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Ready to see the world in a different light? Use lots of colorful language? Then welcome to Phoenix! The object of the game is simple: all you need to do is arrange a bunch of colored pawns in the same order as the light spectrum in the middle of the game board. But in order to do this, you need great cards, and you must play them at precisely the right moment. Don't worry though, the game lasts for three rounds so you have more than one chance to win -- or lose!
After searching for the game online, everyone seemed to show it out of stock. My search also turned up the fact that Phoenix had, or might go out of print soon, so I immediately ran to a store, where I had remembered seeing a copy and picked up their last one. Before going into details about this colorful abstract strategy game, I'd just like to mention a couple of things.
A game review, like reviews in general, are designed to help the buying public, make an intelligent decision, about whether or not to spend their hard earned cash.
With that said, I can never understand why I often read reviews where the reviewer clearly doesn't care for the particular type of game they're reviewing, even before playing it.
I for one, don't enjoy Word or Trivia Games. I'd never write a review on such games, as I'm certain I'd end up comparing them to having a Root Canal. That certainly wouldn't provide valuable information for those who do enjoy such games. Now on to Phoenix.
The components are made of wood and certainly do their job. The board is one single piece that doesn't fold. The game seems small when compared to other board games but has the advantage of not taking up too much room when you play.
Phoenix is a abstract strategy game that doesn't pretend to be anymore than it is. Unlike many other games, with themes that are so thin, you begin to wonder if the box described another game by mistake.
The rules, set-up and play mechanics are simple. You randomly pick 6 different colored cubes from a cloth bag and place them on the center of the board, in a row. Next, each player randomly selects 10 colored pawns that they line up on their side of the board. This is how every game will start out.
Now each player secretly takes 5 cards from a 50 card deck. Each card indicates how pawns or even cubes, may be rearranged.
The Goal is simple - the first person that lines up their series of pawns in the same color sequence as the cubes, triggers the end of the round, when scoring takes place. High score, at the end of three rounds, wins.
Scoring is easy as well and both players may score during the round. Lining up your pawns correctly first, wins 5 points. Having all six colors present in your sequence, wins 4 points. You also score anywhere from 2-4 points for three to five pawns, of the same color, in a row.
On your turn, you can either play a card and make the move indicated, then draw another, or you can discard a card and draw another, without making any move at all. Cards will indicate whether you can move, switch, or even swap a pawn with one of your opponents. A few cards will even let you change the position of the cubes.
I should point out an error in the rules and some of the cards, that mistakenly got changed turning the translation of the game into English. The error is with the cards that say you may swap the two pawns, at each end of your line. The correct use of these cards, is to take a pawn from either end and move it to the other end, while moving the remaining pawns over one space.
Phoenix is one of those games that you can play pretty much with anyone, including children. For kids, you can play the game as a simple race. On the other hand, trying to play your cards to their best advantage, along with trying to figure out when it might be best, to interfere with your opponents plans, makes for some interesting but light fun. Taking into account the different scoring options though, can add a real challenge, when deciding what to do.
Phoenix isn't rocket science and yet it isn't checkers either. It's the type of game you'll want to play for some quick fun, without having to pull your hair out.
Phoenix is definitely a fun game that I'm glad is now part of my game library. Should it be part of yours? Only if your lucky enough to still find one.
This game is for thinkers. At first I thought it was a simple game and wasn't impressed. It took me awhile to realize that there are stratagies to this game, and that it can be played over and over again with very different results. It is the perfect game if you want something that you can play quickly with 2 players.
A very enjoyable puzzle game. At first, the strategies involved here seem a bit vague, but after a few sessions, you'll begin to appreciate the balance of the cards in the deck and plan your moves accordingly. I have found that because of Phoenix's bright appearance and straight-forward objective, it is particularly good to play with non-gamers. The card design is very good, and demonstrative pictures rather than words serve to keep the meanings of the cards clear.
All in all, I recommend Phoenix. Even with excellent 2-player games like Carcassonne and DVONN sitting on my shelf, I find myself playing Phoenix more because it is easy to grasp for new players and tends to draw them in. Also, though some have complained that the game is too random, I have found that the balanced mixture of cards in the deck and the repetition of play through rounds causes skillful play to inevitably rise to the top as in Bridge.
Partake of this pleasurable pastime of placing patterns, if you're feeling particularly perceptive. Arrange the six distinctly colored spectrum cubes randomly in a line in the board's center. From a selection of 30 pawns (five each in six colors) players each draw 10 and place them left to right on their respective sides of the board. Start with a hand of five cards, playing (or discarding) one and replenishing each turn. The cards enable various pawn-switching operations within your line, or let you exchange pawns with your opponent.
The first player to get his pawns in the same relative color order as the central cubes earns five points. Get extra points for featuring all six colors, or for forming long clusters of like-colored pawns. Most points wins. Good games, like life, need not be all black and white.