End Times 2022: Faiyum
When I play a board game, I often want to see the fruit of my labour displayed on the board. For example, in Terraforming Mars: you play your cards right, you see more and more tiles getting added to the map. You are building a world. The opposite happens in Ark Nova: I play my animal cards, I add tiles in the zoo, the zoo feels lifeless (we'll talk about it when JW writes his post). Faiyum doesn't disappoint though. You play your cards, and you build and build.
2022 is finally coming to an end and, during these End Times, Athena and JW will share some thoughts on what they played this year.
The setup is one of the oddest I've seen so far; you are populating the map with crocodiles. Lots of them. And as the game progresses, these reptilian meeples are gradually vanishing, giving their place to either settlements or cultivated land. Roads, bridges and temples are being added. It's a construction paradise but because everything is represented by little wooden pieces, it's all very abstracted and reminds me of a child's toy.
I like this game a lot. The card play is clever which is expected of a Friedemann Friese design anyway. You are making decisions every turn, checking which cards you can buy from the market, which ones you want to play, and the order in which you play them. This is important, because if you rush to do things, it may be difficult to get the cards you need back from the discard pile. You rarely feel out of options though. The game has a nice cadence but it runs long. You are going through the whole deck, and that takes time.
The solo campaign gives you specific goals to aim for in every session, and you need a bit of planning ahead to win some of the objectives, but winning is relatively easy. It is an almost meditative experience, quite calming and very absorbing. It can get tiresome, however, since you need to throw a couple of hours into it, if not more. Reviews for solo have been mixed so far, but it works for me. I like to build my land and send my workers to get me grapes, even if I feel a bit sad for the disappearing crocs. I like to build like an Egyptian.