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ECO CORAL REEF | Strategic Tile-Laying Board Game | Colorful Tile Placement Tabletop Game | 2-4 Players | Playtime 30-60 min | by Unique Board Games (Deluxe Edition)

£9.9£99Clearance
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In May 1942, the Japanese sought to capture Port Moresby on the south coast of New Guinea and interrupt communications between the United States and Australia. Such a move, they hoped, would bring the Americans to battle. The card artwork is fantastic, with lots of vibrantly coloured sea creatures popping spectacularly off the cards. Mesa Schumacher’s skill as an artist for a range of anatomical and biological publications has leant itself to the game’s art design. Additionally the size of the cards have actually been increased by something like 50%, making the images a bit bigger and clearer. They are also a bit easier to handle for shuffling, dealing and passing between players. In my opinion, the artwork of the original just inches above Coral Reef, but the bigger card size is a major bonus. In the previous game, one criticism I had was the gloss texture to the cards. In Coral Reef, though the texture is the same, the increased card size means that everything is much easier to see, shuffle, and pass around.

Players are tasked with growing a balanced, functioning and interdependent ecosystem, using 20 cards, in a 4x5 grid. The game consists of two equal rounds of ten cards played with scores totaled up at the end. Increasing complexity of strategy and tactics is created through the ways in which the cards interact with each other. There are 11 different types of cards, each with its own sea creature, including everything from microscopic Plankton to (noticeably) macroscopic Blue Whales. The cards are also divided up into different food networks (Producers, Prey, Predators) which have important implications for their scoring. Coral Sea is the new introductory boxed game for the Second World War at Sea series. It covers this key battle and is intended as a gateway for players new to the world’s most popular series of naval boardgames. The Japanese player must establish new bases in New Guinea and at Tulagi in the Solomon Islands; the American player must stop them. Forces are very closely balanced, and victory will rest with the player who can best make use of his or her resources.As well as setting out the rules, the game’s guide has additional material for those interested in the habitat and animals, with information about the significance of coral reefs in the real world, and the importance of preserving and protecting reef environments. Each card type has some information about them as well. Though not integral to the game, it definitely adds a nice bit of flavour. So, Who’s It Best For? The United States Navy needed no special inducement to fight its nation’s enemies. Two American aircraft carriers met one small and two large Japanese carriers in the world’s first battle between these powerful new warships. For the first time in naval history, a major battle was decided with no warship of either fleet even sighting an enemy ship directly. Aircraft were the new measure of naval power. Some special rules at the end of the game required forward planning right from the start to improve your score. In particular, the Blue Whale, if played, requires players to turn over an adjacent card before scoring. The turned card cannot be used in any scoring calculations but enables the Blue Whale to be counted (it gains points relative to the number of Krill in the ecosystem)! Turtles and Octopuses are scored after everything else, but importantly the Octopus has an additional power which allows players to move any card to a new location or swap two cards when it is placed in the ecosystem. As a bonus, although the game is technically for 2-6 players, the game’s guide also includes an adaptation for those looking for a solo game or at the very least, one that can been played solo as desired. What About The Design & Artwork? Players are tasked with growing a balanced, functioning and interdependent ecosystem, using 20 cards, in a 4×5 grid. The game consists of two equal rounds of ten cards played with scores totaled up at the end. Increasing complexity of strategy and tactics is created through the ways in which the cards interact with each other. There are 11 different types of cards, each with its own sea creature, including everything from microscopic Plankton to (noticeably) macroscopic Blue Whales. The cards are also divided up into different food networks (Producers, Prey, Predators) which have important implications for their scoring.

The Great Barrier Reef covers over 130,000 square miles and is home to myriad marine species. Ecosystem: Coral Reef, the card-drafting and pattern building introduces us to some of the fish, crustaceans and aquatic mammals that call the Great Barrier Reef home. In the vein of its “prequel”, Ecosystem, Coral Reef brings new mechanics and a new environment in a standalone format. Having played a fair bit of the first game, I will comment on Coral Reef both in its own right and in comparison to its predecessor for players who are interested in deciding which version to go for (although I think both are great)! How Does The Game Play Out?

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