Clans of Caledonia – Karma Games – Review

"Players will represent recognizable Scottish clans as they balance supply and demand to produce and trade/export agricultural goods and of all things…. whiskey! "

Theme and What is it?

The game, Clans of Caledonia, is set in Scotland as it was becoming a country of trade and export. Players will represent recognizable Scottish clans as they balance supply and demand to produce and trade/export agricultural goods and of all things…. whiskey! These clans all have sole abilities that help the players during the game.

Gameplay Mechanics

The game requires a good amount of setup but nothing overly complicated. Players choose a clan and starting resources then begin.

The game plays over five rounds, and each round has four phases.

  1. Phase One – Preparation Phase – This is mostly just a clean-up phase and you will skip during the first round.
  2. Phase Two – Action Phase – Players take one of eight actions that include forms of trading and exporting, expanding, shipping, or getting and fulfilling export contracts. Players take one action on their turn and then continue until every player passes.
  3. Phase Three – Production Phase – In this phase, players earn money and produce resources based on what they have out on the board. During this process, they can also process into other resources, such as cheese, bread or whiskey.
  4. Phase Four – Scoring Phase – Players earn the Glory based on the current Scoring tile for that round.

The game ends after the five rounds and then players receive VP based on various things (score track, basic goods, processed goods, money, etc.) There is also export scoring and settlement scoring. The player (s) with the most fulfilled export contracts and settlements receive points accordingly.

Initial Impressions

This game was popular on Instagram when it first was released and I also enjoy Scotland themed games. I was very eager to get this to the table.

Game Build Quality

There are a LOT of components in the box. There are many wooden components; some for resources and for player pieces. The modular boards for play variations are nice. All the player boards and cardboard components are sturdy. The rule book is an easy read. 

My only complaint is that the box could have just been larger. The box is long and has no height to it making it almost impossible for any other storage solution other than baggies. I dislike baggies.

Artistic Direction

Most of the artwork is on the box and clan tiles. The art fits the theme of the game. If I had to use a word to describe the art, it would be “farmish”, which is not really a word but I think you understand what I mean. The board is just blue and green hexes. It has good table presence.

Fun Factor

This is an economic, resource management game, but it does not take a terribly long time to play like other games in this genre. I really enjoyed the market board and the fluctuating prices because of supply and demand. This is something I have not seen in other games like this.

Age Range & Weight

This is a medium weight game. Box suggests age 12+. There is a lot to keep up with and remember so I would agree with this. However, if you have children that have grown up playing games with you and are “gamers”, they can probably pick up the game easily.

Conclusions

Overall, this is a solid game. My group enjoyed it and I see it as something we will play again. It reminded me a lot of the game, Terra Mystica, but not as much going on and definitely not as much involved with it. It had that feel with how the actions were taken and with the player order, as well as the hex spaces on the main board. The actions themselves and play of the game is much different, and it definitely does not have the lengthy play time.