This game was played with two people in this instance therefore a few plains tiles and some of the nastier types of cards had to be removed from the game.
The game was a pleasure to open with extraordinary components and I was greeted with well written rules and an exceedingly well thought out summary card. Within ten minutes we were ready to play - both of us with the impression that this game would be pretty dececnt even though reviews had said it was dry.
In the first turn both players delivered rock to the temple to increase their mana limit and mana supply and collected a card. From there on in, every action carried out by one player would almost, similarly be mirrored by the second player with the only surprises coming from cards played. Actions such as reproduction, gathering resources, forming new tribes, exploration, temple building, the building of places of worship etc.
There seem to not to be many choices available to see that the right conditions are met in order to deliver the offerings to the temple. Everyone needs mana therefore everyone will explore, reproduce and build more huts. This sort of 'you need this to do this in order to do this which leads to that' style of gameplay resulted in a very close finish between both players.
Options seemed somewhat limited as resources available are founded during exploration and if cards are played cleverly enough, newly founded resources can be expired within the turn. With that in mind, we wondered if there was ever a situation that could arise where there would not be enough stones...probably not but it would have been nice to have alternative options available to carry out actions. In that regard, it sounds like a cutthroat game (volcanoes can be placed anywhere to block opponents and resources can be stolen off them too) but it really didn't play that way. Both players did whatever they had to do during their turns with the options available not being particularly mind numbing or clever. Your opponents moves are predictable as they will likely mirror your own.
In the end, my opponent snatched victory from me by delivering his last offering before I could (I was 2 tiles away) and we sat there for awhile going 'Mmm...yes...righto. So that's it then.'.
The game itself is not a bad game and I would love to give it much more opportunities to shine. The game does change with more players, the strategy is not likely to shift overly much but this game felt so mediocre! When I think about the choices of games available to me (much more stunning, clever, fun games) - I know that I'll never really get around to playing this game ever again.