Surya's game blah blah

My initial impressions on games I recently played for the first time
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Games played last Friday (2012-01-27)

Surya Van Lierde is pure Eurosnoot and proud of it!
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Last Friday we got together to try out some more 'new' Essen titles

First up was Urban Sprawl.
I had played Dominant Species once and had enjoyed it, although there where concerns over the impact of the tundra strategy. But I was certainly up for an other game by the same designer, especially since it had a city building theme.
The basic rules are quite straight forward. And there weren't to many small rules. The spice was to come from event cards shuffled into the various decks. I was a bit weary of this, as most games with event cards have a bit more chaos than I like, and most event cards in most games benefit/hurt some players more than others. I was very disappointed though, when I found out that there where tons of event cards and they had sometimes severe impact. I was almost forced to give an other player 12 of my points. Which means the point difference would have been a whopping 24. Luckily that didn't happen, but it almost did. Also, a lot of event cards seemed to benefit the same person over and over. And yes, that person won by a big margin. On top of that, there was quite some rich-get-richer effect where the person with the most points got to perform certain actions only to benefit himself.

I had moderately high hopes for this one, but all of that was destroyed with the utter chaos. If the game lasted only 60 to 90 minutes, that might have been fine, but this amount of chaos in a 3 hour game with sometimes hard decisions? Nope, that's not what I was looking for!

Initial rating: 5.5

Since this game had lasted so long, we selected something shorter to finish up the evening: Kingdom Builder.

I had heard this game offers quite some variation, so that's always fun. And it's from the designer of Dominion! But I also had heard it was a light family style game, which is something I'll play from time to time, but I usually don't get too many plays in.
The rules sounded fine, and we got started quickly. Turns are short and easy, this plays very fast. The only problem is: more often than not I got stuck with the wrong landscape card, offering me NO choices. I got to fill up a whole corner of the board, with no chances what so ever to spread over the board, however hard I tried. If I didn't get to fill up the desert I was in even more, I got to start filling up the mountains or the grassland right next to it.

I was very disappointed with the amount of options I got in this game. I liked the idea, and it played well, but there simply too little options. Maybe giving everyone 2 cards to choose from improves this game dramatically, but with the written rule I didn't find this engaging.

Initial rating: 6
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