December 1, 2023


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Joanna – The Salon Game – review, test and reviews

Joanna – The Salon Game – review, test and reviews

Popular gourmet game Orleans I got a smaller version. And for a game set around Orleans, what could be more telling than focusing on the city’s most famous daughter? Johanna: Draw & Write by Ryan Hendrickson and Reiner Stockhausen (dlp games) is a “…and write” game, but not your typical Roll & Write game. We also need a pen and paper with Joanna, but not a single die. Instead, the bag building mechanism is actuated by Orleans It was translated (or rather: replaced) as the game of drawing and writing. But what exactly is it?

Joanna’s Fundamental Principle: Draw and Write

Roll & Write games are now known to most people (one of the most famous is Qwixx) and also Flip & Write can be found on many game shelves (eg Cartographer or Tokana Trails). The drawing and writing program works similarly. “Drawing” doesn’t mean drawing (that wouldn’t make much sense either: drawing and writing… though…but that’s another topic). However, the word “pull” in Joanna means “pull”. There are no cards like Flip & Write, but there is something different. For example, tiles from a bag. Other than that, the whole thing works as usual with Roll & Write: draw squares (instead of rolling dice) and write something on your personal game sheet (write). complete.

Joanna’s Game Elements: Draw and write

In Joanna, we draw chips from the well-known character from Orléans – however, we no longer have our own bag; There is only one for everyone. You probably already guessed it: the suitcase construction you’re used to from the big board game is no longer relevant here. On the other hand, the large format of the game sheet makes you think of a game board: on the right side there is a map with roads and waterways, on the left there are different areas for goods, money and useful works in the upper half and various buildings in the lower half. There are also location cards (as an alternative to printed buildings).

And this is how Joanna’s drawing and writing game works

At the beginning of each round we draw character pieces from the bag (the number depends on the number of players), then we take turns choosing one. Depending on the chosen one, we can perform standard actions:

  • With the skipper and the riders we travel from one city to another on the map
  • …and building offices there with Craftsman
  • With the merchant we buy new buildings (location cards)
  • The researcher advances us on the path of development
  • … and we get goods for our warehouse from farms
  • Alternatively, we also get money from some people
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Alternatively, we can also use tiles in the so-called Blessed Action to get certain bonuses or use the building effect. And if there is nothing really suitable, we can use the monk (joker).

The game ends after a certain number of rounds. Whoever has the most victory points wins.

Game mechanics and tactical tricks with Joanna

Seems manageable? At first, the movement options are relatively limited, especially due to the choice of character tiles. If there is no helmsman or knight, we cannot travel either. Except…then there are other options. For example, through beneficial works, or through the deployment of a monk or the use of a building. It takes some time to really ‘get used to it’ and get an overview of all connections (from Orleans You know it will be easier to find your way).

Chain reactions and the right balance

This is at least due to the many small additional effects that we can trigger on entry (“write”). and chain reactions that can be used in a targeted manner. Whether in the warehouse (goods) or in the bank (coins) there are bonuses when columns and rows are completely filled, when traveling on the map we get goods in turn. And Books for the Bookstrip – Along with the role of the count and the citizens, this is the most important thing in the game, as it usually gives you the most victory points. Strictly speaking, it’s called the development bar, but on our rides it was called the “book bar” because not only are we allowed to put a cross there through the finder, but also when we get a book token somewhere. There are also rewards for certain areas in this bar – including Citizens, which we generally only get from reward fields (for example, if we complete a useful job first).

and offices? They are the real reason to travel on the map. We are only allowed to build them in the places we have already visited (as indicated by the numbers on the game sheet).

The challenge is to strike the right balance between books and offices/citizens: at the end of the game the two values ​​are multiplied with each other.

get better

Developing and improving is crucial with Johanna: Draw & Write. This applies not only to “book” or development bar (where development is already in the name), but also to site cards. With buildings, we can upgrade the standard actions of character tiles, so to speak, thus achieving more and better effects. Joanna cannot be won over by standard procedures alone. This is why philanthropy is so popular at first, which offers flexibility and often also has slightly higher returns (eg we turn a farmer into a navigator there because the reward consists of sailing the map). And if we manage to complete an action first, we get attractive rewards such as a monk or a citizen that can be used immediately.

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Draw and write with tactical interaction

The “… & Write” games have a reputation for being very solitaire. Joanna can’t be completely left out either. After all, everyone just draws on their own playing card and nobody gets in the way. But then one way or the other: every office can only be built once (no matter who).

We also take great care of our players when it comes to rewards and rewards. Some rewards (especially desirable citizens) are only awarded to those who reach them first. Not only does this bring a certain competitive feel to the gameplay, but what other people do also affects your own tactics. Also with character squares: what do I leave for others, what do I need for myself? Where can I or should I slow someone down by grabbing the appropriate tiles?

This also applies to location maps: they are divided into four levels, with higher levels providing more interesting maps. Only when we buy at least 2 cards from the current level as a full game round will the next level be released for purchase. When we buy which cards and whether we try to convince players to buy a card (earlier) that becomes a tactical improvement (especially since spending money leads to rewards in the bank).

Small rounds for better clarity

Joanna plays particularly well in small groups, where this interaction plays a larger role.

With many players, you simply can no longer see what others have marked on their game cards, and whether, for example, someone is about to complete a specific useful action or reach a certain citizen. And then it sometimes makes sense to monetize your actions elsewhere — or slow someone down in a targeted way. And you also know better which desks you can “snatch out from under someone’s nose” in smaller batches. With many, this means: pay close attention and remember a lot. Then keep asking questions or leaning over the table to get a good look at the game sheet.

Joanna as a travel game

Printing some buildings (location cards) directly onto game sheets is a great idea. For one thing, it makes things easier Orleans– Newcomers should get started, as these buildings are particularly suitable for an intro game. On the other hand, you can also play without location cards; At least for this reason, Johanna is wonderfully suited as a light baggage travel toy: a beanbag with character tiles, a few sheets of paper, and pens – ready. At least as long as it’s not too windy and you have a certain minimum amount of space and a desk pad. Of course you can also play remotely, which the instructions clearly indicate.

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…but not for bad eyes

Unfortunately, the downside to all of this is that a lot has to be absorbed into the game sheet. Everything is written in very small font and sometimes hard to see, even without poor eyesight. While playing with location cards is easier on the eye in terms of buildings, it doesn’t make the rest of the items on the left any bigger either. You have to look closely at figure icons with a dark background, for example, to distinguish between a merchant and an artisan. It can be done better.

Implementation of editing in Joanna

An illustration can also support greater comprehension and game flow if, for example, certain rules (exceptions) are represented symbolically (eg, monks are not considered jokers for useful actions).

Joanna - The Box - Image by dlpgames

The solo game is printed on the back of each game sheet. It would be better to have (twice) only the single game or the game for several people on the sheet, it would be more practical especially when traveling. But this is subtlety. It is objectively unfortunate that only Joanna of her name appears in the single game.

Joanna is shorter Orleans– Connoisseur level version

Family members and rare players will find it difficult to play Joanna. So is Luxor OrleansThe alternative is clearly aimed at seasoned gamers. from Orleans He knows, for sure he will find his way into the game faster than newcomers, especially since the instructions and codes can be clearer. Due to the changing location cards, each round is slightly different. Even if you know all the buildings after a few matches, that variability adds to the appeal of a replay.

Once you get an overview of the chain interactions and possibilities, Johanna: Draw & Write is a pretty challenging game that doesn’t take long.

Information about Joanne

  • Address: June
  • Translation: The Orleans paint and write
  • Publisher: DLP Games
  • Author: Ryan Hendrickson, Rainer Stockhausen
  • Number of players (from to): 1-5
  • Age (from or to in years): 10
  • Duration in minutes: 45
  • Vintage: 2022