In October 2021, the worker placement game Federation, touted as an interactive expert euro, was successfully funded on Kickstarter by French publisher Explor8. With an innovative double-sided worker placement mechanic, the game should bring something completely new to the market. Thanks to Strohmann Games, the game has now also come onto the German market. Find out if Federation keeps its promises in this review.
It is the year 2442 and mankind has been able to find extraterrestrial life thanks to technological advances. People learned that the universe is divided into many different federations that trade, spy, and evolve. One of these federations consists of five planets and is looking for another member.
Five-year struggle for accession
In Federation we take the lead over a delegation of four envoys. Over a period of five years, we send our envoys to the Senate to either invest in various things or to vote on a bill in the Senate. The delegation that collects the most prestige points after five years or five rounds joins the federation and wins the game. Each round consists of two phases, the action phase and the income phase.
Below I will describe both phases, as well as the evaluation of the points explain as briefly as possible. If you just want to know our opinion on the game, you should now jump to the "A tactical cracker" section.
In the action phase we complete our turns, which consist of one or two actions. In our main action, we place one of our four envoys on a free action space and, if necessary, carry out their action. Then, in the optional additional action, we can place one of our spaceships on an activated mission on our tableau in order to complete the mission and carry out the associated action.
The main action we can choose to place our envoy on an action space with the investor side or the voting side. If we place it with the investor side on the action space, we do not trigger this, but trigger effects in the income phase. More on that later. However, if we choose the investor side, we can immediately activate the mission belonging to the action field and use the action. Depending on the action space, different Planets activated and one's own influence on them increased. Alternatively, different Senate Actions be executed.
The Planets give either resources, one-time effects, bonuses for future rounds and the possibility to exchange resources for better ones or use them to build production facilities or megastructures. While production facilities produce additional bonuses in the income phase, megastructures give additional victory points when built. The number of victory points usually depends on the influence on the various planets. If we reach a certain amount of influence on a planet, we also receive a medal that gives us important prestige points at the end. We are only allowed to receive one medal per planet, which is why it is all the better to increase your influence on the planet early on. Because with every medal that an opponent receives on a planet, you need more influence on that planet to get a medal.
Senate Actions give you a variety of ways to influence what happens in the game. For example, you can take over the starting player marker for the next round, receive additional spaceships to complete missions, increase your own accreditation and much more.
In our additional action we can place a spaceship on a mission unlocked in the main action. In addition, however, we must have reached the corresponding accreditation level. This is shown on our tableau on the left and increases first in steps of two, then in steps of three. If we place our spaceship on an unlocked mission, this is fulfilled and you can carry out the action shown on it. These are mostly similar to the actions on the game board. A total of only eight missions may be completed in a game.
The income phase is triggered as soon as all players have sent their envoys onto the game board. You receive all bonuses from the built production facilities; pays the costs of the respective accreditation level; moves the investor markers for each Projects, in which envoy with investor side lie further; determines the majority per row using the voting symbols; and say goodbye to that Law with the most votes.
Each row in the Senate is one Projects dedicated. The investor markers show how far the project has progressed. The investor marker of the project is moved one space for each envoy whose investor side is in the same row as the project. If the last field of the project is reached, this generates additional victory points at the end of a game.
In the fourth and fifth step of the income phase, the voting page of the envoys is used. There are two envoys with 1, one with 2 and one with 3 influence. The influence can be additionally increased depending on the bonuses that are used. Do you own them? majority in line, you receive prestige points equal to your accreditation level. There are three rows in the Senate in which additional victory points can be scored. The Law is decided according to which side of the Senate has the majority. Laws are laid out openly at the beginning of each round. If you place an envoy with the voting side on the left side of the senate, you automatically vote for the left law. Laws also earn additional victory points depending on how much influence you have on the planet depicted on the law.
After the Income Phase, the Senate is cleaned up again and the next two bills to vote on are revealed.
the end of the game
After the fifth round you still get victory points for Medals, remaining resources and the funded Projects. With everyone Medal, which you have collected, you cover a victory point space. At the end you receive victory points equal to the lowest open field. If you have all the medals, you get the maximum score of 30 points.
Each Projects is dedicated to a planet or the missions. Accordingly, the person who has the most influence or completed the most missions receives the most victory points for the project, and so on. There is also a community project. The person who contributed the most here receives the most victory points.
The delegation that now has the most victory points wins the game.
A tactical cracker
Federation is a classic worker placement game. We place our envoys to perform the actions on the game board. We can also slide our opponents into their plans. Once a field is occupied, it cannot be used by another player. The game offers a lot of possibilities and is simply overwhelming, especially in the first attempt. You hardly know what to do and just start playing. But over time you find your way in better and better and then you think about clever moves in order to be able to collect the most points or to win a medal first and much more.
In order to remain clear in this mass of possibilities, Federation relies entirely on symbols and is therefore language-neutral. The symbols are very easy to understand and you usually understand very quickly what they mean. However, due to the sheer number of possible actions, there is such a confusion of symbols on the game board and on your own tableau that you quickly lose the desired clarity. If you take a good look at the game over time, you will find a real cracker in tactics that will surely make many Euro fanatics happy. Especially because it just looks really good.
Too many great components
Federation's design takes some getting used to; however, we loved it. This light touch from Star Wars paired with the funny comic look. It just fits and looks a lot better than many other representatives of classic euros. In addition, the components of the game are great. The meeples are a bit small for my personal taste, but feel good in hand. It's also nice that we find double-layered player boards here.
The structure of the game, however, feels like forever. The enclosed bowls speed this up a little, but they don't do much. There is simply far too much material that needs to be laid out and not enough bowls for it. A well thought out insert could certainly have helped here. The assembly alone takes a good 15 - 25 minutes.
|Number of players: 1 to 4
Age: from 14 years
Playing time: 60 - 120 minutes
Long-term motivation: high
Classification: expert game
Author: Dimitri Perrier, Matthieu Verdier
We had very different opinions about Federation. While some found the game excellent and also want to buy the game very quickly, others found the game rather mediocre. Fact is, Federation is a pure worker placement game. The interaction is very low. Only occupying actions that opponents could play and influencing the Senate and thus passing the law bring a certain interaction into the game. If a lot of interaction is important to you, you should definitely stay away from Federation. There are many other worker placement games that offer more interaction. Turris or Dwellings of Eldervale, for example, come to mind spontaneously. With Andromeda's Edge, there was recently even the successor to Dwellings of Eldervale to be financed in crowdfunding, which also has a space theme.
If you don't have a problem with the low level of interaction, you will be very happy with Federation. You can let off steam in the game and have many tactical options. However, we felt that the green planet's production facilities offered a comparatively stronger advantage than the other planets. However, it is also important to play balanced. If you focus too much on one planet, this can quickly lead to points being left behind on other planets. This is not to be underestimated, especially with regard to the coins.
The worker placement completes the game excellently. All actions feel good and advance the player in some way. However, the area majority or voting component of the game is completely lost. Little attention was paid to the fact that one can influence which law is passed this round, as the costs of doing so simply seem too high. It was better to keep investing in order to be able to carry out actions than to vote and get the majority on the individual floors, because there were simply not enough victory points to be gained from this.
While that sounds like a lot of negatives, Federation isn't a bad game. There are minor quirks, but I personally enjoyed Federation a lot. It demands enough brain power and entertains throughout. In addition, it is played comparatively quickly. We needed about 1 1/2 hours - 2 hours for a game. Super impressive for such a tactical cracker. However, this time is again drawn out a little by the construction.
You can tell Federation is a wild back and forth between great and mediocre. Personally, I would recommend the game to others, because I really enjoyed it! It is questionable whether it will find its way onto the table again. Federation has divided us too much for that.
|Strawman Games STR23001 Federation Kennerspiele*||65,50 EUR||Buy|
Last updated on 7.03.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API