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Chudyk is a mad genius. Easier to teach than Mottainai but just as satisfying. I'll go against the grain and state that I prefer this game at 3 and 4 over 2 just for the sheer chaos of it all, but I'll gladly play it at any count.
The game has a fair bit of mechanics, a handful of different win conditions, hard to understand cards and terminology, and too many options. It adds up to the analysis paralysis of a game twice as complex.
The base set of Innovation is a great game. With over 100 unique cards spread over 10 ages, you never have the same game twice. You're always looking at what your opponent has, how they can effect you (and how you can thwart that), and how you can effect them. It's a game with a high degree of interactivity between the players. It is a game of synergies, like its cousin Glory to Rome. Making the cards in your hand work together to score you points, tech you up, and increase your icon dominance via splays (all the while defending and attacking with card effects and icon superiority) provides an engaging experience, but not an overly complex one. While there can be some chaos with more than 3 players, it's not often that you feel like your plans all just went out the window, though that can definitely happen; isn't that what screwage is all about?. It's one of my very favorite games. Lighter, more interactive, and shorter than Glory to Rome, Innovation has a lot to recommend it to the table.
Tons of cards, each with a different action that theoretically can help you score achievements and win the game... But sometimes your opponent can benefit from them (or stand immune to your attacks). It reminds me of Fluxx in terms of the volatility of winning. As the game progresses, the chance of someone making a sudden, unexpected play that wins them the game increases. I'm basically terrible at this, but I enjoy playing it for all of the cards...
Innovation is an ugly game. Where other games would display art, Innovation wields icons in perhaps the most extreme case of function over form. That said the cards function well, and the slew of icons have mechanical ramifications. The strongest aspect of Innovation is its impeccable sense of progression. As the game progresses card power increases, and the periodic splaying of cards amplifies this further. Since each card is unique players will continually find themselves in uncharted waters, discovering new tactics with each subsequent play, and eventually unearthing Innovation's deep meta game. Doing so robs the game of its exploratory quality, but rewards player with long-term strategies that were at first obscured.
It's not random, but you need to know what ages the important cards are in, and what some of the important game-breaking combos are. That's kind of the bummer when you introduce it to new players, like Race for the Galaxy and others. But it's still very good and I enjoy it.
A good card/engine building game where you try to keep building up symbols and sliding cards certain ways to reveal more/less of certain symbols. The artwork on the edition I own could use a major facelift, but I know they're worked on that on newer versions which would definitely bring my rating up.