Recap: Elysium First Impressions

I had heard a lot of good things about Elysium and I was eager to get it to the table. I really liked the idea of the pillars. You start with four, one in each color. And you can take any card that shows colors you still have. But when you do, you remove any one pillar – and not necessarily the ones you used to pay for the card. Interesting.

Elysium. Elysium also comes with eight decks of cards from the various gods. Each focuses on a slightly different aspect of the game. For our first play, we used the recommended setup of Hades, Athena, Zeus, Hephaestus, and Poseidon. With five gods, you’ll have 105 cards and will, at best, get through less than half. So the variation from game to game seems to be there even if you use the same five gods over again.

I had a lot of trouble balancing in-game powers with the need to move stuff into my Elysium. In the Elysium, it can be worth bonus points, but it generally no longer provides any special powers during the game. I also grabbed several Athena cards. And I’ve learned not to do that in the future. The Athena cards typically let you do two special things and everyone else do one or the other. I had one, for example, that gave me a coin and a point and everyone else one or the other. Everyone consistently took points, so I really didn’t gain on them that way. Even so, I think I’m lucky. Maybe my power would have been enough to give them the last coin they needed to move stuff into their Elysium for mega points. The benefit to other players is just way bigger.

By contrast, the Poseidon cards were fun. They generally required everyone else to discard a card, coins, points, or some other item. They tended to be highly sought after.

Even though I struggled with managing Domain vs. Elysium, my opponents did much better. One focused on Zeus cards which gave him all kinds of points for during-game stuff. He didn’t have much of a final score, but he did so much during the game that he more than made up for it. The other player really focuse2d on Elysium scoring. He tended to by single use cards, use them, and then send them to the Elysium. Meanwhile, my engine never came together. I was lucky that a Hephaestus card game out in the final round allowing me to trade my nine coins for nine points. Otherwise, I would have been much further behind.

At game end, I was only five-ish points back. So things weren’t as bad as they seemed. I’d like to give this game another try. It’s an interesting concept. But even though it had a lot of neat ideas, it didn’t really wow me. Maybe it will next time when I know what I’m doing.

Also Played. Star Wars: Rebellion and 7 Wonders: Duel.

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