Golden Compass is an excellent book (and a fairly mediocre movie), and of course it has spawned a bunch of board games. Most of them are based on the movie, but Der goldene Kompass by Kosmos is based on the books.
It’s a race game: players try to go through the board as fast as they can, while collecting enough experience to fulfill a number of mission cards. Movement is by cards, and here lies the trick of the game. After the beginning stages, players can only use certain cards. Cards have different colours, matching to the players. The player who is first can only use cards of his or her own colour. The others can use cards that match the colours of the players in front of them.
That’s basically it. Each turn players can move as much as they can. Turns start with the draw of new cards, where the leader of the pack draws just one card and the rest will each get one card more than the player in front of them. Thus the game is a race full of balancing mechanisms. I’m sure it’s really, really difficult to win with a wide margin.
We played with two, which works, but takes some changes from the basic game. It was ok, though very easy. No real challenges here! I lost, though I would’ve made it to the finish on the next turn. I was probably in the lead for few turns too much: this is one of those games where it’s best not to lead.
The two-player game is slightly boring. I’m sure the game is better with four players. In any case it has little to offer for gamers, it’s a family game and that’s it. A good family game, that’s for sure, and one I would love to play with kids. However, I’m probably going to stash this one in storage until Nooa is older.