Sunday, May 26, 2013

First Play: Copycat....

The hobby gaming obsession has exploded so much so over the past decade that many games have come out with themes and mechanics that reflect humourously on hobby gaming itself.  And there's so many of us suckers now that these games are even finding a market - The Boardgamegeek Game and Cleopatra's Caboose are prime examples.  Copycat, by the brilliant and weird Friedemann Friese of Power Grid and Black Friday fame, is another prime example of this.  Friese decided he wanted to steal mechanics from the top-rated games on BGG and put 'em together to create something new.  Of course, this is a not-so-subtle commentary on the endless variations of modern game mechanics that we're seeing over and over - worker placement, deck-building, you name it.  So Copycat steals the worker-placement/action card reveal from Agricola, the deck-building and coins for buying from Dominion, increasing values of unused actions from Puerto Rico, and the sliding card row from Through the Ages as well as tossing a few more clever ideas into the mix.

Red cards are useless, you know, like licenses and degrees and stuff
And I daresay that my first play of this was rather magnificent!  Once the fog had lifted from trying to parse yet another confusing Friese and Rio Grande ruleset, we really started to get into the game.  Not knowing what I was doing and not knowing that money would be really hard to come by later, I tried my classic "Chapel" strategy from Dominion of burning down my deck and then building it back up.  Unfortunately I used more actions burning my deck then building it and so had to play catch up in the end game.  But man was this fun.  Long-term strategy from the deck-building and deep challenging tactical play every round from the action spaces and the cards on hand.  And a devious decision every round for turn order - which card to give up from a hand of only 5?  Delicious.  I'm looking forward to my next play of this, I must say, and seriously considering owning a copy myself.  Highly recommended, especially if Agricola and Dominion float your boat.

And you don't have to feed your family!!!!

Action spaces and "campaign workers"
UPDATE:  2-player game is way too easy.  Fun but devoid of tension.  4-player is excellent and illustrates the many ways to scoop points.  But for length of play I think 3 players is just right. 

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