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.
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.