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Sid Meier's Civilization: A New Dawn» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Board Game Rumble: A Satisfying "Civ." Hit? rss

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James Rumble
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IGUESSIMANERDNOW presents:
BOARD GAME RUMBLE with Mike and James

In this review Mike and James discuss Sid Meier’s Civilization: A New Dawn


COMPONENTS

Mike: So let’s just start by agreeing that the artwork on the box is gorgeous. This is a game you know people are going to be excited to play based on the cover alone. This doesn’t have the same problem as say, Concordia. You know when you pull it out in front of your friends and you feel kind of embarrassed?

James: Surely you could have worded that last bit differently. Anyway, while I agree the cover art is nice, I wish they held that same standard for the cards. Not a fan of the clipart-y style. Also where are the minis? I wish there was cool-looking army dudes, so I can feel powerful when I march around the world. Instead, I have these little cardboard circles that I place on the map. In fact, almost everything is represented by roundish cardboard shapes. Resources, barbarians, wonders. All of the tactile joy has been sucked out of this game and replaced with soulless cardboard chits.

M: But what about the cute little caravans?

J: Yeah those are legit.

M: And the cities?

J: Fine. But what’s with the flimsy leaderboards? If you’ve ever had someone knock the table while playing Terraforming Mars, these leaderboards are sure to trigger your PTSD.

M: We agreed never to bring that up again. Also, you have to admit the map is lovely. Especially once it starts to get filled up with little cities and caravans, it does look quite good on the table without taking up too much space. And yes, I agree it would be cooler if the cardboard chits were replaced with realistic resources and barbarians, but I’m not sure I’d be willing to go for the higher price point.


THEME

M: Obviously, it’s a Civilization theme. While it’s not as engrossing as other, longer Civilization games, the feeling is definitely still there. You do get the feeling of growing more powerful as your technology advances and your cities spread out over the board. This is especially true for someone who hasn’t really played Civilization themed games and has no prior expectations.

J: It’s way too abstract to feel like a Civ game. I already talked about the cardboard chits and combat is abstracted to the point that it doesn’t even feel like you’re conquering anything in this game. It’s just a race to put down cardboard to get more cardboard to put down other cardboard. Cardboard.


GAMEPLAY

M: Alright, gameplay. Let’s begin with the star mechanic of the game and that’s the focus row. I love games where you have your own little personal puzzle to work on within the bigger puzzle that is the game. This focus row mechanic is unlike any other that I’ve played. Do I do the action that I reaaallllly want to do this turn or do I hold off and do a less desirable action so that next turn the other action will be even MORE powerful?

J: Yes, the idea is neat, but what’s to stop me from choosing the most powerful action every time?

M: Nothing, but you’ll lose the game.

J: Fine. The focus row is a novel idea, but what each action allows you to do just isn’t that satisfying. I already touched on the lame abstract combat, but moving your tech dial up to get new technologies, placing cities and moving around your caravan don’t feel THAT clever or satisfying.

M: There is definitely room for clever moves though. Especially when you combine it with a perfect use of the focus row action selection.

J: And if that were the end of it, fine. It would be an okay game with a neat little puzzle that I would play a couple times a year. Maybe. BUT the rules! I have never had to look at a rulebook SO. MANY. TIMES. There are so many little fiddly, finicky rules that are impossible to keep track of. You have to keep stalling the game to look up a rule and you don’t even know what part of the rule book to look in! If you don’t believe me, take a look at all the rules questions on the Board Game Geek forums.

M: There is quite a bit to remember, but the same can be said for several other games. All it takes is one person who knows the rules well (which you will after a few plays) to help the other players. Also, I think a cheat sheet for this game would work wonders. See what I did there? Because it’s a Civ game… with… wonders.


SCALING

M: I’ve played at all player counts, and while I think it’s best at 4 because of the increased interaction, the game makes an effort to scale for all player counts by changing the size of the map. I still enjoyed 2 player, but you can essentially go for an entire game without really interacting with your opponent. For some, that might actually be preferable to the amount of battle involved in a larger game. Plus you can knock out a 2 player game in around an hour or so, which is awesome for a Civ. game.

J: Why play a Civilization game without any interaction? Is it still a Civilization game if you have no one getting in the way of your march toward world domination? Maybe. But it definitely doesn’t feel like it. I wouldn’t play this with any less than 4.


FINAL THOUGHTS

M: I think this game does an excellent job of what it sets out to do. You get the feeling of a Civilization game in a shorter amount of time. Turns are quick and the focus row puzzle is a fresh, fun mechanic. If you enjoy Civ. themed games, but have trouble getting people to play them due to game length, I think you should definitely look at this game. Or, if you haven’t really played any Civ. games yet, I think this is a good place to start and kind of dip your toe in the water as opposed to getting a more traditional one and worrying that the 4 hour game you just bought will never get played.

J: If you come into this looking for a traditional Civilization game, you’re going to be disappointed. Especially if you enjoy the militaristic aspect. Also, there’s just too many little fiddly rules to make the gameplay worth it.



*Note: We're pretty new to this whole review thing, but have benefited immensely in the past from others who take the time to write reviews on here and felt it was time to contribute. Any comments or suggestions are very much appreciated. Thanks!

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Robert Cannon
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Great review format. I'm happy I picked up the latest Through the Ages from a great sale at Game Stop. Just need to get it to the table.
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James Rumble
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robcannonsoftware wrote:
Great review format. I'm happy I picked up the latest Through the Ages from a great sale at Game Stop. Just need to get it to the table.


Thanks Robert! That sounds like the perfect way to ring in the New Year!
 
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James Rumble
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Poll
Who do you agree with more?
Mike
James
A bit of both
Neither
      46 answers
Poll created by Iguessimanerdnow
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mortego
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I love how some people are bent out of shape with this game; FFG did a fantastic job at what they wanted to do which was to make an enjoyable game that would/could draw non-civ gamers (like myself) towards a civ type game.

People have known for months that this was NOT a slogfest civilization game yet try to compare it to legit civilization games, not gonna happen. I love this game specifically because it's not a slogfest, it's fast, light and fiddly like a Euro-Game should be.

Great review, a little leaning towards thumbing a nose at it but being very polite about it.

Well done!
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James Rumble
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killerjoe1962 wrote:
I love how some people are bent out of shape with this game; FFG did a fantastic job at what they wanted to do which was to make an enjoyable game that would/could draw non-civ gamers (like myself) towards a civ type game.

People have known for months that this was NOT a slogfest civilization game yet try to compare it to legit civilization games, not gonna happen. I love this game specifically because it's not a slogfest, it's fast, light and fiddly like a Euro-Game should be.

Great review, a little leaning towards thumbing a nose at it but being very polite about it.

Well done!
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Excellent points. A couple people I've played with have actually claimed that this game feels closer to Scythe than anything. If you've played Scythe, what do you think? And thanks for the feedback!
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RoyalRook
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Iguessimanerdnow wrote:

Excellent points. A couple people I've played with have actually claimed that this game feels closer to Scythe than anything. If you've played Scythe, what do you think? And thanks for the feedback!


I haven't played the new Civ game yet, but I have played Scythe. But from your review, the game sounds like Scythe plus exploration minus depth and weight. I value player interaction in a board game, so this version of civ is not my cup of tea. I am apparently really good at Scythe, but never really enjoyed it.

YOUR REVIEW is So So So cute and good!!!! Keep it up!!! Please add links to your other board game reviews in future (or current) posts!!! You are awesome.
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James Rumble
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royalrook2013 wrote:
Iguessimanerdnow wrote:

Excellent points. A couple people I've played with have actually claimed that this game feels closer to Scythe than anything. If you've played Scythe, what do you think? And thanks for the feedback!


I haven't played the new Civ game yet, but I have played Scythe. But from your review, the game sounds like Scythe plus exploration minus depth and weight. I value player interaction in a board game, so this version of civ is not my cup of tea. I am apparently really good at Scythe, but never really enjoyed it.

YOUR REVIEW is So So So cute and good!!!! Keep it up!!! Please add links to your other board game reviews in future (or current) posts!!! You are awesome.


Glad you enjoyed it thank you!

There can be quite a bit of interaction, it's just that the combat was too abstract for my taste. And actually there isn't much exploration in this one I'm afraid. However, Mike really enjoys it and obviously a lot of other people do to, so I would say still give it a go if you get the chance. Just make sure you have the right expectations.
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corum irsei
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Fun review format!
Iguessimanerdnow wrote:
It’s just a race to put down cardboard to get more cardboard to put down other cardboard.
laugh
Personally, I'm really glad that FFG avoided putting tons of (useless) minis into this game. It means you can get a great game at a reasonable price-point.

FFG's old Civ game took way too long for my tastes, so I think this is really exactly the kind of Civ game that I'd enjoy playing.
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Jonathan Maisonneuve
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The people who complain about this game are those that expected something similar to the video game or the previous Civilization, while it was clearly stated from the beggining that it was neither.

It is like complaining about banana bread because it is neither a fruit nor a bread. It is a cake, and a delicious one!
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James Rumble
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Wildhorn wrote:
The people who complain about this game are those that expected something similar to the video game or the previous Civilization, while it was clearly stated from the beggining that it was neither.

It is like complaining about banana bread because it is neither a fruit nor a bread. It is a cake, and a delicious one!


Fair point. However, after seeing this comment and your avatar, now all I want to do is play Codex and eat banana bread. Sadly, I currently have neither .
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Robert Hall
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I enjoyed the "good cop, bad cop" theme of your review. Would enjoy more.
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