Dale of Merchants 2

 Game: Dale of Merchants 2 Time: 30 minutes
 Publisher: Snowdale Design  Age: 10+
 Players: 2- 4  Replayability: 8/ 10

dale of merchants 2 Dale of Merchants 2

Deck building as you know has been an all time favorite of mine. I have constantly boasted about Star Realms and how solid of a game that is for two players. Dale of Merchants 2 is everything I had hoped and dreams for in a deck building game and more. It not only incorporates animal folks as the character deck builds, it relies on different strategies in order to reach the win condition. Each card can either be played as an action, a currency, or a stall to reach end game. I can’t get enough of that, to be honest. Any game that can incorporate different journeys through a single card has put a lot of effort into their game and I can appreciate it. While this game is very similar to Dale of Merchants (which I haven’t reviewed yet), the expansion is a standalone that can also be mixed with the original. This card game delivers multiple levels of strategies because each animal folk incorporated uses a different strategy in order to use them. Some may rely on luck while other may incorporate every player. When you mix a couple of players into the game you are looking at a nice jumble of animals with all unique abilities and strategies.

This is a very solid board game with easy to understand rules and great graphics. Again, each animal folk deck is unique in their own way delivering a nice variety of strategy combinations. The game is fully functional and the design of the box fits the cards in well. This is a high-quality game that was successfully funded on Kickstarter.

My Experience

I played this (multiple times) with four players. In our most recent experience, we incorporated the Observant Owls, Fennec Foxes, Lucky Ocelots, Reckless Polecats, and the Experimenting Platypus. So we were looking at a great blend of luck (Polecats and Ocelots use a lot of dice rolling), and character interactions (Fennec Foxes definitely implement character interaction). I started the round by trading in the few junk I had to receive one of the level three cards from the Fennec Foxes which lets everyone choose a card from the player to their left or right (my choice) and placing it in their hands. I felt this card sounded amazingly fun and could potentially be devastating without causing any first-hand harm. I placed it in my discard along with my junk cards and ended my turn. The player to my left used their observant owl to rearrange their top three cards on their deck in any order (I was under the impression it was in order to make sure he could have combining technique abilities that can string together.

Fast forward a bit, I enjoyed what my opponent was doing with the owl so I felt it was necessary to make sure I could string along a nice line of techniques before ending my turn. I began by looking at another player’s hand with my Fennec Fox, I followed this move with using my Reckless Polecat in order to trash some of the market cards I felt were overpowering.  I finished by spending the rest of my junk to grab a nice level two card I felt was going to help me in the long run. Like I said there is a lot of opportunity for options and strategy which colors this game a versatile experience.

dale of merchants 2Final Thoughts

Dale of Merchants 2 is a very fantastic deck building experience for two or more players. While it is fun with two players, the more players who have involved the more animals you can mix–which I find to be far more exciting. There is not much of a learning curve if you are familiar with deck-building mechanics, however, if you are not you may find this a bit difficult to grasp. Most players I introduce any deck building game to have a hard time understanding why we discard everything before we reshuffle it back into our hand. I love the animal types and feel each character is unique enough to not feel like filler cards. The pacing is great but sometimes the stringing of techniques could make the game seem a bit stale when players don’t end it. It does not take long to setup but has a bit of a clean up time rearranging all the cards that have been shuffled. I love it.

You will like this game if you’re a fan of deck building games and want to see the genre pushed further.

You will not like this game if you don’t like heavy strategy card games.

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Joseph Nicholas

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Indietabletop. Communication major. Favorite mechanics include: Bluffing and Deduction, modular boards, and action point allowance. Favorite video game genres are Rpgs, Puzzles games, and Sim/Tycoons.

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