Expansions · Reviews

Review of Euphoria:Ignorance is Bliss

Game: Euphoria: Ignorance is Bliss

Designer: Morten Monrad Pedersen, David Studley and Nick Shaw

Published: Stonemaier Games

Players: 1-6

Playtime: 40-70 Minutes

Play Type: Worker Placement

Synopsis:

Euphoria: Ignorance is Bliss is a more stuff expansion for Euphoria. It adds a variety of cards, tiles and alternative playing rules to provide more replayability to the base game. The expansion also adds autonoma for players who are looking to play Euphoria independently.  

Game Play:

This review only covers the Euphoria: Ignorance is Bliss. Here is my review of the base game, Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia. Due to the fact that Ignorance is Bliss is a expansion that mostly adds alternatives to components already in play, I will not be going step by step on how to play. Instead I will detail the changes made to rules and any added components, then I will give my final thoughts in the overview.

Antiques Bazaar

The first rules change in Ignorance is Bliss comes in the form of the Antiques Bazaar. This changes how artifact cards are acquired and reduces the randomness in gameplay. Rather than drawing artifact cards randomly from the deck, players now have the option to choose between four face up artifact cards. One of these cards is free, while the others cost commodities and become progressively more expensive. When a card is purchased, the others slide to the right, and a new card is drawn. Players may not draw from the deck when using this. The Antiques Bazaar should only be used with the new Market Tiles and Recruit Cards.

Recruit Cards:

Ignorance is Bliss provides players with a new deck of Recruit Cards. These should not be mixed with the original Recruit Cards. Most of these cards function the same way that the Recruit Cards from the base game did. They do provide different benefits than the prior cards, and require different strategies.  The expansion introduces two differences to Recruit Cards: Minority Faction and Factionless Cards. Minority Faction provides a bonus to players who choose factions that are not well represented at the table. The faction with the least agents represented (except Factionless Recruits) will gain a benefit of two additional commodities to begin the game.

Factionless Recruit Cards are cards that do not owe allegiance to any of the four factions from the base game, and thus do not interact with the Allegiance Track during the game. The gain no benefits from the tracker, but also do not need to be activated by the mines or Allegiance Track. These cards are more powerful inherently than the recruits in a faction, but do not gain any additional benefits.

Oversized Commodities

The expansion also includes 24 oversized wooden commodities. These represent five of the smaller commodity depicted. They are the same color and shape as the original commodities. These are helpful for those who do not like using the multiplier track, but they can be used together with the multiplier track if needed.

Player Boards

Ignorance is Bliss also includes six player boards that are color coordinated to the player pieces. Each player board has a space for resources, commodities, workers and stars. Additionally, the morale and knowledge trackers are now on player boards. The prior knowledge and morale trackers are now not used.

Market Tiles

Ignorance is Bliss includes eight new Market Tiles. These should not be mixed with the base game. They provide new drawbacks for players who do not place stars on them.

Mine Adjustments

The game includes stickers to cover the beginning portion of each mine. There are enough stickers for both the retail version of the game and the double sided Kickstarter edition. These stickers provide new starting positions for the miner depending on the player count. This helps players unlock mines at a reasonable pace during games with less players.

Autonoma

This expansion adds solo play to Euphoria. The designer of this expansion, Morten Monrad Pedersen is known for designing the Autonoma for most of Stonemaier Games’ games. The addition of the Autonoma in Euphoria: Ignorance is Bliss makes the game now accessible for 1-6 players.

Other Rule Changes

In addition to adding to the game, Euphoria: Ignorance is Bliss also introduces two small rule changes to the base game without adding any additional elements. The first of these was a variant in the original game. When players roll multiple workers with the same number, they must spend a morale per worker to place multiple in a turn. They may not place additional workers if they do not have the morale to pay for them.

Another rule change is one players frequently confused anyway. It makes it so that when players visit a Market Tile and do it’s action, they may place their star on that market, rather than the star shaped territory next to it. This gives players multiple ways to place their stars on the Market Tiles.

Overview:

Positives:

  • Solo Play
  • Simplifies Rule Teaching
  • Less Randomness
  • High Quality Components
  • Fits in Original Box and Organizer
  • Adds Replayability
  • Improves Gameplay at Lower Player Counts

Negatives:

  • Monitoring Gameplay is More Difficult
  • Cards/ Tiles Replace Prior Elements
  • Board Sticker

Euphoria: Ignorance is Bliss has been long awaited, since Euphoria came out five years ago. Many of the elements that people wished to see addressed have been done, and the gameplay overall is improved with the addition of this expansion.

One of the most common complaints I have heard about Euphoria is that it does not play well at lower player counts. The addition of the mine stickers allows gameplay to move faster and made the game much stronger at two or three players. Players are now able to unlock things relatively quickly on their own if need be, and the game moves quicker because players are able to unlock recruits and finish their mines. While I still prefer Euphoria at four or five players, I can now see playing it at two players. However while the addition of the mine stickers is very helpful during gameplay, they are still stickers. If players mess up putting them on the board, they are stuck that way. While I was able to get two of my mines perfectly, my third mine is slightly off and is now permanently stuck that way. Use caution when placing stickers as always.

Another complaint I have heard is the difficulty of teaching Euphoria. While Euphoria is a medium weight game, there are a lot of elements going on during the game and rules about when it is acceptable to do certain things. The expansion simplified some of those things from the original rule book, like placing stars in the market and using the over sized commodities rather than the multiplier tile. This makes the game easier to teach. However, the game does become more difficult for a teacher to monitor with the addition of the player boards. Some of the most forgotten rules at our table is to add the Knowledge Score to the knowledge rolls or that the Morale Track determines the hand limit. When the tracks were all together it was easy for the experienced players to glance at the track and help remind players of rules they might be missing. The teacher must be more cognizant of the other players’ play spaces now to help remind players of those rules.  

The replayability aspect of this expansion is probably the best part. The game adds plenty for players to explore, but very little that needs to be taught in addition to the base game. Players may be frustrated that most of the expansion content cannot be mixed with the base game, but it does provide variety in the game.  While the cards and Market Tiles are very similar to the original content, the benefits and drawbacks they add give variety to the game, and force players to consider new strategies. The addition of Factionless Recruits and the Antiques Bazaar especially highlight this as they both add a new level of strategy to the game.

While the game still has some elements of luck, as any game with dice will, the rules changes help lessen the elements of luck. For instance, the rule change that forces players to spend morale will keep a lucky dice roller from running away with the game. Additionally the Antiques Bazaar will give players some control over the Artifact Cards they recieve, while still having the option to take the free card if they have no commodities.

For players who like to consolidate their game boxes, the game does fit in the original box. Players who have the latest printing of Euphoria or have purchased the Game Trayz insert will be happy to know that the expansion easily fits in the insert.

Overall, this expansion adds plenty to the Euphoria experience, and is a must have for players who mostly play at lower player counts. The added content is perfect for players who are looking to have slight changes in gameplay, or who want a less random game. The changes also fix some perceived issues with the game and help create balance between factions and player counts. The game will be available for pre-order through Stonemaier Games from February 28th-March 2nd.

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