Saturday, May 2, 2015

Systems Saturday - AquaSphere (2014)

My buddy John won a copy of AquaSphere (2014) at a recent event and brought it to Culver's for us to check out.  We had some warning and were looking forward to it, since Tasty Minstrel had yet to disappoint us with other titles.  We discovered quickly that the rules of this one were a bit of a jumble to get through though that might be due to the complexity of the game.

From the description on Board Game Geek:
News from the depths! The AquaSphere is a research facility stationed deep below the ocean's surface, and your skilled team — consisting of an engineer, a scientist, reprogrammable bots and exploratory submarines — is trying to gather as much data as possible.
The game board in AquaSphere has two main areas: A research station comprised of six sectors in which your scientist conducts experiments and a headquarters where your engineer supervises preparation of the bots. During each of the four game rounds, you take several turns, and on each turn you either:
Use your engineer in the headquarters to program a bot; each round you can choose from three of the seven actions.  Have your scientist bring a bot to a sector to perform an action.
Through actions such as improving your lab, sending out submarines, collecting crystals, and examining octopuses, you expand the abilities of your team or gather knowledge points, which are necessary to win. Additional challenges result from the limited size of your lab, which is your personal stock; you can increase the size of your lab, which makes life easier, but this costs valuable time.
AquaSphere is a challenging game of strategy and tactics with different paths to victory that requires planning in advance as well as skillful use of short-term opportunities.

At first, four of us took a stab at a game but one had to leave part way in so we decided to start over.  However, Tom also knew he had to go soon and had his fill, so John and I decided to tackle it as a two player game.  We did refer to the aforementioned rules on more than a few occasions while playing.  However, despite this game being hard to grasp, those of us who played it all the way through agreed that this was an excellent, complex game with lots of options toward fashioning a winning strategy.  I think I am going to have to have at this one again to figure out what about it made it such a tough row to hoe because the harvest was plentiful and well worth the labor.

A look under the hood of various Games, Rules and Systems.
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