Liked it much better than its Europa cousin. Colors and countries are easier to distinquish. Still don't think I'd like it with four people though. We play with the "switcher-oo" variant: you may spend a turn switching the postion of two cards in your rack.
Almost unbearable as a board game. Way too slow moving. Like reading War & Peace, one word per day. But the computer version can be fun (rate it a 7, since it drastically speeds things up) if a bit ponderous.
I never like to play the last two or three round because of how they drag, but until then it's a full-day's worth of fun. Edit: Not really my sort of game anymore, but fond memories keep it high in the rankings.
One play with slightly bungled rules. Quite fun lighter Wallace game. I like the speed and the random elements mixed in with the not-too-straining tactics and strategy. Nice interaction. Some take-that, but not too bad. Drawback, the graphic design is more suited for a heavier gamer game and so gives the wrong impression of what kind of game to expect.
A game about standing in lines. First you stand in a line to see who gets to choose which line they want to stand in first, then you choose among different lines that will eventually let you do exciting things like discover a confined space (where you can later stand and get points), or buy buildings (which give you more people, meaning more opportunities to stand in more lines). Just make your selection and wait for your selection to arrive or be delayed, and then find another line to stand in.
Edit: played again with 4 (rather than 5), and it's more bearable. Raised rating from a 2.
Down from 7 now that I've played Railroad Tycoon. AOS seems harsh and deterministic and without possibilities of a "comeback" play, while Railroad Tycoon is a fun, freewill excursion full of possibilities.
Update: played 2-player a enjoyed it quite a bit. Rate a 7 for two.
My memories of this one were larger than my current tastes. Fun to push the counters around for a while, but then deadlock sets in and you pray for the amoebas to wipe clean humanity from the universe. Great retro-scifi theme though.
I like the trading. Always get burned by the damn randomizer. It's easy not to take a roll of the dice personally, but when a non-mechanical upturned cup starts dicating your fate, then you start to hold a grudge. :-) Fun despite.
Two plays. Both times I lost interest after thirty minutes when repetition set in. Could have crushed an enemy early, but took pity because I wanted the game to be fun for everyone. Then I grew bored and attacked someone else later just to spice things up even though I knew that holding my positon was the better thing to do. The winner of both games was involved in exactly one or fewer battles, so a lot of slow building and expanding without much else of interest.
Played twice and nearing my fill. Too much figuring out how to play the game than actually playing the game. Also, the games feels like an annoying arcade game level where you just keep trying the same moves over and over again until you luck out or figure out the "trick."
Tentative one play rating. Could change drastically.
Played a senario without any objectives beyond killing the other guy's troops (I really need strategic objectives in a game of this type). I like the Lore system. I enjoy fantasy more than WW2, so I like the theme better here than in Memoir. However, I missed having numerous ranged units, as in Memoir. In fact, I missed them so much I think I like the ill-favored themed Memoir better, but more playings will tell.
Good game, but makes me impatient: oooh, can't wait for my turn . . . guess what I'm gonna do on my turn . . . oh, if it were only my turn I'd really do something, oh yeah. This is my problem; not really a downtime problem.
Fun to play the part of a mobster, but the negotations are a bit too powerful when it comes to deciding the winner (he's gonna win! Let's make a deal and he'll be certain to lose). But still, a good time if not taken seriously
Swans? Don't really care about them, and normally I like set collecting. Moats? I mostly play the game 2-players with a 3-player setup, and moats don't work with that. Also, I prefer seeing how castles sprawl. I have Factory Fun for confined puzzle fun when I want it. Secret Door? Haven't used them yet. So what do I like? The extra rooms. I shuffle them in and disregard the swans, for variety. And variety is good.
Had a pretty good time playing it, but it's not something I'd like to play often. The asymmetric victory goals for each race was too much to keep up with on first play. Too much ganging up on the leader (or perceived leader). But the game went faster than I expected, so that's a plus.
new maps? Great! Forum cards? Fun! And I don't care that they may or may not be balanced. They add a bit of zing to the game. Salt? Eh, don't really care about it. Seems to take away some of the fun of struggling with limitations (whereas the forum cards do this as well but at least add zing!).
Lowered rating. Not sure why, but the expansion makes me care less about the game when I play it. I think I prefer the directness of knowing exactly the limitations of each other player, and how the players react to those limitations. With the expansion, it's harder to keep track of special powers and what other players may be planning to do. Thus, I stop caring about what the other players do do.
Also, the expansion does slow the game down about 20%, which doesn't sound like much, but I really like the speedy chugging along of the base game.
I love the idea of secret conferences, but hate that your odds of winning/losing are overwhelmingly increased if the other players favor/don't-favor you personally. There should be much more "game" reason for winning or losing, especially in a game this long.
Also: the fun of stalemates, joint-victories, non-binding negotations, arbitrary ally selection, player elimination, and 1 or 2 players almost always get beat down early and have a long boring game ahead of themselves.
I found these cards to be much more a mixed bag for me than the other sets. I like the gimmick of needing to buy a potion more than I thought I would, but only a few of the action cards catch my eye. But the jury is still out, so rating could swing wild.
Wow--a worker placement that I fully enjoy! But since the placement is modified by a pre-programming phase, it's more of a worker ambush game, which neatly avoids the tedious, repeatitive single placement of workers.
Oh dear, I won't rate this since I haven't played, but after reading the rules I doubt I ever will play. It seems to be of a style of educational game that was in vogue in the 70's: middling components, lots of "relevant" chrome, a spot of math for credibility, but everything bows to the whims of unmodified die rolls and wildly swinging event cards. I may be wrong, but I can't see anyone willingly playing this more than twice, if that many times.
Very 'wow!' on it for a long while, but now I'm discouraged at how Dracula can spend seemingly endless stretches in hiding. A game that looks like its over in 1 1/2 can easily double that time if Dracula slips away. Pity, cause everything else about the game is nifty-keen cool.
Edit: Played again. Starts out fun, but then it again went way too long, became too slow moving, and suffered from annoying card play and die rolls. A frustrating experience.
Not any better than the first edition. Takes ages (if ever) to get your own particular piece anywhere near Dracula, so there's a lot of very slow wandering, and then Dracula can slip away with the play of a card or chit. The art of the first edition is move evocative. Edit: raised rating when played with 2 or possibly 3 people, more interesting for all players that way. With 5 players is a 3.
Hard game to judge. I like the mechanics and theme, but like Dipolomacy there's little in-game reason to ally with someone over someone else, so there's a lot of arguing and conjoling (where I'd prefer something like trading and bribing). Also, it didn't help that our game ended in a kingmaking situation, and that I was out of contention after the fourth round and left with little to do. Want to play again, but I'm liking these 'he who plays the personality game better' less and less.
One play. Had a nice time playing but felt the random elements had too much influence compared to how much fun they brought to the game. Would be cool if some elements could be turned into a proper boardgame with physical exploration and such, but now I'm dreaming. Will play again.
Edit: now had a second play a couple of years later. The random bits didn't bother me this time. I enjoyed the game more, even though the scores were extremely close (would have been 23, 23, 23 if not for a late game misunderstanding which brought one score down). Wondering if the game might be a bit *too* balanced. But I'm not really worry about that yet, since I had fun.
Played again. Brought rating back down. Just can't make up my mind on this one.
The game that wouldn't leave! Fine for fifteen minutes, but the game has the ability to possess people and make them play hand after hand after hand . . . Had my fill and then some the first time I played it. Much rather play Frank's Zoo.
Quick, clever reworking of Le Havre for two players. I have some qualms about the determined way the buildings come out. In Ora, there's so many buildings this doesn't seem to matter, but here it might make the game become rote. But for now I'm liking the game quite a bit.
One playing. Didn't like how investors could buy late into a stock and still reap big rewards (and I'd like to have been able to sell shares to make things more dynamic). Military part of game seemed largely like a red herring (eg time waster) to the "real" game. End game was a disappointment of calculations. Might try again, but not hopeful.
edit: raised rating a notch. Still not crazy about the game, but I have to admit I enjoyed it more than last time.
edit again: raise rating another notch. Am I actually starting to like this game?
The scale is smaller than the others in the series, so that the map fits on a 4-panel board instead of the usual 6-panel. This makes things seem unnecessarily cramped, and distances are not as intuitively judged for those of us used to the other boards. The game itself seems fine (I give the others in the series a 10), but the board spoils it for me somewhat. Edit: now that I'm used to the board, I raised rating.
The game keeps insulting me. Collect cards for points? Well you're stupid. Collect cards in hand? Well you're stupid. Try to plan around what your opponent is doing? Well you're stupid. The game gives me a complex.
Samarkand is great either way, but I give the nod to this very minor expansion, mainly because it adds a bit of variation from turn to turn, and it lets you avoid the issue of what happens when you want to sell only two units of a depressed commodity.
Looks nifty, but it's a #@&?! pain to slide the &*#@#! letters together, and then to take them apart again at the end. Seemed like more of a challenge to deal with the components than to actually play the game.
The Barry Manilow of worker placement. Mindlessly pleasant, yet vaguely irritating. Not too taxing. Strong branding. Will sell a lot. Ultimately forgettable. Edit: I was a little harsh, I see, now that I've played more. It's more of a Phil Collins of worker placement.
Bad points: you go to the wrong place and die through no fault of your own; you go to the right place but we decide to "vote" you to be eaten, through no fault of your own; someone wins, because everyone else was hurt through no fault of their own.
However, I want to play again in the hopes of changing my opinion about the game.
The Uwe game for people who aren't crazy about Uwe games? Works very well 2-player. Waiting to play with more. Prefer to play without the 'loss of goods' variant. Edit: upped rating a point. Played 13 times over a couple of weeks and still enjoying the game (even though I'm not very good at it).
I'm beyond rationally judging this game. I played it so many times as a kid, when I thought it was great, that I now go numb even thinking about playing again. It spurs very anti-nostalgic feelings in me.
Been a hit with both groups I've played with so far. It's not as analytical as Scotland Yard, but it's more fun. Heaps more fun than Ghost Chase, too. Great idea to have the majority of player move secretly, rather than the usual reverse. It's not a game where you're going to find a lot of hidden strategies with multiple playings, but it doesn't pretend to be. It's simply nuns being naughty, and you have to catch them.
Finally, a game to pull out when people come to your door asking to play a game that has a giant peanut printed on the board! Don't be cautious when playing this game. Always go for broke, otherwise why play?
Oh man you got to be kidding me. Usually the electronic device in these types of games makes the game interesting (in a retro 'hey wow' type of way), and that usually somewhat makes up for the obligatory brainless mechanics. But the brainless mechanics in this game are a god-send compared to the annoying electro-virus voices that they put in this turkey. Avoid, or bring asprin.
Surprised by how much I didn't like the game play of this one. I enjoy Fresco and the idea of mixing paints to make paintings, but here it's an annoying mental exercise of referencing paint charts and scanning a bunch of multi-colored splotches. Will give it another chance, just in case something clicks and I 'get' it.
Love the role selecton idea. Not crazy how a move made for one's own purpose can inadvertently cripple someone else -- often the person who's already struggling. Still, it's a well built game and I think I'll keep coming back to it off and on, as long as I don't start to take it too seriously.
Great to have a variant map! For 4-6 players the original is still my fav (love the 'open' feel, the need for bigger trains, and the arc of the game), but this map is the go-to for 2-3 players (no requirement to battle for the NE, more chances for interaction among all players), and good to use for a change with more players.
The games ends quicker, so less need to upgrade. There's a decison to make of when to 'go across the mountains' and seek more cubes, but it's not as drastic as the in RRT. The costs of building and the special cards encourage shiping smaller runs, but I think it's still worth it to build a 3-train as fast as possible. The Major Lines are now a fix entity on the board, which makes them more fair but not as fun: I liked the tension in their randomness in the earlier game. The map seems more balanced with some outlying towns that may/may-not see action, but nothing like the wasted SW land in RRT. All in all, I'm happy with my purchace.
Good for a play or two. Maybe I took my memory pills or something, but I wasn't *that* flummuxed by the memory element: the buried 'second' card usually matches the top card. It's feasible to focus on just one or two bags and remember their totals, instead of worrying about them all. Keeping track of which cards have been played isn't necessary except in a loose intuitive fashion. Not bad.
Still, there are too many cards, I think, which makes the early part of the game sort of pointless; you're just laying down cards pretty much haphazardly. This could have been boiled down to tighter system.
Mechanics are interesting and involved, but the game has a very compressed playing arc. Just when you think the game is about to kick things into high gear, it winds down quickly and its over.
Note: this isn't to say it's a short game. I'm saying that on average you'll have about 8-10 turns to get through the beginning, middle, and end, so the up and down feeling of dramatic tension feels rushed. The length and "weight" of the game doesn't come from it's playing arc, but from the analysis needed to play each turn.
Not so good for me, since I like to play with a timer and many of the options just can't be worked with a timer. A few of the boards are fun to use though, so it's not a total waste of an expansion for me.
2-player. Nice "busy-body" game (always something to do). Have a slight concern that the scores in the two games I played were very close and thus the game was decided by a lucky/unlucky last draw. Need to play more to see if this pattern hold up (or if I can find a new strategy). EDIT: upped rating. "Lucky" last draw can be mitagated by careful play. Though interaction is indirect, there's a lot to think about it terms of how many cards to take in order to control the flow of cards (at least in 2-player). A real "you outsmarted me" feeling to this game. Oh yeah, wife likes it a lot too -- another plus!
Thoughts on differences between this and Wallenstein:
Bidding for turn order and bonuses: I enjoy the quickness and randomness of Wallenstein's system. Though it doesn't take long to choose a bonus/turn-order in Shogun, it adds negatively to an already longish game.
Components: some warping on the personal boards. The building tokens are a little too similar and "photo shoppy." Nice coloring on the map and tower. Wish they added the grain/gold numbers on the map (to improve on Wallenstein's lack).
Map: I like Wallenstein's grand open feel. The Shogun map felt a little limiting, even with sea attacks.
Takes away what I like about Dominion (gradual deck build-up, deck management, and playing the probabilities through many shuffles), and gives me cards that play me more than I play them. Some fun to work through some of the combinations, but not enough for me.
Played prototype. Very enjoyable stock market addition. Think I like it even better than the base game. Comment vs. 18xx? I'm not at all a 18xx fan. I find those games to be slow and a chore to play, but I found Barons to be dynamic and fun.
One play. Rating may rise. Had more fun with it than most action-placement games, but I still got a little antsy by the processional nature of the mechanic. The die rolling and cards added some much needed surprises for this type of game, and there are a few nice decision points where I had to shift into a different strategic mode as the game went on. More plays will show if I feel like I'm only trying to 'do the same sort of thing but just a little bit better' or if I feel like the game is an open and expansive experience.