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Subject: Gorgo Play World's Fair 1893 rss

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James Edgcomb
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Before I get started, a few caveats.

First, this review is based off of a single play at GenCon this year. If I’d had more opportunities to play I would have, but I didn’t, so it is what it is.

Second, we played on a prototype, so I will make minimal comments regarding the components. I will say that what I did see, component-wise, was very encouraging, but had a ways to go, as would be expected in a game that is still prepping for a Kickstarter launch.

Finally, I’m doing all of his from memory, so any corrections are welcome and I will edit them in ASAP.

Gorgo Play World’s Fair 1893.

Overview: World’s Fair 1893 is an area control, set collecting game where you play Fair Organizers who are trying to get exhibits approved for the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. Players will place influence onto the various areas of the fair and attempt to convert that influence into approved exhibits. Players score points for both the influence they wield and the events they are able to have approved, as well as for advancing the Ferris Wheel timing track. The game took about 45 minutes after rules explanation and supports 2-4 players.

The game board consists of a hexagon separated into six equal pie wedges. Five of the wedges are active and represent the various topics for which exhibits can be displayed. The sixth wedge represented the Midway and contained the game’s logo and such. The others were Yellow for Electricity, Green for Science, Red for Fine arts, Grey for Manufacturing, and Blue for Inventions, if I remember correctly. The wedges are modular, so they can be arranged differently each time you play. Each player starts with a single influence cube in each of the five active wedges.

A smaller hexagon is placed over the center of the board, which has a timing track on it and a Ferris Wheel marker to mark the round’s progress.

On the outside of the wedges either three or four face up cards are placed, depending on the color of the wedge, (if I remember correctly Electricity and Fine Arts had three, every other wedge had four). On a players turn, they place an influence cube of their color on the wedge of their choice and collect the cards at the base. Then a new card is placed at that location, and at each of the next two wedges clockwise that have an open slot.

There are three different kinds of cards. First, exhibit cards represent proposed exhibits. When you collect these cards you keep them in front of you and attempt to have them approved. They come in each of the five colors. Second are action cards, which represent influence you have over notable personalities of the Fair. You keep these until your next turn, when they automatically activate. They do things like allow you to move one of your influence cubes, or place a second cube wherever you play, and other things. The final type of card are Midway cards, which are the game's timing mechanism. Every time a Midway card is taken you advance the Ferris Wheel marker one space. You earn one point for each Midway card you collect during the round, and the player with the most gets a two point bonus. The player with the least receives a two point penalty.

After the Ferris Wheel completes a circuit, the round ends and a scoring phase happens. Each wedge is scored individually, and the player with the most influence cubes in that wedge scores four points and may approve up to three exhibits of that color. The second place player scores two points and may approve two exhibits in that color. A tie for first gets each player two points and two exhibits, and a tie for second gets no points, but can approve one exhibit of the appropriate color. When you approve an exhibit you turn in the exhibit card and get a chit of the appropriate color indicating an approved exhibit. Each player also must remove half of their influence cubes, rounded down, from each region before the next round begins.

After three rounds the game ends, and you score your exhibits. A complete set of 5 exhibits, one of each color, will earn 15 points, and it decreases ladder style from there. A set of four gets you ten points, three gets you six, and so forth. You add this to the points you earned from controlling wedges and from Midway cards, and the player with the most points is the winner.

What Gorgo think? Gorgo Like.

Theme: The theme is a bit of a paste-on, as you never really feel like a Fair Organizer trying to deftly wield influence. This is a medium to light game, and it’s much more puzzly than political. As long as you’re expecting that, and not expecting a deep political game, the theme is fun and unique, and certainly does not detract from the experience at all, but it does not give any sort mental assistance in playing the game. Gorgo give 3/5 clubs.

Mechanics: The Mechanics here are standard, placing cubes and collecting cards, and converting those cards into sets. However the way they are integrated is very interesting, and I have probably thought more about this game than any other I was introduced to at GenCon. The designer’s choice to make you activate your action cards on your next turn is an interesting one that takes away some of the possible strategy, so I hope they will revisit that. Gorgo give 4/5 clubs.

Scoring. The scoring is very straight forward, but overall solid. It is very difficult to complete sets in the game, and you have to be paying attention to this from the beginning, but you are justly rewarded, as 15 points is a huge amount at the end. Scoring is also my biggest gripe in this game, as the two point penalty for having the fewest Midway Cards at the end of each round is very demoralizing. I know people who won’t play 7 Wonders due to the -1 chits for losing wars, and I feel this could be the same sort of turn off to players. Gorgo gives 3/5 clubs, but would up that to 4 or even 4.5 if they fix that before release.

Components: I won’t give a score here, but I like the artwork and photography integrated into the proto cards. The cards are hobbit cards, but I think that is necessary given how they are used. The board they are working on is reputed to be three dimensional, and I am looking forward to seeing it.

Overall: I really enjoyed this game. It plays fast, it’s fun, and it’s easy to pick up, but I expect difficult to master. Your choices are limited, but they are not easy, and there is more strategy than I would expect from this style of game. The tension is real, as you have to not only control regions, but also collect the cards to let you convert that influence into exhibits. Also, you have to spread your influence around, and you can’t just hunker down in one area and try to dominate it. It’s very interesting. If you like, tactical, puzzly games, give this one a try.

Gorgo Give 3.5/5 Clubs, but would send this to 4/5 at least with the removal of the Midway penalty. (Get that fixed, guys!) Mix in some great production components and who knows?
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David Jones
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Gorgo Play Games wrote:
Theme: The theme is a bit of a paste-on, as you never really feel like a Fair Organizer trying to deftly wield influence.

This is a bit disappointing. The unique theme of the game is what caught my eye in the first place. I will still keep this game on my radar, but this comment has probably knocked it down a few spots.

Quote:
Scoring is also my biggest gripe in this game, as the two point penalty for having the fewest Midway Cards at the end of each round is very demoralizing. I know people who won’t play 7 Wonders due to the -1 chits for losing wars, and I feel this could be the same sort of turn off to players.

I hope this doesn't become too tangential, but I found this comment a bit surprising. VP penalties in games like Terra Mystica or Luna do not lessen player's opinions of those games. Anybody complaining about a -1 chit is just being a wuss. I have to wonder if this has more to do with 7 Wonders being a gateway game while the Terra/Luna are definitely aimed at heavy gamers. Since Fair sounds like it is aimed at lighter gamers, your critique may be appropriate though.

I guess my question here is, is the minus two penalty appropriate? From your description it sounds like the person who takes the fewest midway cards will have the most scoring opportunities. This may be a necessary balancing mechanism even if its not thematic. I suppose you could award 4 VP to the winner and 2VP to all others except last place to achieve the same effect, but this requires putting more tokens in the box.
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James Edgcomb
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davypi wrote:
I guess my question here is, is the minus two penalty appropriate? From your description it sounds like the person who takes the fewest midway cards will have the most scoring opportunities. This may be a necessary balancing mechanism even if its not thematic. I suppose you could award 4 VP to the winner and 2VP to all others except last place to achieve the same effect, but this requires putting more tokens in the box.

It just didn't feel necessary. IMHO the game would have moved fine without the penalty, as the midway cards were numerous and taken frequently. It also felt rather random. I think 4 points to the person with the most and 2 points to second place would have been better, and consistent with the scoring for the various wedges. And I did take into account that this is a medium-light game. This type of mechanic definitely turns off casual gamers much more than hobbyists, and since that is this game's target, well....
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Randy Hoyt
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Thanks for taking the time to write this post, and I'm glad you enjoyed the game! We've been hearing more feedback than we expected on how demoralizing the Midway penalty can feel. We're going back through our playtesting statistics and testing out a couple variations to this part of the scoring. I'll plan to post an update here with where we land.
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The Chaz
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Giving feedback after a playtest is like being on Family Fued:

Quote:
We surveyed 100 World's Fair players. Top six answers on the board. What would you change about the game?

It's good to know that other people gave the same feedback =) ("good answer! Good answer!")
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James Edgcomb
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Just an update. As of 9/29 this game is live on Kickstarter. There have been some changes in the rules, including the removal of the Midway penalty. Yeah! Come join me as a backer!
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Jimmy Hensel
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Gorgo Play Games wrote:
Just an update. As of 9/29 this game is live on Kickstarter. There have been some changes in the rules, including the removal of the Midway penalty. Yeah! Come join me as a backer!

Glad to see that change.

I bought The Capitals at BGG.CON 2013, and one of my wife's biggest complaints about the game is all the negative scoring early on. That is a big part of why she won't play it with me.
 
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