Vinyl: A Kickstarter Preview (of sorts) (Brandon Kempf)
Top 5 reasons that you should back Vinyl on Kickstarter right now.
I know that every other reviewer that looks at and plays Vinyl and loves the book High Fidelity, or movie as well, will think of that line while playing this game. Vinyl is a set collection game with a wonderful theme, a theme that harkens back to the days when there were actual record stores that you could walk into and visit and thumb through the crates of albums. Yes, those exist today in a nostalgic hipster kind of way, but this feels more, real. The mechanisms work wonderfully with what you are trying to accomplish in the game, it feels like you are wandering around a record store, looking for the perfect album to take home. From browsing the Magazine Racks to try to find the new music you want, to browsing through the ever changing bins of albums, heck, you can even put one on layaway.
5) Worker Placement - In order to accomplish what you want in the game, which is to collect the most valuable record collection, you are going to have a "worker", this worker represents you, going into the record store. While in the store you are going to go to different areas to do different things. Like you can go to the Record Bin to buy an album or put one on Layaway, the Front Counter to pay for those Layaway albums or to get a new Loyalty Card to punch. You can visit the Sales Bin to buy albums just a bit cheaper, but there are only 4 of them available or you can go to the Magazine Rack to pick up some magazines. To make this even better, no one can block you out from taking an action, each space on the board that you can assign your worker to, has a "Bump" space which gives the bumped worker an action, mostly a lesser action, but just as important in the grand scheme of things.
4) Currency - In order to purchase albums you have to have some kind of currency, right? Well in Vinyl the albums all have Icons on them. The icons are Genre/Decade/Mint/Limited and not all albums will be Limited or be in Mint condition. These Icons are what you have to be able to match in order to buy them and you do that by having Magazine cards. The Magazine Rack allows you to pick up Magazines in a Ticket to Ride way. You can draw from the face up pile or from the draw deck. Each Magazine will have a combination of Icons on them, you spend these to buy albums by matching the Icons on the album with Icons on the Magazine Card. Yes sometimes you'll have to overspend a little, but this is the price we pay to collect the best albums for our collections.
3) Set Collection - At it's core, Vinyl is a set collection game, and a really well done set collection game at that. We are collecting records, and like most things we collect, they have to be in sets, we have to have them in mint or limited edition, right? The set collection makes sense, we aren't just collecting things to just collect things, we are collecting to actually complete something. We want our sets to be specific so we can collect those Collection Rewards. The Collection Rewards are based on what you collect in your collections. The Pure Collection requires that you have all albums from the same genre and 2 other Icons across the collection. The Mixed 2 can contain different alternating Genres, but have to have 2 icons the same across the collection and the Mixed 1 Collection can be different alternating Genres with 1 matching icon across the collection. It's difficult to manage and there will be other players going for the same thing that you are, so you have to be prepared to jump when you can.
2) Artwork and Graphic Design - Jason Washburn and the Talon Strikes team have taken this wonderfully themed game and made it look like something you want to own. It's beautiful and it stands out in this crowded landscape of beautiful games. The board is big and spacious, even bigger if we unlock stretch goals. The cards are wonderfully illustrated, even in prototype form and the iconography is clear and precise. Once you know what everything means, the icons will never be confused again.
1) Game play - What? You didn't think that we'd actually tell you that you should back a game not based on game play, did you? Well, we wouldn't, so stop thinking that. The game plays smoothly. On your turn, you choose your action and perform it, then allow anyone who may have been bumped by you to the bump action to perform their's and play moves on. The used of bump actions really keeps everyone involved and in the game. If you listened to our podcast where we talk about Vinyl, you'll know that we said that our games played long, and they did. But most everyone else is saying 2 player games will go about 45 minutes. The variability in the box for difficulty with the modular expansions means the came can basically scale from a wonderful gateway level game to a pretty strategic middle weight game. All in one box.
We here at WDYPTW headquarters would like to thank Talon Strikes Studios for giving us the opportunity to both play this game and preview it before the game is released, it really is a wonderfully themed game that intermingles it's mechanisms in wonderfully thoughtful ways.