First impressions x2 - Western Legends & Concordia
Alternate title: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Actually Celebrate My Birthday
tl;dr - I loved both of these games. I played Western Legends with my friends who all loved it, and Concordia with my wife, who liked it.
As the alternate title suggests, my birthday was this weekend. In the past I have not wanted to make a big deal about this, because I don't like drawing attention to myself. My wife has helped me learn that it's okay to be celebrated once in a while, and I don't always need to deflect. I love her.
Anyway, I decided that I wanted to finally have a real game night, so on Friday I invited some friends over to play my most recent acquisition, which was generously sent to me as my prize for the BGA giveaway.
I set up the game, taught the rules, and everyone chose their characters and miniatures. We had a slightly slow start, having not played before and not being 100% on all the rules, but after a round or two, it was pretty smooth sailing. I went Wanted almost immediately and had a blast. My highlights would be robbing my friend of half of his gold nuggets he'd mined for, and successfully executing a bank heist.
As previously mentioned, my friends all loved it. The winning strategy in this game (I came in 4th), was a combination of mining for gold and fighting bandits. In the post-game discussion, some people said they'd like to try going Wanted next time, since only I and one other guy were ever Wanted. Plus, that would create a little more risk in mining for gold if there were more people willing to rob each other.
My friends were so vocal about how much they enjoyed it that I'm seriously considering backing the next Kickstarter to get all of the expansions, and I would probably even be able to get them to chip in a few bucks toward it.
"Battery" style review:
(++) Art - the art is very attractive and thematic
(+/-) Components - the cards are of middling quality. The miniatures are pretty cool. The board is good (the art on it is awesome). The dice for prospecting look and feel very cheap. The chipboard "General Store" is pretty flimsy. The wooden cubes and discs are...wooden cubes and discs.
(-) Box Insert - it's basically "the trench"
(+) Rulebook - the rulebook was pretty clear. There were a couple of instances in which I referenced an FAQ when it wasn't clear in the rulebook.
(+++) Gameplay - SO MUCH FUN
(++) Immersion - I felt like a cowboy.
(+++) "My Friends Like It" factor - My friends REALLY like it
I played this with my wife the next morning. I purchased this one as part of the BGA fundraiser for the Black Lives Matter movement, but hadn't played it until this weekend. Setting up for the first game took a bit of time, since I had to follow the step by step guide, having not played before. After that, teaching the rules to my wife was pretty easy. The rules of this game are impressively simple, which was something that's been noted in every review of it I've read or watched.
When we got started, neither of us had a handle on the strategy, obviously, but (speaking for myself) figuring out what to do on the next couple of turns was not difficult. "Analysis Paralysis" was minimal. With the turns being so simple, and the actions being so straight-forward, there was almost no down-time. I take a turn, she takes a turn, just back and forth. I ended up winning by a decent margin, but I'll attribute that to having absorbed the game through videos and reviews before ever having played it. I think after another play or two, this will be one of my favorites to play with my wife. Where it will rank on her list is TBD.
One thing I noticed is that the map we played (Hellas), even though it was the one rated as the best of the ones we have for two players, was not very tight. After a few more plays, I might consider buying a map that's much tighter for 2 players.
"Battery" style review:
(+) Art - the boards are attractive in their colors, but nothing to write home about, in my opinion. The card art is bland.
(+/-) Components - again, the cards are of middling quality. The chipboard stuff is all fine. The box is flimsy, and the boards actually feel a bit fragile, so I'll definitely be extra careful when setting up and putting away.
(-) Box Insert - again, it's basically "the trench"
(++) Rulebook - very clear and concise
(++) Gameplay - very smooth, quick turns. "Satisfying" is a word I'd use to describe my first play. Just a really nice game. I can't wait to play again, and I'd love to try it at 3 or 4 players.
(+) "My Wife Likes It" factor - for now I'll leave this at one (+), since I'm not totally sure how MUCH she likes it. She definitely said she like it, though.
To make a long story short, I was blessed by an amazing birthday weekend full of friends, and played some awesome games to boot. I am thankful and do not want to take this all for granted.