Friday, 27 January 2017

Mine your own business - Ore-some Kickstarter Preview

Disclaimer: I have playtested Ore-some over it's early design period. I have not played the game for several months and this review is based on a pre-kickstarter prototype. I played with the designer Sarah.

I've often said that charm is one of the most underrated parts of games design, and one often ignored by many designers. As such it's always nice to come across a game that oozes that rarest of commodities such as Ore-Some from local games outfit One Free Elephant.

Ore-Some is a game of rushing around a mine, digging for various ores and trying to make as much money as you can, all whilst avoiding the machinations of the other dastardly prospectors who are down here with you. Equipped with only a cart, a hand of cards and a dice you will snake your way round a mine, avoiding cave-ins, explosions and hopefully picking yourself up a lovely doggy companion!
Love the characters. The art is excellent throughout.

Hi Lewis! Isn't the cart ace!
Once you have chosen the character you are going to play, and kudos to Sarah for including such a diverse range of characters, you grab a cart and a dice as well as a couple of contracts and some action cards. Starting out with just the corners of the mine you then set about laying out the board a tile at a time, with the added complication of getting to place a special tile for your opponent somewhere in the mine.
Ready to Go! I have placed Sarah's purple tile just near me.
Running round the rails is fairly straight forward. Roll a dice, move that many spaces, following the rails of course, stop and dig up some ore.  Cards can allow you to change direction, find some oil to move even faster, bring down some beams to block off your opponents paths etc. Once you get to the digging phase, you dive into a bag of cubes and pull out a couple, 4 if you are on the special tile of your own colour. More is better right? Well sort of.

Careful now!
The thing is that cart isn't hollowed out for no reason. When you dig the ore goes in your cart, meaning that as you accumulate more of it you have to be very careful moving it around the board. Any ore that falls out, has fallen out and remains where it lays for others to swoop in and grab. You can of course swoop round and pick up your own ore, but it's not always the most efficient thing to do. I really love this aspect of Ore-some, and it's been one of my favourite elements since it's early inception.

Once you have your ore in your cart, if one of the contract meeples is nearby, you can hand one in, trading the ore in your cart for a card in your hand that gives you sweet, sweet money. You can also trade in all your ore at the end of the game but the contracts are always better value.  The person with the most money at the end of the game is the winner.

Awwwww!
At the end of your turn you refill your hand up to 5 cards and there is a nice bit of hand management to play with here. The action cards and the contract cards both contribute towards your hand size, so you need to decide whether to grab for contracts or take cards to help you get in the right position to optimise your digging.

Let's talk about the dog. One of the cards you can get is a dog who protects your cart from those who might steal it. This guy is a little addition to your cart you can slide over the side and it's so adorable. Of course someone else might steal him away with their Baconator, but that's the way the doggy goes.

I really like Ore-some and Sarah has done a great job in creating a snappy, charming and engaging family game that has just enough tactical bite to feel satisfying. The kickstarter will be launching in February and I'll post on my twitter account and facebook page when it is live.


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