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Outback Crossing Review

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Photosynthesis Review

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22 Jul 2018 23:30 #278177 by Matt Thrower

Gamers have packed into the hall, the noise and heat are unbelievable. I am too tired to cope with the sensory overload, but I am drawn to the lady with purple hair like a beacon of hope in midst of chaos. As the evening passes, that hair will serve as an anchor in a sea of geekery, enabling other friends to find and speak to us. I know the lady with the purple hair and her friend have a game waiting for me and, tired as I am, my hopes are high.

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23 Jul 2018 01:33 #278178 by WadeMonnig
Replied by WadeMonnig on topic Photosynthesis Review
You address my primary concern and you did it in your very first game.Does the big tree in the middle break the game? Because it always seems the "perfect" annoying move to deprive everyone of sunlight.

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23 Jul 2018 08:43 #278185 by Matt Thrower
Replied by Matt Thrower on topic Photosynthesis Review

WadeMonnig wrote: You address my primary concern and you did it in your very first game.Does the big tree in the middle break the game? Because it always seems the "perfect" annoying move to deprive everyone of sunlight.


Yeah, you could accuse photosynthesis of many sins, but broken isn't one of them. Hogging the prime scoring spot is certainly a valid strategy, but it requires as much skill and patience as any other because it deprives you of opportunities elsewhere.

However, your comment sent me down a little rabbit hole where I discovered that there are quite a few variants around for Photosynthesis to try and make it bit more of a "gamer's game". Most notably is this one from the designer himself , which runs the game longer, but adds some strategy and removes some of the predictability from the end game.

Play until two of the piles of scoring tokens are depleted, when someone takes the last scoring token of a pile and there are only two piles left, you finish the current turn ( so you play until everyone has passed) and then the game ends. As presented above it’s for 4 players only, with less players the number of scoring tokens has to be reduced, you also could reduce the number of tokens (even with 4 players) to shorten the game length.


Apparently, this was the original rules prior to development by the publisher. It probably should have gone in as another optional rule.
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23 Jul 2018 09:25 - 23 Jul 2018 09:31 #278187 by Sagrilarus
Replied by Sagrilarus on topic Photosynthesis Review
I for one really like this game, and I think it's what euros should be -- tight rules, engaging play, a competition for scarce resources. The middle spot is valuable, but frankly so are the ones just around it and they're quicker and easier to get. The middle spot becomes a bit of a booby prize if you have players working the other spaces near it, cutting and planting while you hold on to your vaulted position in the center.

There are patterns in the game that serve you well. I stumbled onto two of them in later plays. It's a game with a bit of exploration to it, definitely worth multiple plays. Given how quick it is that's not hard to manage.

Again, I find myself praising you for the broader nature of your review, seeing the game's spirit shining through its very simple rule structure and concept. Talk about executive theme, this game is the epitome of the concept. And when you look at it from a whole-package perspective you do realize that you take a little sadness from dropping your bigger trees in spite of that being the core concept of scoring. The game reaches into your heart, just a bit, giving your head one additional detail to cope with during gameplay. That's a nifty trick. Blue Orange really nailed it on this one.
Last edit: 23 Jul 2018 09:31 by Sagrilarus.
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23 Jul 2018 17:55 #278213 by Michael Barnes
I really want this game...Blue Orange has really emerged as a great publisher for classic German Game style designs.

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