Innovations are the foundation of society. Ideas, inventions, new ways of doing things—these are what ground civilization and move it forward. And all of this within thirty to sixty minutes. Are you up for the challenge? Then check out Innovation below!
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Innovations are the foundation of society. Ideas, inventions, new ways of doing things—these are what ground civilization and move it forward. And all of this within thirty to sixty minutes. Are you up for the challenge?
Then check out Innovation below! Innovation is a tableau- and civilization-building game for two to four players. The first player to secure a set number of achievements is the winner. Then one card is randomly removed from each stack numbered The five special achievements are set to the side.
Each player receives two cards from Age 1 and secretly chooses one to be the starting card in his or her tableau. The player who chooses the first card alphabetically goes first. Players may play any card from hand to their tableau, but players may have only one stack of each color, so a card of the same color covers the older cards.
Players may draw a card from the stack matching the highest-age card in their tableau, and whenever a player must draw a card from an age, if there are no cards of that age available, they take from the next age this is key to the game. The heart of the game is the dogma action. Each dogma ability is keyed to one of six icon types and falls into one of two camps: regular dogma actions which are generally good and demand dogma actions which attack other players.
The player using the dogma ability draws a card if any other players piggyback in this way. I mentioned that each card has a number of icons on it, and only one card is on top of a color stack.
The game ends immediately when either 1 a player claims the set number of achievements, 2 a special win condition is met specified on dogma cards , or 3 a player is required to draw a card higher than Age In the final case, the player with the most points in his or her score pile is the winner.
Innovation is a game that, looking at it from the outside, could go either way with me. In its favor is its small box size and small component footprint, its use of cards for multiple things one of my favorite mechanics , and the quirky, off-beat premise a civilization game through ideas. Working against it are its seeming randomness, its chaos, and its combativeness. Yet despite those elements in Innovation that are not my usual cup of tea, I find the game a blast from start to finish, one of my favorites.
One thing I really like about Innovation is that the game system is simple: each turn involves two actions, and these actions are straightforward: draw a card, play a card, activate a card, or claim a victory card. Easy peasy. Yet while the basic structure is simple, the game diverges with the cards.
One box of Innovation contains age cards, each of them unique, and each with its own dogma effect. Innovation, like the realm of ideas, constantly changes. So players have to find clever means to accomplish their ends, sometimes taking gambles on their dogmas. Having more icons of a type than anyone else allows you to either browbeat them into submission through demands or piggyback on their non-demand dogmas. This is where the game gets tricky: you have to balance benefiting from more icons in some areas while conceding in others.
And conceding can be devastating. In one game I played, I was able to run the table for a few rounds which ultimately won me the game by exploiting The Pirate Code, which demands that other players with fewer crown icons transfer certain cards from their score pile to yours. And then, if any cards are transferred, the demanding player scores one of their top cards with a crown.
In other words, unless the player does other things than pirating, they will eventually have to score The Pirate Code itself. And after each dogma, because a top card with crowns is scored, the chances of another player being affected get weaker and weaker. Talk about planned obsolescence…. Players can also work to set up their boards in such a way as to maximize future opportunities. One of the ways players can do this is through splaying their cards, which involves cascading piles of cards so that more icons are revealed.
This allows players to benefit from buried technologies played early in the game. Innovation can be open to swings of luck. Similarly, while the game is won through achievements, it is possible for players to make major comebacks. First, there are the special achievements, which reward players for outlandish things that, if they can pull off in their tableau, move them one step closer to victory.
Then there are the special end-game conditions, found in the late ages of the game. Cards like A. And finally, the alternate win condition if a card higher than 10 is to be drawn is by score pile, which, again, is not necessarily related to the player with the most achievements. The swings of luck in win conditions will be bothersome for some people, but they are not to me. Each win condition takes strategy. If a player is seemingly out of the running, he or she will want to run down the clock by zipping through the ages—either hoping for an alternate-win card in Ages or hoping to have a packed score pile once the timer runs out.
I love that there are more ways to win than the conventional one because it keeps players on their toes. I love this aspect of the game because it keeps players engaged the whole way through.
A legitimate point against Innovation, at least in my experience, is its tendency to produce analysis paralysis in players.
But because of the complexity of the cards, the constantly changing game state, and the often clever manipulation of actions to accomplish what you want to accomplish, it can be hard to plan in advance. My advice on this point: play obliviously, at least until you pick these up naturally. It bogs down if every option is considered, weighed, executed, taken back, and executed again on every turn. So you may want to avoid playing the game with the AP prone.
The components of Innovation are serviceable, but not spectacular. Different strokes for…different people. These are minor complaints, especially since what matters are icons and dogma text, and both of these are crystal clear. But I love it. Despite the abstract nature of the civilization building, the theme really comes through for me on individual cards.
This is a game that I love and am almost always itching to play. I'll try anything once, but my favorite games are generally middleweight Euros. I also find it odd how much I love this game despite having some elements that would normally be a turn off for me. I was excited when the Iello version was announced but the cards are just too busy for my taste and I disliked some of the terminology it used.
I agree about the conflict. As we see in our current political climate, ideas can be combative. I imagine Innovation as various civilizations striving to so embody their ideas that they use them as the means to attack others.
All that to say, it makes sense. Yes, more functional design. The cards are clear. I was struck again looking at the pictures in this review just how clean the design is. Easy to follow, which makes a somewhat disorienting game much easier to navigate. The French edition looks like the Iello edition which they have also made available in English. Your Name required. Your Email required. Your Website optional.
Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. February 21, 6. Home Reviews. By FarmerLenny on October 3, Reviews. How It Works Innovation is a tableau- and civilization-building game for two to four players. Innovation set up and ready to go. Players may perform two actions on their turns. Actions include: Melding playing a card to their tableau Drawing Achieving getting the pieces necessary to win Executing a dogma Players may play any card from hand to their tableau, but players may have only one stack of each color, so a card of the same color covers the older cards.
Three examples of splayed cards: splayed left, splayed right, and splayed up. Also, an Amazon box. Shame on me. The five special achievements. Talk about planned obsolescence… The Pirate Code.
A feared card on the high seas…and in Innovation. Turn 1: which to meld? What comes in the box. Summary Rating 9. User Ratings 1 Votes 9.
Summary Pros Engaging, clever gameplay Quirky and cool theme that works Simple rules system Very interactive Cons: A bit chaotic and on first blush can seem somewhat random Game can be combative Can be AP-inducing.
Innovation: 3rd Edition Review - Controlled Tactical Chaos
This game by Carl Chudyk is a journey through innovations from the stone age through modern times. Each player builds a civilization based on various technologies, ideas, and cultural advancements, all represented by cards. Each of these cards has a unique power which will allow further advancement, point scoring, or even attacking other civilizations. Be careful though, as other civilizations may be able to benefit from your ideas as well!