philryuh

PARKS - First Impressions

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.

(+) Gameplay

  • 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.

Final thoughts

  • 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.

3 points by philryuh - updated 54 days ago | 38 comments | report | subscribe

3MBG 55 days ago | 1 point[-]

My two word review of parks, clipped from yours

"better Tokaido"  ;) 


philryuh Supporter54 days ago | 1 point[-]

Is there an incoming 3 second review video? xD

3MBG 54 days ago | 1 point[-]

I kinda did it in the shelf update :)

WadeB1977 55 days ago | 1 point[-]

Very interesting to read the various perspectives on this one.  I think I went the opposite direction as far as feel for the game.  For my wife and I, we rank this pretty close to Wingspan with regard to set up and playability out of the box.  I've played the game several times now with different folks and each game has felt reasonably different and unique.  I would still place it on the "lighter" side as games go, but not so light that I ever felt a game was flat or empty.  A side caveat to that might be my wife not finding Viticulture to be a "better" option as she likes games with fewer moving parts (Despite my getting her to play both Paladins and Architects).

philryuh Supporter55 days ago | 1 point[-]

It's interesting because it checks off a lot of what I want in a medium light weight category. But as I was mentioning to @theDL just now, games that don't beat my wife's top 3 games just won't get many plays with her since I only get to game with her once every week or two weeks. We did have fun with the game though and I can see the Wingspan comparison. And maybe there's still hope depending on how our second play goes.

And it's fun to hear the difference in preferences. I think my wife really likes playing with all of the workers in Viticultures. When looking at her face, it's so easy to tell that it's her favorite game.

So how has your wife liked Paladins and Architects? Did she like one vs. the other?

WadeB1977 55 days ago | 1 point[-]

I think she liked Architects slightly better but I've only played one game apiece with her.  I think Architects has a slightly lower complexity than Paladins which might be why she seems to like it slightly better. Wingspan easily remains her favorite. I can't get her to touch Scythe...lol

philryuh Supporter55 days ago | 1 point[-]

Lol is #Scythe good for 2p do you think? From seeing the gameplay, I couldn't imagine it being a compelling enough game to get when it's going to be played exclusively 2p.

Marshwiggle92 Supporter54 days ago | 1 point[-]

It is definitely better with 3 or more. But, I like it enough that I would get it again even if I could only get 2 player games in. 

WadeB1977 55 days ago | 1 point[-]

Ha! No. 3 is pretty good but 2 would not be worth it I think.

theDL 55 days ago | 1 point[-]

I haven't played it but I'm a little surprised at the your tepid opinion on this one! Based on all the hype, I'd have thought this one was a pretty surefire hit for most people. I guess it's largely due to the aesthetics, which are unquestionably great. Considering the price point this one sits at, I'm glad I didn't pick it up on a whim!

philryuh Supporter55 days ago | 1 point[-]

I think it's mainly due to my circumstances. I get to play maybe once a week or less with my wife. Because of that, it's difficult for any games out there that aren't in our top 3-4 games to get a lot of plays. For example, our favorite game to play so far is #Viticulture: Essential Edition with #Tuscany: Essential Edition. We've gotten 6 plays so far (got it in the end of December). #Clans of Caledonia is another recent winner in our collection but has only gotten 1 play with my wife so far and only needs more. There are also potential favorites in our collection also with a single play (#Architects of the West Kingdom). So while I liked #PARKS a lot, depending on how our second play goes, I probably won't get it anytime soon since I don't want to get it for 2p with my mom (due to reason mentioned above), probably won't be at the top of my wife's preferred game to play, and with its price point typically around more than $50, I'm wanting to get something else (#Concordia is next up on my wishlist).

So again, the game is great! I get why so many people love it. But we just don't get enough gaming time for me to justify getting it. This naturally leads to me typically looking out for games to buy in this order:

  1. A game that will "beat" my wife's top 2 or 3 games.
  2. A game for the family that will come out even when my wife is busy.
  3. A game with a great solo mode.

theDL 55 days ago | 1 point[-]

Totally understand! I'm kind of at a point now where we've got quite a few "bigger" games (1 hour +) that my wife and I like, but maybe only have a handful of plays each. Having received the BGA prize and getting Viticulture as a gift in the same week has pretty much cooled me on buying any new games for a while, save some party games for possible upcoming family vacations. I'd like to give all of these great games we own the attention they deserve!

Though Concordia does sound great. And there's #War Chest, and #Baseball Highlights: 2045...not to mention expansions like #Tuscany: Essential Edition, and more factions for #Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North...WHY ARE THERE SO MANY GOOD GAMES

philryuh Supporter55 days ago | 1 point[-]

Are you sure you've "cooled off" on buying new games? xD

And tell me about it, I'm so ready to hit the "buy" button but waiting for the end of the year. One thing that has been good for me is that by continuing to stick with my commitment, my surge of passion for several potential games have cooled off a bit (e.g. #Marvel Champions: The Card Game).

theDL 55 days ago | 1 point[-]

Haha, I guess not. But I don't intend to buy any new games for quite a while. Expansions, maybe, but even then, I'd like to get plenty of plays on the base game before jumping in deeper.

Yep, patience definitely pays off when it comes to managing impulse purchases. Sure, you lose a little bit of the thrill, but the money you can save by not doing it is way worth it.

trentellingsen Supporter56 days ago | 1 point[-]

I'm glad you finally got to play! It's fun to see what you think. I feel pretty similar to you where it really just come down to only playing it if there isn't time for #Viticulture: Essential Edition. Next time, if you didn't do it the first time, you need to get out Spotify and play a "nature sounds" playlist. It easily bumps the experience up a few points, haha.

philryuh Supporter56 days ago | 1 point[-]

I'm glad I did too because I've been curious how different it will be from #Tokaido and also wondered how Anna would like it. And I completely forgot to turn on some music for this game, which is a bummer because compared to other games, where playing music can get a little obnoxious, playing along natures sounds would've been a nice relaxing experience. Next time! (if it happens). I'll come by some time this week to drop it off by the way. I'll probably ask for #Paladins of the West Kingdom at some point to try out solo too. Think I'll make it to playing 50 new games in 2020? lol

When we hit 1K subscribers for YouTube, we should try out a marathon for playing games starting from least complexity to highest that I mentioned before :)

trentellingsen Supporter56 days ago | 1 point[-]

That sounds good. You're welcome to grab #Paladins of the West Kingdom. I feel like we might hit 1k during the Stay-in-place though so maybe at 1.5k? haha. We'll see.

sdirrane Supporter56 days ago | 1 point[-]

I do think the game is beautiful and I considered backing it but found it looked like a nice game but didn't look like one I'd love or get out often.

This is the way I feel about Wingspan as well.  Although, since I currently have a Premium account on Tabletopia I'm thinking of giving Wingspan solo a run.  Because I do really love the theme and it is absolutely gorgeous.

Skurvy5 Supporter56 days ago | 1 point[-]

Let me know how that goes. I’m considering getting Tabletopia to play with my game group since we are all forced to stay at home. 

sdirrane Supporter56 days ago | 1 point[-]

Will do.  Yeah, definitely pick it up at least during quarantine.  I really had a blast with it on Friday playing with some guys I usually game with and using Discord to chat during it.  It wasn't the same as being together, but it was a great substitute.  I had to spend $10 for all my friends to be able to play, but it'll get me through the month.  Plus with my game purchases on hold I have some extra cash.

Skurvy5 Supporter56 days ago | 1 point[-]

I’ve got about $15 in my steam wallet. So I could definitely subscribe and get one or 2 game modules. 

philryuh Supporter56 days ago | 1 point[-]

I can see the comparison with Wingspan, especially in terms of how attractive and eye catching it is. Great game to pull in your non-gamer friends and family. I prefer #PARKS over #Century: Golem Edition because of its slightly higher complexity level, more of a thematic experience, while still remaining a relatively short gameplay (or.. hopefully short gameplay now that everyone's gotten used to it).

You too, huh? It sounds like @Skurvy5 is getting the bugs for Wingspan as well, which I actually like quite a lot but one that I'd be hesitant to get. If the price is right, I'd consider it for solo runs and multiplayer experience with my family once in a while. It's another beautiful and smartly packaged game.

Skurvy5 Supporter56 days ago | 1 point[-]

I would grab Wingspan for precisely those reasons. A quick solo game and a way to maybe eventually snag my wife into the hobby. 

sdirrane Supporter56 days ago | 1 point[-]

I think there are two problems with why I won't end up playing Wingspan on Tabletopia.  1.  Overall my interest level is low due to the fact that I've heard many times it's basically multiplayer solitaire.  2.  I think it'll defeat some of the desire to actually play the game (the beauty in the art and the components) to play the digital version.  Perhaps if one of my friends picks it up someday I will play with them.

philryuh Supporter55 days ago | 1 point[-]

That makes sense. When you take out all of the board-gamey elements it does make it way less compelling. Although, being able to chat (or better yet, talk) together would make it a lot better for me. I do wonder how Wingspan would go on Tabletopia. I feel like I'd be fumbling around with the cards so often haha, especially when it comes to tucking cards. Personally, I can imagine #Architects of the West Kingdom going great for Tabletopia especially with 3p or more.

And it just left me thinking why I would do that 

sdirrane Supporter55 days ago | 1 point[-]

We definitely need to get a group together on Discord and Tabletopia for an Architects game.  We figured out in Viticulture last week if you pull the card all the way to the bottom of your screen it will jump into your hand and no one else can see it.

Skurvy5 Supporter56 days ago | 1 point[-]

Good points. It’s hard to truly appreciate board games when they are digital. I have a hard time making that jump. 

Marshwiggle92 Supporter56 days ago | 1 point[-]

I love the pieces, but the gameplay looks a little bit flat for me. 

philryuh Supporter56 days ago | 1 point[-]

It presents a decent amount of neat decision-making for a game you can potentially play in under 45 min depending on the player count. Besides thinking about where to place your hikers, you're also concerned about finishing the trail first to pick up bonuses, acquiring cantine cards that you can fill up with water to pick up additional resources/"memories," and there are gear cards you can purchase at the end of a season that provide persisting effects such as allowing you to visit/purchase PARKS cards at a discount.

I personally think of it as a great option for those who want #Century: Golem Edition "but more," with added enjoyment of feeling like you're on a hike (especially if you're playing nature sounds in the background). I can see it not working for people who need more than that though, and my wife is close to one of them. And to be clear, she liked the game, but it's not something she would want to play as often as #Viticulture: Essential Edition.

Marshwiggle92 Supporter56 days ago | 1 point[-]

I think I would definitely prefer #parks to #Century: Golem Edition

Skurvy5 Supporter56 days ago | 1 point[-]

Any interest in the expansion? Do you know what it adds to the game?

philryuh Supporter56 days ago | 1 point[-]

I only ever get expansions if I know for sure that the game will get lots of plays over the years. I don't get that feeling from PARKS just yet. I believe the expansion mostly covers more PARKS cards and adds one new mechanic into it, but I'm not sure. And to clarify, this is Trent's copy of the game and I'm not convinced enough about the game to get the base + expansion for around $60-80. I'd consider getting the base game if I find it around $40 or less.

Skurvy5 Supporter56 days ago | 1 point[-]

Yeah that seems fairly steep for a lighter game. 

philryuh Supporter57 days ago | 1 point[-]

Trail and main board

Skurvy5 Supporter56 days ago | 1 point[-]

The art is indeed stunning. 

philryuh Supporter57 days ago | 1 point[-]

Game Trayz with resource tokens

theDL 55 days ago | 1 point[-]

Ok those resources are great

Skurvy5 Supporter56 days ago | 1 point[-]

Wow those are fun!

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