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Two mighty rivers wind their way down from the mountains. The fields through which they flow are fruitful, bringing wealth to their owners. Harvest fields with campesinos, gathering riches to build homes and create a prosperous estate. The rivers are the life blood of the land. With skillful placement of dams, you can alter the course of the rivers and bring prosperity to your land. That which was dry will now produce, that which was productive may now be barren. The one who best controls the rivers will control the valley, for the flow of the river carries fortune's tide.
Some people love the Tina Turner version of that song, others believe CCR was the best. The same holds for Dos Rios, players will either really like it...or not.
Dos Rios is by Franz-Benno Delonge, who gave us 'Transamerica' one of the best introductory games for non-gamers, and 'Hellas' a nifty little two player war game.
This is his first 'big box' game and comes with some very nice components. The board is geomorphic, so every game has a different look, and the initial paths of the 'two rivers' traverse a unique downward flow. Players are given six campesinos (cowboys), and two dams. The campesinos have six movement points to travel across the board, dam & alter the flow of the rivers, chase off opponents, and build casas and haciendas. Building the casas and haciendas determines victory. Players acquire money to build by being along the river with their campesinos, casas and haciendas during the harvesting of the different crops (tobacco, wheat, corn). Finally, players acquire more dams (the most important aspect of the game) by being in the forest hexes when the rivers flow through them. More on that later. No dice, no large random factors, just straight forward resource management and foresight.
Board Gamers of Reno is split on Dos Rios. Half of our players really found it enjoyably challenging while having very straight forward goals. Others felt it was too dry. It contains a lot of the old gaming adage, 'there's lots I'd like to do, but only have so much that I'm able to do'. The re-routing of the rivers is one of the most interesting aspects of the game. I can't find much to compare it with. AND that's where the dams come into play. They are the single most important resource in the game. If you fail to restock your supply of them, you will never be able to catch up. Simply put, dams are power. The more power you have, the easier it becomes to control the 'flow' of the game. Delonge also put in a greatly debated 'level the playing field' factor with the desperados. They appear from time to time, travel down the rivers and chase three campesinos back to town. Some of our players 'cried foul' every time they appeared, while others saw the mechanism as a simple way of keeping players from monopolizing the top of the rivers.
Give Dos Rios a try. I believe it will grow in popularity as players find the subtle strategies that lay within the game. Four stars and a strong buy.
i played this game at a demo at jestersplayhouse in northfeild, nj. Its like settlers of catan but better. they way each player can control the river and decide to harvest on his turn or not is great. every round the board changes and its cut throat with every player snaking the river to avoid the other players. it is also a very good statagey game one mistake and the river runs dry and so do your chances to win