I admit that I went into it with no confidence that I would enjoy myself since 1) Mike described it as an economic game and I suck at those, and 2) it’s what I think of as a pyramid-style building game. By this I mean that you want to build something but first you need to acquire A and B, but in order to acquire those two items or materials you first need C and D and possibly even E, but before you can get/make those things… aarrrggghhh!! My brain melts, I don’t have a good time and I lose big time.
So Mike explained the rules, reading parts straight out of the rule book, but much of it made no sense to me in the context of “what do I need in order to get where I want to go?” In fact, I had so little idea of what I was doing that even the cheat sheets made no sense to me! I was the third player and when it was my turn to choose one of the starting combination of items/money all I could do was admit that I had no clue what I needed since the farms were already taken. I know enough after Agricola and Le Havre that, if nothing else, you’re going to need to feed someone sometime.
To my surprise, Richard explained the cheat sheet to me… he had actually understood what it was showing and did a very good job of making me see what it all meant. O.k., now we’re ready to go and I began the game with blue and black industries on the board and enough food to get me through the first year.
This is not a review since I don’t remember all of the rules well enough to even try; this is a lesson in never judging a game by its theme, mechanics, graphics, material qualities or any other criteria you choose. I had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed the game. The cheat sheet was actually very helpful, allowing players to place cubes on it in order to plan their strategy for the round; the pyramid building wasn’t nearly as bad as I had originally envisioned from watching Mike lay out all of the pieces; and I even made a couple of very good moves such as blocking Mike’s Bank.
Would you believe that in the final tally, I came out ahead by 2 points? Yep, ol’ cranky, complaining, pessimistic Mary won the game. I tole Mike I liked it and he said, “Really?” “Yes, really. If I didn’t like it, I’d tell you… like Agricola, which you kept bringing anyway.” 😀