The original plan was to get in a 3p game of #Tuscany: Essential Edition with my wife and my mom tonight (where it would be my mom's first time). Instead, there wasn't a lot of time so I learned the rules for #PARKS (I borrowed @trentellingsen's copy a while back) and introduced it to the two of them.
Here are my first impressions:
(++) Fantastic production - I don't think anyone can deny this. Highlights include:
- Nice attention to detail. After you take off the lid, you can see a little graphic on one of the exterior sides of the box that shows where each component should be placed after you're done with the game.
- Game Trayz for the resource tokens. Great organization. Just open the lid and they're good to go for playing (will include a picture for this in the comments).
- Unique/fun token shapes (water, sunshine, forest, mountain, wildlife) with a sensible selection for color that fits with the organic theme instead of being "too much".
- Comes with a main board where you place many of the cards for common use (it's like having a board for a game like #Century: Golem Edition for where you draw the golems and the crystal cards from).
- Metallic first player marker.
- What a smart design for the trail "tiles"!
- And of course, the money-making use of the fifty-nine parks print series for the PARKS cards. They're gorgeous and you can't help but observe them while playing.
(+/-) Rulebook - It's not good but it's not bad either. While the game is on the simpler side, it unexpectedly has a lot of little rules. There are several parts that had me wondering about certain cases and how the rules would apply, but the rulebook isn't super detailed to address them.
- It's similar to #Tokaido with a leap frog mechanic where players take turns advancing one of their two hikers to whichever unoccupied trail tile to pick up its resources/benefits. You're able to go to an occupied space by using up your campfire tile. This campfire tile can be refreshed and used again when one of your hikers reach the end of the trail. It's relatively simple but gives you good amount of decision making. You're typically only able to visit or reserve a PARKS card whenever one of your hikers reaches the trail end, so there's an interesting decision of weighing whether you should be advancing fast to get the card you want vs. going slowly to pick up various resourced to purchase the PARKS cards or for getting other equipment that will aid your travels/build your engine.
- It's very satisfying to continuously build onto your collection of PARKS cards, and it's all about the art. I could imagine some people going after a card not because of how valuable it is in terms of score, but just because they want it.
- To me, the whole process basically feels like #Century: Golem Edition but with numerous layers of strategy. You're considering getting PARKS (Golem) cards with more points, but you also have to think about getting the cards that will work toward your individual end game bonus. There are also gear cards, cantine cards, and others that add to your engine.
(+/-) Gameplay Length & Player Count
- Based on my first play, I'm not sure how I'd feel about 2p. Feels like it'd be too loose, but it'd be closer to my ideal length of time for a game of this weight (which is relatively on the light side). I'll need more plays to know whether it would be a game worth getting because there's a super narrow group of games that my wife would be ok with playing often/owning when it comes to lighter games.
- For what it is, I also think the game lends itself to opportunities for a slight AP (analysis paralysis) from newer players.
- Will I get this for 3p? Maybe, but it will heavily depend on how our second game goes, if it does happen. It would need to clock in at around 1 hr MAX, which hopefully happens now that everyone's familiar with the game. But honestly, any lighter game that takes 1 hour ish has my wife thinking "Viticulture would've been better" haha.
- Koreans often say that there's been a "hand of god" involved when you recognize an ingenious decision-making that could've been a difference between a hit and a failure. PARKS' art and production carries the game, and by no means do I think that's bad. It was a genius move and honestly seems like a better Tokaido with a depth of strategy involved that will satisfy a wide range of audience.
- Will I get this for 2p if my mom likes it a lot? (and she did like the game, by the way). Maybe, but probably not. When it comes to playing against my mom, I'd prefer a game like #Welcome to... where it's less competitive and leaves you gunning for your personal best rather than trying to beat the other person. If we can get the time down, I'd get this for 3p because if time becomes an issue for this game, it will obviously be worse for Viticulture.