The Old and the New
I am a worker placement fanatic. It’s one of my favourite mechanics and so it’s only natural that I would gravitate towards games by Uwe Rosenberg one of the kings of worker placement. Well, also because of the fact that I am a component freak and what has more components than Feast for Odin.
This is one of the most analysis paralysis stricken games I have ever had just because of the sheer amount of choices on the action board and then also in the placement of tiles on the home board. We played a five-hour two player game. I know, I know, it sounds crazy but will it sound better if I said there was a lot of ice cream and Proseco Spritz in between? Gosh, we didn’t even make a dent in the occupation cards. I would want to play again just to see what other options were available.
I was really really excited about Clans of Caledonia because one, everybody was raving about it, and two, the production value of the game was out of control! The colours in this game were vibrant, the shade of blue used is a favourite of mine-so pretty, the art by Klemenz Franz had a touch of whimsy and best of all – the deluxe version had metal coins! I couldn’t believe my luck that we were able to buy the deluxe version so late.
In the first game, I really didn’t know what I was doing, which is always the case because I learn more by doing. By the second game, on the same day, I enjoyed myself better because I knew what to do now and what to focus on. I realised that I had to keep an eye on the cotton, sugar cane and tobacco board and how I spaced my settlements. The second game, with two players, was pretty fast though because there was so much space. We actually extended the game two more rounds just to feel like we were getting a “full game”. But overall, Clans of Caledonia is such a terrific game. Both easy to learn and teach but can be very deep.
The focus bar, where the cards as they moved up up the row became stronger, is such a unique mechanic. The implementation is very apt for the game because it mimics the time a civilisation invests in certain pursuits before they come to fruition. Such an elegant way to implement a important aspect of a civ building. It was also just plain fun to go up the tech ladder and do more powerful things. I am Cleopatra look what I have built and marvel in my awesomeness!
And boy was the game so streamlined and smooth. I actually thought initially that the military action would bog the game down and be clunky. You know how in games you have to wait around for players to finish a battle and roll die after die after die. This was not the case. Battle was pretty fast and not complicated. Every aspect of the game fit together and moved efficiently. It was do this move, boom, build this, do this move, boom build that, do this move and boom Barbarians move! I think this is definitely now in my top ten.
PS. Next stop Gloomhaven!