Designer; Andreas Katelanos
Published by; Vesuvius Media
Art by; Luís Brüeh, Shaun Ellis
This is the first and not the last review from the married couple and fans of the podcast, Karen and Nigel. They are seasoned board gamers and have been playing with pieces of wood and cardboard for more years then Joel and Sam have together. They are regulars that the Ivybridge Board game night. And they willing said they like to partake in doing some reviews for the blog. so here is their first one…
Zoar is a 2-4 player game whereby you are taking the role as a tribe leader, moving across the country to retrieve your Sacred Relic and returning it to your Capital City. Along the way, you need to gain resources which in turn allow you to build cities and armies.
The playing board is made up of land tiles – there is a Capital tile for each player (x 4) which are located in the corners of the board. As the other tiles are randomly placed each time this gives a good variant to the setup. Each land tile has 4 sections which can include desert, grassland, rocks or lakes. Rocks and Grassland will allow resources onto the board -which can be obtained when your tribe leader or army move into this space. Tile 7 and 8 both allow resources of metal and food – so appear to be the strongest tiles in the game. The tiles are nicely designed and all pieces are well made.
Your tribe leader starts in your Capital City. Your sacred relic is located in the capital city directly opposite you diagonally across the board. On your turn you may move your tribe leader (possibly gaining resources), build cities or temples (depending on your own additional ability) or armies, combat with others, trade resources and then give a divine intervention by rolling a 12 sided die. The tile who’s number is rolled receives resources, and any of your own cities produce an army, but any enemy armies located here are destroyed.
The purpose of the game is to either retrieve and return your sacred relic to your capital city – or to destroy a certain number of enemy cities (depending on the number of players). If you retrieve your relic -it is designed to fit onto the shoulders of your army meeple (nice concept and design).
We initially played it as a 2 player – randomly choosing our starting colour. One of us was yellow – which was the religious tribe and who’s additional ability was to build temples instead of cities if required. Temples allow resources to go straight into your ready resources – which can be played straight away – and is quite powerful. Our player also built a city on the same tile which incidentally was number 7, and this allowed the resources on that tile to be replenished each turn – and by moving these to the ready section via the temple – it allowed this player a huge advantage over the other. This seemed very one-sided.
The ability to move an additional 2 spaces for each food spent is also too strong, particularly as you are able to do this multiple times. Perhaps the movement of just 1 space would be more appropriate.
The combat phase also seems weak and feels like it should also incorporate another element – such as a dice roll to make it less predictable (as you are able to see in advance how much metal your opponent has before deciding whether to initiate combat at all).
As a 2 player, the game seemed very predictable and a bit slow. We have played several times as a 2 player and to be honest have other games which we would choose over this. As a 3 player game, it seemed a bit less one-sided however it was still apparent that tiles 7 and 8 create an advantage over other players, and each time we have played the person who built on this tile has ended up winning the game.
What Joel Thinks about it…
I found this game a little underwhelming, to be honest, it felt unfinished and it needed more time in playtesting, by about 100 hundred hours, give or take. The components are good and the game idea is has a good concept behind it, but it was a little uninspiring that needed more design development to bring it to a level where it could notice with games. Zoar feels like it came out a 24-hour Game Jam event, where what-a-be game designers are given a box of components and sent away to make a game out of it. It has the potential to be an ok game and I would play it again but with my house rules replacing many of the original rules, it suffers from the same problem I have with Scythe, you will only be attacked by someone who knows will win. spending meat to moved 2 spaces is too powerful and needs to limit to one meat spent per turn or 1 space pre meat. it is a shame that the only thing I liked about this is that the meeple can carry the relic but that is more of a gimmick than anything else.
I also am not shunning the publisher, Vesuvius Media, who did provide us with a review copy of the game and are behind the mega amount of Dwar7s games already on the market, not forgetting their recent hit on Kickstarter, MonstroCity, Which I have played at the UKGE and ended up backing myself.
Written by Karen and Nigel Tucker
Edited by Joel Wright
Photos by Joel Wright
Review copy of the game supplied by Vesuvius Media