In Great Plains, you're going to try to gain as much influence over different areas as possible.
You start the game by placing a cave tile on a designated spot in turn. These are like your starting points from which you can place animals. After placing your cave tiles, you may in turn place an animal next to a cave tile or another animal. If you place an animal on a space with a symbol on it, you may take that tile. These tiles allow you to perform special actions while placing an animal. For example, with a horse you can move your animal 2 spaces further. With a bear you can push an opponent's animal one space back (and sometimes even eliminate it if you push it into the mountains). Finally, with the bird, you can fly over a mountain and place your next animal on that field.
The goal is to have the most animals on the grasslands. Each grassland is worth as many points as it has fields. In this way, for example, you can cunningly push your opponent off a field just before the end and get the majority on a piece of grassland. The player who has the most points after the final count wins the game!
Since we usually play with 2 players, we are always curious about the latest 2 player games. So the new, compact 2 player game from 999Games definitely came on our radar. We didn't expect much from the game at first, but Great Plains positively surprised us.
Great Plains is a small game that you can explain super quickly. We were actually able to start playing immediately after a short 5 minute explanation. Now do you think the game has little to offer? We thought so too, but we were wrong. Great Plains seems simple, but behind the simple rules is actually a super tactical, area control game hidden. The rules are simple, but you really have to think about your actions. You can only do a few things, but with these limited actions you must try to beat your opponent. That turned out to be not so easy!
The game is over quickly and actually we wanted to start playing again right away. How can you do better next time? Is a different tactic perhaps better? Great Plains gave us a lot of food for thought. Funny, because at first we didn't expect this at all.
You can think of Great Plains as a super simple, entry level area control game. You can explain this game to anyone. Then you can cozy up to get better at the game. After all, it's tricky! It's fun to watch you get better and better at the game and tactics.
Great Plains, in all its simplicity, really managed to surprise us. It's not a mega innovative game, but it's definitely fun to put on the table once in a while. Do you often play area control games? Maybe Great Plains is a bit too simple for you. But since we have not played many area control games, we will continue to practice with Great Plains!
Pros and cons
+ Simple but incredibly tactical
+ Short rules and duration
- little actions or variation