Arcane matters can be delightful
So, there was I time in my life that Le Havre represented the apex of a gaming experience. (Thanks, Uwe:) That was a long time ago.
There's a new sheriff in town, and his name is Res Arcana. He's shorter and has a better personality, to wit:
The game is a well-produced engine-builder that has IMHO every bit of the strategic depth of any other engine-builder - cf. Le Havre - with about 1/10 of the brain-burn or time expenditure. 'How is that possible?', one might query. Well, here are my thoughts about precisely how:
- A heavy dependence on well-designed iconography that explains things clearly.
- Many many paths to victory - commitment to one 'engine' by no means limits the ability to commit to others
- You don't need an advanced degree to understand how to play. You basically collect income, and either pay to play a card to your tableau, or pass.
But oh! the choices - they are delicious.
Now, having said all that, it ain't perfect: I had to spend some time on BGG inquiring about rules clarifications - some of which were clearly my oversight - that seemed to be obscure primarily because, although they were addressed in the instructions, they were very terse or simply non-obvious.
I agree with the BGG consensus that this EXCELS as a two-player game; and I don't say this lightly, but it not only fires Le Havre for me (thanks for the memories, Uwe) but unseats Race for the Galaxy as my favorite meaty 2-player. And I would say it's probably a 20-25 minutes per player affair.
Oh, yeah - gotta play me some more of this.