You can find my earlier posts on AGES here. They look at the cards, how to setup and play the game.
Before I get into my final thoughts so that I am open and above board, I should point out I paid for my pre-production copy of AGES, I know the designer Chris Shaner from playing against him on Star Realms (he kicks my butt 80% of the time we play).
There with that information in hand you can now decide the value of what I am about to say.
Oh other information that you need to know, I love deck building games. Nope that's an understatement I LOVE deck building games. Star Realms I frickin adore, Marvel Legendary fantastic. Two games that if I had to do a top ten would be easily in the top ten if not top five. Plus I'm biting at the bit to get Arctic Scavengers to the table.
So now I've been completely open and declared interests, and you know where I'm coming from, let's get on with my final thoughts on AGES.
REMEMBER: This is all based on the none final version.
For those that already have reached the conclusion tl;dr for this post already here is the overall summary “I frakin love it”.
Right now we have got rid of those people with short attention spans, let's look into this in a bit more depth.
First off this game screams for a nice playmat for the play area. Similar to the board in Marvel Legendary or playmat in Legendary Encounters Alien. Luckily there are some designs Chris has been running by folks on the Edutainment Facebook page. So I know these are in the works.
You can see influences from other games within AGES. It could easily have been a train wreck combining the influences. However Chris had avoided this and they work really well together.
I love being able to react to another player as they are taking their turn with cards that have an immediate ability if I have any in my hand.
The game is very tactical having the Elite character row and the main trade row. Having to decide between the two for which card to buy. Are you buying to deny the other player? Runs the risk of revealing something better for them. I love that double edged sword.
The Elite phase, wow what a great idea. Love, love it. It does make that purchase decision harder. Sometimes you are buying an Elite character just to deny the other player the use of the Elite phase ability. Which feeds into maybe you haven't got enough gold to buy the Elite character, so end up buying a main card just to deny the other player of that cards ability in the Elite phase. This all feeds into the previous point.
I like how locations are used to give you and on going ability that you may use on each turn. This also gives another one of those hard choices to make during the game. There are going to be times in the game when you fall just short of having enough gold to buy that main card or Elite character that you really really want to buy. Luckily you have a location in front of you that is giving you a rather nifty ability that you have been finding really useful. But if you trash it you can use it as gold to get that card you really want. But that ability is really good and you don't want to lose it, even though eventually the location will come back at some point. There's the quandary. Love it, love it.
The cards look really cool, love the back of the card artwork. The cards feel nice and of a good quality. I'd love to see some custom card sleeves with the current back of card artwork on them to protect the cards. If I remember correctly I believe a handful (five?) of the cards will be getting new artwork. But the images used for the cards are cool and do a good job of capturing the person, item, location they represent.
As I have pointed out this version is not the final version of the game. The manual that I have does need a bit of work. And Chris is going to be working on this I believe.
I like this game a lot, nah LOVE it. I can't wait for it to hit kickstarter so that I can back it. Yes I will be buying it again! Why? So I have a final version of the game, and can get any promo cards that the kickstarter will have, and hopefully a playmat.