...i WILL own it all!!!
We don't possess E&T the Board Game, and when I heard they were bringing out a card-game version we decided to go for that instead. In fact most of our games seem to be of the card/tile variety rather than 'boardgames'.
I (being the cause of this by buying it) prepared by reading the rules, rading them again, again .... in all must have been about 5 times. I then played a dummy game. I always struggle with doing that because if my understanding of a rule is wrong, me playing me isn't going to identify the problem
Anyway, I gave up on that and we gathered round the table and I gave them a synopsis of the game and the key rules.
I left out the catastrophe cards, and the ships. The former, because by the time I reached them, my players were beginning to look daggers at me , and the latter because I wasn't sure I understood them.
Anyway, we started.
It was hard.
It was difficult in the first game to work out a clear strategy. Moves were fairly random. I was not sure exactly when we could swap treasure cards. After a BGG query we were able to resolve, but we had abandoned that game ... and the peasants were revolting I went back over the rules again and did spot where Green Leaders and Treasure cards were explained. I don't understand how I had missed it so many times in the previous readings of rules. I think in our (or rather 'my') excitement at new rules I tend to skim read....
Anyway, we started a second game, and this went much more smoothly.
All the conflicts, bar one, were initiated by me ... as I was usually trying to move my Green Leader into a kingdom then start an External Conflict. It's worth at this point raising a question - I was still unclear as to the advantages of various colours:
Black Leader = joker, and can pick up civilisation points for any colour
Blue Leader = can gain ship points for any of the three ships
Green Leader = can swap Treasure cards with a normal red card when an external conflict has taken place in the kingdom he is currently placed
Red Leader = ????? don't know ... am I missing something?
One of the decision factors was whether to play civilisation cards to your Red Leader, and adding the appropriate card(s) to your Victory Pile ... or hold to fight Internal Conflicts. Depleting your hand of Reds may be problematic ... but then again you need to keep building Red Victory points to the same level as others else you will lose anyway. I note that the deck contains twice as many reds as other colours.
I did think that gaining all the available Treasure cards would be the mechanism for ending the game, however this second game ended by using all available civilisation cards. Anyway, on the final count I won, so I lapped the room in the usual victory dance style ("why do the rest of the family put themselves through this humiliation", I wondered ... probably because more often than not they are the ones who do the whupping ).
Thoughts ... I think it will take some subtle persuasion on my part to get people to play again (although my daughter did say she enjoyed playing, and she is willing to play most times with any game). I personally did enjoy playing and do want to play again. We tend to go through this period with most new games ... that period where rules are still a little vague and you play with little clear strategy. After 3 or 4 we do usually really enjoy our games. I suspect that E&T is going to be a slow burner, but I am convinced we will enjoy it more.
In reading the above I note that I slipped into Red/Black/Green/Blue terms instead of Religion/Population/Trading/Agriculture. This I think shows that, like most of Reiner Knizia's games, the theme is a simple skeleton for carrying the game mechanisms. This is not a criticism, but a tight theme-game coupling can add that extra sparkle that keeps players coming back for more.
So - yes we will try flying this game a few more times and see if it keeps aloft or hits the ground with a thud.