Our Carpe Diem review, what we have to say about the robust set collection game from designer Stefan Feld. This medium complexity game has you drafting tiles into your Roman district to score the most points, Players have a 6×6 grid with a frame around it that sets random win scoring conditions. Taking turns, players draft one tile at a time into their personal area. Some upgrades are made of stringing multiple tiles together and some have effects by themselves.
We took a look across fun, replayability, player interaction, quality and art & style to come up with the overall score for our Carpe Diem review. See the breakdown by category below.
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– CATEGORY BREAKDOWN –
Fun (8 out of 10)
For the fun section of the Carpe Diem review, we award a good 8 out of 10. Stefan Feld, the mind behind Castles of Burgundy, Bruges, Notre Dame and others, is a master of these complex set collection games. In Carpe Diem you take a tile and you put it on your personal grid. There is not much to the play but where it gets complex is that one decision might have fifteen or twenty options with about ten different paths you can take with them. Do you want to build a farmhouse or a river? Each has different benefits and there is only so much space to use. Different choices grant different scoring bonuses.
The game lives up to the designer’s good name. Carpe Diem is not the best one if the series but if you live this kind of jugling with different paths you can strategize to take, you are going to like this one. Everything works well together so you are always on the edge of your seat with the different twists and turns the game can take.
Replayability (8 out of 10)
For the replayability section of the Carpe Diem review, we award a great 8 out of 10. There are some things working against this game and many things that work for it. The negative is not too bad and certainly doesn’t cast a shadow on all the positives. This one will give you a little component paralasis. There is so much to this game. Taking it to the table is an ordeal. Give yourself some time to play multiple games in one sitting and it is very worth it.
For the positives, every single aspect of gameplay changes from game to game. How your board scores, what bonuses you go after and the tiles that fill up your board (with their tens of options) change entirely each game. No path to victory is more powerful than any other, thanks to great balance, so how you play and win each game needs to completely change and adapt.
Player Interaction (7 out of 10)
For the player interaction section of the Carpe Diem review, we award a solid 7 out of 10. Personal tableau set collection builders are not really player interaction driven titles but as far as the field goes this one sits at an above average spot. It is basically a race to a high point total but there is some interesting fighting over pieces and the scoring or resources bonuses you can acquire throughout the game.
The drafting to get pieces is kind of interesting but nothing any better or worse than anything out there. A spot has four tiles and there are six spots in the circle. You can move one spot around the circle and then take a tile from a collection that starts at four and whittles down. There are about three different draft points and all of them have you stepping over your fellow players in interesting ways to get there.
Quality (8 out of 10)
For the quality section of the Carpe Diem review, we award a very good 8 out of 10. With so much going on, you would think you need a team of scientists to make all the math work and balance out. It is unclear how they did it, but they did it well. Nothing feels like it is more powerful than anything else and it always felt like you could make the right string of moves and be right in their jocking for the lead. Games take a bit of time but the pacing is solid.
There are lots of components to this game. With all this going on, their quality is important because otherwise they would never hold up. Everything is well produced and should give you no problems.
Art & Style (6 out of 10)
For the art & style section of the Carpe Diem review, we award an above-average 6 out of 10. The game does a wonderful job of cramming a ton of clear information on many different little tiles and other components. With so much going on this was a necessary problem to solve and they got it done. There are rivers, farms, buildings, improvements and each one of those types has different versions that mean different things. This is all clearly shown and it is never unclear what each tile does.
The theme itself is kind of the style of Rome in a rustic farmhouse setting. It is not too exciting, just more functional than anything else. All the many features have plenty of character and theme meshes with gameplay well. There is a lot to this game and each element has been given the focus it needs to be part of the overall experience.
– IN CLOSING –
Carpe Diem Review | Board Game Halv
Designer Stephan Feld has carved out this niche for making high-quality complex set collection games. You are putting together sets over time in a simple way but where it gets very layered and intense is in the depth in options. Carpe Diem is not the absolute best in his catalog but it is a ton of fun and does his style justice. You have so many different things you can build within your personal area and they all have countless configurations. There is much too do but not much space. The touches of drafting that drive decisions make the game interesting but are nothing ground breaking. Overall a solid choice, especially if you like other games from this designer. This has been our Carpe Diem review, we hope you enjoyed it!
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See the full explanation of the judging criteria here.