When you’re not the ‘gamer’ in your marriage (or relationship), being presented with a new board game is always a little daunting… particularly when you’re invited to play whilst your 9-month-old son is asleep on you, soon to wake, giving you a one-handed disadvantage! Still, Limes comes in a small box with the promise of Carcassone-esque simplicity – so I was happy to give it a whirl. Usually the hubby picks his game investments well, kindly considering his more reluctant competitor.
Limes is a two-player game containing two decks of 24 square cards (to be randomly picked to make the board tiles) and 7 meeples per player. I love that there’s not much to it, great for when you want a quick game which can be put away quickly (if aforementioned baby wakes and wants to grapple at any components within arm’s reach)! The concept is simple: each player strategically places cards/tiles to produce a 4×4 landscape and score points (to beat opponents separate 4×4 grid). Like Carcassone, points can only be scored if a meeple is placed within the area you wish to score points for. Players place tiles and meeples at the same time, and scoring takes place when all 16 have been laid.
Point scoring is made for creating farms, collecting lakeside fishing huts, lining up watchtowers overlooking forests, and connecting territories surrounding forests – a rural alternative to old Carc’, perhaps.
The difference between Limes and Carcassone (other than the fact it’s a completely different game, by a different designer) is that Limes is played with a level playing field. Not only do you place tiles at the same time, you use the same tiles each turn – giving you, initially, the exact same options, and creating interesting comparisons on completion. It makes this game a good choice for those who like a quick game but don’t want to rely on heavily luck based play. This does mean there is zero player interaction, if no player interaction doesn’t suit you, this is not the game for you.
The box suggests a complete game takes 20-minutes, but once you’ve cracked the gameplay, it’s likely you could enjoy it in less.
I don’t want to be disheartening for relishing how quickly this game can be played (I love an hour long ‘thinker’ when the snacks are in hand and there’s no chance of child interruption!) but in our little-time-lets-grab-a-short-one scenario, it was a relief to get the whole way through without feeling rushed. Due to its simplicity, you can play without having to ponder for too long. And while this may be because the husband and I are a good gaming match most of the time, I don’t think you’d find yourself having one player taking too much longer than the other – as can be the case with a more complex game, where option-overload takes hold!
Alongside ease and speed of the game, I enjoyed the simplicity of artwork and the classic wooden meeples. I’m always a fan of wooden components (They instantly say quality to me). I wonder if I might have preferred thick tiles rather than cards, but I suppose it doesn’t make that much difference… a slight design flaw is the black meeples on dark background of water especially. We weren’t the only ones to struggle with this after consulting the boardgamegeek forums!
All in all, I’d put it alongside Jaipur as a two-player you can get into quickly (and put away quickly) if you want to squeeze a game into an otherwise busy schedule. It’s ‘thinky’ without being off-putting, and speedy, without luck-frustration.
My only frustration after our first play-through… he won.
– Saskia Crawley