Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia – Stonemaier Games – Review

"The craft of wood and cardboard is strong with Stonemaier Games. In the words of the famous poet Pinkyous Floyd, "We don't need no education.""

Theme and What is it?

Blissful ignorance. Not many games make use of the idea of this game mechanic, or even your worker’s knowledge at all. In fact, most games ignore the worker, they are just a piece of wood that identifies what you are doing. 

In Jamey Stegmaier’s hit game Euphoria, your workers are dice. Each die has a level of “knowledge” some knowledge is good, too much leads to dissatisfaction with the status quo. As many of us are in the real world, we can ignore the elephant in the room, until the elephant is on fire, and yelling cusswords at us in a foreign language. 

How sweet ignorance is…

Gameplay Mechanics

I have seen a few different games use dice as workers, not all successfully. In Euphoria, we will be using dice to get goods. Unlike a “traditional” worker placement where you are taking a location, no location on this board is permanent.

If you choose a joint location, you will not get your worker back until you take a turn to pull workers. If you place the worker on any other location, you will bump other players from that location, and they will get their worker back in hand. 

The idea of knowledge is very important in this game, as discussed above. You are allowed up to 16 joint knowledge in your hand, and if you go above that limit, you will lose a worker (a mini revolt). You can have up to four dice, but the face is their knowledge, and on the board is additional joint knowledge. Juggling knowledge is very important in this game, so you are not wasting turns getting additional dice. 

Ultimately you are trying to place your stars on the board, and run yourself out of your star supply. This shows you exactly how close your neighbors are to winning, and sadly, how close you are to losing… 

Initial Impressions

I have been told since I started gaming again a few years ago, that I HAD to play Euphoria. I kept putting it off. No clue why.

It looks good, has interesting coloring and symbology. (I don’t care that spell check says symbology ain’t a word, I’m using it nonetheleast) I think my main issue with the initial impression is that I played Leaders of Euphoria before playing this game, and it played entirely differently. I pre-judged this game, based on the other. 

It was not a fair assessment, particular because the other game was only set in the Euphoria universe, it was not the same type of game at all, and never made that claim. I was a judgy mcjudgerson.

Game Build Quality

In this edition of Euphora, Stonemaier has brought in Gametrayz, and wow. It is a perma-upgrade. 

Noal Adelman of Gmaetrayz has made this game pop with vacuform plastic. I have become a fan of Gametrayz. Beyond that, Stonemaier games always puts in so much effort into their game, and thought into the quality. 

No effort here was skimped upon.

Artistic Direction

Jacqui Davis is a great artis. In this game, everything just feels at home. The symbolism is great, and the art really is dystopic. 

Everything here is easy to understand, and that is high praise on a board game artist. Beyond that, if you check out the artist’s homepage, you’ll see the flair for the incredible in all of their work. 

All in all the art for Euphoria is a home run, of dystopic proportions. 

Fun Factor

I like resource gathering, and trading and collecting and building and engine building. The fact that you are able to do all of these in one game, and it still makes sense, says the game in my way of thinking is fun. 

All in all, when a game is complex in scope, but simple in actualization, I will generally be a fan.

Age Range & Weight

13+. Based on the future planning nature of the game, I think the age range is just about right. Obviously there will be exceptions to the rule, but all in all, Stonemaier games has given the best age range to allow for maximum entertainment.

This is not always an easy feat.

Conclusions

So as I sit writing this, Stonemaier Games has announced an expansion to Euphoria, entitled as the first sentence in this review foreshadowed… Ignorance is Bliss Expansion.

I can honestly, and easily say, this expansion has me buzzing. I need to see what they have done to my world of Euphoria. How has Stonemaier broken, or made Euphoria better? Can it live up to the hype of a game that I was supposed to play for several years?

What I can say beyond anything else… I have been entertained by every expansion I have played that Stonemaier Games has produced, I expect this to be the result here also. 

The craft of wood and cardboard is strong with Stonemaier Games. In the words of the famous poet Pinkyous Floyd, “We don’t need no education.”