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Surya's game blah blah

My initial impressions on games I recently played for the first time
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The Essen crop, part 6: Archipelago, The Palaces of Carrara & P.I.

Surya Van Lierde is pure Eurosnoot and proud of it!
Belgium
Michelbeke
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Archipelago
This game wasn't really too high on my radar, but how could I turn down the chance to play a brand new Essen release?
The rules explanation took quite long. The rules just kept coming. I had the geeling the designer kept on thinking of stuff and adding it to the game.
Once we got playing the game turned out to play quite smoothly though. Way smoother than I expected. The game ended after only 2 rounds though, as one player was able to reach his goal of having the revolutionaries win. That was kind of a bummer as I wanted to explore the game more before it ended. It also felt very anti-climactic. I think I would leave out that card next time.
The artwork is very nice, but not very clear. The huts on the tiles, for instance, are very small and easily overlooked. The action board, which is round, by the way, is very, very busy and packed with information. Next to the main play area, which is made from tiles, there are no less than 6 other boards on the table. And cards, and wooding bits, and tokens.
I'm not sure what to think of this game now. I liked quite a few aspects of it, but the anti-climactic ending, the rules which could have been streamlined quite a bit, and the sometimes troublesome artwork all detract from the enjoyment I got out of this.

Initial rating: 6

The Palaces of Carrara
Kramer + Kiesling + HiG + big box filled with components? Yep, that got me interested!
The rules are very simple and gameplay is really straightforward. I was surprised by this, as I expected this game to be more involving.
The wheel mechanism for the resources in very nice and works well. It does add some nice decisions to the game.
With 4 players the buildings where gone really fast and the game was over too quickly for my taste. I think I would prefer playing with 2 or 3 for a slightly longer game (well, more turns, that is). And we'll definitely include the expansion next time, as the base game is indeed very basic.

Initial rating: 7

P.I.
When you explain this game to people, you get two reactions: 'It's like Clue' (possible, I've never played that game) and 'It's like Mastermind'. I can agree on that last one, at least, as you sometimes get information that is quite fuzzy. The information tells me I got something right, but I don't know which of the 3 that is the right one.
The rules are short and easy, gameplay is fast and the options on your turn are very easy: take a card, place an investigator or make a guess.
This game is by no means deep or spectacular, but it is very succesful at what it tries to be: a fast, enjoyable, family friendly deduction game, and I enjoy it for being exactly that.
Disclaimer: I was one of the demoers for Treefrog this year. I'm sick of explaining this game, not of playing it

Initial rating: 6.8
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