very enjoyable- a game with a dexterity element in place of a random element, and it's not the ONLY thing that you do in the game (compared to most dexterity games, where the dexterity element IS the game).
I've experienced no particular problem with the boards, and here's the thing- for a board of that size, you've only got a few options, and the puzzle-piece style keeps the price down. if you don't care about price (you're in the vast minority), then go buy a $3 plastic sheet from Wal-mart or Lowes. you don't even really need to cut holes in it. For this to be a seamless folding board of that size, everyone else would be paying $20+ more for the game, meaning it would get carried by less stores, bought by less people, and probably not printed in the first place because of that.
Definitely in the same category as "For Sale", with a couple of extra gears to turn. Very solid game.
Weird note- the iello version LOOKS nice out of the box, but the cards are too thick to shuffle, the gloss shows wear and dents A LOT and quickly, the dice are an inefficient method of tracking values over score tracks with chits, and the color matching between the cards, dice, and boards is poor.
rating is for campaign play, and if you've got a group of 8 people to run a season with (using the deathzone advancement rules and such, or just the living rulebook), I highly recommend it. An excellent blend of theme, making you learn and develop diverse strategies combined with fluid tactics, glued together with some character advancement to help you associate with the game, and some risk-management in how often, when and where you choose to make risky dice rolls.
Sort of a pick-up-and-deliver game, where the delivery part has several different aspects... and the pick-up part has explosions.
you're managing several very diverse concepts- a spatial element with the network and blocking, a market element, and an opportunity element (definitely a third of the game is timing and opportunity).
I was initially concerned with the talk of the "auction" portion, but that's not really the core of the game, and will tend to push to an obvious and narrow range pretty quickly (which is to say, doing "badly" at the auction parts is only going to hurt you by a couple of points overall, the real decisions in the game are the other things i mentioned above).
one of my favs, card drafting, bluffing, paper-rock-scissors with motivations attached, and mini-metagame considerations. Tactically best at 3 and 4 players... starts to become a bit chaos heavy, along with a distinct downtime increase at more than that.
much better than i expected it to be, simple betting mechanism with variable powers to generate interesting interactions, without 100 different cards of text. I would actually classify it very vaguely as a "trick taking" game, but it's got more depth than what i normally associate with that.
this rating is for the normal version, which seems better balanced. the "advanced" actually made luck a bigger factor in the game, and would be just a 6 or 7 for me. area control game with some maneuvering and risk estimation. one of my favorite area control games, by dint of having a good light mix of strategy with tactics, and quantifiable stats rather than the convolution that makes decisions in a lot of similar games worse (i'm not a big fan of "well, option A seems only marginally different from B, C, and D, so i guess i'll go with my mental lottery", and this game manages to avoid this cleanly).
the board did not impress me, but the gameplay did. though there are two somewhat asymmetrical "sides", it's definitely still every man for himself, and the balancing mechanics are very cleanly implemented. I can say I wish there was a bigger variety of things to build, but that's a minor complaint, as the main value in the game comes from the placement mechanics rather than the building tree.
Need to play it a few more times to grok the tech cards, but it's definitely interesting. Doesn't really feel like a deck-building game (because of how much more control you have compared to others in the genre), but I think that's a good thing.
Edit: The more I play it, the more I enjoy it. Exploring the tech tree is very interesting.
When the game was explained to me, It sounded like there would be extreme balance and luck problems. Moreover, the "we saved on graphics by using public domain stuff" was at odds with the molded plastic pieces, which didn't bode well either.
However, when I actually played it, it was WAY better than I expected. The cards are more decently balanced than I thought at first glance, it's easy to hedge your bets against the "luck" elements, or to avoid them if you don't want to fight, and though it LOOKS like there is kingmaking at the end, generally the reality is that players can only go in one of a couple of places by the point where it would give that impression, so they're just making do with what's available (so what really mattered was whether you put yourself in a position where someone might be best served tearing down someone for some 2nd place points for themselves).
Definitely one of those games where people might let their pre-judgements mess up their perception of how it actually plays out.
Way better than i expected, a fun and thematic dice game of king-of-the-hill. There were issues with the card wordings on the prototype i played (meaning that it probably needs errata even before it's published), but i definitely would have bought it at Essen if it had been available there.
there aren't a lot of normal card games that can hold my interest for long (once you get decent at tracking cards in one game, that translates almost directly over to most others). these help that problem.
One of my favorite abstracts, because it plays fast (because of the nature of the game, there is a maximum possible turn number) and because you can use the simple wall mechanics defensively and offensively in several different ways. The 3 and 4 player games are flawed, this game shines only at 2.
nice, fast paced game with interesting decisions. my one criticism is that the start player can be placed at such a large disadvantage (essentially the loss of 1/3 of his bid ability during that turn), that if you're the start player at the wrong time, or more often than the other players, you may be severely handicapped. DESPITE that, I would certainly play it again.
the rule the group I played with thought sounded good after the game- figure out which players are going to be the start player more often during the game, and give them 1 more silver each at the start of the game.
This game is very good, and after setup there's no luck element, which I particularly like.
The race balance question is an interesting one- I think they're very close to balanced for top-end play, but if you're a new player, some races are much much easier to grasp their optimal (or close to optimal) build paths, so the bottom-to-mid end of play doesn't evidence the balance well.
At first glance, the power mechanic and shovels mechanic are interesting, but once you see them in action, they are much less so (the bowls essentially means each power gain is really 1/3 of a power a gain, and you should burn off half your power ASAP, no question. In-game, the digging mechanic usually means you're only looking at terrain that's within 1 of your type). And the game is just a touch long.
However, despite these gripes, it's still very good overall, and I would definitely play again.