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Coatl - Simple Rules, Complex Consequences

Coatl is a beautiful game. But that would be selling it short. It's also an excellent game, one that is as simple as it is engaging. It's a game of pattern matching, instantly evoking feelings of Reef as you draw cards and slowly build and score patterns on those cards. But unlike Reef, you're not building an underwater coral, you're building a snake, a feathered serpent if we're being pedantic.

Each round you have a few actions, you can take segments to build your snake, you can use the stored segments and start or continue construction of your snake, or you can take cards from the middle to augment how you will score your various snake. Cards will help you score through various criteria, such as having different colored snake segments in a row, or having a certain number of a certain color. The game ends after the first person has built their 3rd snake. Simple enough, right? 

And yet that's where the simplicity ends, the game doesn't pull you in with the depth of its actions, rather it pulls you in with the depth of the strategic navigation of those actions. Do you grab particular scoring cards that will better score your snake, resulting in a 25 point snake, intimidating your opponents? Maybe you try to build shorter faster snakes instead, triggering an end game before your opponents can properly put the finishing touches on? Perhaps you grab snake segments that help yourself, or maybe some that help you while hurting your opponent? 

The game plays well at 2, 3 and 4 players, although I'd be most wary of the 4 player game as it adds more downtime without adding that much to the gameplay experience. This is a game that may stick around for the decade, becoming an accessible family favorite yet providing enough depth to appeal to the average gamer. 

The one critique I would give is more personal than anything else. It is a drop on the lighter side, and that combined with the lack of screwage that a game like Azul provides, means I don't yet know the longevity in my own collection. But don't let that scare you, I played it 4 times in the first week of having it, I'm definitely enjoying myself.


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