Lagoon: Land of Druids, designed by David Chott, is on Kickstarter, but lucky for me I got a chance to play it at Unpub 4.
Although it looks like a tile laying game, Lagoon is much more about area control and power management. Each tile placed in the game area has a specific power and if a player has a druid on that tile then any of their druids can invoke that tile’s power.
This means that the majority of the game is all about building combos and chaining which powers you want to use and how you want to use them. For someone like me, who LOVES picking apart engines, I had a blast. I easliy figured out what I wanted to do on each of my turns and they went fast.
On the flipside, because there are so many options with what a player can do on their turn, Lagoon can become a very thinky game. Thinky in the sense that if you are playing with players that suffer from analyst paralysis they might spend minutes trying to figure out what they want to do, which can really cause a game to drag out. It’s not that Lagoon is a hard or complicated game it’s just that it’s one of those games where it can take multiple playthroughs before it truly clicks with some players.
The major way to score points in Lagoon is to unravel tiles already in the play area. This simply means tapping into a color’s power and using it to remove a tile. Lagoon uses a rock/paper/scissors mechanic where red tiles beat blue tiles, blue tiles beat yellow tiles, and yellow tiles beat red tiles. So if a player wanted to remove a red tile they must have access to three yellow energy to do so.
Where this gets interesting is that the entire game is basically a gamble. During end game scoring the only tiles that score points are the ones that aren’t the dominant color in the play area. So if I had spent a whole game unraveling red, but at the end of the game there were more red tiles on the board than any other color then I would score zero points.
Because so much of the game score is based on destroying the play area there is a nice push and pull feeling so that the tiles and their arrangement constantly flows and shifts. It keeps the game fresh. Plus it also keeps the board from growing out of hand. Lagoon will never be the kind of game where it will take up your whole table because its mechanics keep it in check.
I really enjoyed Lagoon and thanks to an amazing art team, the finished products are supposed to look fabulous. Even the prototype I played with managed to look better than a lot of published games I’ve seen.
Don’t forget, Lagoon: Land of Druids is on Kickstarter and if you want to more than head over to it’s page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1619383091/lagoon-land-of-druids