November 30, 2023


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Pandoria Traders - Box - Photograph by Irongames

Pandoria Traders – Roll & Write

Pandoria Merchants by Bernd Eisenstein and Jeffrey De Allers at their Irongames publishing house (2020) is the Roll & Write version of Pandoria. It was clearly so well received by its audience that it deserved such an episodic show as Roll & Write.

Pandoria has become Pandoria’s merchants

Although the whole thing is “just” a bunch of player and field arcs, you can tell at first glance it’s one Pandoria– The branch is: The graphics on the game cards are approximately 1:1 with those on the board game. until you find yourself PandoriaExperts get along quickly. As it is there, the goal is to paint the playing area with resources, completely rebuilding those resources so that the areas that appeared are sealed off, in order to eventually earn resources.

But that is almost the end of the games. Logically, the dice sets the speed here. Two tokens are rolled for each turn; Their scores are plotted next to each other by the active player, which, given the simple shapes, even double left players can manage. Again next to it a factor (player’s initials) is drawn.

There is a big difference in scoring an area: unlike in a board game, the neighboring workers remain on the board and can therefore take advantage of more scores in the area until everything around them is scored. Resources earned in this way are displayed on metrics similar to those in a board game, but only deal with five items at a time. Traders have an additional product for this: Gadgets. However, it only acts as a commodity of exchange for other resources (2:1).

If double rolled, the artifact comes into play with the Pandoria Merchants. It is only available as an extension for the board game. Artifacts are drawn in areas and can therefore be collected by nearby workers during registration. You need it to get the effects.

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You get victory points when you exceed the amount of resources of your resources, which is achieved faster than you want due to the storage capacity as low as five. In addition, by evaluating specific areas – and the most productive – by purchasing antiquities and antiquities. Depending on the number of players, the game ends when certain parts of the game board are completed. As usual, the winner is the one who scores the most points.

The rules of the game with loopholes

Unfortunately, I know the board game Pandoria No. Pandoria Merchants comically whet the appetite. And it was a better way to get to know the game almost. Because inaccuracies and loopholes in the rules of the game raise some questions that board game players do not ask themselves. The resource bars were not explained at all, only vaguely indicated that the four counting stones should be placed there. Here “all” is forgotten, there is “higher” not mentioned, and parts of the rules of the game become a mystery. However, for such negligence, the game with all its components is too complex to ignore.

Fortunately, Bernd Eisenstein has now not only made the greatly improved base of the game available for download on his website, but also an overview of the moves and an explanation of the game plan. This should also help Pandoria newbies find a regular game right away.

But even (or especially) with the usual gameplay, the movement is still uncomfortable even after several matches. After drawing symbols and workers, you can first use your cards (perform magic) or buy buildings, relics or relics and only then register the area just completed. This means that these resources are only available in next one Movements are available. I don’t know how many times it has occurred to us that all purchases etc had to be returned because the area was already sorted. This arrangement is not intuitive. The last thing you can do is buy a new card. To do this, however, you must have completed at least one area, in the single version up to two. So if you don’t complete any money or an area that brings you money, you can’t buy a card. If you don’t have cards, you can’t build buildings or cast spells. This eliminates the simplest options. This can be very difficult in the first few rounds of the game. As far as the order of play is concerned, downloadable play gadgets now at least help.

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The game plan becomes a hidden object

The more filled the playing field, the more like a hidden object. Clarity suffers a lot. No matter how hard you try to draw the symbols clearly, if possible, think about where to draw them before you start drawing them to avoid corrections. However, the factor gets lost every now and then simply because it is so well camouflaged in the icons around it. Workers’ colored labels (instead of the recommended initials) may stand out better.

The appearance of artifacts is entirely up to chance. Since it only plays a role when double-rolling, the yield of artifacts and relics that can be obtained with it can be very low. This plays a secondary role in a multiplayer game. But in the solo segment, virtual trolls get all the points for relics that you can’t buy yourself. It will be the most rigorous and therefore demanding solo version that is almost impossible to solve adventure.

Play with the fun brakes

Pandoria dealers work in MultipleTechnically good version (if you download the new base). In the single version, on the one hand, the random factor annoys me, which makes the false opponent very powerful. I am most troubled by the difficult conditions in which you have to play a victorious game. I don’t think this is balanced or successful. I haven’t tested the Slim Family Edition hard. Generally, the game requires three or more players, and even more so when it’s fully occupied, because players do exactly the same thing after 45 minutes as they did after five minutes. During the game, you improve the chance of getting more points by building buildings, but this alone does not create enough tension.

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This, and above all the lack of a game plan overview, is what spoils the fun of Pandoria Merchants a bit. I didn’t really feel warm with her. But in the end, Eisenstein/Allers not only offer their full game as an original in the store, but also as a free download on the Irongames homepage. This might be a clever marketing gag for the board game, but I still find it hard to grumble. Accordingly, my criticism, however justified, is a hint to the authors that I miss the passion here that I usually know from Irongames.