Personally I love drafting games, but drafting games do not always play well with two players. Tides of Time is a two-player only drafting game. So, does it work? Yes it does. Read on.
Like I said, Tides of Time is a drafting game for two. The game consists of 18 cards. Cards belong to one of the five suits, or don’t have a suit at all, and have special ability. This special ability can be an end of round scoring condition, or it can be something that will help you without giving you points, like the win all ties ability.
The game is played over three rounds. You start the first round with five cards in your hand. You pick one, pass the rest to your opponent and place the chosen card face-up in front of you. You do that until all cards are played and you have five cards laid out in front of you.
Then you score points. Depending on which suits and abilities your cards have, you score points for having the most blue Library cards, three points for every purple Temple card you have, or 9 points for every set of Stronghold, Palace and Temple cards you have, for instance.
After scoring in round one and two, you keep one card you’ve played that round in your tableau, it becomes a Relic and you place a Relic token on it. You discard another card and draw two new card, so you start the next round with five cards in your hand.
You do this for three rounds. You end the game with seven cards on the table, you then add up all your points from the three rounds and the player with the most points wins the game.
Simple isn’t it? Yes it is. Well, this game might be perfection, as far as two-player only drafting games go. You know what kind of cards are in the deck, every card is used in a game. The only thing you don’t know is when a card comes up and if you or your opponent are able to play it.
The most important unknown in the game is that first hand of cards every round. Only you know what you’ve played during the first turn of every round. Your opponent doesn’t know which two cards you’ve drawn from the deck. He or she knows what you’ve might have drawn, but can’t know for sure. So during that first turn, you can make your plan. After that there’s no hidden information any more and from then on the drafting gets really fun.
You can exactly see what your opponent is up to and, if you really want to, you can calculate how many points every card might score.
Especially when you’re in round two and three, when the relics stay on the table, you have good idea what you and your opponent need and it’s your job to make sure your plan succeeds and your opponent’s plan doesn’t.
I do wonder if, after playing this one for a while, every game will feel more of the same, but time will tell I suppose.
For now I can only say that Tides of Time is a very quick, strategic, kind of addicting, and good-looking card game. A superb job from Portal Games and Kristian Čurla.
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