Dale Yu: Review of Come Together

Come Together

  • Designers: Vegard Eliassen Stillerud, Eilif Svensson, Asmund Svensson
  • Publisher: Chilifox games
  • Players: 1-6
  • Age: 14+
  • Time: 60-90 minutes
  • Played with review copy provided by publisher at SPIEL 2022

My brain automatically starts singing: “Here come old flat top / He come grooving up slowly / He got joo joo eyeball /  He one holy roller / He got hair down to his knee / Got to be a joker he just do what he please…”

The title gets me into the mood and theme of this game – “It is the late 1960s, and a new generation of young people cherish freedom, friendship, and love by creating gatherings where everyone can come together in peace and enjoy the ultimate life experience — music festivals! Everyone wants to see The Cascadians, Tikki Tooraid, and Great Western Cowboys this summer, but which festival will they play?  In Come Together, you organize your own festival, using your volunteers to attract an audience and the hottest artists, build stages and camps, and gain publicity to make your festival the best of all time!  Come Together is a worker placement game, but with a special twist: When you place workers, you do not immediately gain the card you just claimed. You must wait until a player activates that location (which activates it for all players on that location). Players are constantly facing important dilemmas: One dilemma is whether to claim a card or activate a location. Timing of the activation can be crucial. Another dilemma is whether to claim the card you really want or claim a less attractive card in order gain more publicity by joining players on another location.“

Place the board on the table, and out the countdown marker at the start of the activation track. Location tiles are slid into their corresponding indentations. There is a deck of cards that goes with each location; shuffle it and place it near the corresponding location tile; then deal 4 from each face up into each slot of the location tile.  Newspaper tiles are set up in the three slots at the top.

Each player takes their own board, put a stage card on top and a camp card on bottom.  Blue, Orange and White publicity markers are placed at the start of their respective tracks, and a black marker is placed on the starting camp card.  As you move forward on each track, you will unlock bonuses.  A setup card tells you what stuff you get to start the game based on player count. Finally, players are dealt 5 planning cards; they choose 4 to put to the left of their board and discard the last.

The game is played over 3 rounds, each representing a day at the music festival.  In each round, there are a number of turns played – in each turn, you will do one of three action choices:

A] Place Workers – stack the required number of workers from your festival board onto any available space.  If you place 2 or 3 workers, you’ll get a bonus.

B] Activate Location – place your activation token to the right of the countdown marker on the activation track. Choose a location where you have at least one crew (stack of workers), and this location is activated for all workers at that location.  Each crew owner takes the card above their crew and either activates it OR places it in their planning area to the left of their player board.  

  • Stage cards go above your board
  • Artist cards go above stages
  • Camp cards go under your board giving tents and extending your publicity track there
  • Audience cards provide you with meeples

 Look at the bottom of the location, all players present here can move as many spaces as there are occupied spaces; split amongst the designated tracks as you like.  If you pass or land on bonuses on the tracks, collect those things immediately. Players can also spend a flower to move one additional space.  All workers from this location are stacked on the hippie busses on the gameboard.  All remaining cards at this location are discarded, and 4 new cards are dealt. Advance the countdown marker one space to the right and take back the activation token.

C] Take Back Workers – Move all the workers on your hippie bus back to your player board.  Also take one of these three actions:

  • Gain one active worker (taken from your supply)
  • Discard one active worker to your supply and then perform on full Place Workers action
  • Draw 3 cards from a card deck choosing one for your face up planning display and discarding the other two

The end of the round is triggered when a player places their activation token on the last space of the track.  The location is activated like normal, though the round ends a bit early as it is not necessary to do the clean-up actions.  Once that final activation is done, the following things happen

  • Take claimed cards – all crew remaining take the card they are underneath, but NO publicity is gained
  • Score the newspaper tile that corresponds to the round of the game just finishing

  • Festival scoring – each artist card above a stage card is scored IF you have the required meeples and the stage can accommodate all of them.  Move the meeples from your camp cards to the stage, then score points from the artist card, stage card, and appropriate publicity points based on your standing on the appropriate track.  Do this for every artist you have.  Keep all scored cards in a face down stack to the right of your player board. After scoring, all the meeples go back to their camp cards.
  • Discard meeples and camp cards – The Black Track tells you how many meeples and camp cards you can keep at the end of the round discard the excess for both.
  • Set up for next round – any meeples left in locations are placed on their hippie bus.  All locations are wiped of cards; the location tiles are randomly distributed for the next round and 4 new cards dealt for each.  The white publicity marker goes back to the start, but the other 3 remain where they are.  Reset the countdown marker on the activation track.

End of the game occurs at the end of the third round.  There is a little bit of end game scoring

  • Meeples – The player with the most meeples on their camp cards scores 4 pts; the player with the least loses 4 pts
  • Booths – look at your stage cards; at the junction of two stage cards, you might have a complete booth (one half on each stage card).  Score 7 points for a pizza booth, 5 points for a beer booth and 3 points for a water booth.

The player with the most points wins. Ties going to the player who scored the most up-and-comer cards.

My thoughts on the game

Come Together is an interesting worker placement game from a designer who has made a number of games that I have enjoyed in recent years.  I’m a bit too young to be a Woodstock kid and not cool enough for Coachella (though I do go to an early Lollapalooza), but the game definitely evokes feelings of those cool music festivals.

There are some interesting decisions on where to place your workers and then which locations to activate.  As you need meeples, camps, stage space, etc. you will need to figure out how to get things done; likely relying upon other players to activate locations where you have workers.  If you can read your opponents well, you’ll be able to take more advantage of this action sharing.  Additionally, there is plenty of opportunity to deny other players desired things by using your own workers to occupy those spaces.  Depending on your group, this aspect of the game can be quite cut-throat.

It is interesting for a worker placement game to have you want to both zig and zag.  Sometimes it is good to zag and go for things that do not have a lot of competition.  In this way, you might be more likely to get the cards you want.  Of course, if you isolate yourself in a location where no one else is – you might not get the benefit of activations from other players.  When you trigger an activation, you do get the ability to choose what activates, but it costs you in tempo – as this costs you a whole action AND everyone else at the same location gets to benefit as well.

You’ll also need to pay attention to how the other players are pacing the game – well, you’re part of that process too, but only one part of the overall process.  The timing mechanism in the game is the activations.  The game could be sped up if players trigger activations more frequently – in this case, you might not have time to enact long-range strategies that require many actions.    Certainly, it’s important to have a good feel for how long you think the game will take; if you focus too much on short term strategies, you’ll miss out on the big scores for big star artists – but you could also miss out on that big score if the game ends before you are ready.

The rules are complete – but they are dense.  The rulebook is 20 pages long, filled with illustrations and examples; but the font is tiny!  To me, it feels about 7 or 8 point.  There is zero chance of me reading this with my glasses on; and given the small size of the font; there is a LOT of information in these 20 pages.  It seems long, but there are also a few full pages devoted to explanations of the cards, icons, newspaper tiles, etc- so don’t be intimidated by the heft of the book!  Just be sure to find your reading glasses before you start.

The artwork is great, and it really does put me in the Woodstock-ish mood. The overall feeling can also certainly be augmented with an appropriate soundtrack played from someone’s phone.  There are certainly certain points in the game when a player will have to stop and think for a bit to figure out their best path, and for everyone else, it’s nice to have a familiar tune to sing along to while you wait for your turn.  Also, a lot of energy was put into making up some super creative boardgame related band names.  Kudos for that bit!

While I have not taken advantage of the max player count, I do think it is an interesting philosophy of the publisher to have their games playable by up to 6 players.  This is in fact stated in their description on BGG: “Chilifox Games is a Norwegian publishing company founded by the brothers Åsmund and Eilif Svensson in September 2020. The aim is to create family-friendly games and light-medium strategy games for 1-6 players, as well as party games.”

The game length for 3p and 4p has been near 90 minutes, and I wonder whether a 6p game would finish in under 2 hours; but there is definitely a place for games that handle higher player counts.I’ll probably stick to lower counts, but as I still want to explore the game a little more, there is definitely the chance that I might one day try it for 6.  Additionally, there is a new solo campaign which can be found online, and this also may provide another outlet to try out this game (but I have not yet done so, so I cannot comment on it)

Thoughts from other Opinionated Gamers

Joe Huber (2 plays): I picked up Come Together because the theme interested, knowing full well that the game was unlikely to be for me, but also that I wasn’t likely to get to try it otherwise.  And I was right on both counts; the mechanisms were serviceable, but didn’t support the theme, and I haven’t run across a copy of the game besides the one I purchased.  Everything in the game works, but – while I was curious enough after my first play to want a second, that play convinced me that it’s not a game for me, feeling more mechanical than musical.

Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers

  • I love it!
  • I like it.
  • Neutral. Dale Y
  • Not for me… Joe H.

About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
This entry was posted in Essen 2022, Reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Dale Yu: Review of Come Together

  1. Zack Hiwiller says:

    I really enjoyed my two plays of this at 2p and 4p. The timing question is novel and the theme, while not particularly tightly paired, is a nice change of pace.

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