Monday, 5 June 2017

Review: Shahrazad by Osprey Games

This post is Must Contain Minis' first review of a non-miniatures game. The game comes from Osprey Games and I am more than happy to offer my opinion of their product.

Shahrazad Review by Osprey Games
Must Contain Minis Reviews Shaharazad.

The game sent was Shahrazad. This is certainly not my normal type of game. Generally, I prefer more complex games, dripping with theme. Although Sharazad is themed, it is much more abstract than what normally hits my table.

The game is also very simple and has a feel of a randomized puzzle. The flip side about the game being simple is that more people (gamers and non-gamers) are generally willing to play the game (or at least give it a try).

Shahrazad


In this game, players play the part of Shahrazad - a woman who must tell the King a fantastic story in order to survive the night. Once Shahrazad tells her first tale, the king demands a second story. This is done by playing a second time.

As far as theme goes, this scenario description and the lovely artwork on the tiles is as far as the game goes. The rest of the game consists of tile lying in a fashion to organize colours and numbers.

The game works as either a one or two player game and takes roughly 10 to 20 minutes to play through.

Game Play


When Shahrazad arrived, my wife and I opened the box and immediately started playing our own version of the game. In exploring the components, we drew two tiles at a time, looked at them and tried to tell an interesting story pairing the words and pictures on the tiles with the other tiles. We had no idea that drawing two tiles and playing like this is similar to how the game actually plays.

To play, one places a single tile in the middle of the table. That tile is the starting point.

Shahrazad Review
Place a tile in the middle of the table.

Shahrazad Review
Pick up two tiles. The two tiles are what are in your "hand."  
From there, Players place one tile (from their hand) at a time to join the tiles in a pattern. The tiles may be laid right above or below a tile or beside and slightly above (or slightly below) another tile. There is certainly a "puzzle" type of feel to this action. Below shows a picture of how the table looked once I laid all of my tiles.


Shahrazad Review
Numerically, this game played well, but part of the goal is to connect the tiles fully from left to right. Below you will see that I did not do a good job in connecting the story tiles from left to right. As a note...  In a solitary game, the tiles can be four high and in a two player game, the tiles may only be three high. 

Shahrazad Review
The next phase is scoring. Anywhere there is a higher number on the left than the right, the number on the left is flipped over. Then, anywhere that the tiles cannot connect from start to finish, those tiles are flipped over. Points are then calculated. One point is given for every tile of the same colour connected (in the largest group of that colour, and one point is subtracted for every gap in the tile sets and for every tile flipped over.

Shahrazad Review
In the game above, I scored one point. The rules state that if you don't reach a score of 10 that you start over.
This game was not my first play through. I thought that I had the strategy figured out. Clearly, as indicated by the score, I had not.

After failing to score 10 (or above), I did exactly what the rules state. I started the game over again. This time, I did much better.

Shahrazad Review
I laid my tile in the centre of the table. A three... well, I guess this will end up being the left side of the table. :) 

Shahrazad Review
This time, I laid the tiles right. No issues from left to right, so scoring is just a matter counting up the tiles in the largest connected section of each colour. 

Shahrazad Review
Round One... Score of 15.
After the first game (so long as the score was above 10), the flipped over tiles get removed and a second round is played. No tiles were flipped so no tiles were removed from play.


Shahrazad Review
Round two... we start by placing a tile in the middle of the table.

Shahrazad Review
My draws were not as good this time, so there are gaps to allow me to lay my tiles. It is a risky strategy, but it paid off well.

Shahrazad Review
I filled those gaps over the course of the game.

Shahrazad Review
Numerically, the tiles were good, but I did have to flip one over because it couldn't reach the end of the chain.

After the second round, add the scores together and that is the final score of the game.

Shahrazad Review
The end score is 33. The King likes my story a lot.  :)
The two rounds together took me just over 10 minutes to play. With two players, the game is cooperative and the game play is very similar to the solo version.

My Final Verdict 


Shahrazad is a fun little game with quality components. The tiles are nice and everyone that has played has commented on how they really like the artwork.

The game mechanics are really simple and it is an easy game to teach. Theme is present, but felt tacked on. I would consider Shahrazad a pleasant abstract tile laying game. The story related pictures on the tiles are lovely, but I didn't feel like I was telling a story as I played. Instead, the game felt more like solving a puzzle of sorts.

That said, one could tell a story piece-by-piece while laying the tiles. By doing so, I am sure that the game might feel more thematic.

For me, the game played best as a solitaire game. It works well with two players, but I liked how much faster it played when it was just me.

I could imagine parents making this game something special with kids by having each player tell a sentence or two of a story each time a tile is laid.

While the game features no miniatures, it will remain in my collection. Shahrazad is a quick and fun game that would be perfect for when one or two people have 10 to 20 minutes to spare - perhaps between other games with miniatures in them.

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

Discloser: Osprey Publishing provided Must Contain Minis with a Review Copy of Shahrazad.

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