Saturday, July 6, 2013

Quarantine : Theme hospital it is not

I made them wait for too long....
Now like any good gamer, we have played our share of "Theme" games, like Theme Park, Theme hospital for example and when I saw Quarantine being released, it reminded me of Theme Hospital which I enjoyed. Trying to manage my own hospital, taking care of the patients and researching new technology was quite fun for me especially when the patients reacted with all these funny animation. How does Quarantine feel compared to this?

In a nutshell, this is a light-medium euro style game that involves management of cubes (patients) and maximising the usage of the special tiles to score points and win the game. During your turn you have at least 4 actions to decide upon and you must draw 4 cubes (patients) and decide where these cubes go. Then your turn is over and it goes to the next player. When the special tiles have run out OR when the last cube is drawn from the bag, then the game is over and players count points and whoever has the most points will win the game.
I will compare against the few thoughts that Jon had in his previous post here http://www.pushurluckpodcast.com/2013/05/a-purchase-decision-quarantine.html and then add on my final thoughts about the game.

What jon liked:
Hospital build up
Quite interesting, it feels like Suburbia however thematically there is a slight disconnect because the rooms shows many beds but you can only process 1 patient at a time so that kinda sucks. I understand it makes for the mechanisms of the game because you have to decide which "color" to cure and that makes the thinky part of the game.

Special Room abilities
Yup the special rooms provide interesting combinations as well as replayability (because not all rooms are available each game) but thematically there's a disconnect because it seems if a room is quarantined you cannot use the ability.

Theme Art and Style
Love the art and style as well. Very much reminds me of Suburbia. If they provided meeples though that will be awesome but I guess it will be a problem with the grey cubes (diseases).

What jon disliked:
Open Tile Contract
Its actually quite interesting because if you really want a tile you have to make sure other players cannot pay for it. At the same time though you may force other players to use up cubes which they themselves may not have wanted to pay for it. I am ok with this mechanism but it may not lend itself well to 4 players (We played 3 last night).

2 special tiles per contract
This I can understand his concern especially with 4 players. There are some special tiles that are really very powerful IF 1 person managed to buy 2 of them (Emergency room) and this was the case last night. Roy who had 2 ERs manage to always clear up his line of patients and had a lot of cubes to use as currency. Furthermore it does serve to keep the game shorter too.

Take That Scallywag
Quarantine / grey cubes. This is the one thing I did not like about the game and was quite a disconnect from theme. We all imagined that we had fans blowing the disease away to the other hospitals when we drew grey cubes. If we had the Lab, then we welcomed the grey cubes and it did not make it a problem of ganging up against the leader as jon mentioned. So Jillian and me both had Labs but Roy had the 2 ERs so we never ran into a problem where grey cubes bogged down our hospital. But I can see Jon's point of view how it can really crap up someone's hospital because clearing of each grey cube costs 1 action.

While I say its a euro-style game, the only random part will be drawing out of the cubes from the bag. However this is somewhat mitigated by being able to place cubes into opponents' hospitals. Why would one do that? Well it does screw up their lines and especially if they do not have enough of that type of room to cure them. They will need to take 1 action to maybe reshuffle the line and if they did not have Triage, then the sequence of the queue outside your hospital will be quite important. For Roy though he did not have any problem as he has the 2 ERs and his lines were always clear. So when we send him cubes is essentially just giving him money. Still the end game point for having a cleared patient line is only 1 point so its not a super big deal.

Final thoughts
I did enjoy my game of it though I could largely attribute it to the group that's playing because we made silly jokes because of the many disconnects from theme but I do recognize that its largely a euro-style game and those type of games are not as thematic as american-style games. The end game conditions though could make the game seem draggy because in the end you are just buying up the special tiles for the 1 point they give. The game is also relatively low scoring with the winner getting 21 points and me 16, Jillian and me did not clear enough patients so we did not manage to buy a lot of special tiles nor get the final 1 point as well. I will want to try it again just to see the other special tile effects so for now its a Try before you buy.

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