Like most people on this website I come and go with Kickstarter. Every now and then there will be a product/s that completely grabs my attention and will be all I can think about for the next several months until it is finally fulfilled and delivered, but other times I will not even go to the website as I have put a self-imposed embargo on new games.
That is why Endless Winter completely flew under my radar and I totally forget about it until I was invited to a friend's house to play his latest acquisition.
It continues the trend of Kickstarter by providing you with an abundance of Production Value and "Stuff" to keep you always fiddling and never disengaged. I was told that we were trying to survive the ice age and the way we went about that was completely us to us.
Want to create villages seizing control of the lands? Go for it.
Want to capture and collect ferocious animals like Saber Tooth Tigers, Mammoths and Sloths? I can't see why not.
What's that? You need food NOW and those animals you just sent a turn collecting now have to be "tipped" so you can have an immediate boost in food to be able to pay for all the cultural actions that you want to play to maximise the card synergy from my hand going into the Eclipse phase? That's oddly specific but sure I guess we can give it a whack!
I have to admit that the game's beautiful and that it takes a lot of things that I love like double-layered players boards, quality card production, a colour scheme that is both refreshing and easy to read and blends them into an icy package that is both easy to read and understand. I also liked the fact that it put me into a setting that I have never played in before and gave me choices that were both fun and crunchy.
However, it is not all snowflakes and stag meat.
After the game (which was two and a half hours with 3 players) I felt like there was something missing. I didn't come away from the game with a burning desire to unpack the ungodly amount of "bits" and raise those monuments again.
I'd like to use the adage that this game felt like a "Jack-of-all-trades and a Master of None". The fact that it gave me so much to do meant that I never felt like I was engaging with all the systems at a deep level but rather more on the surface. I need Area Control for production, Deck Building for Action Combos and Set collection for End Game points. I am really simplifying it but you are starting to get the point.
I guess that's the point. There is A LOT you can do (i haven't even mentioned sacrificing cards and building monuments) but you have to make a choice of what SPECIFICALLY you want to do. You make those choices of 2, MAAAAAYBE 3 paths you want to explore and you try to make the best of that.
I don't dislike the game, it was an enjoyable experience and I don't feel like it wasted my time but at the end of our play I just looked at the game and felt; "Yeah its pretty good, maybe give it a couple more plays" and it was that 'Maybe' that kept me thinking I was missing something AND I AM! There is a Roll 'n' Write Module in the box and other modules that, to be honest, I am NOT scrambling to put into the game because it is already stuffed like a turkey on Thanksgiving.
Endless Winter really does provide a Point Salad feeling but maybe I was after a steak?!
On that note, if you made it this far into my blog post thank you for reading and I hope to post more things in the future.