87 of 92 people found the following review helpful
Another great euro-game to add to the rotation,
= Durability: = Fun: = Educational:
This review is from: The Castles Of Burgundy (Toy)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
What a great surprise this game turned out to be. My husband and I play a range of 2-5 player games, mostly of the euro-game variety (Carcassonne, Pandemic, Dominion, etc.). This is a strategic resource game most like Agricola, with elements that reminded us of Settlers of Catan and Stone Age - yet not just like any of them. So, something pretty new for the game rotation. (And despite what the description says, the instructions are in English, not French.)
Having found that resource strategy games can get a little dull and predictable, though (Agricola, I'm looking at you), I had pretty modest expectations of this game. We've also found that games designed for more than 2 players frequently don't work as well when just 2 people play, but this one breaks that mold.
What we liked:
1. Balance of strategy and chance. There's just enough chance in the die rolls and tile placement to make even the best strategy a little unpredictable. But a good, adaptable strategy is a must, and there's plenty of thinking in this game to appeal to most inveterate plotter.
2. Scalability. We've played with 2 and 4 players, and the games were equally fun. The game is well thought-out in both cases, much like Stone Age seems to be.
3. Accessibility. While we're avid gamers, we've also played with non-gamers and an 11-year-old - all of whom really got into this game. The 11-year-old needed some coaching on some of the finer points, but she frequently managed to beat us with her subtlety - like kids so often do.
4. Durability. This game is typically high-quality construction, with attractive artwork, thick cardboard tiles, and wooden markers. I don't worry about it falling apart before we get tired of playing.
5. Clear rules. The rule-book is fairly well written and covers all the scenarios that we've encountered. It could probably use a little better organization, but we got past this.
6. GREAT re-playability. The game comes with "basic" player boards to get started, and also includes a wide range of more advanced player boards. This makes for a tremendous re-play value, since you can either strategically choose your player board, or randomize selection to force players to adapt. Even the basic boards could be played again and again, but knowing there are several interesting options makes it even better.
What could use improvement:
1. It's really complicated. There is a LOT to keep track of, and the situations when you want to do A versus B, or A then B, or B then C then A (except on alternating Tuesdays in months with an R, or in leap years ending in 2...)... you get the idea. This complexity makes it a challenge, but it's also pretty exhausting to play. One game at a time has been our limit - no one ever says, "Let's play again!"
2. About 80 million pieces. We have few games with so many tiny little pieces (except the inimitable Dungeon Lords), all of which matter, and none of which came with plastic baggies. The baggies are easy to buy but it would have been nice if they'd provided some, given the sheer volume of dime-sized tiles.
3. Looooong learning curve. My first game (with a non-gamer and the 11-year-old) took over 3 hours. My second game (with an experienced gamer) was better, since I could use shorthand to explain some rules - but still took almost 2 hours.
4. Only moderate interactivity. You spend most of your time sorting through your turn options, and very little time interacting with anyone else. While this makes it a great thinking game - like Chess - it would be better if there were options to buy from each other, take over tiles, or some other mechanism to make it a little less like playing group solitaire (kinda like Race for the Galaxy).
Overall, this is a very solid, well-designed game, which works well for strategy lovers and ambitious newcomers. I recommend this for anyone who enjoys Stone Age, Settlers of Catan, Dungeon Lords, or even Agricola, but be prepared for a long gaming session and bring a package of plastic baggies.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 11, 2012 3:47:51 AM PDT
Very odd what you say about the learning curve. Compared to other Euro games, I found the learning curve to be short. You roll two dice and take one of four actions with each die. Learning all the abilities of the different tiles will take some time, but that you can learn as you go.
Posted on Dec 4, 2014 5:56:22 AM PST
Phillip Kopf says:
Thank you for the review! My wife and I also enjoy playing these types of Euro games. Currently we just have Carcassonne and Agricola. I also agree with you about Agricola being a little predictable. Would you recommend any other games that work well with 2 players? Thanks!
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2014 8:40:58 PM PST
M. Gondek says:
Balloon Cup is a GREAT two-player game, if you can find it. That's the only one I can think of that's two-player only, but I've also found that some others scale down well, like this one. Maybe try Stone Age, Flash Point, or Dominion. For something a little easier, I thought Forbidden Island and Kingsburg were pretty fun. For something a lot more involved, I found Pandemic and Dungeon Lords good for two, although they're better with more players. Sadly, most games are, as you probably know!
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 30, 2014 8:50:37 PM PST
Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries is another great two player game that has not been mentioned. It is smaller than other ticket to ride games, supporting only 2-3 players. This makes it a very fun and challenging two player experience.
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