Most reviews are written very soon after a game is released. Makes sense. Reviews are probably read primarily by people interested in new games and there’s a pressure to get reviews up quickly. The thing is that those reviewers have only played the game a few times, probably only once. I know my opinion has changed on some games after more than one play. So I got to thinking about writing reviews of older games. I won’t spend a lot of time regurgitating the rules. Initial reviewers have that covered. I’ll try to focus on opinions and maybe some strategies I’ve seen after numerous plays.
So Adlungland is a game I was watching for just as soon as I heard it was coming out. The amusement park theme just seems like a great fit for a hobby game and it hasn’t been used nearly enough. I knew that one of Adlung-Spiele’s card games wouldn’t be likely to deliver everything I’d want in an amusement park game, but I’d take what I could get, especially at such a low cost. What I ended up with is an average game that’d be forgettable without the theme. That’s not to say that the theme is especially strong either. If anything, the theme of Adlung-Spiele in-jokes is stronger… but I’m okay with that.
You basically get a deck of cards, each of which represents some sort of attraction. You’ll play them down to the table to build out the park as you would most any tile-laying game. Depending on where you place it, you’ll score some points or pick up some hazard cards. You burn through the deck once and you’re done.
So where’s the decision making? Choosing where to lay down your card can be a bit of a puzzle at times, but usually isn’t very hard to do. Choosing which cards to discard (you often have to discard cards from your hand to play another card down as in Race for the Galaxy) can be a bit trickier. I think winning the game boils down to one really big decision though and that is when to go for the big point surge. The rides that score the biggest points tend to be the ones that slam you with the most hazards. The thing is, most of the time you’ll get rid of the hazards when someone else has to take them. So can you figure out the best time to put down your big ride so that someone else will soon be following with their own big ride and taking on all of the hazards instead? Also, one of the hazards you might get is lost turns. If you go for a big score and then have to lose three turns, will you make enough that everyone else won’t just catch up to you during those turns?
The game has another small problem in that there can be kingmaking. It is common to have times where you must choose who to give a few cards to or who to take a few cards from. If the other players decide to just stick it to you or if maybe they just decide they want to collude with each other for whatever reason, that can be a problem.
Like most of Adlung-Speile’s games, you’re left to keep score on your own with a piece of paper. I use poker chips for that and I suspect that most other people would do the same, so no real hassle there.
For the price, I think this is a great little filler game (which I could say about many of their games). It’s not amazing and it’s not as thematic as I’d like, but if you think this is a game you might enjoy, I’d definitely encourage you to give it a shot.