Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Scepter of Zavandor - Improved version of Outpost

Lots and lots of Calculation! OMG...
Sceptre of Zavandor is a medium weight euro where players are trying to build up an engine of sorts to generate enough Dust (currency in the game) so as to be able to purchase Artefacts and Sentinels with which to score points in. The game also ends when 5 of 9 Sentinels have been purchased and then the player with the most points will win the game.
Essentially, its like Outpost but more streamlined. There are less different types of denominations to contend with and overall it seemed to flow much smoother and faster. Still its a very long game though. Took us almost 3 hours to complete 1 game with 5 players. It maybe faster with less.
A turn typically starts with determining player order (depending on the score track) as well as collecting income (depending on what gems you have in your play area as well as advancement on one of the tech tracks which gives some dust). Players then perform the actions they want in turn order. You perform as many actions as you want and then the next player takes his/her turn. What you can do during your turn is to buy/sell gems, place an Artefact or Sentinel for auction, advance on the technology track or pass. 
Its not a bad game but requires a lot of calculations especially when you are trying to pay off stuff that you bought and trying to see which income cards you want to use so as to maximise them and not get too much change back. Why? Because you have a hand limit and dust tiles, gem tiles and cards all count towards that limit so that's an interesting aspect of the game. Each player also starts off as a different character which has different starting bonuses so that is quite cool too.
I enjoyed the game but I think it took way too long. We were all trying to build up an engine to buy the Sentinels but its not easy. They cost 120 dust each (typical income in the beginning is about 10-20 dust) and further more if you are ahead (Player 1 or 2), you have to pay 10 dust more! It was only after many of us gotten a lot more gems and the Mask Artefact (which gave 20 dust discount for Sentinels) then we could start to purchase. Once one player could buy, the game ended within 2 rounds as the rest quickly got in on the action.
In the end, I was tied with Jillian but the tiebreaker is.... 


We have to play again to determine the winner!


I hate games with no tie breakers :( Meh.... Anyway... Try before you buy!

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