Thursday, September 19, 2013

Essen '13 - On the Radar - Lewis & Clark

Lewis & Clark has been on my radar since way before GenCon.
I was hoping to get more info about the game through Eric and through others who have managed to get a demo in during the convention. Unfortunately it seems that not a lot of people – Eric included – were able to try this ( or if they have then they didn’t share much info about it on BGG ). But for those who did share, they all seemed to have enjoyed it quite a bit and that has given me positive vibes for the game.

Lewis & Clark is a race-type game which involves players managing their hand of cards and pool of resources. Players must balance the use of these to move their scout forward ahead of camp so that they may eventually setup camp closer and closer to the end destination. First to reach the end is the winner – naturally.

Hand management is a big part of the game as the cards give you various abilities such as helping you to obtain more resources, to change resources into advance types, to advance your scout, etc. However, as good as the card abilities are, the more cards at your disposal ( you may purchase a card from a selection each turn ) means that it will be less efficient for you to setup camp. This is because each unused card in your hand will move your scout one space back when you attempt a setup of camp. So with more cards you either take more turns before you can setup camp, or you can setup early and hope the Nett result after the deduction from unused cards is still worth the effort.

Another big part of the hand management comes about because of the dual use of the cards. You may use a card for its ability or you may use it for its strength ( an enhancing effect ). So although a card may seem less powerful, its strength multiplier may just be good enough to keep it in your hand for future turns.

The resource management aspect works in nearly the same way. The more resources you store with you, the greater your flexibility to advance your scout, but the slower your setup of camp will be. So you are trying to obtain sufficient to utilize for your scout advancement but not so much that it hinders you when its time to setup camp.

Ain't that a Beauty Folks ?

Last but not least is the small ( but somewhat significant ! ) worker placement aspect in the game. The worker is actually a resource that you may acquire, and once it’s been used, it stays on the board – blocking the space till any player takes the hire worker(s) action. Unlike regular worker placement games, you won’t get it back on the “next” turn. You’ll have to earn it all over again. So you have to make sure you are using it to your best advantage !

Frankly speaking, I’m not entirely sure I am explaining the game right. :P
This is what I have gathered so far from reading the rules. But with so many combinations of cards at your disposal, along with the board benefits, the dynamics of the game will definitely feel bigger than the scope I have laid out above.
I’m really tempted to place a pre-order for this as I am quite certain it will sell out on the first day, but the one stumbling block for me is the iconography of the cards. I have my fears that the card abilities are so specific that the iconography will hardly be as clear as I hope them to be. I have received feedback from those who have played that the iconography is pretty decent and understandable, but it’s something I am hoping to see for myself. Having to refer to the ruleset to understand card abilities is a major boo boo for me in games ( especially those that are card reliant / have multiple cards in play ). It really detracts from the gameplay and its flow, and it adds to the learning curve of a game by a significant chunk ( in my opinion ).

So Ludonaute, any preview of the cards by any chance ? ;)



  1. Hello Jonathan,
    Thank youf or your post. Your explanation of the game is ok, you understood the rules well, do not worry :-)
    Regarding the iconography, I am going to post the pictures of the more complicated cards' effects on our facebook page and our website, so that you can tell me if they seem difficult to understand to you.
    By the way, you are right saying that there is a significant learning curve in the game, due to the mutliple strategies you can use, and the very large number of efficient combinations of cards.
    Thanks again for your post, I am looking forward to meet you in Essen and make you test the game.
    Anne-c├ęcile (Ludonaute)

  2. hi Anne !

    thanks for your reply ! :)
    yes i am looking forward to previewing some of the more difficult cards. would make my pre-order decision much easier !

    and likewise i look forward to meeting you at your booth at Essen !