This is quickly becoming my favorite worker-placement game! At least it’s giving Agricola and Dungeon Petz a run for their money.

I got this when I Kickstartered its expansion earlier this year. I like NKSN’s other games (Mistfall in particular) so I was okay gambling on it. But it showed up the same week as Scythe and, well.

My wife and I broke this out a couple weeks ago and relearned it. I like having worker-placement games on hand, because they tend to be less acrimonious and that’s something that works well for us. It works well with my harder-nosed gamer friends as well, sometimes. What I didn’t really understand was how fast this game can play: we banged out a 3-player “short game,” with two players relearning the game, in about 75 minutes.

The secret sauce to Simurgh is that it’s a mix of fixed worker-placement options (mostly for gaining workers, dragons, and two of the six essential resources) and variable options, which are placed and discarded in the “wilderness.” Discarding wilderness areas is one of the game’s two timers, so early on it’s easy to just grab something you need and throw away the location after. But as you close in on the final rounds, you tend to slow that waaaay down. And there’s only so much room in the Wilderness area for these locations.

Anyway, it’s just great. There are no obvious engines (because those Wilderness locations go away) but lots of optimization. The art is amazing, I mean just look at those dragon cards. We haven’t even played with any of the expansion materials yet, because the core game is just so tight and complete.

11 thoughts on “Simurgh”

  1. Worker placement games are a satisfying experience, but we haven’t found anything to improve upon Lords of Waterdeep with the expansion. Caverna has not found favour.

    I’ve not heard of this one at all, but Dragons? The last game with dragons I played was Joust. They don’t really do a lot for me. What’s the flavour text on this one as far as aims and goals go?

  2. Neil Robinson hm. Okay.

    The goal is to run up your Power (victory points) before the game runs out (either by exploring to the “end” of the wilderness or by putting a number of Goals into play).

    You’re acquiring new Dragons — those tiles with the white/red dots on them above — and those do two things. One, they provide anytime powers, which you typically use to juice up other effects. Like, if you get meat then you cash in that dot and get more meat or whatever.

    The other thing the dragon collecting does is play into the Goals, most of which are sets of dragons. Player with the most total red, green and gold dragons gets 16 Power, second gets 8, third gets 4, stuff like that.

    Every turn you MUST either place a vassal (spear guy or dragon lord) somewhere in a WP spot, OR recover some/all of your vassals. If you leave a Wilderness spot with no workers, the tile gets discarded into that countdown. So you kind of are stuck, or you manipulate other players into getting stuck.

    Then you also MAY add and populate a new Wilderness location, and advance a vassal down these special locations you play called Exploration: they’re a chain of events, and you have to pay for every step, but as you do you’re getting more and better goodies.

    I don’t know that the dragons feel especially dragon-y. I mean they’re basically just packages of abilities. You don’t fly them around or attack each other with them. They’re Pokemon.

    I heard Simurgh is actually a lot like Lords of Waterdeep with some different WP tricks, actually.

  3. Cheers Mr B. It sounds like the actual WP bit is a bit more advanced than LoW. Your placement in that is as straightforward it gets. Even adding in the expansion doesn’t change the actual placement mechanics.

    Have you got anywhere near The Voyages of Marco Polo? That does a nice spin on dice placement. Quite thinky, but over in an hour. We’ve been playing that a fair amount.

    Oh and I totally lied about dragons. I forget that I took a 30 year break from the Dragonriders of Pern and then read one on holiday. It was great!

  4. David Miller can be, yeah. There are constraints on that, like, you can’t kick out a location until all the available spaces are full. It’s a core tension of the game.

  5. This one is on my Xmas list. I have been stalking it since Origins when I sat and played a few rounds, with the creator. I would have bought it then but I just dropped about 400 bucks already, and was tapped out.

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