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Rating Summary (11 Total)


Like many Wallace designs, this needed a good developer to trim some fat. It's a definite improvement over A Few Acres of Snow--more open, more dynamic, and a great variety of cards. The need to trim your deck well--but not too well!--is a fascinating balancing act. Having played with two, I can definitely imagine how the endgame would have serious problems multiplayer. Must investigate variants.


I think I like this game because I'm such a big fan of Hands in the Sea (and by extension, I guess, A Few Acres of Snow in terms of the design principles). I do appreciate that there are multiplayer concepts around the deckbuilding weuro, and I enjoy the gameplay enough to evangelize getting this to the table. However, there are some significant shortcomings that I can't ignore: -The Rules-as-written setup for province distribution is awful. This is one of the few games that I just did a complete end-around and house ruled a full-on draft. I won't even consider the asinine dealing out of cards, and the optional variant in the rules does nothing to mitigate the set-up disasters that can happen. -It sacrifices the beautiful asymmetry of HiTS/AFAoS for setup variability. I'm mixed on this, but I understand why the decision was made. -The endgame slog is not unavoidable, but it's has looming potential. The lack of instant-win victory conditions here is a huge miss. -The theme is... um... what is the theme again? This is, by far, the driest of Wallace's area control/war games... El Grande is more thematic. Wallace's games generally have such rich thematic flavor, it's a shame to see him iterate his best mechanical innovations in such a dry, themeless package. Hands in the Sea is the masterpiece of this very niche genre, and I'll choose A Handful of Stars for the multiplayer experience.