Entropy

Game Overview: A quick playing card game with simultaneous actions; where five different parallel worlds have collided which forms a connection between all of the worlds.  Playing as one of five characters, you are attempting to return to your world by being the first player to piece together four unique fragments from your reality.

Box Contents: The copy we reviewed includes Kickstarter exclusives which may not necessarily be available at retail. The game contents found within the box are top notch.  Included is an extra thick card board piece where cards are drawn from and discarded to.  The art on the cards is outstanding.  Included are four separate foil cards which can be used in place of the normal wild fragment cards.  Along with the game components, a highly detailed metal coin is included which can be used in place of the anchor card.

Clarity of Rules: The sixteen page rules manual is well done with many examples of game play and a detailed breakdown of each card and how the actions can be used during the game.  The biggest challenge was understanding the terminology that is used as you attempt to learn the game.

Game Play:  When setting up the game, each player randomly draws one of the five character cards.  Each character has four fragments, which together build their reality and allow them to return to their world.  You gather all of the fragments for the characters in play and add in wild fragment cards, which are based on the number of players in the game.

Once you have assembled all of the cards which will be in play, you shuffle them together and place them face down on the nexus board, which is where you draw and discard to.  The top card from the draw pile is turned face up and put into the discard pile.  Another card is drawn and placed face down for each player, with the card being placed on the left side of their character card. 

Next, each player is given their six action cards.  If there are only two players in the game, the sixth card (Portal) is removed from the game.  The action cards are numbered one through six and have an action ability or two listed on them.  The first action card is different for every character.  The remaining action cards are all the same.

  • Action Card 1 (Unique to each character)

    • Deceptive- Choose an action you have played this round and resolve that action’s effect.

    • Resourceful- Take all fragments of your reality from the discard.  Fragments obtained this way become shrouded.

    • Militant- For the duration of the round, draw a fragment from the Nexus whenever you clash.

    • Persuasive- Take the Anchor.  For the duration of the round, whenever the Anchor is returned to the Nexus you may take it instead.

    • Adaptive- Search the Nexus for a fragment of your reality and place it on top.

  • Action Card 2- Beacon:  Reveal all fragments in your play area OR another player of your choice must reveal a fragment of your reality if able.

  • Action Card 3- Telekinesis:  Discard a fragment from any player OR take any revealed fragment from another player.

  • Action Card 4- Eye of the Storm:  Draw two fragment cards and discard one OR take any fragment from the discard.

  • Action Card 5- Phase Shift:  Take the anchor from the Nexus or another player.

  • Action Card 6- Portal:  Swap a fragment in your play area with either the top fragment of the nexus or any fragment in the discard.

Each round of the game is broken down into four turns with players selecting, revealing, and resolving action cards.  Initially, all players simultaneously select one of the action cards to play.  Next, all players reveal their chosen card at the same time.  The cards are then resolved in ascending order based upon the action card number that was played. 

If any players have played the same action card number, this is considered a temporal clash.  The card action is not resolved for the turn and it is set aside.  The one exception is if a player possesses the anchor card, which is obtained through playing action cards, then they are still able to resolve their card action.   

As you play your action cards and obtain face down (shrouded) cards from either the draw deck or from other players, the shrouded card is placed to the left of your character.  At any point that you reveal one of your own fragments, either by revealing a shrouded card or by obtaining it in a revealed status (face up), you then place it to the right side of your character.  This is where you will be building up the four fragments of your reality.

Mixed into the deck are wild fragment cards.  These can be part of your four card fragment realty that you are trying to obtain.

After every four turns, a fracture event occurs.  This causes the draw deck and the discard pile to become unstable and they are shuffled together again, to form a new draw deck.  If there were any players that were part of a temporal clash for three or more of their four turns, they have a chance to obtain one of their fragments at this point.  The top three cards of the draw deck are revealed.  If one of the cards is from their reality, add it to the right side of their player card to count towards their four fragments.  Any remaining cards are shuffled back into the draw deck.

All players then get back their used action cards and a new round begins.

Play continues until a player has obtained four of their fragment cards, which can include any wild fragments, and have been placed to the right of their character card.

Replay Ability: You can play this game at different player levels, which will open up the replay ability.  There are rules for solo play, but you must go to the Rule & Make website to obtain them.  In addition, the Ronin Expansion is included which is another character but should only be played with 3 or more players.  This character does not have any fragment cards assigned to them.  Instead they use the wild fragments and the fragments of one other player in the game.  In addition, he has two unique action cards.  The game play itself will be similar from game to game, so that does affect the overall replay ability.

Appropriate Audience: The game suggests 12+ to play the game.  We think you can go down to the 7-10 year old range.  There is some reading involved, so I wouldn’t go much younger than that.

What We Liked/Didn't Like: The art and the quality of the cards is easily ranked towards the top of all games that we own.  One issue was with the wild fragments.  The normal wild fragment card backs were the same as the normal cards you play with.  The foil ones have a different card surface back and can easily be recognized from the top of the draw deck or if they are shrouded and played face down.

For the most part we enjoy how the game plays a little differently with different player levels.  However, as you get more players, it can lead to frustration as they are more likely to pick the same card as someone else leading to a temporal clash (maybe).  Granted, the game provides the ability to get the anchor to prevent this and at other times you may want to purposely do this.

I was excited to try Entropy as I am a big fan of another game by Rule and Make and designer Allen Chang, Rise to Power.  That game provides a lot of in depth strategy in a card game and each game feels different.  In fact, it is one of Dad’s top 20 games as of 2016.

However, with Entropy we haven’t found any real strategy to take and it seems to be based on luck and out guessing your opponents more than anything else. After a while it can start to feel repetitive.  Also, at times there is just nothing you can do with your action cards.  Especially when no one has any shrouded cards on the table.

Add-ons/Other Releases:  n/a

         
  **A review copy was provided to us.