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Review: Unearth:: Unearth is easy to teach, a lot of fun to play

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« on: August 13, 2017, 10:00:05 PM »

Review: Unearth:: Unearth is easy to teach, a lot of fun to play

by dadgum06

I posted this in the ratings section (I'm new here), but it seems like it should be in the reviews area instead.

High level summary
Really fun game, not hard to learn, length of time to play as advertised, felt like there were enough opportunities to be strategic (accounting for dice probabilities).   Would recommend the game, we like it.


Playing Time
- So far have had a really good time playing it - ages 7+, first few plays took an hour, 25 min is a very good estimation with 2 people after a few plays.

- There are enough strategic choices, based on probability of success--and as with anything sometimes the plans don't work. Different sized dice + delver cards + wonder point target allow you to maximize the likelihood of your outcome. You absolutely can significantly impact "luck" of the dice by making good choices and planning ahead.

- Cards are good quality--though I wish the Delver cards were a little higher grade (more like TTR).
- Dice are good, and a lot of fun to have D6, D8 and D4 options in each color--and fun to have different names for each to help get into the theme a bit (D8="Overseer"- it has 7s and 8s to throw around; D6="Grunt" - they are just bulking up the count (mostly~without delver modification); D4="Gatherer" - the main reason for this one is to pick up the "Stones" you need for your wonders).
- Some people have found building out the wonder tableau challenging without a visual guide--but they figure it out eventually.
- Bag for the "Stones" is a good quality, clearly intending to be used quite a bit (and it is used a lot during the game)
- There is more setting up than you would expect; matching wonders to the wonder cards is a bit of a puzzle since the images look similar
- It is fun to have 3 different sized card decks and they all feel appropriately sized for their importance in the game (Ruins are the biggest, Wonders are the next, followed by Delvers)
- The insert is incredible. Everything has a place, and it fits with plenty of room to spare. putting it away in the insert makes setup easier the next time you play (they should give whoever designed the insert a raise)
- The Ruin cards have different colors, but "gray"/"light purple" and "dark purple" aren't that different... it made calling out the Ruin you were rolling for difficult... until I saw online a demo with the cards called by location: Island, Forest, Mountain, Cavern and Desert. So much easier now.

- We've had 1 tie out of 10 games (2 player: 53-53), which was resolved by the City of Gold having the highest claim value (21).
- When the City of Ash has shown up at the end of the age, (2 times so far) we have groaned and laughed. A good and fun addition. Also a place where Forlorn (Delver Card) is really good to hang on to.
- Playing multiple delvers at once is a very interesting wrinkle -- reroll all of your dice is a great way to quickly build up a wonder.
- We have all had a lot of fun with it -- and it is hard not to play a second game once the first is over.
- I wish the game could play up to 6 people (without changing the feel), but so far have played with 2, 3 and 4... the game feels balanced in each case. For 2 player you remove 10 Ruins to start -- but by the time the End of Age card is showing, you kind of wish you hadn't taken so many out.
- Clever placement of the Delver cards make a significant impact on the game. We have been playing a lot with the Delver cards face-up to help get a feel for what they can do. Some of them are possible to interpret in different ways, particularly in combination.
- It is amazing how once you have built 2 wonders, you almost want the game to slow down a bit (rolling low) so you can build out the 3rd and get the 3 wonder bonus
- The game is not hard to understand, and all of the parts of it feel like they "fit" together into this one experience. Nothing feels tacked on.

- It is hard to tell (most of the games we've played) who is going to win by looking at what is showing. The hidden Ruin card at the beginning helps with scoring multiples along with the potential bonus for one of each kind, as do the variable points for some of the named wonders (because it would be hard to count and keep it in your head during the game), the Greater and Lesser wonder variable points, etc.
- Once the game ends, it is really easy to add up points. The scoring feels a bit like 7 Wonders but has a lot less complexity--while still seeming to reward a bunch of different in-game actions/strategies.
- So far we've had people win with wonders, win without, start with a ruin strategy and after getting one of each moving into wonders, etc. all seems to work well.

We have really been enjoying the game a lot. It is super fast to teach but is interesting enough to play multiple times in a row--especially once you get over the initial "learning pace" game.
Source: Review: Unearth:: Unearth is easy to teach, a lot of fun to play

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