dublin
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Richard Hills wrote:
In W. Eric Martin's review I counted 168 paeans of praise and only 1 niggle:

"(The hexagonal image is unique to each card and a placeholder with no bearing on the game, making me wish it was smaller so that I can ignore it more easily.)"

But even this niggle is solved in the aeshetic excellence of the IELLO version of Innovation, with the placeholder being a small circular Age Number.


The placeholder does have some bearing on the game as its position on the card helps determine how many icons are visible when the card is splayed in a particular direction and is not the top card of the pile.
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Jens Hoppe
Denmark
Frederiksberg
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The current moderation is unfair and one-sided...
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... So I am not supporting BGG in 2019
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2010 was a fantastic year for me, bringing me not only one of my all-time favorite games, High Frontier, but also the fantastic Innovation. I've logged about 30 plays, so measuring its success by that, it's already a winner. And I don't see myself tiring of it anytime soon, either.

Lucky for me, my local boardgame club embraced the game with open arms right from the start. Not everyone who tried it liked it, but more than enough did, and finding opponents for the game is never difficult.

Personally, I prefer 4 players over 2. Yes, it's a lot more chaotic, but in my mind the chaos is part of the experience, and you've got to learn to roll with the punches you are dealt. More players also means more opportunity to stop a perceived leader.

Anyway, I can't say enough good things about Innovation. I even really like the hexagonal placeholder images!
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And another 100GG on this
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I just spent 100GG on this
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Great review, good job.

Innovation player for quite a while. Fun game, but did anyone notice that the game is HEAVILY dependent on early age splaying?
Once you move through the ages the heavily splayed player just increases his advantages. You can't really attack his score pile, can't steal his cards, and if you tech ahead too much he'll just punish you for that(steal that card, or go in heavy scoring)

Where i'm getting here is that this games kindof feels like "Flux for gamers". Dose anyone else share my opinion?
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W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
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thesleeper7 wrote:
Innovation player for quite a while. Fun game, but did anyone notice that the game is HEAVILY dependent on early age splaying?

Once you move through the ages the heavily splayed player just increases his advantages. You can't really attack his score pile, can't steal his cards, and if you tech ahead too much he'll just punish you for that(steal that card, or go in heavy scoring)

Where i'm getting here is that this games kindof feels like "Flux for gamers". Dose anyone else share my opinion?

I've heard that label a few times, and I somewhat agree with it since Innovation is highly tactical and can sometimes feel like a ride on a bronco rather than a horse ride down the seashore – but Fluxx can end in a couple of turns due to mostly random draws, whereas Innovation gives you far more opportunities to affect your level of success. Even when an opponent splays early, you can still get the drop on them by scoring in batches, then achieving. Achievements can't be stolen, so you can chip away at them one by one while an opponent focuses on splaying and a long game that might not come.
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Andy Latto
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Foxboro
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thesleeper7 wrote:
Great review, good job.

Innovation player for quite a while. Fun game, but did anyone notice that the game is HEAVILY dependent on early age splaying?
Once you move through the ages the heavily splayed player just increases his advantages. You can't really attack his score pile, can't steal his cards, and if you tech ahead too much he'll just punish you for that(steal that card, or go in heavy scoring)

You've discovered one of the three basic game plans for winning at Innovation. Keep playing, you'll find the other two. And of course hybrid strategies and switching between the strategies midgame are also possible.
Quote:

Where i'm getting here is that this games kindof feels like "Flux for gamers". Dose anyone else share my opinion?

Like Flux:
A bunch of different cards that each say something different.
Rules that are quick to learn because most of them are on the cards.
Quick to play.
A theme that is connected to the game play in an amusing way (only applies to sequels like Zombie Flux and Monty Python Flux).

Unlike Flux:

There are interesting and difficult decisions to make nearly every turn, which materially affect your chance to win.
There are strategic as well as tactical elements to the decisions.
You make progress towards your goals, rather than suddenly and unexpectedly achieving them.
Skill counts for a lot; the better player usually wins.
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