Lagoon is a fledgling world whose fate is still to be determined by the manipulating powers of the circles of druids. Throughout the life of Lagoon, druids will forge and unravel the very lands that make up the core essence of Lagoon. How will you forge this new planet? Will you develop the lands or unravel others to assert dominance?
3 Hares Games have brought us their debut title, Lagoon: Land of Druids, that honestly I find…impeccable. The artwork is gorgeous. The components are a bar-setting high quality. The game play is subtle and deep. A unique theme, that merges seamlessly with the games mechanics. I struggle to find something I don’t like about Lagoon. Give me a few minutes and read my thoughts on this great new release.
Yes, I have rambled enough, here’s the skinny. 1 -4 players, yes there are good solo rules, will take control of a group of druids and manipulate the land tiles in play; or explore deeper into Lagoon expanding the board. After about 40 minutes, all of the land tiles will have been played and the game comes to an end. Interestingly enough, the scoring is determined by which energy type is most prevalent in play. If there are more blue tiles, blue wins and you get points for red and yellow tiles you unraveled from the game and any blue energy tokens you have earned. These conditions change if a different energy type wins. Up until the very last play of the game this can’t be determined, creating a tight game until the very end.
Lagoon uses a smooth action mechanic of flipping over your druid tokens to indicate they have used their energy this turn, thus spending their action. Players can have more or less druid tokens than other players, this makes using the powers of the tiles revealed even more crucial.
At first, the tiles seem very simple and it’s hard to see how useful they really are. Example; using 1 druid token to move another druid token, that could very well move on its own, seems quite lackluster. However, when used to move that druid token 1 space, then have it move further on its own and then use another druid on a different tile to “refresh” the moving druid who then can use the final destination land tile. You can build the perfect engine, that all comes together. I found wonderfully fun and boundless combinations to whatever goal I was trying to achieve.
As the land tiles expand, players will acquire energy tokens from the types of tiles they randomly choose and lay down. In an ironic twist, players can use the energy tokens they acquire to “unravel”, remove from play, opposite energy land tiles they have druid tokens on. These tiles are placed in the players scoring pile and can potentially be worth points at the end of the game. Again, here lies another subtle feature in Lagoon that is revealed to be quite powerful and mastering how and when to unravel a tile can be crucial.
I have enjoyed the few games I have had the chance to play and really enjoyed the experience of finding out how powerful the simplest of things can be. I will leave exploring more about Lagoon up to you. You see what I did there…explore. You explore land tiles…ah, forget it.
If you like games that have evolving strategies, beautiful artwork, an expertly integrated theme and high replay value; I cannot recommend Lagoon: Land of Druids enough.