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Subject: First game review rss

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Piotr Konieczny
Poland
Katowice
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Fresh after playing the game yesterday at a local monthly convention in Pittsburgh (GASP) with max (5) number of players (important disclaimer: we agreed that the game may play quite differently - and quickly - with smaller amount so your mileage may vary depending on this).

Components: high quality (lots of different art, including on player's daimyo cards), with one notable exception - paper money, which doesn't work well in auctions (I fully expect my set to be mangled/soaked in players hands before too long). The game could also use more than two provided handouts with descriptions of advisers and action cards, but this is a minor issue.

Rulebook & rules: pretty well written (we didn't even seem to need the errata posted here); I got a good feeling of how to play the game after a single reading, and few minutes in the game we hardly needed the 'book.

Gameplay: itis quite simple, which leaves players to concentrate on strategy. You collect income, buy units and then spend your time on border wars / larger campaigns on the board. Placement of units is relatively simple in theory, and inspired by the classic game of go. This means that there is a nice layer of complex, long-term strategy hidden under those simple rules, and more players and interactions between them make it even much more complex (think: 3+ player go with negotiations...). This is a good place to stress that the game is HEAVY on player conflict; there is a significant "screw you" factor, and much room for diplomacy.

Special commendations for:
* classic Japanese art and names, giving the game a nice theme
* double sided board for different numbers of players
* two pass markers - we were all surprised having read the rules but it makes a lot of sense in game, considering you want to delay your actions as much as possible
* 2-player variant in the rulebook
* good art, and personalized daimyo's cards (each player has the same abilities, but gets only not a different color, but a different portrait and a name - it allows creative players to add some role playing into the mix
* no early starts - balance of power between players shifts quite a lot, and a player who is leading one turn can find himself near the bottom on the next one - and vice versa. This is however not random, but the outcome of strategy - and diplomacy.

Criticism:
* it does appear that the number of turns could be shortened without any loss to the game
* not strictly a problem, but one should realize, as mentioned above, that this game is heavy on player conflict. If you don't feel like planning a strategy/roleplaying/taking part in diplomatic negotiations/interacting with others, try a different game.
* the game markets itself as an economic strategy with military elements - in fact it is a military strategy with economic elements
* rulebook contains producer's promise to provide other scenarios, in addition to the 2 player scenario/variant included in the rulebook - but I couldn't find any on their official page

Player's response: after the game, our group was divided into three factions: one player who was falling asleep due to hunger :>, one player who thought the game was "ok" and three players who definitely wanted to play it again in the future (that includes me), BUT with a smaller number of players.

Personally, I enjoyed the game, and I am looking forward to playing it again. But this is not a game for everyone - to quote our dissenting player, the game has a lot of "pointless stabbing at each other". I'd disagree with the pointless, but yes, there will be a lot of stabbing and politics. Which, in fact, resembles a lot the life of a feudal lord bickering with his neighbors...
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Krzysztof Szafranski
Poland
Gdańsk
pomorskie
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Thanks for the review.

As we wrote, we are planning to publish some scenarios for the game, and unfortunately it's still WIP due to testing.

I'll post a notice as soon as they will be ready.

Regards,
Chris
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D a v i d B u r k e y
United States
Fort Smith
Arkansas
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Excellent summary, Piotr. I was glad I got to try out the game with you on Saturday.
 
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Behrooz Shahriari
United Kingdom
London
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Have you replayed it yet?

How did it fare?
 
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fabrice vandenbogaerde
Belgium
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Just played the game once. I was attacked in the first turn by player one. I won the battle. After that I was attacked by player two. I could not defend me anymore so I lost a chip and the connection to my castle. As a result I didn't earn monney so for me there was nothing to do anymore. Due to some cards and events I earned some monney so in the sixth round I could buy some farmers. Suddenly I was back in the game. So I learned that the connection with your castle is very important. I also thing that winning or losing depends on actions of other players and cards. In our game my brother could not win, but whit his last action he decided who would be the winner
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Clement Tey
Singapore
Singapore
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fabricefab wrote:
Just played the game once. I was attacked in the first turn by player one. I won the battle. After that I was attacked by player two. I could not defend me anymore so I lost a chip and the connection to my castle. As a result I didn't earn monney

You get $2 from the palace even if all your farmers have been cut off.
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fabrice vandenbogaerde
Belgium
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That's right we forgot about that in our first game. But still, I can't lose te feeling that you can't control the outcome of the game
 
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