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Frustrating dice worker placement game that locks you in a box. The game is who can wriggle out of it the fastest. For a game which is ostensibly about traveling, exploration, and trade the traveling action is maddeningly difficult to do.
The Voyages of Marco Polo is the hallmark of asymmetric design. The game in general is tight, strategic, and full of indirect player interaction like any good Euro game. But the characters each offer a unique strategy through their incredibly powerful abilities. Without the character tiles, Marco Polo would be quite ordinary, but their inclusion launched the game to stardom. Some characters are highly situational, while others are more generalist in nature, but each presents a new path to journey. Strategies are plentiful and balanced, and despite the presence of dice players are never handcuffed by a poor die roll. The game is very well paced, always seeming to end at its peak. I find myself thinking about this game long after each game session, and am perpetually awaiting my next play.
Fantastic dice roller than reminiscent of Alien Frontiers, but without the "take that" mechanic that you can employ. I think this would be a great way to get my SO into heavier and heavier euros.
Theme/Art: The art is not outstanding, but the game looks good and I really enjoy the theme. The game board and the general design of the game are very good and clear. Production quality: Thick cardboard for all tiles, wooden pieces for the resources, and pretty big wooden dice for your workers. So the very good. I love that the money has different shapes and sizes for each amount and it's not only round coins. Replayability: Very high. There are 8 characters with different abilities (all sound very strong, but if every character is strong, none is), many different action spaces for the big cities, which are assigned randomly, many different missions and orders for the players, so each game is different. Only the small town bonuses are the same each game. Depth/Difficulty: It's not the easiest game, but not the hardest either. I think I can explain it in about 10 to 15 minutes to new players. The game is quite deep, especially because you only have 5 rounds to reach all your goals and complete all missions. It is not a very long game, but you have to think ahead a lot. If you are the first to take an action space you may get money from others using the space later in the same round, but you may have to pay others on other spots. I weight it 3/5. Strategy: This game is all about strategy. From the selection of your character, over the selection of your missions and the route you travel to the actions you take each turn, everything affects your performance in this game. Luck: Even though you roll dice as your workers there is no such thing as a bad dice roll (well, there is, if you only roll low or only high it can be bad). Low dice don't give you high rewards on action spaces, but you have to pay your opponents less for using the action space. The setup is random and the orders for each round are random too, but visible once laid out. I would say that the game has low luck. The Voyages of Marco Polo takes about 20-25 minutes per player, so the information on the box is correct. I enjoyed the game very much and so did everybody I played it with. It's deep and strategic, yet you don't have to commit your whole evening to playing it.
(2/17) 8. Really fun game. Love how broken all the powers seem to be and how quickly the game seems to move. A lot of interesting mechanics and the game ends almost too quickly. Can't wait to play again. (10/17) 8. Really unique game. The dice placement to activate actions is interesting, but above all the brokenly balanced powers is what really does it here.