The Abyss power is once again vacant, so the time has come to get your hands on the throne and its privileges. Use all of your cunning to win or buy votes in the Council. Recruit the most influential Lords and abuse their powers to take control of the most strategic territories. Finally, impose yourself as the only one able to rule the Abyssal people!
Abyss is a game of development, combination and collection in which players try to take control of strategic locations in an underwater city. To achieve this, players must develop on three levels: first by collecting allies, then using them to recruit Lords of the Abyss, who will then grant access to different parts of the city. Players acquire cards through a draft of sorts, and the Lords of the Abyss acquired on those cards grant special powers to the cardholder — but once you use the cards to acquire a location, that power is shut off, so players need to time their land grabs well in order to put themselves in the best position for when the game ends.
Recently we got a chance to sit down and play a few games. Below is the thoughts of a few of the players.
Abyss is a game ostensibly of control of the sea. With gorgeous underwater art, kraken and sea fauna galore as well as economy by way of exchanging pearls. To me though, it felt pleasantly like poker. Lots of memory, bidding and resource management as well as a huge bonus to remembering your opponent’s picks. Easy to learn and play, though at times frustrating in the perceived lack of options. Abyss is still a game that’s a treat for the eyes and a puzzle for the mind. I want to see more. I feel we only scratched the surface of what Abyss has to offer.
Abyss has a few interesting concepts that made it an enjoyable game to try. Every action felt like it was impactful even if it was easy to be derailed by the other players. The Leviathan expansion was a great addition after the combat mechanic in the base game was explained. That said there are a few balancing issues that really hit the experience hard. Scott got a lord that crippled everyone else for most of the game, it was a character we were all trying to get because of it’s power; that alone definately made the game too hard to plan and had an impact on enjoyment of the game.
So, I have only played this one once. That being said it’s pretty, easy to set up and learn, and has enough depth (yes I see what I did there) to keep people hooked (and again). The interaction between the different cards is the meat of this thing and I feel that our game was lesser for an obvious play that was made early on that limited the enjoyment at the table (when we talked about it, it was seen as the objectively right play that each player would have done if given the opportunity first, but it did leave the game feeling less enjoyable). Overall, i’d like to try it again and with how quick it can go from the box to the table I am sure there will be another oppor-tuna-ty. (Sorry)