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33 out of 36 gamers thought this was helpful

Our first game of Archipelago was confusing, frustrating, and left me completely unsatisfied. We had a 4 player game going, which according to the rules, should have taken less than 2 hours – – This was not the case. After about 3 hours (with no end in sight) we decided to just stop and score what we had. Three of us tied for first place, which made it seem like as long as you just played your own objective, would happen every time.

Let me briefly pause and explain these objectives. In the beginning of the game, each player receives a secret objective card which lists both how the game will end (i.e. if a player builds 4 ports) and how victory points are scored (Whomever has the most towns gets 3 points, 2nd most gets 2 points, 3rd most gets 1 point). Each player only knows about their own secret objective, plus the one trend card (another point scoring card) that is face up on the table for everyone.

Without really knowing why, our group of friends decided to give the game another try about a week later. This time the game went great from start to finish. We finally understood the rules (after reading through many pages of FAQs) and MOST IMPORTANTLY, learned how to watch each other to see what potential objectives people were going for. If I saw someone collecting ore, I immediately began collecting ore in hopes of scoring points in the end. If my objective was to collect progress cards, I tried to do it in a way that prevented others from seeing through my plans. This time, the game ended in about 90 minutes, and no one tied for anything (though we were all within 1 point of another).

The 2nd time around went much better than the first. There was still some confusion with rules (and the rulebook isn’t particularly clear in a few parts), but we would figure it out and continue play pretty quickly.

For anyone interested in getting or playing this game, I suggest you play one trial run with the expectations of getting very frustrated. Don’t let this stop you though!! If you can push through the anger 🙂 then try to play once more and see how it goes!

I was ready to rip this game apart, but it really is very unique and fun if you can get the right people to play with and patience to play it through multiple times.

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