Published by Days of Wonder - 2018
Designers: Sébastien Pauchon and Ismaël Perrin
Head Artist: Andrew Bosley
2 - 4 players ~ 30 - 45 minutes
Review “Slow & Steady Currents” written by Luke Muench
Travel Log: Entry 37
Jeremiah settled down this evening, down at the edge of the canyon. It was bound to come eventually. I just didn’t think it’d be so soon. Everyone from the crew’s found somewhere to go, moving on to better things, or so they say. I’m starting to wonder if this is the end of my journey too.
If you’re reading this, then heed my words carefully. Know that this life, it ain’t for everyone. It takes a special someone to travel down… The River.
Knowing the Flow
“Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination.” - Drake
Those who choose to venture down The River will be tasked with building what structures you can here and there while doing your best to map out this spotty, mismatched land. You and your competitors will cease work when either one crew has built their 5th building or someone’s managed to fill in their map, at which point y’all will see who did the best work.
Being the polite folk that yah are, each day you’ll send one worker out at a time to work shifts in the various workstations in the area. Just remember that you can’t overcrowd most places with more than 2 workers at a time.
Firstly, you can go map out a section of your river, checking to see what sorts of resources it provides and what terrain you’re walking through. Areas can either provide resource production, houses to store them resources, or abilities that’ll help you work faster and earn yah reputation while you’re at it.
When you cover a spot on your board, those resources that you previously found there are lost, leaving you with what newfangled things you managed to stumble upon. Sometimes, after a long day’s work, if you found somewhere nice to stop and rest, one of your workers will decide they wanna settle down rather than press on, the quitters. Your crew will keep moving forward, but you’ll get to do just a little less the next time ‘round.
Once you feel ready, you can head to the quarry, forest, or clay pit to get yourself some stone, wood, or brick. How much you get depends on how many resource icons of that type is on your board, and you’ll get an extra resource if you manage to get there first.
Turkeys, however, they’re a confounding sort. Wild, so they say. If’n you need some brick, BAM, use a turkey. Wood? Turkey. Stone? You guessed it. Going to the farm’ll get you a turkey, but you can also trade in any 3 resources for the turkey at the start of each turn.
Each round, 4 blueprints are laid out for any crew to use if they want. If you think a few folks are eyeing up a particular blueprint, you can reserve it for yourself, and since you’re studying it so close, it’ll cost you 1 less resource to build it. Either way, you’ll need to go to the building depot like everyone else, allowing you to get your building permit. The sooner you get them permits, the more reputation they’re worth, so you best hop to it. Once you’ve built 2 structures, you’ll find that you’ve impressed some onlooker so much they’ll join your little band of misfits as an additional worker.
Now, for whatever reason, whoever's got the white sails on their boat at the start of the day gets crack at whatever they want. Not sure why, if I’m honest. Tradition maybe? If you take the time to do it, though, you can take them sails for yourself and string ‘em up on your own boat, making you first player the next round.
And lastly, you can make some *ahem* modifications to your map, switchin’ it around however you wish to make it look nice and pertty. That’s ‘cause folks like order in the mad, mad world, and if’n you can find a nice outcropping of similar terrain, you can earn yourself more reputation.
Once someone has triggered the end game by building their 5th structure or filling out their river, everyone compares their hard work to see who earned the most reputation.
The Simple Life
“Without music, life is a journey through the desert.” - Pat Conroy
Now, I know what you’re thinking, and yeah, it’s a simple life for sure. Very little exciting or out of the ordinary tends to happen when you’re exploring this rather familiar land, almost like you’ve done it before, see it elsewhere time and time again. Except this time, maybe it’s a bit too easy.
See, there’s no hardships to be found here; everything you do has little consequence in the long term. Mistakes are easily patched up, and there are a lot of ways that folks can catch up if they’re behind, not out of ingenuity or wit, but because The River slows down the work of the best of us to allow the rest to keep pace.
The land looks nice enough, but I’ve certainly see bluer skies and grassier greens in my day. Nothing’s outright offensive or ugly, but that don’t mean it’s all that lovely to look at. All the bits and pieces work fine, but there’s nothing notable or special about it, and some of the odds and ends just seem unnecessary, such as the boat tokens that give you somewhere to place your workers at the start of each round.
Making the Riverbend Peaceful
“Life is a journey that must be traveled no matter how bad the roads and accommodations.” - Oliver Goldsmith
If yer gonna make a pilgrimage to this here river, there are a few things you ought to know to get the most outta your efforts. First, make sure you’ve got four competitors to play the game with. This may sound counter-intuitive, but having a few others breathing down your neck breeds better efforts, encourages you to work harder, and learns you how to be a hardier builder. Second, don’t come here expecting anything exceptional. It’s clear that the creator of these fine lands never meant it to be more than a simple affair, inoffensive in its provincial nature. And lastly, this trek is best served to those who’ve never attempted such an undertaking. The wide-eyed young’ll get the most outta what’s here, and perhaps those charged with looking after them.
As for me, I can’t find a reason to stick around any longer. It’s time for me to pack my bags and move on elsewhere, mayhaps returning to the perilous Norse-laden lands of Midgard or the haunting libraries of Ex Libris. Someday I hope to send my little cousins and nephews this way one day when they’re old enough; maybe then I can see the shine in their eyes when they discover the beauty this land has to offer to the new and uninitiated.
Who Should Get This Game: Families and those unfamiliar with worker placement games and can find enjoyment in the pastoral theme. And Varmints.
Who Shouldn’t Get This Game: If you know how the genre works, there’s likely a game out there with a better theme and exciting mechanics that you’ll get more out of.
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