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Each player is the leader of a clan trying to survive during the Stone Age. The clans try to improve their abilities as hunters and gatherers with the help of different novel hunting weapons like fishing rods or spears. With additional food, they are able to spread out and increase their numbers. They also need to discover different innovative technologies, so that they learn to control fire, or speech, or even increase their intelligence to have better chances to survive.
The players start as pure hunters and gatherers and need to keep track on new developments such as agriculture. The player with a fully developed clan size will win this game.
The First Sparks is distinctly based on Power Grid. The playing time is shorter compared to the popular original and the game offers a complete new aspect thanks to the knowledge cards. If you know Power Grid, you can easily start playing The First Sparks. The basic mechanisms are the same.
Have a lot of fun with the dawn of a new Power Grid era!
|By||Oridyne||From||Staffs in United Kingdom|
Players start with Herbs (which provide 1 food a turn) and 7 food, food being used as currency throughout the game. The herbs are numbered 1-6 and are dealt at random thereby determing turn order for the first turn. The board is in sections and each player is given a piece at random, then these are laid out in reverse turn order, then each player gets to place a clan member for free (again in reverse order) then they may place a 2nd (Paying the cost in food) in player order.
At the start of the turn, like in the original, players get the option to go for the available cards (Tools for hunting, technologies etc.) but unlike the original there is no bidding, the first player decides what they would like to try and buy then each other player in turn decides whether they would. The last player to declare they want it gets to actually buy it, this continues until everyone has bought or passed. Then everyone without Fire has to rot 1/3 of their food rounded down.
Play continues with Hunting / feeding(in reverse order) where players gather their food using tools if they have them for the food their clan is next too. When this is complete they have to feed their clan (1 food per member) anyone not fed starves and has to be removed but any remaining clan members have to remain adjacent to one another. Players can then spread their clan paying the relevant costs in food, finally in the bureaucracy phase the player order is adjusted, food is restocked and the highest card is placed at the bottom of the deck and replaced.
This game, just like the original, scales well to different numbers of players but is a lot simpler to pick up and play than its bigger brother. The components and artwork are excellent fitting in well with the theme, each of the food items has an appropriate shaped wooden piece although our group has nicknamed the Bear pieces "PigBears" as they look more like pigs than bears.
It plays quite quickly but does suffer the same "flaw" as powergrid that it is possible to overreach and leave yourself unable to expand or compete further in the game. This can be mitigated somewhat by explaining this can happen to a group before starting to play and ensuring they understand the economics of the turn. That said this game is really great fun, is quite quick to play even with 6 people.
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Rio Grande Games
Spirit Games (Est. 1984, Lefglow Ltd) - Supplying role playing games (RPG), wargames rules, miniatures and scenery, new and traditional board and card games for the last 35 years
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