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Lands of Oz

Designed by Charlie Hoopes, with art by Zachary Tullsen, Lands of Oz is a light family-friendly card game which is set, as the title clearly shows, in the Lands of Oz that some will recognise from the novels of L Frank Baum but most will know from the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz starring Judy Garland.

The characters from the Oz stories feature in the game but none of the 2-5 players are playing as Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, the Wizard et al. Instead, players represent locations in Oz. Each have their own location boards. They have different designs for flavour but the individual boards are functionally identical with tracks for each of seven types of tokens.

The game is played using cards that show one or more of the symbols for each track. Players all start with two cards, and these must be played by the end of the 10th and final round - so if you still have those two cards in hand at the end of round 8, you'll have to play them as your turn in rounds 9 and 10. Otherwise, you have a choice over which card to play: one of those from your hand, one of the four cards that are always in a face-up display (replenished after any cards are taken) or draw and play the face-down card from the top of the draw deck. You're playing cards to advance your token along the tracks on your player board. As a family game with children, you'll probably find kids happy enough to race along the tracks willy nilly. Older players tho' will seek to exploit more subtle strategies, noting, for example, that positions on some tracks give an extra point of movement on that track, and Glinda's Wand gives you an additional bonus move on any track of your choice. The player who is ahead on a track takes the standee representing the corresponding character (for example, the Cowardly Lion for the Medals track). Each one of the standees held at the end of the game (ie: end of round 10) score 2-4 points (so note that some are worth more than others, so some tracks are worth focusing on more than others). Players score a point for each track completed and, more subtly, points for the track on which they've made the least progress.

The character standees will change hands several times in the game - ownership switches when a player moves further along the track on their board than the player who currently has the character. However, the first player to reach the end of a track takes the character standee permanently. That's especially valuable for those 4-point characters (Dorothy and the Wizard). It will usually be beneficial to pick a card that advances you to the end of a track ahead of an opponent even if there are cards available that give you more moves in total.

With Lands of Oz, Escape Velocity Games have produced a light but entertaining game that families will enjoy playing together. It plays quickly (our plays at Board's Eye View mostly ran to around 15-20 minutes) and it works at all player counts, tho' we've enjoyed it most with higher player counts that meant there was more of a tug-of-war as the character standees more frequently changed hands. Shown here on Board's Eye View is a preview prototype of Lands of Oz ahead of the game's launch on Kickstarter later this year. We'll add a link to the campaign when it goes live.

#LandsofOz #EscapeVelocityGames #EscapeVelocity #WizardofOz #cardgame #familygame #childrensgame

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