Pacifica is the latest game in the "Games for Two" series from Kosmos and was penned by Matthias Prinz and Martin Kallenborn, who together have created games like Redcliff Bay Mysteries or the ChronoCops series have designed. Both games went down well with us. In this review you can find out why Pacifica is unfortunately not for us, but could be something for other people.

The lost city of Pacifica is coming back to life and we're helping to rebuild the city. Each player is entrusted with one half of the city. Taking into account the eight categories of Treasures, Population, Resources, Architecture, Knowledge, Machines, City Festival and Diversity, we rebuild the city and measure our success. If we manage to collect a certain number of cards in a category, we get the corresponding idol. The first person to have 5 idols or secure 3 idols wins.

Learned quickly

In Pacifica, both players collect idols by collecting a certain number of symbols in a category. Initially 3, then 5 and then 7. For example, if you get an idol by matching 3 symbols of a category, the value of the idol increases to 5. Then it can be stolen from the opponent for 5 of the same symbols or you can increase your symbols to 5 yourself in order to let the idol level up. With 7 identical symbols you secure an idol. If you secure an idol, it can no longer be stolen by the opponent. The Diversity category is an exception in terms of the number of symbols. Here you first need 1 symbol of each category in order to be able to take the Idol of Diversity. With 2 symbols of each category you secure the idol.

In Pacifica we collect icons of each category of the city. For this we have to draw, place and activate cards. If we have enough symbols, we get an idol (below).

In Pacifica we collect icons of each category of the city. For this we have to draw, place and activate cards. If we have enough symbols, we get an idol (below). Photo: Sven Karsten

The gameplay is kept pretty simple. There are three types of actions: draw 1 card from a deck, play 1 card from your hand, and activate up to 2 cards. In each turn, the active player may carry out three actions. He is free to choose which of the three options he would like to use and how often. For example, you can draw a card twice and then play 2 card, or draw 1 card, play 1 card and activate up to 1 cards.

Maps in the Machines and City Festival categories sometimes have special functions in addition to symbols. While city festival cards activate a one-time effect, machine cards have permanent functions. The effects can, for example, increase the hand limit, draw cards, change the win conditions and much more. These bring a bit of variety to the games and can change the direction of a game abruptly.

About Pacifica - The City at the Bottom of the Sea

Number of players: 2
Age: from 10 years
Playing time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: easy
Long-term motivation: low
Classification: dueling game

Author: Matthias Prinz, Martin Kallenborn
Illustrations: Amber Sharp
Publisher: Kosmos
Official Website: Link
Year of publication: 2023
Language: German
Cost: 19,99 Euro


Unfortunately, Pacifica was not able to pick us up. Pulling cards, laying them down and activating them was just too monotonous for us. There are hardly any possibilities to build up any strategies, because the game starts with you randomly drawing any cards in the first turn. You then try to draw cards of the required symbols and hope to catch cards that are either already activated or that you can easily activate. Ultimately, the biggest tactic is to work towards a specific symbol, drawing cards from that deck over and over again until you can activate that symbol. Kosmos simply has better 2-player games in their repertoire, such as Fair, Paris or treetops, which offered us significantly more variety.

The game material is solid. Nothing special, but not bad either. It's nice that, apart from the outer packaging of the game box, everything was packed in paper instead of plastic. That's great and we'd love to see more of this in board games! Another positive is that the game was made in Germany.

Due to the easy rules, we think the game can be played by younger children. The suggested age here is 10+, but we'd say 5-year-olds, maybe even a smart 15-year-old, can play the game. The fact that the game material is completely language-neutral only supports playing with younger people all the more. It should also be emphasized that Pacifica can be played within XNUMX - XNUMX minutes. After a hard day's work as a relaxed game with your partner, the game can certainly convince one or the other. People who are looking for a quick, easy game to play in between, don't want to waste too much time thinking about tactics and like to rely on their luck will certainly be happy with Pacifica.

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