Let’s start with BSW — it’s changed a lot since I was there last time. For the better, I think. It seems slightly easier to use now, the menus are more understandable. Attika user interface was easy enough to use. Having a big screen sure helped, on a smaller screen the scrolling would probably be very annoying.
And the game, then. I had no clue how to play before the first game and I must say I’m not much wiser now. Players compete in placing building tiles on a slowly expanding hex board. The board features resources, which help building. Players can also toss in resource cards from their hands, but replenishing them is slow. Another thing to take care of is building chains. If you have a stone-cutter, you can build fortress for free. If you have fortress, you’ll get towers. You just have to build then adjacent to each other. Which might be difficult.
The building chain thing is the most interesting part of the game, I think. Also the expanding board (players get to place a new board section after they go through one of their four piles of tokens) is an interesting twist. The goal of the game is to connect two shrines (difficult) or place all buildings (easier).
The rules are fairly simple. I read through a condensed one-page rules which I found from Geek and that was enough. Learning the BSW user interface was another easy obstacle. Figuring out the proper way to play the game will remain a challenge for a while, because that isn’t obvious. Watching how my opponent played, the building chains seem to play a big role.
I’m not super enthusiastic yet (some have flashed the Spiel des Jahres possibility already!), but I’m quite sure I’m buying Attika at some point. I’ll try to get some more plays at BSW and I’ll also be able to test the real game at HelCon as my Essen-visiting friends have both bought the game, I hear.