Monday, November 30, 2020

Clans - this simplicity couldn’t have been easy

 Leo Colovini has been a mixed bag for me. Alexandros spent a long time in one of my groups as the standard for a terrible game. I may never life down bringing it to the table. And Cartagena never clicked for me no matter how hard I tried it. However, Clans still stands out for me as a really solid game. 

Oh and it was also my introduction to Colovini.

Here’s the review I wrote 14 years ago: My opinion of Leo Colovini has gone down since I wrote this but my opinion of Clans hasn’t changed.

The concept of the game is so simple. Everyone can move about collections of huts and create isolated villages that score points for their participating colors BUT everyone’s color is secret. Very easy to grok hidden information and bluffing. 

But, as I get older and more exposed to more and more games, I have to say that the simplicity of Clans had to have had a LOT of work out into it. The board alone is designed to create both balanced set-up and play. There’s a lot of little touches in the game that look obvious but couldn’t have been simple to develop.

With a younger audience, I might actually try Quicksand before Clans. (Back when our son was into Paw Patrol, I pondered making a Paw Patrol retheme) It’s a quick and easy introduction to the concepts and easy to teach in a loud room. But I think Clans has greater depth and I would use it to secretly introduce negative space.

Back before Covid put a hold on in-person conventions, I had gotten into the habit of taking older games to little cons. I’ve done this with TransAmerica, Money, For Sale and Through the Desert. And they’ve held up for new (okay, younger) players. Clans would fit in to that group and do at least as well.

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