You're bidding less often based on what you're getting, because the prizes are all so similar, but more on what you think it's costing you- trying to win with low value cards, etc. this makes it feel more like a trick taking game than an auction game. also, someone in the lead can steamroll a bit with the advantage (despite the negative feedback loop), which makes the first couple of turns the most important usually. ok for a couple of plays.
a more gamer-y carcassonne style game for only 2 players. the tile churn mechanic was ok, but otherwise not a lot new here. if i REALLY liked 2-player cutthroat carc, i would have liked this more, but when i bust out carc, it's not really with cutthroat players.
remember that game you play with grid paper, where you take turns drawing a line, and if someone completes a square they initial it (scoring a point) and get to take a bonus turn? This is like that MOST of the time, without the bonus turn, but with special abilities and some luck thrown in.
It's not bad, and you are making relevant decisions, but I have no burning desire to play again.
excellent theme (well integrated and graphically well presented), and the mechanics are all sound separately, but together they generate a high amount of parity (via the heavy negative feedback loop of resources), which is broken primarily by the way the cards come out. the distribution of the boulders means your bid capabilities wax and wane... so you're hoping the right set of cards comes out when your boulders are waxing.
not a luck "fest", but certainly not prone to much strategizing. I would play again, but wouldn't suggest it often.
the rules are a bit "swirly" to explain, so i recommend going over them quickly, and then just handhold people through a turn or so. people will pick it up after the second turn, in general.
it is not really "epic", and it's more prone to tactics than strategy, but it is a game. the math used for rough balancing purposes (both in the terrain and the stats) works better than i expected, and as a light wargame that plays in about 10 minutes, it's good for an occasional run-through.
if the placement mechanic weren't in such a confined space, i think it could shine more. the card event mechanic is very cool, unfortunately one type of card event rises quickly to the top as the important kind. So close to awesome in 2 different aspects, but instead falls short.
Othello with all strategic decisions turned almost completely into tactics instead. excellent components except for the "pawn" chits, which seem oddly out of place next to the quality of the tiles/cards.
honestly, it makes the base game a little more random. you're hoping for potions to come up along with the correct amount of gold for you to make an efficient purchase. in an alchemy-heavy game, this can very easily be the defining difference in scores.
like Cutlass of Fire, this was clearly concepts stuck together rather than "designed", but it's still ok to play. Equivalent dice rolls would solve most of the problems (because some elements are clearly superior to others).
Very light tableau game (like Race For The Galaxy), but with a shared pool of cards and dice as the randomness rather than card draws... and it has about a play and a half in it, tops. It REALLY needs different cards that can be rotated in and out. You could hand me a free copy and I wouldn't open it, because I've already gotten all the play I think there is from it.
you're making choices in this game, but the margin between random choices and the best possible choices is very small, and heavily outweighed by the random elements in the game. It's good at being thematically evocative of the board game though, which may or may not be a good thing. it is a short game, though, which is a good thing.
Risk with factions, and card trade-in doesn't scale up... which i think makes it marginally worse than normal Risk- however it's hard to tell, as the only game I played was won by the Hutt player before I could take my first turn.
at 3 or 4 players, you have neither enough control over when scoring happens (giving whoever gets to move right before it happens the heavy advantage), nor will you have any inkling of what the board will look like when it comes back to your turn. it is a chaos fest.
however, playing only 2 players using the "workaround" in the rulebook mostly solves those problems, making it the only acceptable way to play this.
This game seems EXCELLENTLY aimed at the Munchkin crowd- from the theme to the execution/gameplay (and with a better expected game length). It's clearly not aimed at me, though, and the "shuffle-building" tagline is a straight fail on that front. It's trying to make it sound remotely similar to a deck-building game (any deck building game)- which it's not. And the "shuffle building" part is really just part of the set up of the game, not of the play.
Sort of area majority, with huge swings in game state from turn to turn driven mostly by randomness of card draws. Don't expect a lot of strategy, do expect a lot of luck.
I didn't care for the massive importance of end-game goals that you don't have enough control over... if they're hidden you can't make very well informed decisions- but you certainly may accidentally get trod on, whether by players who accidentally snipe spots you need, or by getting goals that will be harder to fulfill just because the king started in a bad spot for your end-game plans (and you almost can't even LOOK at your goals until the last half of the game, because of how much the board changes turn to turn, and because trying to put things in places pre-emptively makes it that much more likely to get forcefully cleared by the round scoring).
I guess, overall, it's much more tactical than I'd prefer, with a whole lot of "hope this turns out ok".
This game felt incomplete- the mechanics are a bit loose, the trading mechanism and its restriction aren't well executed, and the "multiple people can win" thing is even worse. It is still playable, but it really needed more development to be solid.
Don't let my rating fool you, this game has strategy and no huge flaws ...no heavy exploits, and the random parts aren't cripplingly so- although on the flip side of the coin, the tree planting has less impact on most games than what the effort of implementation would lead you to believe.
But yes, solid design, AMAZINGLY presented (awesome board, bits, and box). A good light family game, just not one i'm clamoring to play a lot.