Title: Project L
Designed By: Michal Mikeš, Jan Soukal, and Adam Spanel
Art By: Jaroslav Jurica and Pavel Richter
Published By: Boardcubator
Player Count: 1-4 (Kickstarter Edition contains a 5th Player)
Time to Play: 20-40 Minutes
Project L is an engine building, tile drafting game that is one of my favorite new games I have played this year. Using polyomino (aka Tetris shaped) pieces, player attempt to complete puzzles to score the most amount of points by the end of the game. Puzzles are completed by filling them in with the pieces you have available. Once full, they will earn you a new piece, allow you to retrieve pieces used to complete them, and potentially score you points.
Players have to decide whether to go for puzzles based on pieces they want for future puzzles, or for puzzles they want to score bigger points with.
On a player's turn they have three action points to spend to do things like take new puzzles, place tiles on puzzles, or upgrade tiles in their available tile pool.
It is incredibly satisfying to play for those that enjoy abstract strategy games. If you are a fan of games like Sagrada, Patchwork, or Calico, Project L is for you!
What's purr-ty cool:
Components: Project L may take a minimalist approach to art in a game (which I am actually a huge fan of), but it goes all out on component quality. The puzzle cards are dual layered which allow your puzzle pieces to be inset on the cards. This is a lovely feature as it stops players from being able to accidently whack tiles around a card, as they could if the tiles just sat on top of the single layered card.
The pieces themselves are a great thick, shiny acrylic. The remind me a lot of the tiles from the Azul game. They come in a wide variety of colors and shapes and are fun to fiddle with.
The Finesse expansion comes with these amazing metal credit coins. They are detailed and surprisingly heavy!
The overall quality of the components gives Project L a high quality feel. The rulebook is even linen finished. It is clear a lot of attention was paid to making sure the game looks as good as it plays.
Ease of Access: Project L is a perfect game to play with new gamers, or gamers who like games with simple rules. Each round players have a choice of a few things they can do and they get to do exactly 3 actions of their choice. Turns take only like 30 seconds so there is minimal downtime and not a whole lot a player needs to do on their turn. It makes teaching the game really simple too. Most people understand the concept of put the puzzle piece on the puzzle tile board, repeat until it is full. It is a great introduction to engine building and drafting, since pretty much any puzzle you complete will help you in some way.
That said, while Project L is on the light side, it is still enjoyable to more experienced gamers. For gamers who enjoy puzzling out their turns, Project L is perfect.
For a more challenging game, you can add in the Finesse expansion. The Finesse expansion adds round objectives that players try to complete. Completing them will earn you credits. Credits can then be spent to take additional actions on your turn. It also adds a new end game rule, where if the pile of black puzzles has not run out, the game ends after the 10th round. There are a variety of different types of objectives to complete, some are instantaneous, while others happen at the end of your turn. This adds a new degree of strategy to the game, that is good for those who want some extra brain crunching.
There is also a Ghost Piece expansion which increases the size of tiles used in play. We do not currently have this expansion but might have to track it down because I am super curious how the bigger pieces impact solving the puzzles.
Fun: Project L is simply a fun game. It is one of those games that I will always enjoy playing. I like that I can play it with a variety of gamers and they will all enjoy it too. I have not met a person yet who has not enjoyed playing it with me. I like that it plays pretty quickly, allowing you to get in a few rounds in a relatively short amount of time. It also has a solo mode, so that if you want to challenge your brain and no one is around you can still have fun.
The cat's meow:
"Mom keeps telling me that the tiles are not cat toys, but I am pretty sure she is wrong!" - Pudgy Cat
Disclosure: Pudgy Cat Games was provided a copy of this game in exchange for a review, however, this review reflects the honest thoughts of the author.