When someone is conceited, they may think that they can play nature. All current animals are already too familiar. Combining several species into a new one is a desire, that moves around the kingdom now. It seems so simple. Just invite the most powerful magicians and assign them with a task. How can they explain to crazy ruler, that some genes are simply not compatible?
Not for the king, but for us, is prepared the game for the mixing of animal species by Roméo Hennion and Clément Leclercq, because they created a game called Chimére. This box came to us thanks to Blackrock Games, which is responsible for distribution of Game Flow games. This new one was introduced at the Spiel 2016 fair in Essen and was also made more beautiful with illustrations by Biboun.
A small box captures the winged deer as it rises with its dangerous pointed tail. And because there is really a lot of animals stuffed in the box, it also has an unforgettable weight. This heaviness is cause not only by round board of the seasons (placed in the middle of the table), but also by twenty square boards. Each five of them is devoted to one of the four seasons. And each participant gets his set ranging from spring to winter.
Each player places a random set of gene tiles in front of him – three piles one containing head, second body and third tail parts. But all are turned upside down to show only sheep’s body. The front part, which players are not allowed to look at, contains a third of the name, picture and property icons. Aside will players prepare competition tiles and royal prizes.
Year of gene mixing begins with revelation of royal requirements – one main and one side task for each season. These show players the desired properties of the generated chiméra and their point value.
Subsequently, players will start searching for appropriate pieces. It all happens in real time. So they must start their efforts together with some countdown and then they can take the upper part from any pile on the table. There are twelve of them (four for each part of the body). Player always chooses one of the pieces, looks at it and can decide whether to keep it or not. If he likes it and would like to use it for some of his creatures, he places tile on one of his season boards. Because all opponents know the requirements of each season, they try to tailor acquired images to these specifications.
A piece that player does not want is not simply returned to the pile. Instead, he places it on the board of one of the opponents. Everyone tries to keep their plans up and running as long as they have some free space for body parts. At the moment when all the boards are full, round ends and players move to the spell part and creation of chimeras.
At the beginning of this phase, player rotate the hourglass and from that moment on, any player can arbitrarily rearrange pieces of their newly bred animals. Only thing he needs to maintain is position of body part (head cannot be on tail space). However, new chimera must always consist of three different animals, so it must be a true crossbreed. When a player is satisfied with all four of his competition creatures, he takes the hourglass in front of himself and turns them around as soon as the sand runs out. By doing this, he offers last thirty seconds to all opponents and also allows the fastest wizard to take the queen’s tile and place it on one of his creatures.
Then all rivals just need to compare their combinations of genes with each other and evaluate completion of tasks received from the ruler. In the event that player is unable to create three creatures, which must always be made out of three different animals, it is possible to make one out of tiles with sheep picture up as a sign of failed crossbreeding. Such a part decreases point value of the entire chimera.
Players will see the value of their creations in each season. Required properties are given by a combination of two royal tasks. Whoever has the most icons, that were part of this challenge, will receive the most valuable rewards and the second one will earn at least some points. At the end of each round, queen’s prize is also distributed. A player who has finished the construction first may determine a season. Players first each advocate, why should their candidate suite best to the queen’s name, that is shown on task tile. Everyone votes for one of the opponent’s chimeras and marks the one that best suits them in his opinion. The player whose creation gets the most votes receives two points bonus.
Game then continues to next round. Third year is last. Whoever has the most points after three rounds in total is the best wizard in combining animals. His creations secured him position as a court magician.
Chimére is a crazy chase for genes. Everyone has the same supply and time. The initial construction is done in absolute chaos, where players take each other’s tiles (but only one at a time!) and evaluate their benefits in secret.
But there is one interesting element. Players can place tiles, that they do not want, on the board of one of their opponents. This is, in a way, a very interesting feature that gives players a handy tool to be really nasty. This time they can influence the success of their opponents and cause them some damage. If they want to, they can focus more on their opponents than on their own efforts, ruining their creation completely. But that would completely deny the idea and fun of the whole game. Why would anyone do it?
In this all, the plates must be compared against goals, that change with each round. The combination of two properties creates a task for wizards. They are trying to choose tiles to have as many of these icons as possible and to give opponents only those, that have few of them.
But the initial chaos is just about giving away chances and still does not mean anything. When it ends, all players have a combination of more or less good tiles on their boards. But then they can edit and rearrange them according to their own ideas. This is the most repetitive phase of the round, as players have to combine pieces well. At the same time, however, he is trying to do it quickly because the first position allows you to have a good position to earn bonus points. But speed is important even after the complete time is limited.
Our overall experience was slightly marked by the fact, that this is the French version of the game and we therefore had to work with an additional translation of the queen’s tasks. They have a surprisingly important role in the game, although players can not influence its outcome. Only one of them – the fastest one can choose creations to compete. Match is of course random because tiles are shuffled and no one will affect, which image they draw into hand.
The game is not extremely fast. Despite its conception of the real time rounds, total time required to complete is more than thirty minutes. And because of the ability to slip tiles to others, it is best when a maximum of five players is involved. The game will not slow down, but the experience will definitely be enriched.
Chimére is a very pleasant entertainment, which will attract especially with its beautiful graphics. The pictures are beautifully interwoven and create a complete impression. But the game is a real-time battle, which is definitely not an adept for everyone. Coincidence, chaos and conflict together exclude a number of players. Chimére, however, can find a way to some player’s hearts and make them happy.
+ images connect
+ variability of animal creation
+ different tasks
+ emphasis on speed
+ ability to slip others the unwanted pieces
- randomness of splitting