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Elements (Preview)

March 31st, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

I have to admit that I had a slight urge to go pull up some “Earth, Wind & Fire” on my MP3 player when I received this game in the mail.  I suppose I have my “Reasons”, though some may chalk it up to “Devotion”.  “Elements”, as you may have guessed, tasks players with using things like fire, water, air, earth, and other elements to create substances and earn points.  It’ll be launching on Kickstarter some time in March of 2016 and supports up to four players.  Before I give you a run down of how the game plays, I’d like to thank Chris Rossetti from Rampage Games LLC for providing me with a prototype copy for preview purposes.  It’s important to stress that prototypes are not often reflective of the final product, making everything you see and read about here (including the rules) subject to change.

 

Elements: 2-4 Players, Ages 8+, Average Play Time = 20 Minutes

Elements: 2-4 Players, Ages 8+, Average Play Time = 20 Minutes

 

My prototype copy came with 72 element cards, 18 substance cards, 34 gems, 2 six-sided dice, and a small rulebook that was about six pages in length.  To set up the game, each player chooses a gem of a different color (except for purple) after placing them in the middle of the table to form a pool. The two decks (element & substance) are shuffled separately.  Then, each player is dealt one substance card (face-up) and four element cards (face-down), the latter of which forms their starting hand.  The top three cards of the element deck are drawn face-up to start the discard pile.  Players roll dice to see who goes first.

The object of the game is to be the player that reaches ten points first or to have the highest score once all of the substances have been built.  To earn points, players will need to create substances.  Each player will have one substance at a time, each of which lists a number of elements needed to complete it.  It also lists a point value and sometimes, bonus gems which are awarded to the player if they complete the substance naturally (without using a special element, which I’ll get to).  When a player completes a substance card, it’ll go into their score pile and they’ll draw a new one from the deck.  They also get to choose one gem from the pool, regardless if they completed the substance naturally.

Okay, so now you know that in order to earn points you’ll need to complete substance cards. Element cards, as mentioned above, are played on substance cards in order to do that. Elements come in three types: primary (fire, water, air, earth), secondary (power, wood, oil, metal), and special (meta – acts like a wild card).  The first card played on a substance MUST be a primary element, if it has one.  After that (on future turns), there’s no limit to how many elements you play on that same substance card.  If at any point the primary element gets removed due to dice outcomes, then you’ll need to play it by itself before playing any more on future turns.  In addition to using elements found on cards, players can use the gems they’ll earn by completing substances naturally…in other words, without using a meta/wild card.

 

Elements

 

So how does the gameplay flow?  Quite simply, actually.  On a player’s turn, they’ll start by drawing one card from the element deck.  Then, they’ll roll both dice and choose one of them.  Each number (1-6) has a corresponding action associated with it.  1, for example, allows you to draw one card from the deck.  2, as another, lets you draw a card from the discard pile.  If you happen to roll doubles, then you can take that numbered action AND steal one gem from another player.  If you can’t perform the actions on either die, then you’ll continue to roll one until it comes up with a value that can be acted upon.  Once this is done, the player can play element cards onto their substance within accordance to the above-mentioned rules.  At the end of their turn, a player must have at least three or no more than five element cards.  They can also discard one gem to discard up to their entire hand, redrawing that many cards.

There’s also a pretty cool “fusion of elements” mechanic that allows players to combine primary element gems to form a secondary element.  Let’s say that you had a substance card in front of you that needed power, but you didn’t have a power element card in your hand.  However, you did happen to have a clear and red gem.  Within accordance to the chart in the manual, you could play both gems on the substance to create the power you needed.  You can also combine all four colors to claim a purple meta gem.  I personally like this feature as it helps to offset the luck factor involved with trying to draw the exact cards you need to complete a substance.

While I didn’t touch on ALL of the rules found in the manual, the above should give you an idea as to how the game is played.  “Elements” is simple enough to pick up and play with relative ease, making it an ideal choice for casual gamers who enjoy playing light card games with a little bit of “oomph” to them.  The ideas it conveys are sound and the gameplay flows both quickly and well.  My prototype copy, as mentioned, may not be reflective of the final product so keep that in mind when I say that I wish the element cards could have been a bit sleeker looking.  The substance cards looked fine, but the artwork on the element cards seemed a bit…generic.  Again, prototype and all…I can’t stress that enough.  Regardless of how the final production copy looks, the gameplay is able to stand on its own and for that, “Elements” is worth checking out.

You can learn more about and support “Elements” by visiting its Kickstarter page, here:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/603343698/elements-1?token=d8b80e2a

 

 

 

 

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