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Lyng

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10
Go to the AquaSphere page

AquaSphere

50 out of 56 gamers thought this was helpful

Stefan Feld. ”Ah so this is a game with a million ways to score points and as much theme as there is sunny days in London”, you might say.
Well yes and no.
To me Aquasphere is a very different beast than Felds other games. Let me explain what I mean by going through the different aspects of the game.

Components:
Great quality components. The boards are nice and thick and lie down flat on the table. The different meeples are shaped differently depending on what they are, which is a nice little thematic touch, they could just be cylinders and cubes but they aren’t.
The cardstock is decent but nothing great.
A little nice detail is the fact that the black crystal are little plastic crystals. It’s a nice little detail that adds to the theme.
“Waiiit! You said theme and thematic twice now. You sure this is a Feld game???!”. Well, wait for it guys. We will get there.
Rating: 8

Artwork:
Yes this game is gorgeous. The board is filled with fantastic little details. For example the loading stations that bots go to when kicked out of a sector, has little spaces for them with cords like if they where to recharge there. The gameboard is filled with these little nice details.
Some have said they think the board looks way to busy, I disagree though. The icons and things that relate to the game-part of the artwork is larger and clearly detailed so there should be no trouble telling apart game and fluff.
The art itself is bright and colorful and the game really pops when laid out on the table.
The Iconography makes sense and it is very easy to quickly check what your possible actions are and how you get points and how many you get.
All in all the art really makes the theme come to life.
Rating: 10

Rulebook:
The rulebook is both great and bad at the same time.
How so? Well it explains the rules very elegantly and while the game might seem complex at first, the rulebook does a great job of simplifying the actions, so it is easy to digest and very concise.
It does, however, do a really bad job at selling the theme. There is hardly any fluff text. For some this is a good thing, but for me personally it is kind off sad, when the rest of the game focuses so heavily on the theme it would have been a nice way to hit it home to have the rules focus more on that aspect aswell.
Still the rulebook does what it is suppose to do: Tell the rules in the most logic and easy to grasp way possible.
Rating: 9

Gameplay (and theme):
On your turn you either: Program a bot, or sent out a programmed bot to do the action it was programmed for.
That’s it. It’s so very simple and elegant. The real depth comes with the fact that you need to plan ahead in order for you to be able to program and use your bots in the most efficient way.
You need to fight back octopods, collect crystals so you can further your knowledge of them, and collect as many knowledge points by being active in the most sectors. You spent time markers to move between the different sectors (a great thematic way to illustrate that time is limited and you cannot get to do everything before you are called back to the surface)
And this is what I love the most about this game. Time is limited and the rounds are fairly short. This is not a smorgasbord of points that pretty much lets you do whatever. No this game is very tight and at times even mean. You will be fighting against your fellow scientists in order to be the one who collects the most knowledge about these strange deep sea crystals, and reaps the most fame and glory.
To some extend this could be said about a game like Trajan too, but the main differences are: 1) Aquasphere is much tighter and 2) Aquasphere actually has a ton of theme.
From the components through the art to the mechanics this game is dripping with theme. Some might try to tell you otherwise but they are wrong. There has been put tons of thoughts into making the mechanics match with the theme, and boy does it show.
Rating: 10

Sum up:

To me this is Felds best design to date. It is so elegant and simple to play, yet has tons of depth.
And finally Feld has made a game that has theme, and this without compromising the mechanics. For some reason this game has not gotten a lot of buzz, which is sad since it is one of the best Eurogames out there.
Final Rating: 10

7
Go to the Pandemic page

Pandemic

53 out of 59 gamers thought this was helpful

A cooperative game about curing world wide diseases. Well if anything, this is a theme everyone should be able to get behind.
However, is the game actually any good?
Lets pull out the stethoscope and see if this patient is alive and kicking!
Components:
The components consist of a very nice board, a bunch of cards and various tokens and cubes.
The cardstock is not great and mine started showing wear already after a few games (3).
I really cannot complain about the rest of the components as they are fine. Nothing special but not bad either. The board is very nice and easy to navigate.

Rating: 7
Artwork:
There is not much artwork in the game apart from some generic maps and the rolecards. It looks fine and actually has a almost clinical look to it, which fits the theme quiet well.
Not bad but nothing special.
Rating: 8
Rulebook:
The rulebook is quiet simple and does a good job of teaching the game in small steps. For every rule there is a gameplay example with illustrations. Very nicely done Rulebook!
Rating: 9
Gameplay:
Pandemic is a cooperative game about curing diseases all over the world.
Basically what it boils down to is players playing city cards from their hands, moving their pawns around the world, using their special abilities and removing cubes from different major cities in the world.
The gameplay is quiet simple, while still managing to keep the game challenging.
However! While that premise is good the game feels a lot like a puzzle at times. You will find yourself wondering about how to most effectively move your pawn to remove cubes.
This is probably why I think it is not a great coop game. Before you decide to put me on the stake and burn me for being a heretic, hear me out.
A lot of coop games boil down to being massive puzzles. And with everyone basically trying to solve one big puzzle it makes the games very prone to the Alpha gamer syndrome. And that is very much the case in Pandemic. With all groups where I have played this, even when all the other players where new or non gamers, and I didn’t say a thing after teaching the game, there would always be someone with a more mathy “brain” that would take over and tell everyone else what to do.
So while this game is theory is very good for teaching new people boardgames, the puzzle nature of it kind of pulls away from that.
We have coop games today that seem to learn from these mistakes, by giving each person personal goals in the game, or making the them less of a puzzle, by adding random elements that twist the game in different directions.
Even still Pandemic is far from a bad game. In fact it’s a very good game. Just keep in mind the above mentioned things.
Rating: 7
Theme:
While the roles are very thematic the actions you can do are simple hand management and cube pushing, and a lot of other themes would fit the game just as much in my opinion.
Yes the fact that you are moving your pawns around the world and removing cubes, does resemble some form of removing diseases but in the end the game feels like a very abstracted puzzle to me.

Rating: 5
Sum up:
Pandemic is a great abstracted cooperative puzzle. If you understand this and don’t expect a game that will make everyone feeling like a part of a great story about treating diseases in the world you will most likely enjoy your time with it. The mechanics work and the gameplay manages to stay simple while offering a very real challenge, which in itself is a great accomplishment.
If you like the more puzzle oriented games then I can whole heartedly recommend Pandemic. If you want a game that drips with theme and makes you feel like you are all working together in a story there are far better games out there.

7
Go to the Yedo page

Yedo

113 out of 124 gamers thought this was helpful

First and foremost let me apologize for any spelling or grammatical errors. English is not my native tongue.

Well let us get on with the review.
Yedo is set in ancient japan where you are the leader of a house vying for control in the city of Yedo.
This will be done by sending your disciples on missions, trading and blocking your opponents (the other houses).

Components and artwork:
The Components are of a sturdy quality. The disciples are made of wood, the rest of the came consists of cardboard and cards.
The main board and player boards are beautiful, and even though the main board seems busy when you first look at it, you will learn quiet quickly to navigate the different spots with ease.
Rating: 8

Rulebook:
The rules are very simple to understand. And even though the game is somewhat on the meatier side, it is very easy to play, mainly because of how well designed the rulebook and main board is.
Rating: 10

Gameplay:
The game consists of several phases. The first being a auction. Here you can get vital items or missions. If you manage to win these auctions you can save a lot of resources, however this is also a great place to force your opponents to overspent on items they desperately need.
The next phase is the event phase. There are a lot of different events making for a fresh feeling every time you play the game.
These events can be the locking out of certain areas, or the players losing their recourses to earth-quakes and other bad events.
There are some really evil events called marked with the word samurai. Some players prefer to take these out of the game, to make it less mean. Personally I love them and I think it helps to elevate the theme of a struggle between houses in feudal Japan.
After that there is the phase where you allocate your disciples to different spots on the board where you want to take actions.
Be careful because after that the city watch moves, and if you are caught you can lose your disciples.
And then we come to the action phase where you get to use your disciples for different things, be that trading or going on missions or even stealing from the church.
The missions are fantastic. They each tell a little story, and the great part is that the weapons etc you need to get and the places your disciples need to go all make sense with what the mission is.
Rating: 10

Theme:
Well this game is dripping with it. The artwork, the missions and even the mechanics of the game all help to make you feel like you are back in feudal Japan and fighting against the other houses.
Rating: 10

Sum up:
I love this game. If you are looking for a thematic worker placement game, that also has tons of interaction and is mean, you will love this game.
There is a reason why this is one of my all time favorite games.

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