Bardagi… Bardagi, Bardagi, Bardagi.
That above is a genuine fitting start to the review for this game. We here at Geek Sleep Rinse Repeat have been somewhat blessed with regards to reviewing board games. The games that we’ve played and reviewed have been for the most part very enjoyable experiences, the only sour review we’ve really given was for Spiderman: Dice Masters. That is until now. Here we go.
Bardagi: The Claim for Gold is a card based and resource management game with your ultimate goal to gather resources and restore your viking clan back to it’s glory. Your current home is depleted of available resources, so you send out warriors, traders and priests to undiscovered islands that are home to barbarians. These islands hold resources that you want to take over in the best way possible. You could try to convert the barbarians using your priests bringing them to religion, you can try to trade with them or you can flat out take them over with your warriors. Each way can potentially benefit you. You travel to these undiscovered islands using ships and ship docks (ship cards) that are on your player board and on the undiscovered islands.
Each round a player chooses 6 cards that will make up their actions.They could choose 6 warrior cards which would demonstrate that they are very aggressive and want to take over barbarian claimed islands. For the most part I was choosing 2 of each type to ensure I had a balanced approach to my resource gathering. But to take over an island and claim the rich resources you need to ensure you use one more unit than is present on the island.
Once your viking clan has taken over a part of the island they then lay claim to the resource here. The resources range from meat, wool and stone which are all beneficial to replenishing units, upgrades to buildings back at home and can be used for future trading. The more areas you control across the more previously undiscovered islands results in more glory points for you and your viking faction. And that ultimately is the key objective to winning the game, the glory points.
It doesn’t sound bad does it? In fact it sounds like it could provide quite the entertaining and competitive evening of board games right? Well before I delve into the real feelings for this game, i’ll continue to hold off to provide a few more positives.
Upon initially opening the box, the game visually looks very nice. The map is double sided, with what side you use depending on how many players you have. The map is very bright and detailed and genuinely looks a lot of fun to try and conquer. The player board in which you store your resources and essentially manage your whole game from is equally as nice and clear with what goes where. The cards for the warriors, priests and traders all do a respectable job of representing their jobs, the warrior looks like he could certainly raid a barbarian village.
The second thought when opening the box is one of fear. It’s daunting at how many pieces there are in this game. Seriously we’ve played a lot of games with plenty of tokens, cards, counters and the like, but Bargadi seems to contain a lot more than we’d previously seen. It’s okay though as surely the instruction’s will help explain everything. And this is where things turn sour.
What sounds like a relatively simple exploration and resource gathering game, the rule book does not relay the game as that easy to play. When we started to play this game, we began setting the game up at about 6pm. By the time we got the game setup to what we believed to be correct it was about 7:15pm. The rule book is one of the worst structured game rule book’s we’ve come across. The way the rules are worded are atrocious and we found we had to read paragraphs over about 4 times very slowly to make any sense of it. It was very frustrating. “Once you do this, then you need to take this, do this which then reverts back to that to then ensure that the claim of this is then claimed upon the exploration of that then you can do this to enable the resource that does this to do that” (*Not quite that bad, but not far off). After reading a paragraph this confusing genuinely 5 times in super slow mo, I would look up from the instruction book to Will who was looking back at me with glazed over eyes, mouth slightly open yet slightly smirking with a real look of puzzlement. None of it would compute. We were getting more and more hot headed trying to read the same paragraphs over and over again to make sense of it.
Quickly jumping back a peg, and going back to the sheer number of counters and tokens. Resources are represented with different shapes and coloured wooden counters. This was another large negative aspect to the game. The colours of the resource on the map on occasion would differ to that colour of the token that represented the resource.
And trying to distinguish what token was what resource provided a rather amusing 5 minute laughing fit of trying to explain to Will that the anvil shape token might represent iron. I took it as Iron ore get’s hammered on an anvil so an anvil would make sense to represent it. Will failed to see how a brown and not really anvil shape token could represent iron ore. And I can see why he would think this. I did enjoy our U.N style debate on what we thought on the tokens while setting the game up. We don’t ever record our reviews or play through of games, this is one occasion I really wish we had as it would have been hilarious.
When playing a new game for the first time, it’s expected that the game will take a little longer than normal as you’d be diving into the rule book for a few times just to get a quick reminder of what you’re doing. This only increased our frustration when playing Bardagi because you would then have to navigate through this ridiculous rule book to make sure you’re plans are legitimate, but due to the layout of it, it would take more time.
As mentioned we’re exceptionally lucky here at GSRR to get to review some fabulous and exciting board games and long may that continue, on this occasion it was a real struggle to even find motivation to begin playing the game in the first place due to the over complicated and terribly laid out rule book. Once we began playing the struggle was then to see the game through to the end. But we did it! The fundamentals of the game seem like there could be a very good, competitive and enjoyable resource collection game here. But the difficulty to get the numerous game mechanics into play on the board suck the fun up from the game. We’ve gone back to plenty of the games we reviewed and played them again at further game nights and ended up enjoying them more than we remembered. A brief discussion with Will it would appear that Bargadi will forever sit on one of our gaming shelves, probably never to get touched again. Perhaps that’s unfair then to write such a scathing review on only one play through of the game, but that one play through left a resounding mark with us that we couldn’t muster the enthusiasm to try it again before getting this review out.
As the review started, Bardagi… Bardagi, Bardagi, Bardagi, It sums it up that we laughed and probably enjoyed trying to fit the word Bardagi into songs more than actually playing the game.