The silly cogtraption is broken again. And there’s only a few qualified cogineers capable of repairing it. In today’s review, Fairway takes on that role in this review of COGZ. See if he’s good enough to reCOGnize the broken cognections or if the machine will remain broken.
COGZ is a two- to six-player, abstract, tile placement game set in a steampunk-like world in which players attempt to complete a series of colored connections made of octagonal tiles.
Initial Impressions ^
- This game has incredible components. We loved the round tracker that had a fulling functioning gear system within it. The tiles and score tracks are nice thick cardboard.
- The game is incredibly streamlined which made both learning and playing refreshingly easy.
- We thought the game’s scoring mechanism was very interesting. Players were channeled into making “well-rounded” decisions rather than just bee-lining one repair.
- Some of the art was well-suited for the game, other parts we felt really detracted from the overall feel.
Game Play ^
In Cogz, players take on the role of cogineers. The players are tasked with repairing a central board formed of octagonal tiles called the Chromatic Cogtraption. Each tile has a two colored paths that connect two sides. Each path is one of four possible colors. These connections then link to other tiles in the cogtraption. The object for the players is to play tiles from their hands into the cogtraption to form ever-longer chains of the same color. Players score each repair to one color separately. The trick, though, is that your final score will be the lowest score of all the colored connections you repair.
At the start of the game, a starting 5×5 contraption is built randomly from tiles. Players are then each dealt a starting hand of three tiles.
Now, over the course of a number of rounds, players will take one tile from their hand and exchange it for one of the tiles in the cogtraption.
There are a few rules to playing tiles:
- You will score points when your replaced tile creates a longer line of colors. You score those points for that color.
- If the connected color line forms a solid connection between two edges of the cogtraption or makes a complete circle, it forms a machine. You will score points additional points at the end of the game for each machine you build.
- When placing a tile, you cannot break up a constructed machine.
At the end of the game, players sum up their total points on a per-color basis. Bonus points are awarded for each completed machine. The winner is the player with the highest lowest score of any color.
On the green. ^
The components. The production quality of these components is very high. The fully functioning round tracker is pretty awesome. A video of the round tracker in action is at the bottom. Each player is also given their own personal score track for tracking their color scores. This is also a very nice touch and high quality.
Similarly the tiles are all very high quality.
Game play and play time. This game is very streamlined. It doesn’t take too much effort to learn or teach. And it’s very easy to get right into. Players were a little tripped up by the strategy of keeping a relatively even balance of color repairs, but that creates a good part of the strategic decision making.
Once players have learned the game, set up and game play goes quickly. You can easily complete a game within thirty minutes.
Included variants. I love when games include official variants. COGZ includes ones for 3D boards too. We haven’t tried that yet.
Scoring. We liked the scoring mechanics a lot. It was not enough to simply get the longest color chains. You had to plan to get good chains of every color.
Where it comes up short ^
The art and graphic design. The art and graphic design of some of the game are not for everyone. It’s really hard to look beyond the sometimes garish aesthetic of parts of the game (the box included). It feels very cluttered overall and the color palette feels a lot less like a steampunk game than it could have.
It’s really unfortunate since there are definitely parts of the game that does the graphic design and art well. I’d include the score track, round tracker, and tokens in that category.
In the hole ^
COGZ is a well-polished, streamlined tile laying game. The combination of simple mechanics and tile placement rules creates a brainy-yet-strategic game. The use of the highest, lowest score to determine a winner is also terrific twist. Cogz should appeal to fans of tile-laying games and puzzle games.
COGZ is in the hole for a Par! ^
Fairway was provided a copy of COGZ to write this review, but was not otherwise COGpensated for this review or his opinion.