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First Hand Review: Copycat

24 Mar
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Game in progress

Today I had the chance to try the newest game by Friedemann Friese (Power Grid, First Sparks and Friday), Copycat. So what’s interesting about this one? The hype upon Copycat is that the game mechanic combined (or more suitable copied) several famous games’ core mechanics into a single game. It’s quite a hit on the Essen 2012 buzzlist and I was curious how it goes.
A friend brought the game in special meetup today and we played 4 players game around 90 minutes. 15 minutes for the rules breakdown.
The rules are simple and easy to understand. Basically it’s a deck building game with the addition of worker placement and first player bidding mechanic. You can feel the worker placement mechanic is very similar to the famous Agricola from Uwe Rosenberg.
In this game players compete to be the most potential candidate for precidential seat. And in order to do that they need to achieve points. Each player has the same starting deck of 10 cards.each card on the game has number on it for bidding purpose. The main board shows possible action slots very similar like Agrocola. There are 5 stages that will be revealed one by one. There are basic actions that already opened from the beginning along with additional actions based on number of players on the left side of the board, just like Agricola. And 10 (I think) slot on the bottom for cards for olayers to buy and 1 deck of cards. The game ends when one of three conditions are met, the card deck is empty, the round ends or if one player succeed to reach 95 points.
There are 2 currencies that influence the game play, which are points and coins.
At the start of the game, players draw 5 cards from their deck. The game is played in 4 phases each round: bidding, worker placement, actions, end of round.
The first phase players choose a card to bid the turn order. The player who played card with the highest number get the first player and so on descending. If there are ties, the tied players switch their positions. After the turn order has been updated, the second phase begins. Starting from the first player, each player one by one place one of his workers to the action space. In this phase, players may play blue or purple or grey cards during his turn including the blue space on the board.  After all players had play all his workers (the default number of workers a player has each round are 3 workers) the third phase commence. Starting from the first player, each player play all his cards and resolves his workers on the board. Usually there are several actions that can be chosen, get coin(s), get point(s), buy card(s), draw card(s), copy one card in play area, discard 1 card to draw 1 card and destroy 1 card to gain 1 coin.
Players buy card(s) by spending coins from his hand and/or activate workers. The recently bought card can be used immediately if it’s yellow or green card. Yellow cards are for coins and green cards for points. After all the players already played all of his cards and acrivated their workers the phase ends. The last phase is to redeem the point chips received from occupying spaces that have green chip(s) on it. These chips are placed on spaces that are not chosen by player on previous round. So it’s like a reward for players to take less interesting action. After all phases are finished, next round begins. New card is revealed in the next round space and the card slots are refilled. Chip points are added to empty spaces (no workers). Then all workers on the board are removed. Each player then take the default number of workers and refi his hand to 5 from the draw deck. The next round is ready to begin.

The game is surprisingly simple and even Agricola was related to this game for the core mechanic of worker placement, this game is not a heavy game like Agricola. In fact, it’s surprisingly light and easy to grasp but still holds very good strategy and planning. The turn order mechanic is interesting, with more powerful cards have higher number and price, players must decide and plan carefully. To get the first player order, players must sacrifice a card with high number to be the clipboard and cannot use the effect of the card.
The worker placement actions are similar like Agricola but do not have complexity level for almost the actions are simple and not complex. So you won’t be having your brain melted like playing Agricola. It has easy conversions of coin, points and cards.
The components of the game are great, the cards are linen finished, wooden colored workers in subtle colors and cute rounded rectangular green chips. The artworks are colorful with good and funny cartoony style vector illustrations and bright and soft colors.

Pros:
– Good artworks
– Good components
– Nice game play
– Easy and simple to understand
– Casual gamers friendly
– Interesting turn order mechanic
– excellent iconography

Cons:
– weird tie breaker for the turn order mechanic
– actions are not mandatory
– to simple for heavy gamers
– the gold and white colors are hard to differentiate in poor lighting

Overall
I like the game, it’s easy and simple to understand. I think it has potential to reach non gamers and gamers alike. And by the nature of the game it has come to my mind the question, that is this worth a trade with Agricola? But I guess from the component factor, the epic components of Agricola surpasses Copycat by miles.

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Posted by on March 24, 2013 in Board Games, Card Games, Euro Games, Reviews

 

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