There are a few interesting mechanisms in the game that add more options to what you can do. For example, during your turn you can choose to collect income or place an agent (or two with payment of more money) or advance the military track (by paying money as well) or buy jewelry (which are worth 4 points at the end of the game). In addition, placement of your agent on the intrigue cards has its own little meta game.
A few bad points about the game though. Thematically its very light. There is a military track but there is no fighting per say in the game. Its just another track to earn points at the end of the game and to gain some bonuses. The board, as you can see above, is very cluttered with design and pictures. It would have been better if it was clearer. The coins come in denominations of 1 and 3 but the colors are so similar that its hard to differentiate. Furthermore, we often find ourselves with not enough coins so I am not too sure why they gave so many.
That being said, the component quality is very good with thick cardboard stock for the pieces. The board is nicely matted.
I think I may have to give it a few more plays to see if it will stay in my collection.
After playing this game, it is not hard to see why it has won the Kennerspiel des Jahres Game of 2012. 4 of us pursued quite different plans of attack as 1 tried to kill off his family members to populate the Village book and score points and end the game earlier. The other sent his 1st generation family member to travel the world (or disneyland as we call it) and he was one of the oldest 1st generation family members to still be around. There are many possible ways to score points in the game but they do not seem to be too disconnected from each other like how I felt when playing Trajan. I love how everything is visible on the board (except the point where player with the majority in the Chapel will score 2 points every round).
Once you get the gist of the game, the gameplay can proceed fairly quickly. Components are also of a good quality. I have heard some players do not like the fact you have to kill off your family members but we had fun joking about it, especially the player who tried to populate the village book and thus was happily sending them to their deaths. Plague cubes, which increases your time by 2 and thus increasing the rate at which your family members will die, is frowned upon at the first few rounds but will rapidly become a tactical choice nearer the end.
A good buy for me and definitely enjoyed by everyone around the table!
Dominant Species: The Card Game
Since I got my copy of this quite early, the group wanted to try this to see how it is. There are some inconsistencies with the naming convention as pointed out by my group which can lead to some confusion. Otherwise, its an interesting little card game that I will try to bring to my office the next time around and see how they will take it. The picture of the salamander which represents amphibians should use the picture of a frog instead for clarity. A final point to note is that the cards should be shuffled thoroughly as what you can do per round is quite dependent on your card draw. Not a bad buy so far.
For the Win
The components are nice handy tiles and feels good. For the price and the quality of the pieces, its very affordable and worth it.
So all in all, a very good gaming night. 2 more days to go! :)