Monday, November 14, 2016

{Review} Chara Games - Commissioned

Does your family love board games or are you like us and it depends on the person? Amber has always adored most types of board games and wrangled whomever was available into playing with her. While my husband is a strategy game player and can spend hours on just one move in a game, I lose interest in just about every board game in 15 minutes. Seriously.

When the opportunity to review Commissioned from Chara Games came up, I let Amber read all about the game before requesting the review. Honestly, this was going to be on her to review with one of her parents. Of course she was enthusiastic about the game, because it is exactly the type she loves.

Review of Commissioned from Chara Games

What type of board game is Commissioned?
Without directly comparing it to the numerous other games of this category out there, let me say that it is a cooperative, deck-building, strategy game based on actual first century events. The game is designed for 2 to 6 players, ages 14 and up.  Although, Amber definitely took the lead on this game and would have been fine to play even as young as 10 years old since it is a cooperative game. However, she has played quite a few similar strategy games.

Although Commissioned uses cards in conjunction with the board, Amber feels it plays more like a cross between a tile game and deck-building game. I think the inclusion of meeples and other player tokens might be influencing her, still that was Amber's input. To me Commissioned felt similar in game play to the majority of the other strategy board games we own, which was rather helpful in getting up to speed in playing the first time around. Either way, the game play was solid and well thought out; we didn't run into any goofy situations that weren't addressed in the instructions.

Commissioned sets up the players as first century apostles, each having their own special ability somewhat based on the actual apostle's life. The goal is to populate the cities on the map with churches using the apostles and other missionaries (denoted with the meeples). Just as the early church faced persecution and various trials, so must the game players. Each round includes choosing a trial card and then moving forward to expand (or recover) after the trial has been affected.

Review of Commissioned from Chara Games

There are multiple scenarios of varying difficulty that alter the beginning situation of the game along with some of the winning goals. The board itself even has two sides to provide additional difficulty for experienced players.

Personally, I was intrigued how some of the game play rules made the scenarios more historically accurate. At first I was just trying to remember the rules and follow along, but if you think about how life actually was for the early apostles, the rules make a good deal more sense!

Our Experience:

Amber and my husband have infinitely more experience with these types of board games than me, however I was the parent available to play with Amber. Thankfully, the instructions are very detailed and Chara Games even has a video on their website that demonstrates the game play through all the rounds. I read the instructions through, and decided that Amber should watch the video. She did in the car one day, and I was able to listen while driving.  I am fairly certain we could have managed the game without the video since the play is similar to other strategy games, but the video got us moving faster.

We played the game several times and although I had a good handle on the rules, I was still dependent on the instruction booklet, especially for some of the trials which are given in pictures only.

Review of Commissioned from Chara Games

The instructions state that Commissioned should take about an hour to play through in its entirety, but that was not our experience. Each time it took us at least 2 hours to complete, however we did win every time. Perhaps we are just slow, or maybe we took longer in order to be able to achieve the winning requirements. I can see how, with poor luck on the trial cards, you could lose the game very quickly.

What did we think?

Amber LOVED Commissioned. She didn't just think it was an okay game to play once in a while, she actually liked it better than most of her other board games. And I have to say I was shocked at that. It's a lovely game with extremely high quality pieces and board, but I really thought it would rate just about average with Amber. I'm happy to report that I was way off base on my initial expectations.

I thought Commissioned was about as enjoyable as any other strategy game. I got tired a half hour in the first time and started wanting to adapt the rules to make it easier 45 minutes in the second time. But at least I was able to finish the game, which is not always a given for me. I do wish I had not chosen to be Paul the first time around because his special power was a bit less than useful for the situations we found ourselves in.

Originally, Amber had hoped this might be something she could take with her for some of the Sunday evening high school youth gatherings at our church. We decided right away that Commissioned is a bit too complex for a casual game with the youth group. However, it would work well with friends who are gathering for a game day, especially if they are fond of strategy games!

In the end, this game has become a keeper for us. Amber is still enthralled with it and wanting to play at every available time.

Review of Commissioned from Chara Games

Chara Games has a brand new, light strategy, card game called 3 Seeds, which takes only 30-45 minutes to play! If Commissioned looks a little too involved for you, check out 3 Seeds, or how about trying them both?

Connect with Chara Games on social media:
Twitter @Charagames

Visit other members of the Review Crew to read the fun they had with Commissioned!

Commissioned {Chara Games}

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