Tuesday, March 29, 2016

I LOVE _______, A Segment Of Board Game Infatuation: Sylvion

There are A LOT of board game reviewers out there, and a lot of them employ very similar review styles - a quick overview of rules, final thoughts, verdict. That's all fine and good, and I have my own favorites in which ones to watch, but they all should be taken with an objective grain of salt. To me, reviews are only an aid to you and your own tastes. What is a treasure to them may not be a treasure to you, and it's important that you - yes, YOU - know what you like, or else you'll spiral into a never-ending money drain of what everyone else says you should enjoy.

Recently, I've re-assessed my board game purchase choices, boiling them down to one simple question: will I enjoy it? The same goes for the games currently in my collection because, obviously, I enjoy it in some form or another. But what, exactly, do I enjoy in each one that keeps me playing them? Each game in my collection has (or should have) that one spark that keeps calling to me, keeps me interested in bringing the game to the table. Here are some games that have that spark, and is usually the starting point in which I'd rattle on about why these games are my favorites. I've put them in a segment I like to call "I LOVE _______!"

[Please note - these are NOT REVIEWS; these are just reasons why I enjoy these games in my collection.]


After Onirim, I was well sold into the Oniverse and prepared myself for Sylvion's release. When it arrived, I lost astoundingly on the basic mode. So far, your typical difficult fare that I've learned to enjoy during Onirim. But it's the Advance Mode that blew me away. I LOVE drafting your own player's deck before the game! (See what I did there?) THIS was what kept me so tuned into my games. Because even though you know how the main game plays every single time, the unknown variant is YOUR OWN DECK.

It's not just a random deck you're dealt with, too. You're actively CHOOSING what cards you want in your deck, so no matter what deck you end up with in the end, the only person you can blame is yourself for deciding those wimpy water plants are good enough and you didn't need those special cards to move flames around to your stronger water plants, YOU IDIOT. Players deal out a card face up into each of the 4 columns (up to 4 cards each), and choose one entire column to add to their deck. Then, another round of cards is dealt face up, right before a deck that decides which column the AI will BANISH from existence. Those special cards that you hoped would be around for the next selection phase? CULLED. Out of all the possible cards you can populate your deck, you'd be lucky to keep a little more than half of that. HALF the deck will be gone BEFORE you start the actual game.

While this is merely the setup before the game starts, I find this to be a mini-game that takes just as much strategy and luck as the main game itself. Perhaps you'll risk the gamble that a certain column will still be around for you to choose next time. As the next round of cards are dealt, that column pot is sweetened with another amazing card. Suddenly, your heart sinks in the pit of your stomach as you draw the card that determines which column gets eliminated. And you reveal it to be...!

Whatever the outcome in any Sylvion Advance Game is, you won't be able to stop thinking "why did I grab that column of cards," or "I have all these great cards but no way to play them." And you can't sulk or get mad because it is all your fault. All of it. And you curse yourself, and wish you could do better, and you shuffle the cards again and deal them out in 4 new columns, and OH NO YOU'RE PLAYING AGAIN.
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