I never planned for this blog to carry reviews, partly because I don’t often get to play a game soon after release. However this weekend I got chance to play Import/Export at my club http://dicedtea.club.
This review is written with only one play, however I have played Glory to Rome a lot and I feel that gives me a good insight into this game.
Import Export is a game of chartering container ships, putting containers on them and sending them out to sea, meanwhile you and other players are also trying to sell containers off other ships (both yours and other players) and also pirating containers too.
If you have ever played Glory to Rome you will find the action mechanisms very familiar, the first player marker moves around the table and that player has two choices, they can take cards from a deck or they can play a card from their hand and (shortly after) perform an action. If they do the first the turn is over and play continues to the next player. However if they play a card then the other players can chose to also play a card from their hand to do the same action.
The actions to chose from are as follows
- Contract a ship
- Load a container
- Import a container
- Pirate a container
- Supply from the dock
I won’t go into too much detail on how these actions work, as I’d simply be repeating the rule book.
The theme of the game works incredibly well with the actions you are given, When you contract a ship you can slowly start to load it with cards (all of which have containers of various types on, with different goods and different types of good as well). When your ship is full of the required types of good (all indicated on the card you contracted) it heads out to sea where it becomes available to actions made by the other players.
By Importing a container you can take cards from any ship at sea, placing them in your tableau as either additional actions for future turns, or as goods for end of game scoring. Alternatively you could chose to pirate a container taking a container from a ship at sea and placing it on one of your contracted ships.
Finally, in the center of the table is an area called the dock, this is contains a small number of cards that come out throughout the game which can be used in various ways.
To anyone who has played Glory to Rome they will pick this up very quickly. If you haven’t had the pleasure then it isn’t going to be too difficult to pick up the basics, although it may take you a few games to figure out the flow.
The card play is reasonably elegant, the ebb and flow of cards from your hand, to the table and then into your tableau is nice.
All the containers also contain game breaking text that allows either one time/continual powers and these on our initial play looked very interesting. Although most of us only managed to get 3 or 4 of these out during the game. There were plenty of cards in the deck so much variety to be had from the different possibilities.
There is also a system of tiers which mean you have to ramp up before you can start certain contracts, this did feel a bit clunky at first, but after a while you got used to it.
The card stock was excellent, the art is really nice with plenty of little additional touches on the different containers.
I really liked the art style and fonts used, although in some places it was difficult to see some things at a glance. The kickstarter version also comes with some cool looking container ship mini’s.
Well I’ve pre-ordered this for Essen so that’s how much I liked it!
I felt it was definitely different enough from Glory to Rome to justify having both in my collection. If you can’t get Glory to Rome then this will fill that gap for you.
I have slight concerns over the speed with which cards get played into your contracts, I can’t see this game having the crazy combo’s that reveal themselves in GtR, which is a shame.
Images ©Jordan Draper – https://boardgamegeek.com/user/Jordan%20Draper