Thursday, September 3, 2015

Quick Review: Tesla Vs. Edison by Artana

Last night my friend Mike came over and he showed me and the Munchkin the ins and outs of Tesla vs. Edison: The War of the Currents.  Well, I guess it was mainly me that he showed since Munchkin had played once before but you get the idea.

First off, let me say that this is a beautiful game.  From the box to the components, Artana did a great job with this game really capturing the style and the theme of the game.

Mechanically the game is very straight forward as well.  You can either develop new technologies (giving you access to more projects on the board), build new projects (which increases your stock value), engage in propoganda (which lets you manipulate the turn order, which type of power is popular with the masses, and earn some extra cash), and buying and selling stock (the total value of which determines who wins the game).

This also really seems to capture the ebb and flow of an economic game; using propoganda and buying/selling to manipulate the stock market to increase your own portfolio while decreasing the value of your opponent's portfolio.

All of this sounds really good and looks really nice on the table but there was something about it that was bugging me and I think I finally figured out what it is; how the heck do you defend yourself?

My background is miniature war games and board games that involve direct conflict with your opponents.  You win by achieving victory while preventing your opponent from doing the same.  All the while you have assets in play that can at least attempt to affect the outcome of the situation, but this game didn't feel like it had that which is frustrating on a deeper level for me.  You can "attack" my company by buying up my stock and then dumping it at the last minute to drive its value down at the end of the game which is in fact what happened to me.

To be fair I had actually considered doing exactly the same thing as we went into the last turn but the idea just left a really bad taste in my mouth so I decided against it.  Does this make it a bad game?  Not at all, in fact it seems like it really did capture the economic interplay that they were looking to represent... I'm just not sure that it's a game for me.  I definitely want to try it again but I must admit that I'm glad I decided not to back this one on Kickstarter.

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