Theme and What is It?
Lisboa has a large earthquake. The type that destroys cities. The other thing that destroys cities is over burdensome bureaucracy. This game is based on the aftermath of the great Lisbon earthquake, and the rebuilding efforts undertaken by the society after the quake. As with all things, the red tape in the initial phases of the disaster were lessened by the fact the city had just undergone a horrific disaster.
As the city is rebuilt, the politicians continue to make the rebuilding effort more difficult. This sounds like modern politics thrown into a disaster that happened nearly 300 years ago. In fair Lisboa, is where we lay our scene.
Vital’s game is a simple base mechanic of play a card, draw a card, and do the actions on the card.
The artistry is that the game requires you to plan ahead several moves in order to be able to do anything of consequence. This requires more chess like thinking than many games, but also keeps game moving at a quick clip, with the right people, as moves are planned.
This, is one of the few games that I have kickstarted in the past year. Normally I would not review these games, without a review copy.
The game just looks so good, and so interesting, that I knew others would feel similarly.
Quality of Components and Insert
Here my opinion must be tempered on the basis that I ordered the Deluxe version.
I believe all the regular parts came in my box, and they are all of high quality, and quite beautiful. The player mats are cut out specifically so that the cards tuck perfectly in at the desired height. The designer of the components just gets it. The game is nice. It also feels nice. It looks nice.
Ian O’Toole has designed a masterpiece. The artistry of this game feels like Lisboa of antiquity feels like it should have felt. Even the points are based on wigs. This is a beautiful rendition of a well thought out game. Mr. O’Toole is a man to watch for in the board gaming world. What will his next brainchild be? I’m atwitter.
The coloring is just fantastic, and unlike anything else I’ve seen, and the pieces while understated, fit the theme perfectly. I’m in love with the art, you will be as well.
Sadly, due to the heavy setup time, this is where the game drags a bit. I am sure after a few more plays, this may not be an issue. However, as a first time play, the setup was very burdensome, and the rules explanation overly obtuse.
I think the game would benefit greatly by a simplification of setup. How this could be achieved however, based on gameplay is unclear. The fun of the game is the future planning, but by the time the game gets setup, it took a while to get into the playing of the game.
Difficulty and Age Range Suggestion
Lisboa is a heavy game. There is no way around that. My suggestion is that you only play with others that enjoy heavy games, and at least one person that enjoys reading rules. I am not that person.
I would suggest the playing of the game include the manufacturers suggested age range. It was heavy, and obtuse, and while not overly hard, definitely deep.
The art of Lisboa is what drew me in. I’m a gaming art nerd.
The depth of the game will either make it succeed in the long run, or it will overly burden the new players with difficulty in setup, and initial rules explanation.
I would highly suggest setting game up, and then simply telling people to play one of their five cards. Do this a few rounds, so that the players learn the play of the game, and start over. The play of the game is not difficult, and you will get lost in the rules, if you allow it to happen. Playing is by far the best way to learn the way to play.