This is a game I played last August at a local convention between events. It was a game some guy brought along with him and wanted to try out. It was quick and fun, and my wife liked it enough that she wanted us to get it. Another bonus is it is cheap, so we picked up a copy.
And so, Aquarius is my next game up for review in my A Year With...series. I have played this game 26 times so far. I just got the promotional Aquarius Dragon card not too long ago which starts out the game the same as the re-themed Seven Dragons, but have yet to try it out.
Aquarius is a hippy take on Dominoes. Playing cards to match up your element is the goal, but just make sure your goal isn't switched if you're doing well. If you're not, then take someone else's goal!
The game comes with a deck of 79 cards and the instructions. The instructions are simple to follow. The cards are black bordered, so wear will start to show with repeat use. This isn't too bad with the main deck, but the goal cards are not supposed to be identifiable since they are kept secret. I ended up just sleeving the whole set.
First thing that happens is you deal each player a secret goal card. Each goal depicts one of the 5 elements in the game, earth, fire wind, water, and space (ether). If you are playing with less than 5 players, extra goal cards will have a fixed position between players. In this way, you can still trade rotate goals with the goals that are not currently in use.
Each player has a starting hand of 3 cards. In turn order, starting with the player that has the longest hair, you simply draw a card, then play a card. If you play an element card, one edge of the card must match with the edge of a card that is already in play (one card is flipped up at the start). If the card you play has more than one element on it that you match up with, you can draw extra cards which give you more options to choose from on future turns.
You can also play an action card. The actions are pretty self explanatory, and you can do things like trade hands with someone, move a card on the board to a different location, or even trade goals with someone, which is a good thing to do if you think you know what they are aiming for and have a large grouping already.
The overall goal is to have a continuous grouping of 7 elements on 7 cards that match your secret goal. The first player to do this wins. You only go through the deck once, and if no one has 7 elements together at the end, then the winner or winners is whoever has the largest grouping of their element.
I think this is a fun game. It is not deeply strategic due to the random nature, but it is quick enough to not matter. I find this game more fun with more people, as trading with goals that aren't in play doesn't really help you much, and discovering who has what goal with fewer people is too simple. I feel it's at its best with 4 or 5 players. And the game is easy enough for non-gamers to grasp, and can be used as a gateway to tile-laying games.
Following the BGG guidelines for ratings, I give this game a 7.
As always, thanks for reading!
This was our gateway game into the hobby and we have all enjoyed it. It is a fun little card game and different.
Thanks for the review!