These reviews were left by users who have played the game. If you'd like to leave a review, you can start by going to the game page.
Really enjoy this game. Once you get the hang of it the gameplay isn't too long, especially with only two players. I like that you can choose your own path to victory and there isn't necessarily a "wrong" way of collecting Villiage Points (victory points) – whoever does best within his chosen path can succeed, regardless of the tactic.
This is a game the wife picked and backed on KS. Hearing reviews describe this as a bit like Arabian Nights, put me off this a little bit, as i tend to find that game too random for its game play length. First game in though and it's more worker placement with a pinch of storytelling when exploring. In what is becoming typical Ryan Laukat game, it has a unique style and feel. This is the second of his games i've played, the first being Ancient World and as a designer, publisher,artist etc he is certainly raising the bar. Keep up the good work ! Having got a number of plays in of this game, you may remember a story recurring but not necessarily the rewards taken.
This game is awesome. There are a few issues that we have come across. 1. The cards that allow you to hire a worker without making them rest before using them seems to be over powered. 2. We are already regularly running into the same stories. I would love a replacement book that would have all new stories. Maybe a fan expansion will show up soon...
I understand why people love this game, but it is not my style. I find that some of the buildings are wickedly overpowered, and lock players into obvious, and reoccurring strategies. Also, when exploring, higher roll requirements always yield better payouts, thus preventing players the opportunity to create and explore their own stories, at least not without sacrificing theirscore. This is a disappointment considering the story aspect is the game's hallmark feature.
Theme/Art: It's Ryan Laukat, so the art is beautiful. The theme is great too, everybody I played with loved the exploring mechanic, because the stories you read to each others are great. Some are pretty basic like 'You see a lake with a boat, do you want to catch a fish or keep exploring?', but others are much longer (sometimes they spread over several paragraphs) or give you unique rewards. Production quality: Very good, especially the coins are great. Everything is thick cardboard, so it will last some time. Replayability: There are key and star houses which are different each game, the other houses, villagers and outposts are different in their order, same for the caves. Also, the encounter book has over 200 stories and a game of 4 players usually contains about 20encounters. I guess it can get repetitve after 10+ plays, because you will recognise many encounters, but those 10 plays will be a blast! Depth/Difficulty: It takes about 15 minutes to teach and it is not very difficult, but it has quite a lot going on and the villager mechanic is very unique. It also takes a lot of space! Strategy: You should get some new villagers early on and try to explore a lot and hope you get lucky with your explorations. Or you can simply stack resource houses and fill your advancement track. So you can follow different strategies. Luck: There is quite a bit of luck involved, because everything you can purchase (houses, new villagers, outposts) has only a small selection for sale at a time, but the biggest luck factor are the explorations. Sometimes you explore with 3 of your villagers ready to beat everything the caves have to offer, but all you get is explore 5 and a coin and a fish. Then the next player goes into a cave and receives 5 coins, an amethyst and the cheapest outpost available. But I guess that's what you get from exploring dark caves! Above and Below takes 75-100 minutes to play, depending on the number of players and their familiarity with the game. I and all the people I played with loved the game and especially the exploration mechanic and its encounters. I backed Near and Far inclouding the new encounter book for Above and Below and can't wait to get it on the table!
(10/17) 5. Decent enough game. There's not much to the storytelling aspect as it just sort of gives you a random choice and doesn't really build on anything. The game also seems to end a round too soon. Fine game, but not remarkable.