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Visions Kickstarter Preview

Quick Look: 

Designer: Thomas Neu
Artist: Thomas Neu
Publisher: Neobite Games
Year Published: 2017
No. of Players: 1-5
Ages: 12+
Playing Time: 60-120 min
Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

WARNING: This is a preview of Visions. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.


Rules and Setup:
Fans of long term strategy and hand management will find themselves at home right away helping the Yates family break their curse. While the game has many small pieces, the setup and rules are straight forward and easy to master quickly. If you have an hour, a flat surface, and the Visions rulebook in hand, setup can begin.

Setup is relatively quick for a game with so many pieces. Shuffle the family and time card decks individually, then deal each player six time cards and place five Family cards face up in their positions with the center card in the middle. Place two vision stones per image on Family cards with vision stone symbols. Each player chooses a Vision card, their player markers, and a player board and places five of the player markers on their own board and one next to the first space on the mental influence board. Game play can now begin with the player who went to bed the latest.

Now that setup is complete, here is an abridged version of the primary rules of game play. All time card slots are filled, the cards are discarded before the next player's turn. If all vision stones are removed from a family card and a player connects to it again using time cards, the family card is replaced before the next player's turn. If three family cards have all vision stones removed from them, all family cards are removed from the board and replaced before the next player's turn.

The mental influence track has immediate effects on all players once one player crosses the 20, 30, and 40 marks. Once a player stops on or passes one of those numbers, the player that is the furthest behind on the track chooses a visionary energy type. Each other player pays two energy from the chosen track to the player who is furthest behind. If two energy cannot be payed, the player loses two mental influence instead. The player markers on that track get replaced by another marker, and now all benefits on the track cost one more energy to purchase. The player markers are placed on a dotted box on each player's vision card. That box now is off limits to create patterns.

If 40 mental influence is passed, the game lasts until each player has a turn. When the round returns to the player who passed 40, the game ends, and whichever player is furthest along the mental influence track wins the game. These basic rules are covered on the back of the Visions rulebook, which should be kept close to the play area as game play begins.

Theme and Mechanics:
The theme of the game is somewhat vague, though clearly inspired by the idea of a haunted Victorian-era house. A brief paragraph of backstory introduces the Yates family, who seek help from the players to break an ancient curse. While the theme of haunting and the Victorian era remain clear throughout game play, players lose sight of the Yates family as no further backstory or explanation is provided.

Hand management and set collection are the most prevalent mechanics in Visions. Collecting sets of Time cards is important for players to be able to earn vision stones of their choice. Managing their hand of Time cards is a vital step each turn as the hand size is only nine cards, and some Family cards require five time cards to earn their rewards.

Game Play:
After setup, each individual player takes their turn. During a turn, players can play one or more Time cards and/or make changes with Time cards and visionary energy. Players must also place any vision stones received during their turn and place them on their Vision card to make a pattern. To end their turn, they must draw three Time cards and discard their hand down to nine total cards.

Once all players have familiarized themselves with their player boards and the turn sequences, strategizing can begin. Which Family cards are the most desirable depends on the pattern each player is attempting to make on their Vision card, which track they want to advance on their player board, or if they can block an opponent from getting a desirable reward.

With so many elements to keep in mind, turns can end up being quite lengthy. Players must decide which moves are best and whether they want to purchase any benefits from a track on their player board. The benefits range from free vision stones of any color, payment of less Time cards for Family card rewards, and even movement on the mental influence track.

Long-term strategies can also pay off big in the game. In my play test group, one player spent fifteen turns setting up one epic turn that won him the game. In the end, each player's strategies will be different, so this allows for complex and fresh game play every play through.

The length of the game can vary widely based on the Time card cost to receive Family card benefits. If the starting Family cards all cost four or five Time cards, players' starting hands of six Time cards total are unlikely to have four or five of the same time. This means that many players may have to skip turns because they have no Time cards to earn the rewards of any available Family cards. These dry spells never last for long, as Family cards are rotated relatively frequently, but they add additional variety to game play and strategy.

Artwork and Components:
Thomas Neu's artwork sustains the creepy Victorian feel of Visions. His use of sepia tones and old-fashioned clocks on the Time cards evokes the past generations of the Yates family that the players are attempting to reach. These cards are contrasted by the vibrant player markers and jewel Family cards, which bring a touch of the modern Yates generation to the artwork.

All vision stones and player markers are made of wood, and the cards and boards are made of a durable textured paper. Overall, the game is built beautifully with quality components and artwork which supports the brief backstory and theme of the game.

The Good:
The artwork for the game is beautifully done, and the play mat is extremely helpful for understanding setup the first few times playing. Turns are simple after the learning curve, making it an easy game to teach and enjoy. There is also great potential for strategy after players grow accustomed to game play. Another nice feature is the option for single player game play, allowing players to gain familiarity with the game and build up their strategies on their own before group play.

The Bad:
The first play through can be a bit confusing due to the sheer number of pieces. The story of the Yates family gets lost in game play. With only a brief paragraph explaining the curse on the Yates family, players don't get enough backstory to connect with the theme and story of the game. Additional flavor text on the family cards would be a great way to connect players with the Yates' past ancestors and vices.

Final Thoughts:
The game play had a surprising amount of strategy, and it's simple enough for players to really give thought to the plays they make and how to perfect their strategies over countless games. Visions was also extremely aesthetically pleasing; however, the theme and Yates family backstory disappeared into the gameplay.

Players Who Like:
Settlers of Catan, 7 & 7 will like Visions.

I am giving Visions 7 out of 10 super meeples.

7 10

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About the Author:

Sarah Johnson is a freelance writer and board game enthusiast. When she’s not playing games or writing reviews, she enjoys writing articles for food and wine magazines. Sarah lives in rainy Corvallis, Oregon where she studies writing, English, and communications.
Visions Kickstarter Preview Visions Kickstarter Preview Reviewed by Unknown on July 21, 2017 Rating: 5

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