62 of 65 people found the following review helpful
The enemy within: A review of The Rivals for Catan,
= Durability: = Fun: = Educational:
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This review is from: Rivals for Catan (Toy)
The game plays like a mix between Settler of Catan: Cities and Knights and any combo-card playing game. In order to be victorious you will have to manage your resources/trades efficiently but more importantly you will have to get to know the deck. This aspect of the card game differentiates it significantly from the board game, which requires very little memorization of cards going into the game. In Rivals, knowing whats out there and how cards build upon each other to help your principality or hurt your opponent's is key to success.
And there is some depth in here. After only a few games, its been interesting to see how different strategies may lead to victory. In the 'Era of Progress' Game we played, I built expansions that made it cheaper to look at the draw stacks for cards and cheaper to build (other expansions). I also built an accelerated production/trade system with grain to fill the gap in resources I didn't roll. My wife, on the other hand, had the skill point advantage almost the whole game, giving her a free resource whenever Celebration was rolled. She also had an extra Progress Point, allowing one more card in her hand and she had a building that gave her a resource when the Plague event occurred (it does quite often in the Era of Progress). So I focused on trying to make resource production efficient and she focused on getting extra resources and cards. She won! It was 12-11 nail biter.
The "I hate this [...] game" dice factor of SoC is mostly gone as well. The dice can be a bit unfair at times but the fact that you get to produce something on each turn limits the pain a bit. There are also expansions that somewhat counter-act uneven dice rolls. Since there is a much less likely chance that the dice will create a run-away winner, the game will almost always be close and the path to victory will be somewhat nuanced, which is nice.
I like it! For [...] you get a medium length game that you can easily jump into (assuming familiarity with SoC here) that offers some depth, some exciting dice rolls, and just a few accusatory glances from your spouse!