Euphoria is one of those games that consumes your mind for hours and even days after playing it the first few times. Every gap in conversation my wife and I had those first several days was filled with, “Man! Next time I need to hit up Icarus more…” or “Ugh, if only I had finished the Subterran Tunnel earlier…” This constant analysis roils in the back of your head, and it’s awesome!
Play as yourself in a dystopian world designed to stifle happiness and promote mediocrity. You’re a rebel, a revolutionary trying to muster up the courage to influence enough fellow dystopianites to make a difference. Delegate your workers to certain tasks across four factions, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Keep the morale of your workers high, but if you let them get too smart, they’ll bolt!
The overview is just the first layer of this incredibly deep and rich game. Actions and combinations of actions unlock greater opportunities to further your cause: invest in the tunnels to activate your second recruit; construct a market to unlock its power to further the allegiance of that faction and gain valuable authority tokens. Most games, even some great strategy games, have a single, flat layer. Not so with Euphoria.
I often lose connection to the main storyline during games. Actions and components become mere means to an end. Every action, every decision, every component in Euphoria is clearly aligned to the overarching mission of freeing a land of its oppressive, dystopian rulers. The connection stays with you from start to finish making it an engaging, fulfilling experience whether you win or lose. You feel a part of something bigger than you!
You’ll love how realistic Euphoria is with its check on accumulation and influence. Most games (and societies!) focus on a frantic rush to “Go! Go! Go!” and accumulate “More! More! More!” Each turn’s Knowledge Check helps you take a measured, thoughtful approach to your rate of increase throughout the game. Yes, I learned this the hard way…over and over!
Tips & Tricks
- Don’t overlook the Icarite territory! It will reap immense benefits for you if leveraged judiciously.
- Try to focus your efforts on a particular faction (typically corresponds with your chosen recruits). If you spread yourself too thin, you won’t be able to reap the long-term benefits of any faction.
Scoring & Wrap-up
- The story and setting are perfection.
- While choices are many, the gameplay is simple and rapid (be ready with your next primary and secondary moves before it’s your turn again!).
- The names are hilarious and fit the storyline perfectly. These are our favorites:
- The 2-page quick guide and the teaching guide are top-of-the-class and incredibly helpful for new learners and intermediate players who need a refresher.
- The colorful art and dice are just cool.
- Building markets seems too easy with corresponding penalties for not participating in their construction too severe. I find the first large portion of the game spent solely on quickly and cheaply building markets followed by other players getting their authority markers on the markets to not incur the penalties. Nothing else can really be done until all markets have been built and fully populated with authority markers.
For these reasons, I give Euphoria a very high 8.5 out of 10. It has already taken its place in our “favorites” section of our board game closet!
Disclaimer: I received this game for free in exchange for my review, but believe me, I post authentic reviews every time and will be brazenly blunt if needs be.