First Play – Out of the Box with Vincent
Being a board gamer is great! You have the ability to challenge the mind and have fun implementing different themes across different games. However, in our modern life it is not always easy to find the time to play all the brilliant games coming out every other day, or revisit the classics.
In this series I am going to discuss my opinions after one play session. This means that I will not give a game the benefit of the doubt, to see if it improves over more plays, nor will I criticise a game for shortcomings if I am viewing it with rose-tinted glasses, i.e. if it looks beautiful and I am yet to realise the lack of replay value, etc. I will discuss: how easy it is to start playing, the play time, the good, the bad and whether or not I want to play the game again ASAP.
Enter the Elysium!
Out of the Box – Elysium
In “Elysium”, players take on the role of a demigod, competing to earn the favour of the Olympians and become a figure of legend. They achieve this by gathering heroes, collecting artifacts and pleasing the gods.
Rules: The games rules are slightly on the heavy side, the game is not. The game itself is quite simple, but the number of symbols involved with the game can confuse players during the rules explanation. Once this barrier has been passed, the next is the concept of the elysium itself. There are two parts of a players elysium: there is in front of the elysium, where the abilities of the cards matter, and there is behind the elysium, where the cards ability (generally) does not matter, but will be scored. The player with the highest score wins at the end of five rounds, with money breaking ties.
The good: The variety in Elysium is outstanding. At the beginning of each game different gods will be selected all with their own twist on the game. Some of the gods focus on abilities, others scoring points and some even implement new elements into the game.
The prospect of this excites me for future plays (there are even suggested combinations in the rulebook). Another excellent aspect is how players acquire cards and determine player order. Players must have specific columns on their elysium in order to take a card from the tableau. This works incredibly well, every option is a good one, until the end of the round. The options decrease and sometimes disappear, penalising players for poor planning and rewarding others for their forethought. There are many other nuances such as the restrictions of moving cards into an elysium, the potential combos that can come up and the art all add to the game.
The bad: Whilst not the case for my game, I can see that some combinations of gods may result in under whelming games. The amount of symbology is fine, however, I would have appreciated a player aid to assist with this. There is also a potential for some card combos to be milked providing a lot of extra points (this can be avoided if other players are paying attention).
Will I play Elysium again: Definitely. Elysium can punish you if you're not careful, it is up to you to not let that happen. If you play things right, turn after turn of planning can lead to very fruitful rounds. When you win Elysium you earn it and knowing that the next game will play out very differently is very exciting. I cannot wait to play Elysium again.