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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Boards & Brews at Home: Euphoria

Today we have found ourselves in a dystopian cityscape to make our mark on the world.  Like most people in the dystopian future, the workers are oblivious to their situation.  Good thing we have some alcoholic root beer!  Today we're integrating some more theme by drinking the Row Hard Root Beer by the Weston Brewing Company.  This is a thick, herbed, frothy, spiced beer with a sweet aroma and burst of root beer.  We need to keep our bliss up, and this drink will help with that along with it's appearance meshing well with the theme of this game.  Euphoria is a 2 - 6 player worker-placement, dice-rolling, resource management, set-collection game that follows the science fiction / dystopian future setting. 

There's a lot going on in this game, and like our past segments, we'll just be summing up the game with adequate, yet minimal detail. One of the unique things about this worker-placement game is that your workers are actually dice. The number on each die represents a workers knowledge, or his level of awareness that he's in a dystopia. Worker knowledge enables various bonuses and impacts player interaction. In the game of Euphoria, ignorance is bliss, literally. You have to keep the morale of your workers up, while keeping their knowledge as low as possible. The less knowledge your workers have of their world, the more likely they will stay and serve you. Otherwise, if they become wise to their plight, they will rebel against you and leave, then you will have to recruit new workers in their place. You also have two elite recruit cards at your disposal; one has pledged allegiance to you, but the other needs some convincing. You can reveal and use the reticent recruit by reaching certain milestones in the game... or by letting other players unwittingly reach those milestones for you. Your path to victory is paved by the blood and sweat of your workers, the strength of your allegiances, and the tunnels you dig to infiltrate other areas of the world, but the destination is a land grab in the form of area control. Your focus can also be placed on gathering artifacts and other objects of recreation.
The end goal of the game is to place your 10 authority tokens (stars) before your opponents place theirs.  You start the game with two workers (dice) and use them to gather resources, commodities and artifacts from the past.  There are 4 factions in this game, each producing a unique resource/commodity.  Using your workers, you go to work in mines, visit markets and build construction sites to gain the ability to place your authority tokens.  You also start the game with 2 recruits from the 4 factions.  These will assist in guiding you throughout the game as to what factions you wish to see succeed.  When the faction(s) with your allegiance succeeds, you succeed, further impacting your authority.  The player to place their authority tokens first, is the winner.

As far as the components are concerned, there's a lot of them in this game.  Unless you backed this game on Kickstarter, everything is wooden and pretty straight forward.  In this segment, we supplemented some of the base components with our Stonemaier Treasure Chest to bring in higher quality components for the experience.  The instructions could have been written more user friendly.  Everything felt like it was just thrown into the booklet, rather than placed in a sequential order which would have helped us a lot more.  The incinerator of historical inaccuracy is one of the humorous aspects of the game.  Another humorous touch was integrating Viticulture as one of the artifacts that you can attain from the old world.  The game definitely executes creativity and humor very well into the theme, however there is still a learning curve to Euphoria.  Up until now, Claire and I have played this game several times, and we're still trying to acclimate ourselves to it.  Euphoria definitely carries more density to it than other worker-placement games.  We would not recommend it for new comers to the worker-placement genre, although it does resonate much better to those who are seeking a heavier Euro game.  Claire and I really love this game and believe it will continue to mature our worker-placement skill-set. 

Overall Meeple Rating: 8.5/10

Have any thoughts or questions?  Leave a comment below.
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