Very, very simple, light, luck-based, but still great fun. A bit over-packaged, if you can get this cheaply, do so. It could be improved by colouring the share cards to make it more obvious, and the mechanism is very similar to Union Pacific (majority scoring, random scoring). But a must-buy game.
I'd not played this before, tried it as a 2p game today. Ye ghods and little fishes, that was hard work. We were baffled by the apparently simple process, and re-started THREE times. We finally stopped after just getting 2 of 3 bags. Never again. Nice ideas but terrible game play.
A better non-german game, it does have some nice ideas; the approaching detective, the various winning options, the hidden movement. It's fun, it's ok and you could move non-gamers from this to german action games at least.
Only played a basic game which was very basic. Really it's just Top Trumps with revolutionaries, plus some action cards. A bit too much german text, not enough game, but the theme and graphic design is clever. Makes we want to play the Advanced rules, but how how how I ask you do you publish a game with full colour complex cards and not have the rules for the game ready yet???
And it is a really, really great game! It's excellent, the answers are sometimes hard, sometimes obvious, the range of subjects is broad and the simple balance of the scoring mechanism is brilliant. As a conversion, it is superb, it really works. If you like Apples To Apples, you'll like this too, a simple, fun, light, family game and I thoroughly recommend you buy a copy.
The gameplay is a lot of fun, but if one player gets maximum karma, everyone else just copies them exactly. This makes the game stagnate a little. Maybe the karma needs to develop, or we weren't interpretting the rules well enough. But the game was a hit at BM! and got played a few times in the day. When the karma rules were revealed, we were surprised at the variations and the ideas. Very clever.
Quite long to play, lots of tiny tokens that run out, loads of icons, some unexplained in the rules, difficult game to explain and coach but actually, very easy game play, original ideas and fun to play. It's an engine builder and very enjoyable.
It's taken me a while to get this game after playing it years ago. Sadly, the modern edition is made as cheaply as possible, so I paid through the nose. But I still like it a lot and I will plug away until everybody loves it too. *** Played again as a partnership, it works when folk concentrate, but it doesn't set their world on fire. Will keep trying though.
Played as a 3p game with only 1 rider each which was a mistake - the game works with several riders. But I enjoyed the mechanism a lot, it did feel like track cycling and I definitely will try this again with more players. My two colleagues were sceptical at first, but won over. *** Now played as a 5p game and it is much better, quite the purist's tactical game. Unless you're playing with a TOTALLY SELFISH PERSON, when you'll be made to cry.
Another card development game, with the only twist that you only inter-act with your immediate neighbours, and draft cards. That's it. Learn the cards, learn which engines to build, optimise. That's it.
We didn't realise it was 3-5 players and played out a 2player game. It worked fine for us, nicely balanced, came down to the wire. Money was very important, as the harder buildings delivered less money (but more VPs). But you need money for choices, so maybe it's worth playing a longer game, instead of hoovering up easy stuff early, as I did.
Abriss has very basic graphic design, but works well. i certainly want to play this some more.
*** Played again with 3 players. Still liked it. Lost by a few points, effectively by failing to demolish 1 more tile, caused by too many rounds taking the third unwanted card. need a better strategy, especially building a cash reserve early.
An interesting mechanism, if a little clumsy. But fundamental flawed by wonky flight mechanics. Apparently, whatever move I make, my opponent ends up behind me. If I make a long sweep to the left, and he strafes to the right, he's still behind me. Increasing frustration with the way the books interpret manoeuvres put a real dampener on what should have been quick fun. I could see this being revived with better graphics and selling nicely.
Good game, if you enjoy Acquire, you should try Shark. The latest edition looks much better than the Avalon Hill edition I own, which has crude card tiles. If you're looking for a copy, get one with the plastic tiles. It will be easier to replay and you'll get more use from it.
A dry theme only gamers will enjoy, but this is a curiously fun game. Shuffling the stacks around and getting your files into the cabinets in the best scoring position will appeal to geeks. Telling your colleagues which dossier to work on on, and using the action cards is yes actually fun. The official english rules need a bit of re-working. The english is correct, but a native speaker could cut the rules in half and you'll be right into the game. It's all much much easier than it appears. It all works and works nicely. I especially liked the fact that the last player each round gets one less action point, because their dossiers will end up being moved first. A nice piece of work and I'd seriously suggest a publisher picking this up for re-print.
I own this game 3 times. Crazy.*** I'm not a big fan of Adel Verp. It's a bit too chaotic for me. Whilst I enjoy second-guessing, there are too many players involved to make it worthwhile. Some card-counting is worth it, but game wears out its welcome quickly with me.
Fun action game, with a large play surface and smart ideas to produce a good sim for tennis. Practise is required, but after a while it turned into a good tennis match. Not sure if I'll get a copy, but I wouldn't turn one away.** It's only 29 Euros!! Got mine! *** Got my own copy and improved my rating to 7.5, it's a hoot. It also plays very very well, and a well-placed shot will beat your opponent. We played the basic game, but I want to improve my skills and play the lob and smash shots.*** Improved my rating again to 8.5, this game is a smash hit. Hugely popular at BM!, it really plays and feels like tennis. We are already trying the advanced shots and two players want to buy copies. The only complaint, you cannot play doubles!
Not half as bad as many of the negative comments make out. Not chaotic, confusing perhaps but not chaotic. It's an easy romp through fighting and bluffing. There's not enough time to really develop the races, and no real way back from elimination, but for what it is, it's fun. Better with more than 3 players. Confusing rules, read both the rules AND the glossary and FAQ in the game. I played a Revised Edition, and I'd say it could stand more revision. I've played Vinci but not Small World and I wonder if developed, whether AoG would turn into Small World. Certainly I'd put in a development phase before Actions, to beef things up a bit. I'd be happy to play this again, but don't take it seriously.
Okay tile game, it seemed to progress too obviously and with only 2 players, we never suffered or gained and event. Nice ideas, it just wasn't a stretch. I'd rather play it with a die to improve the odds of an event happening. The game needs some kind of balance or levelling. Maybe playing it with 3 or 4 makes it better.
First play as a learning exercise. It's interesting but not exciting. Another get-resource-pay-resource-develop-position-get-better-resource-score points game, with a lot of negative points for failing to do simple stuff. Again, the only inter-action is in taking something before another player, and this happened to me three times, severely cramping my growth. But Agricola does have good points, the way the cards and resource flow into the game, the way you can grow in various ways, there are options. But it's still much of a muchness, and much like similar games, maybe better done.
Played again, and amazingly won with 44pts. I liked it more, but it's still an engine game. I had a better idea of what to do this time, and I'm more inclined to play now. But still not mad on it.
OK, simple placement & pick-up/drop-off game. Suitable for family play 20 years ago but dated now. Players extend the ice sheet and collect blocks from the central island, but when spring comes, the ice melts. Fun to play but long and a poor english translation didn't help.
Demo'd this in Essen and liked it. Amigo generously donated a copy to Beyond Monopoly! and I finally played it through. I liked it, despite making poor decisions. I spread out to thin and too fast, when you really want to build up you base before pushing for the win. It was easy to play and make decisions, with some screwage, but a little slow for what was happening. Nice game, nice bits, nice to see a proper island game for once.
It's okay. For a dice-roller, it ends pretty fast (each round and the whole game). It's okay. The decisions are light. The main problem for me was that the SPQR cards, which give scoring bonuses, mean that previous players have the advantage over new players, plus the graphics and scoring was obscure. Once we'd played the game, it made sense and next time I'd make better decisions. But I'm not sure there'll be a next time. It was okay but not great.
It's an okay game, the basic mechanism and play work. But wildly overproduced, a huge map and yet the actual contested regions are too small for all the pieces. Little cubes, wood temples, wood cities, tiny arrows and numbers, borders, drawings of temples and cities, all crammed into about 20% of the total board. Very fiddly to control, and ultimately not a fun game. It's okay, but I would not call it a success.
I liked this but we weren't clear on the rules for moving Alexander. My friend made a big land grab, but I cut it in half before he scored it. The game seemed simple enough, but may depend too much on attacking the player to your right. I bought it, but it may not hold the attention for long. - Played it again as a 2player game, really liked it. Much easier than I remembered. A good buy. - Played again, it is a nice game but really works on margins. Being able to attack the leader counts a lot.
I'm very pleased Dirk Henn has won the SdJ. Years of hard work publishing his own games has finally paid off. I can see Corne van Moorsel going the same way too. I've played this now and I like it. It is an improvement on Stimmt So but I do understand the criticism of no interaction. But it's a straight game and the construction element is nice. The walls on the tiles is a clever touch, and the extra scoring is neat, but they may have looked better in white than black. *** And now I have TROISDORF!!!
After a few plays, the dice rolling and waiting for your turn gets tiresome. You have few choices, but they can be teasing. Yet your basic decisions are controlled by the first roll each turn, so there is way too much luck for my taste. I've not played the other side with the tile variant. Try Ysphahan, which is also a dice roller, but more fun, and has more choices to be made.
Didn't get to finish our match, but enjoyed it enough. It is very like Kingsburg but the focus is the board, not your own building area. Lots of choices, always something you can do, but the game really turns on the extra abilities the cards give you, and negative inter-action. I was less bothered by this, stealing and blocking and so on, it was fun enough and there's enough chance to deal it back.
Nice bits in the 4th ed, but really, still making printing errors?? On the whole, I liked it and will look to get a copy.
Odd auction game where you try to push the others into bankruptcy and come out on top. We misplayed it a bit, but enjoyed the game and want to play it again. if you like auction games, put this on your try list.
A children's memo game, but we played with a bunch of adults and they entered into the competitive spirit and had much fun. Aged 6 is reasonable, I can't see 10 year olds getting much from it. Very nice drawings.
Corne van Moorsel has finally cracked it. Aloha is a very good game, just the right balance of choice and tactics for gamers, nice graphics and loverly wooden bits. This game has tiny wooden sun loungers, which players place as they explore the beaches for their holiday company. We started trying to extend long beaches to over-turn majorities, but by the end-game, we realised that you actually want to control lots of smaller beaches and then make them more valuable later. Very interesting and we thought about re-playing this immediately.
A nice game if a little over-written in the rules. The basic idea of collecting weapons in one hunting ground and then hunting game in other grounds made sense, but the winning players were the ones who stayed in the village most. That made it more tactical and less in tune with its theme. It felt like they took less risk. The English rules use the word 'bluff' to describe face down cards, and this threw our players, who didn't get whether they had to be correct or incorrect weapons. The side-rules explained this, but not after some confusion had set in. I would like to play this again, but I think it will have to take its turn.
Been along time since I played this (7 years!). I kept thinking it was more complex than it turned out to be. It's really very easy set collecting and very quick and easy to play. There's something too in the design, it's actually quite a tight economic game, in that the longer you take to reach certain villages, the more expensive it is. The 18 turns flew by, and it all felt very good.
Put my rating up to 8 now. Played again against 2 new players (and won!), enjoyed it loads. Very fast game, 18 rounds fly by. Very quick decision making, works better with 4 players, more competition. I like the self-timing to deliver income. *** I might rate this higher after another play. Despite losing badly, I enjoyed the game a lot. I made a mistake of keeping to jungle paths when I could have made faster moves using river crossings. 18 rounds seems like a lot, but as the game progressed, it became obvious that things were tight. I should have played better though, so I'm keen to give it another go. The translation on now is good enough, but we had some questions.
Very simple path building game with the simple twist of some arrows on some tiles control direction. And those arrows totally make the game. Without them, it's just another connect-the-tracks game. With them, you suddenly get a chance to invade the other player's tiles without them getting into yours. Timing becomes as important as placement, if not more.
We had one small rules query, but otherwise, it's all standard fare. Worth getting if you like that kind of thing. Totally abstract with a pointless medieval theme (space mining would be more fun).
It's like nearly all his other games, a shambling mish-mash that barely functions as a game. The only part I thought novel was the use of the cubes after they came out of the tower, that is 5 blue 2 red 1 green meant you could do 5 actions of blue or 5 red or 5 green or take 2 money (8/3). Everything else in the game was bleedin obvious. Optimal choices were obvious, other players' moves were obvious, best contingency plan was obvious.
He just throws so much in, everything ends up being adjusted and adjusted, there's no actual game left. I won by one point, 166 to 165! We both scored over 150 points and it finished on 1 difference. What were the other 150 for??
So the Feld fans will love it. The COTN will try it. Me, I think he's a passing fad. Emporer's clothes. His only good fun game so far is Roma 2. Everything else came out of a sausage factory.
Disappointed with this. Way too many mechanisms shoved together, so lots of rules to understand first time. And lots of different scoring mechanisms, and lots of things with different values/weights. The fact there are a dozen action cards should tell you how complex this game is. I did like the auction mechanism, with the prices fixed on the cards. I very nearly won, but that wasn't totally through good judgement. I have my own copy, but it's going to stay wrapped.
Light spelling game with nice bits and nice variation. But a lot of downtime before your turn. Played as a 2p it was OK, and may be there's more variation with more players, but I wonder if you have to be strict on time spent thinking with 3 or 4 players.
My players bailed after a few rounds but I really liked this. A better rules translation would help, but I think it does what it says on the tin. Farm on the banks of the Nile, try to harvest your crops to market before the floods wash them away. But beware the desert encroaching as the Nile recedes. A clever mix of mechanisms, especially the flooding, this old game lacks modern graphic design which would help a lot. If you like games with some forethought, give this a try.
It's an interesting game of extending expeditions, but the bits were all too small and fiddly. The Expedition markers are too narrow and kept falling off each other, the cubes and towers are too small, the mesa discs kept spinning around with the slightest nudge. But the game itself is interesting, and you score more points for the least revealed coloured towers. It sort of works, but the components need improving. Try before you buy.
Enjoyable, with a nice central trading routine, but a bit long for what you get. Nice board and graphics, good options when your turn is around, good balance, but it just plays a half hour too long. I'm surprise this is from 1999. I wonder if Alan Moon is thinking of re-visiting Andromeda. *** Down graded to 6.5 after a totally sucky game. Had no cards to do what I wanted, couldn't offer cards others wanted. Suck suck suck.
Less challenging than I was expecting, with some creative thought you can get a lot to balance. But it is meant for small children, not big blokes with all the motor skills you need. Goes on my wishlist.
I enjoyed this a lot. It is very quick, simple rules, fun to play. The mechanism is very similar to Medici, but the process is fast. The actions are simple (the only thing not explained well is the Owl). The gameplay is good and we had a lot of nice chatter. The graphics are curiously disturbing, which we also liked. Another good simple set collecting card game. Ticked all the boxes for me.
I sat watching my german friends play this. They really liked it, I didn't. It's just Settlers crashed into Entdecker. The game is from a PC game with the same graphics, and the gameplay is just like a PC game in that the players have NO interaction. You roll the die at your turn start, everybody collects resources, you trade ONLY to the bank, develope your settlement on your mat, move a ship through islands in a channel to collect bonus tiles. Players work to 3/4 victory conditions, but everything you do is self-contained, and you might as well play by yourself.
I enjoyed this despite making the odd blunder. At the core, there is a very good game here. The action markers seem a little unbalanced, but it is game of timing and making mistakes can be punishing. The rules could do with a wee bit of simplifying (the Lamonts are lawyers!). The game needs some player aids and screens to hide your decisions before each reveal. Knowing what other players are planning makes a difference. But the game plays very quickly, the end game feels quite good, and the graphics and stags are superb. A definite improvement over Hameln, Antler Island is closer to the finished article and it's good to see how Gordon and Fraser are progressing as designers.
Kindly brought over by the nice Spaniards Homoludicus. *** A nice simple tile placement game, very attractive, easy rules, easy scoring. There is a small element of deduction to decide what your opponents are trying to score, and so avoid leaving them good positions, but the game is wide open anyway. Good for visual gamers who like to read the board, but hardened geeks will think it too luck-based.
Very nice wordgame which gets easier the more you play. We used a cheat sheet of 2 and 3 letter words, which slowed play a little but made it a lot more fun. The joy at putting down a single tile but scoring huge points by clever play is lovely. The game was limited correctly by the size of the board, so playing time was satisfactory. I won handily and my opponent wasn't able to work back the advantage I gained, but we felt the game was very fair and self-balancing. There is a nice letter selection and the letters are well weighted in terms of score.
I'd say the only let-down is the cheapness of production. It looks like a 70s educational game, which is a shame since we liked it a lot. If you like word games like this, you'll really like Anyways.
*** Starting playing this again after a break, and I'm enjoying it again. It's the effect of playing it with new people, rather than the game itself. Pushing my rating up to 7.5.
*** Played the new Out Of The Box British Isles edition. Very good, much better than the old UK ediiton. Well worth getting.
*** I got the US editions at last! *** Great fun the first few times, great for non-gamers. The UK edition I have is published under license by Tactic. It has a bigger box, flimsy plastic holder and badly printed, flimsy cards. Naturally it costs more for less! It has the same stuff as the US edition but with UK celebs like... Bobby Moore, Norman Wisdom, Chris Tarrant. If you get to America, buy the US edition, it plays better! *** Played it twice with 9 players, it works well, big laughs. More fun than a game really.
Played in Essen 05, a cross between Metro and Drunter und Druber, enjoyed it, good game. *** Played at home, added .5 to my rating. It works well, within its own limits. The bonus points at the game end seem tacked on, and make wonder if they are needed. Our game finished in a 3way tie. I want to play this more with fewer players, there are things to explore here. Do you go for one long channel, or keep your workers going evenly?
WARNING : The English rules on this game are incomplete. The placement of springs is not explained properly. We think a new spring must go a minimum of 5 places from another. A full fresh translation is needed.***Played again. I like this less now. I believe there is something here, but the die roll is a killer. I've marked it down to 5.5, NO a 3 upon reflection! I'll give it one more go and then put it away...***Maybe this game is superb, maybe it sucks. I can't tell from one play. I think we played it dumbly, but it seemed that the die roll had a major effect in the game. The town is in a grid which fits the theme but means that the inside plots have more chance of scoring. Therefore, if you're lucky and roll the inside numbers, you should win. If the town was in a loop somehow, it would seem more balanced to me.It also seems that the players who play springs and canals just serve the players after them, who have the odds of rolling a number that is watered improved significantly.I'll definitely play this some more before deciding, but Aquadukt could turn out to be a great game, or a rubbish game. The jury is out...
So-so set collecting game. Played as a 2P game, might be better with more than 2. Doubt it. Just not a lot going on and being lucky and drawing high value cards seems to be the best option. Some push your luck, but it seemed ultimately pointless.
Way better than the dire Fjords, Architekton takes a simple tile placement game and creates a neat 2 player contest. The game is simplicity itself, and the limits of only placing 2 tiles and having a forced chequered pattern makes it hard to keep control. But smart placement should keep you safely ticking along, ready for the final scoring rule. With this, and Rat Hot, designer and publisher have 2 winners.
I've only played the basic game as a 2P game. Seems to be an obvious deck-builder. Does nothing new or exciting, but it's a solid game. Fairly obvious choices since you can only deal with what's in your hand. Somewhat solitaire but I though that of Dominion until I got some plays under my belt. Amazed at how many typos/rules errors there were in the rule book.
So I enjoyed and will play again.
*** Played again with all the expansions in the box. Not sure they add a lot but it's still an interesting, quick game. Good value, quicker to pick up than Dominion.
Enjoyed this a lot more than the original Roma. There seemed to be more variety and interest in the card actions. The original felt a lot cruder and more basic. The new cards seem more subtle. Mixing the decks might be good.
Kindly brought back from the US for me by Paul Allwood of this parish, for USD26!!! It must contain a golden Ark for sure... *** Played it today, it has a lot of nice twists. The sheep/wolves, the oasis, the Prophet and the Ark all add to the mix. The Temples were pointless in my view, and the graphics were a little harsh. Much too yellow and brown, not as colourful as I would have liked. The change to sheep instead of cities made a big difference, and I'd definitely want to play this version again.
Fairly basic hand management game with gloss of cricket rules. But for that, still fun and entertaining once you accept its limits. It's not a cricket sim by any means, it's purely optimal play each turn. But once you understand the scoring and wickets, a T20 game actually has some challenge. You can tactically choose to concede a wicket in order to improve your hand, and the bowler is restricted by the No Ball rules. A nice bit of fluff, and I'd happily play a quick game.
I played this at Essen03, it's terrible. It's an Uno variant which doesn't work. You keep drawing cards, chuck bad cards onto others and watch as another player clears their hand. It just doesn't work, avoid.
I lost badly, and I suspect it works better as a 4 player game than a 3 player game, but the basic mechanisms worked very well. I really liked the way that your central stock affected both the scoring and the end game.And I liked the choice of taking an Action or adding/removing tokens. But with really only two ways to score (own lots of temples or drive one shop way up), the third player (me) was caught between a rock and a hard place. I think you're better off starting with a random circle than the A-Z recommended for beginners, and maybe some of the actions/scoring need tweaking. But on balance, I think Japonbrand have got something here. Also, it's a game that can be remade for any good tourist city.
Solid family game with interesting choices in timing and card play. I would go with the Profi version of the game except for absolute non-gamers.
The whole tower building and 1st 2nd majority scoring is familiar ground.
The way you use your cards, the use of colour suites, the limited options and resources, the buying of the start marker, the extra points from gold ornament, all this adds up to light but entertaining choices. Players quickly see where the best gain is, and getting there first or better, getting in a colour they can't spend first is crucial. So often in playing, I was cursing because the players to my right did exactly what I wanted to, forcing me to switch my moves elsewhere.
The theme is pretty enough but yet again it's men with beards holding maps in front of construction yards. heyho.
Finally learnt to play this after getting it at Essen 2009. It's a very simply, easy card game, part bluff, mostly thinking about what the other player's might choose (similar to Hol's der Geier in that way). We liked it, had one problem with an unclear rule. I'll play it again soon, but I wonder if there really is something here.
Bought cheap. Really enjoyed it, my kind of visual game, great fun. Very simple system to maove asteroids around and plan your flight. Different games to be played using the basic system. The race game was too easy but the drone shooting game was excellent. maddening. I'd plan the perfect manouevre, turn shoot turn away shoot again. Hang on, where'd that asteroid come from? Thoroughly enjoyable game, would suit non-gamers without the timer, fantastic value at the bargain price I paid. Very happy.
Very high quality components, very simple decisions, but tortuous. Played this three times now and I am liking it more each time I play. A changing path means you cannot plan too far ahead, but keeping otions open and being optimal makes it a very satisfying play. My kind of game, very visual, everything can be read on the table.
We struggled to understand the rules, especially the 2nd Cartouche, but when we got it, Aton suddenly became an interesting game. The choices are simple, the points values become more obvious as play progresses, and understanding where the value lies is crucial to your choices. So you may get more enjoyment on your second match as you have a better idea of what to do. It seemed best to us to simply race for 40 points. You give up so much by trying for any of the other conditions.
A Risk-style game with some slight improvements. A much simpler game board and rules (they seem long because of the detailed examples), gives a quick, light game of, well, attack! We played it as a 2 player game, which resolved into the Americas vs Europe/Africa. I failed in 2 attempts to invade Nigeria, but resisted a Naval battle. It seemed very balanced with 2, and we decided to try it with 4 players. We liked the cards, and the simple strategy, and the unit costs seemed well balanced. All in all, a success if you like that sort of game.
I played & bought this at Essen and hugely enjoyed it. The placement rules appear simple (but we had some questions about the sequence). The game turns on the decreasing resources. As tiles go down covering available resources, players must use more cards to complete their city. So getting your road tiles down early seems important. When you clear a stack of tiles, you place a new land 'hex'. So you must have resource cards in your hand to maximise this opportunity, otherwise the other players simply exploit the fresh land. It seems timing matters a lot, but also card-counting skills too. All the tiles are illustrated on your city sheet, all the resources needed are shown, so you should be able to work out what you still need & how to be efficient. I was stuck at the end because I lacked any water. Brilliant quick game, a must buy and a hit at the show. I got mine for 18 euro.
Extremely simple game, a little lucky in the card draw, but it plays out very nicely. The production has a foolish mistake in that the 5 players tokens for influence and scoring are the same colours as the tribes. This causes pointless confusion and could have easily been avoided. Try finding your own player bits if you can.
Good quick game but the rules don't make it clear (until you read the examples) that you have to be honest with your choices. You can't get someone to take your red sheep by putting a positive matching word on it.
A straight roll & move pick-up & deliver game with the extra element of bidding on open contracts. Having to buy contracts like this reduces your profits. But it's still an old-fashioned game, fun and probably good for 6 players and kids, but not worth seeking out.
I am a little torn on this one. If I was a better card player, I think I'd get a lot more from this game. I think it's a very clever little game, and another nice German variant on trick taking, but by the 3rd and 4th rounds, I felt railroaded into the resulting tricks.
The random order of the trumps stuffed me in the final round, but even so, I did feel choice was lacking. The game suggests two extra rules, i think I would apply them, but I think the game itself may be unsaveable even with these.
Which is a shame, as the theme, the graphics, and the scoring mechanism of footprints x animals is very nice. I enjoyed the game, and would play again, but I did not feel in control as much as I'd have liked.
Although not text heavy, I struggled a little with the transalation. The terms used for the game parts didn't sit well with me, and I didn't connect well with the game. However, I did like the auction mechanism (ANOTHER new auction mechanism) and I liked the flow of the game. But, it just wasn't fun, and the rich got richer. If I played again, I would do better, but this one didn't grab me. (Note, I was sick while playing, having a bad allergy attack, which may affect my judgement).
Yes, it is Roman Bingo, but there is actually more to it than Bingo, so do not be put off. A lot depends on your choice of cards to fill, and that focuses you onto certain of the bonus tills. A lot depends on how quickly you can complete some tiles, or on what the other players intend to do. So there's some thought required when picking your next card.
It's significant that when I play with new players, they only complete 1 or 2 cards by the game end, but when I play with experienced players, several complete 4 or 5 at least. There's real competition in the game, despite the moderate luck involved in the basic mechanism.
No language in the game itself and very familiar icons make it very easy to play a foreign language copy.
Very very quick to play, it takes longer to explain than to play, and you'll play a few games in a row typically.
Completely brilliant little game. A really simple game mechanism, a very funny test of your geographic knowledge, and easily transferable to any nation. This game is a hoot, a hidden gem of fun and learning. It's straight on my wishlist and I'll probbaly get the german version too just for the fun of it. A definite game to try on non-gamers. The game itself is language free, despite being totally foreign. It makes sense as soon as you play. What a little gem!
Played the Advanced game. The more we played, the more we liked. When we ran out of Rangers, it became a more serious affair, with wrong decisions triggering big scores for other players. It works best when you can keep your Rangers working in groups, roaming over the land like ants. We had a lot of fun making aeroplane noises and practising our Strine. I'd like to play this again, there is more to think about here. It's remarkable how many twists on placing bits, moving bits and scoring points you can get from Germany. Australia is another winner for me. (Yes, I pulled off a final round victory too!)
I've had this game a while and finally got to play it. It turns out to be very simple really, and loads of fun. It needs slightly improved explanations, but if you can afford it, buy it. It looks great! *** Played again with 4 players having 2 cars each. We made a mistake of picking our favourite colours, which meant the players with colours on the left of the sheet got more early moves than those on the right. Some grumblings about the gaps in the rules and the scoring, but if you play quickly, it's still good fun. Some suggestions came up to tweak the pad, and to have wrap-arounds, or gates to jump through.
I really didn't enjoy this. I started badly and just suffered through the whole game. It seemed like a pointless exercise to me, I couldn't recover and just got hammered. The first landscape I won? A swamp! Even card counting failed me. And the graphics are poor.
I've played the new Pro Ludo edition and it is very nice. The cards are excellent, the chariots and coins are just like the originals and the tracks are drawn very well. However, the track design seems weaker than the original. Maybe they wanted something simpler to comprehend, but it does seem to lack the sharp edge of the original design. Still, it's well worth getting and still great fun. A must buy game. **** Absolute classic chariot race, spend big money to obtain this game. Cut-throat very fast card based race, simple choices, but the chance to be utterly ruthless to win. Hilarious. **** Played the Japanese version Q-Jet 21xx, it is identical and still great fun.
It is important to note that the dice rolls are played separately, not combined as a total. So a 3 and a 4 will not allow a move to a free point 7 spaces away, if the 3rd and 4th points are blocked to you. This allows the strategy in the game. And rolling doubles gets you 4 moves.
A variant on Pictionary, nicely done, with some simple words but very tricky concepts to get across. A good party game if you're up for it. Slight problem in that the cards don't actually fit in the plastic card reader.
A very long & complex rules-set for what turns out to be a much simpler game. You have cards which allow you to compete to control priests or princes, or carry out 4 actions, swap cards, draw cards, force card dumping or move the puppeteer to a new island. If you control a priest or prince when the puppeteer arrives, you get mask tokens which are Victory Points (rising in value). The game has some elements of memory, and a lot of discarding, but as the game progresses, your choices about which cards you keep and discard become easier to understand (if not perform!). Nice graphics and the german edition is easily played by non-germans, but some player aids are really helpful.
A real challenge, well worth playing especially if you don't enjoy Scrabble. The total lack of points and the very open game-play makes this a great speed game. And games are very fast, much more than you'd expect from the rules. Each round was only a few minutes, five minutes at most. Very high re-play value, though adults would beat most kids easily of course. I definitely want a copy or two. ** We got copies for Beyond Monopoly! and it is a huge hit. 8 people playing at once and everyone wanted to play it again and again.
A very nice little dice game, another winner from Knizia. It is little, very quick and simple to play, but as the rows fill up, it forces you into decisions. Definitely play again, for a 2 player game, it's a refreshing winner.
A good take-that game and works with the theme well, but ultimately the decisions are extremely simple and it's obvious who are the outlaws etc. We played the simple game, so perhaps it can be better. But it's still an elimination game and that marks it down in my book. Worth getting if you like this sort of thing.
Bidding game with fluctuating prices, but brief. Seems uncontrollable, might have worked better with more players. *** Played again after 8 years, with 4 players. Still liked it but didn't set me on fire. It's nice enough but don't go out of your way to get a copy.
I liked it. Quite long instructions for a fairly simple game process. Add a tile, place a Knight tower on empty pasture. When a tower is surrounded by tiles, it tries to become a Baron, contests with neighbouring opponents, add up the values of the tiles around it, discount the disputed tiles between them, strongest wins. If a Baron is evicted they lose the points of the disputed section. If a Knight becomes a Baron, it scores points for all its tiles. Simple!
Very easy choices, nice competition, nice timing, all down to the gameplay. I liked it!
I've played this before so not clear why I didn't rate or comment before. It's a good, solid, visual game with nice choices and easy sums. There are a lot of action symbols which leads to some fiddliness, but experienced gamers will not find it hard. The graphics are well done, and it all flows nicely.
Shame it's a tad boring. I found it relatively easy to calculate optimal moves, and it came down to making sure you did things in the right order. It was fun, and I'll play again, but it didn't really get me going.
Surprisingly short and tight, it's slightly fiddly for what it is, but enjoyable. More of asset management than sports sim, the game has elements that don't relate to theme (the colour diversity) and clumsy rules, but it still a good gamers' game. Will play again, but not high on my list.
It looks lovely, but it's a little over-complex set collection game. The main mechanism is driven by cards mainly collected by a crude auction (closed money-go-round, bid higher or pass out). Without the right cards, you can do nothing. With the right cards, you can nicely time your drive to the win. Played with all 5, maybe a better game with 4 or 3 players. Will give it another go, but not mad keen on it. *** Played again, pushed my rating up to 7. I liked it more, once I had the hang of what was really going on, it played faster and easier than I recalled. I would play this again, no doubt.
I enjoyed Battlelore, much more than my few goes at Memoir 44. I just played one easy set-up, Agincourt, and as the French side I won (which always improves a game in my opinion). But I just found the whole thing much neater and faster and less disturbing. £45 is a lot of cash on one game though. Anybody care to give me a copy?
It doesn't seem fair to rate this low, but I was completely not engaged with the theme. I'm not a fan of BG, my friends were and loved the game, especially the possible traitor. To my experience, this was another Shadows Over Camelot, with much more limited activity. The fort is beseiged, but unless you're a pilot, you don't really get to do much. Reading actions off a text box on the board? Not my idea of fun.
So here's the thing. The game failed to engage me at all. If it had something beyond the theme, then it should have. If you love BG, you'll thrill to this. Me? Left cold, which means the game failed. *** I played this again (to oblige), played a pilot, and I was a Cylon from the start. Again, the other players had a blast, really enjoyed the experience. Again, I was left stone cold. There just isn't any significant choice for player action. It's not even that you choose the optimal thing to do. You just have to do the most obvious, because the other options are so weak. If you loved the new series of BG, you will really enjoy this game, it drips with theme. If you are just after a good traitor game, there are better ones on the market, much better.
A fun game, with a useful bidding mechanism to push it along and make it harder. Luvverly bits, pushing up my wants list now... *** Have my own copy and there are 4 or 5 games you can play with this (English rules in the game). Well worth the money, it's a must buy game if you like dexterity games.
Three hours but loads of fun. It is amazing that here is yet another game of filling warehouses and shipping goods with some special actions thrown in; haven't we seen this before so many times and yet... yet another brilliant game appears. The balance of options, the money flow, the special actions themselves, everything seems perfectly balanced. One minute you seem to be in a hopeless place, then suddenly all is right with the world. I think this game's special trick is the way the bidding to get chosen actions works. If you pick a card, when my turn comes around, I can offer you money for it. You can pay me off or accept the money, but we are BOTH out of the round. This creates some very tricky decisions and we had a whale of time. Very very nice game and I strongly recommend it. Nice graphics too. *** Played again, a faster game, still great fun, lots of choices, and I WON!! A very tight gamers' game, put it on your shopping list.
In interesting game and a nice recreation of the theme, but typical of US games, lots of rules, lots of conditional rules upon rules, lots of modifiers. The basic mechanism works well, I liked the Player Characters and pentagon with sliders is a clever idea. If you like this sort of game, you'll love this. If you don't mind it, it's worth playing once.
Fairly good city builder, a nice development on Metropolis/Boomtown/Downtown/San Francisco and uses the same mechanism of commerce needing housing, but housing is devalued by industry. Players are seduced by the loads of plastic bits, but the really interesting part is the modular board. This allows players to influence the city shape before & during the game and brings unrelated locations adjacent to each other, so making location cards worth a lot more. Pick it up before it goes out of print.
Excellent little game, blindingly simple but reveals itself as you play. Move a piece, collect a disc, try to get more discs which will score most at the end. The black discs add an extra move, but the white discs seem the most powerful. Definitely want to play again and I think this will go down well at BM!. Reminded me a lot of Tutankhamun but is sufficiently different.
Clever 2 player deduction game. *** Played again and we got more sophisticated with our molecules as we learnt more about the possible results. A bad mistake by me cost me the game. Very dry, but a nice game of pure logic.
Despite some staggering lapses, errors and omissions in the RG rules (I mean come on, how many years have these people been publishing games and yet some simple proofreading and logic is beyond them???), despite that and some very fiddly market adjustment mechanisms that took a lot to get our heads around, despite all that... it's a quite good market game. I liked the way that borrowing money at low cost didn't really hurt, you're supposed to do it. I liked that buying silver was actually the point of the game and so buying early had greater benefits than working the share market. We liked the share mechanisms and the black suitcases. The special actions seemed too slight to bother with. All in all a nice package for the discount price I paid. But you really have to read up heavily before attempting to explain, so many basic points are missing from the rules set in the box. Desperately needs a player aide too.
Simple Stratego-like game with higher numbers beating lower numbers except Medusa and the Gods have certain powers. No text on the cards which makes it a tad tricky to keep all the effects in your head (ie not constantly refering to the crib sheet). It's a nice enough game and maybe the strategies will reveal themselves with more play.
Finally played this popular abstract - it's okay, I can see why people like it, but it is an abstract and the point is to block the others hard. Choice of your pieces is interesting and matters, but I am happy to pass on Blokus. Not going on my wishlist.
An non-collectable CCG, this is a simple 2 player contest fighting over dragons. Play characters to your side, trying to over power your opponent. Add leadership,support and booster cards to your side, engage special rules effects, and figure out what is happening. Not bad when you get the hang of the turn order, but I lost badly in the end with a hand full of low strength characters and nothing else. Because you are drawing blind from your draw deck, if you don't have the right cards in your hand, you're stuffed. The rules effects were good, but needed a little figuring, typical for this style of game. If you like CCGs, you might find this too light. If you dislike rules lawyering, this is not too bad. If you dislike direct conflict, well this is a fight game. Me, I enjoyed it but wasn't thrilled. Not quite my cup of tea. More plays will help, but fundamentally this is not my kind of game. But I do recommend Blue Moon City, which uses the same art and design, the same game elements, but is a very interesting boardgame with no rules effects to argue over.
Although I played badly, and luck of the card draw is a factor, I really enjoyed Blue Moon City. It played quickly and fairly easily (the dour colours confused me a little) and the decisions of the other players makes a big difference. I liked the way you could get a majority or get something for finishing a tile off. I definitely want to play it again and I'm already intrigued by what the new tiles might bring.
Personally I think this game is generally over-rated. It's good, but not that good. Has spawned numerous expansion and variants. *** Played again after some years, with better (much nicer) people, and I enjoyed it a lot more. Not as hard as I recall. *** Played again, won again, liking it more, but I'm now thinking that there's not much to it. It is feeling slightly thin to me. As long as people trade, it ticks along well. We made a mistake by trading cards we had just received in trades. Maybe I need to play this against more experienced players.
Provisional rating. I made stupid errors in my first turns which annoyed me, since the game turns out to be quite short and so your range of choices is tight. It's a cube pusher, and the map is very asymmetric, so it may stay annoying. I actually had just ordered a copy online and then got to play it. I'll try it again soon to see if I really like it or not. *** Played again, with 3 players. Had the advantage of knowing what to do, still came 2nd by 2 rupees. It's interesting me more, but I can't decide whether the shortness of the game is what makes it something or nothing. Either it's that you're pushed to make fast/hard choices, or it's that the game is determined by the random set up and who goes first. If the cube markets are close to the cube buyers, optimal decisions seem obvious. If they are spread apart, then the game needs more moves, and tightness of actions forces your tactics. Needs another play!
Very light rummy game but with the added mechanism of seeking Bonnie and or Clyde for extra points. After the first round, our tactics changed and hand management mattered more than clearing out quickly. Enjoyable game, happily play any time. Got mine for under £6 from The Works sale in May 2014. A solid bargain!
A simple mechanism, but an interesting game. The limited number of tiles each player has, is a clever balance. We played using the setup given, but starting from your own openings may make a big difference.
There was something going on here but I didn't quite connect with the mechanism. But a lot depends upon other players choices and I'm happy to play this again, perhaps with 5 instead of 3 players. It was fun, we had a good time, the mutiny mechanism was a sly twist to decision making. Give Buccaneer a try before you buy.
OK abstract game but I kept winning very easily. *** That was 2003. Played again yesterday and I kept losing. If you like abstracts, give it a whirl but don't go out of your way. Feels more like you win by the other player getting it wrong.
An OK game, not much to it. As a 2player dice-roller, it seemed fairly obvious when to push your luck and when to stop. I wouldn't say it was broken, but it wasn't a close contest. Will play again, but not much.
Extra-ordinarily complicated game mechanics, ultimately boils down to neighbours fighting over the same spaces. the rich get richer, one set-back can push you into a spiral of decay. If you have no weapons, you can do nothing until your turn to be Daimyo comes round again.
If you like this sort of thing, you like this. If not, then it's a long game.
For an abstract game, I found Cabale to be appealing. A mix of Hex and Draughts (Dame), players fight to secure high-scoring central points. At first our moves were blunt and direct, but as the game developed, we saw more possibilities in setting up moves, especially in jumping to capture opponents blocks. This helps you score, reduces their score and opens up more places for you to go next. Colourful pieces and a quick set up make Cabale a natural for playing in public. If you can find it at a good price, I recommend you buy.
*** Played again after many years, as a 3p game, got a kicking. Still liked it but too hard for me!
Very nice game, now out of print, well worth grabbing. Not too tricky, it can turn into a bit of a spoiler, I'll play this tile not to score for me but to mess up you. ** Played again afer years. Too much downtime and analysis paralysis. The rules and gameplay are very very simple, but the variation of possible moves is hard to compute optimally, and the game can take way too long for 7 simple rounds. And it was to easy to push somebody right out of contention. And the rules set needs re-writing in better English. *** Played it again after 6 years, and I like it! It certainly works very well as a 2P game. Now I want to play it again. Fickle, moi?
I enjoyed this despite playing poorly. The basic mechanisms of taking money but reducing the price for others, and choosing between what you really want and can't afford and what forces the day to end early work together nicely. The luck of the draw can favour some, and maybe it plays better with less than 5 players, but this is an interesting game and worth trying out. *** Played again as a 2-player game and we messed up the end game conditions, but it stills works very well for two.
We liked it and I'll happily play again. I think Splendor is a better game and should have won the 2014 SdJ over Camel Up, but I can see why this won. It accommodates more players, it's more family friendly, it's cuter themed, there are good decisions and balances and you are more affected by the other players choices. But as each leg drew to a close, it came down much on the luck of the dice, despite how we might try to affect the moves. The whole pyramid was nice, but really just draw the dice from a bag and roll them. The dice aren't even weighted, so it falls to random luck and despite the thought involved, it has too much chance.
Played an old Waddingtons edition in lovely condition. It was a little too basic after all - the lucky dice rolls allowed me to bring enough troops forward to vanquish one General. Then my General dashed around snagging 7 empty towns, but the other General attacked. I drove him off too, but that cost me too much time and the first General had brought out his full army and was punching me back. We stopped after our 150 minute limit, but I was going to be pincered. Ignoring the dice rolls, it threw up some interesting points, but was too basic as a wargame, and too thin as a general/abstract game. Nice to play again after 30 years, but that's done now.
A good production for a low run, a nice enough game, but long, a tad over-complex and I have some quibbles. The actual game of building canals and moving goods is sound, and the winner will be the one building the best connections, since moving goods long routes gets you the most in the long run. The phases and choices are sound, drawing cards or build routes for example. But the whole business of swapping the Engineers around and understanding their actions could have been handled better. The Engineers are a good mechanism, but seem a little unbalanced. Simply putting them on the board and using player markers and some cost would have worked better. The contracts seemed okay, but maybe a better pattern would have helped too. I felt too much luck was here especially as the five face up contracts dwindled. If you finished one contract just as the best one came up next, you had easy choices. Perhaps some auction or other mechanism here might help, maybe just keeping it full to five contracts. The end game went on a bit too. Overall though, the game works and with practise you may play well, but I think the strong get stronger and you can't seem to peg the leader back. Faced with unrelated contracts, you are simply going to lose. It's only a question of by how much.
The river race adds to the simple trick-taking game, but the contest really kicks in when you reach the rapids. Fail to make your predicted tricks, and you drift over the waterfall. Plus, the hand size starts at 8, goes down to 1, then up to 8 again. Nice game, nice timing, good fun.
A good re-working of an older game, Tycoon, there's enough here to stand against modern cube-pushers. I lost badly, but still enjoyed the game (I didn't spread out enough. I took only one loan the whole game and extended it, but you don't get points for good money management!!). It would be intersting to try the extensions that come with the game, and to try it with more players.
Two clever mechanisms in this game; the card deck is used for actions but also has values for bidding in the auction at the end of the round. Do I use the actions or save to bid for the bonus trophies? Secondly, the actual building mechanism, especially choosing when to put the roof on and commit yourself when other players have the chance to place before you and so waste your efforts is very clever. The game does have a notoriously bad scoring device, just write the scores on paper.
It was OK for what it is. The basic idea of just using the two dice works very well, you get a lot of actions and some choice from it. But so so so fiddly to remember all the actions and the mayor actions and oh took us longer to understand than to actually play.
The player aid is way to fiddly. All those rules need to be broken down onto those little marker cards. That is, make the markers big enough to show all the relevant 4/5/6 dice rules. Then add something to make all the mayor chip actions obvious. The rest of it was easy to follow, although some of the language was ambiguous.
Hard to catch up too. Once one player has bust out a couple of times, the other player needn't take many risks. I liked it. I wouldn't buy it myself but I'll play your copy.
I really enjoyed this game. I picked it up in Paris a few years ago and my first play makes me want to have another go. A simple trading game, players try to build up sets to maximise their score. The action cards turn out to be very useful and we used them early in the game when they could have made a bigger difference later on. On card for example let's you take someone's hand and CHOOSE which cards you want to trade. The cards are nice, the game is simple, the action cards are easy enough to play from a crib sheet. It would help if everyone had some sort of player aid to show the value of the produce and a hint of the actions, but we soon got idea and enjoyed the theme. It did feel like we were sly farmers trying to get one over the others at market. Nice game and worth getting if you can.
Nice, easy, colourful multi-player abstract game. Fun stuff, works well with 3 and 4. *** I also own the original edition and the new Queen edition, which comes in English. *** The new edition requires flipping the points onto their building side. It looks nice, but it is fiddly! Lots of pushing tiles back into position.
It's ok, good enough, but doesn't set my world on fire. Played again after a year, still fun but not brilliant. Very quick though, must play it more often, with the variants. *** Playing this a lot more at Beyond Monopoly! with new people. It works well as a new entry game and I've marked it. I think drawing monasteries at the right time really helps, but I'm liking the game much more these days.
Interesting variant on the tile placement and scoring elements of Carcassonne, Knizia has added another good scoring element in the empty space but added some bonus tiles which seems unnecessary fluff. A good 2p game worth revisiting with different tactics.
Although I played poorly and didn't adapt to the changes, and although I was shafted by the arrival of the Henge, I liked this version. A greater tendency to screwage but a nice result and I will definitely play again.
*** Played again twice in two days, 2P games against a different player. Got thrashed but 50+ points. I am rubbish at this. I liked it but I'm clearly doing something wrong. Not getting my huts in early is one thing.
I enjoyed this version a lot. The tile laying element of Carcassonne is subsumed here, with a greater emphasis on constant scoring by using your tent. But with so few meeples in hand, getting one locked down could be fatal to your game, so it's a very canny mix.
Opportunistic scoring and some luck in the tile draw but also some longer thinking. So it feels less like Carcassonne and more like a new game. Not an entirely new game, but this tent aspect, I can see that being used in other games.
I like this game, the balance lies between occupying zones or building your majorities. Let the other dummies flood the field, you can usurp them by filling your scorecard. Nice. *** Played again with 3 players. Bit of stalemate, lots of struggle to control the families, not to play into the regions. We ran out of yellow, but I had mine in reserve. What to do? When you capture a region, do you put in 1 castle, or do you put in as many castles as you threw out?
*** Got my finsihed copy and played today. Seeing the final production pushes it up to 7.5 for me. A very professional polished result. I lost, but thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The two new players picked up the idea quickly ,and we had a lot of fun reading out the slandering! *** Playtested, in development, interesting, needs a little more choice or control for the players. *** Playtested new versions, much improved, the second version is much more dynamic, fluid. *** Playtested more versions, working out VERY nicely. Very tight but open, fluid, quick decisions. Personally my main problem is how to turn the scoring to my advantage. Everything else is a good for me, but I just don't read the best way to optimise my score. That's the only thing keeping my rating from rising. I think Ted & Jack are definitely onto something new here. Lots of possibilities and you could probably play two games with the same components as is.
More like a basic pirate sim than a strategy game. You hoover up pirates and digging permits (??!!) and then sloop around, spending pirates and placing permits. Mixed in is a memo game trying to work out the secret Golden Isle. Fail to dig on that and you cannot win.
Fairly simple gameplay, choice of actions to build up secret support for one side of mutiny. Mutiny resolved at game end by duelling, using cards collected. If you are on the mutiny winner's side, then most money wins. I managed to pull off a stunning win against two others by managing this final duel process. The combat cards that you spend to improve duellists ALSO count for the tie break, so having a lot of cards meant I could finally run out the victor, despite not having much gold. Will play again but remain to be convinced it's better than the sum of its parts.
Bought in Paris. Sylvie Barc has a lot of games published. It works as a placement game, but seemed too easy with 2 players. *** Played with 4 players and paid serious attention to the rules. It is SO MUCH HARDER! Only windows and gardens may face the outside, which includes the dimensions you are playing to. So if you play a 5x8 size, all sides of the rectangle face the outside and must be windows. Which makes internal windows really hard to resolve. You start the game by openly drawing your tiles, and seeing the choices other people make affects you a lot. Must play again and work harder to get it right.
Very language dependent. I enjoyed this game. I tend to dislike these games with rules on every card, but Castle really worked and the card actions are very well balanced. We started off doing obvious things but developed better stratageies as the game went on. I just won, but it got close. We played as a 3 player game and I recommend it for this. *** Played as a 4 player game and I am less enamoured now. Nice but nothing dramatic after all.
It's a multi-player solitaire with the only interaction being choice denial by taking something that another wants. But with 25 turns, it's not often you have nothing reasonable to do, and it's OK for what it is. You only need to learn the special abilities of the buildings and knowledge, and then chunter through the game. Running out of money is bad, but running out of workers is badder. It's a reasonably tight, well balanced game with a distinct lack of fun.
*** Traded my copy away from three Japanese games I wanted. I played Burgundy a few times to see if I had missed something. Nope. It works but bored me. Gone.
A variant on Suburbia (which left me cold). In Mad Ling, I liekd the pricing mechanism to control opponents' choices, but it's another multi-player solitaire with precious little inter-action. I was OK playing it, I'd play it again but it's just not my kind of thang.
This is THE game, the first german game I played in 1996 and was a total revelation. It literally changed my life, 10 years later and I have nearly 1400 german games. Siedler had such radical design ideas, the modular board, the probablity theory in play, the player interaction, but above all the positive progression to a winning target. Such a huge influence on gaming, and Klaus Teuber deserves the rich rewards it's earnt him.
Whilst this works as a 2-player game, it seemed very long (we stopped after 2 hours only on about 8 VPs each). It totally lacks the 2d6 probability aspect and therefore lucky dice rolls make a big difference. I see this as a major flaw in the game and detracts from it as a Settlers game. I would have prefered a design which used probability and so rewarded the player that built towards that. Other than that, the events and action cards are well-balanaced, but there was a distinct bias against trading. Also, the role of gold was not explained properly. Try before you buy is my recomendation.
We played to learn the rules and stopped before we got to conquering cities. Your first game might be a little long, but in truth the game is fairly simple. I have a couple of rule questions, but it's all pretty easy and nicely progressive. I suspect being able to read the map well and make good decisions of where to stand will make a long term difference. I certainly want to play it through. (note, our copy was short on player pieces).
Finally got round to playing this after what, at least a decade of having bought it. Veeerrry loooong, we made a few rules errors (I mistakenly thought you could only play one development card), I didn't maximise trading with the bank to get commodities and drive my city up, which would have improved my game a lot. But all in all, it was a nice variant on Settlers for its day, but today doesn't rock my world.
Not a lot of player inter-action, this is more a sim of cave exploring, but nicely produced. Lots and lots of chits, many quite tiny, but the graphics and feel of the game are good. There's competition for points, but with good planning and some thought, you can stay safely in the mix for the run. Not as good as K2 but interesting.
Good game, finally knocked it off my want to play list. The rules reading was very heavy, lots of fiddly little conditions that make this strictly a gamer's game. You really do want to get this out and plough through it alone before playing. But for all that (and our initial mistakes), it plays out nicely. A VP engine, but you do have relevant choices and the turn order is significant. We played as 3 players, a slow start and a long burn. With 4 or 5, I can see it being faster and more competitive. Definitely want to play again, but still left feeling that it's not all that. Graphics are a bit gloomy and small.
I enjoyed Celtica. Not really much to think about, and a lucky card draw helps, but the timing of your moves matters and early mistakes cost me later benefits. Maybe if the cards, or some of the cards were open to view, there would be more strategy here. The graphics are superb, but this is still a solid family game.
The more we played, the more I liked it. The basic game is Streetsoccer, but the additions make it both more fiddly and more of a sim. We eventually realise that there was more benefit in trying to pass the ball to empty space and have a player run on to it, than try to constantly pass man-to-man like in Streetsoccer. The more we played to this game's strengths and less like Streetsoccer, the better the game became.
But we struggled badly with understanding when to re-set the offside players and how to calculate the Goalie's Chance. That became better when we finally worked it out for ourselves (these rules as written in 1st ed. are awful, check the explanations in the game forum). But we felt like we were not playing it correctly for a lot of the game.
Having said that, when we got better at interceptions, the game became much more tactical. The field became more spread out and the ball was played across the field as much as up it. In our match, Germany came back strongly at the finish from 4-1 down to Argentina only to lose 5-6. A long game which got faster as we got more familiar, but the rules don't sit comfortably with the action.
Having played a few games now with a proper understanding of the rules, especially the offside rules, we're having a cracking time! The games are fast and tricky, and the ball moves swiftly upfield. We're making better passing decisions, especially trying to play the ball down the wings. That way, if the oppo intercepts, it just goes off to a throw-in, which is not necessarily better.
My tactic of pushing players forward after the ball and then shooting has yielded better results, whereas as my oppo plays the ball straight through to goal needs more luck on the dice rolls.
Played again after a few months break. Lost 3-1, but it was still great fun. The Argies got lucky and struck two quick winners at the death. We learnt that the clock moves on a 1 on WHICHEVER dice you've rolled (except the ignored 1s).
There was a version on UK TV for years and years and years. What puts this game down in my opinion is that the people who want to play it can only think of TV shows or films like Jaws. A nice game spoiled by boring players.
Surprisingly good, place markers for influence, collect gems, pay in gems to build buildings for VPs game. The nice part is that you leave one marker on the side panels, which triggers a benefit, and those can make a big difference, and that makes a difference during the placement as other players consider what your bonus action will be used for.
Thankfully, they resisted the modern trend to add more stuff by making the buildings have benefits too. Here it's just flat out VPs and you can't build the same one twice. The only weakness in the game therefore is that you might be dealt the same buildings and therefore be unable to build.
The game is very quick, just 4 rounds, but you do really need to think about the placement, as that has so many ramifications. Turn order matters a lot too.
So it's amazing that this got heavily discounted so soon after release. You could get a copy for €10 easily. Well worth it. Nice board, nice cards, very nice gems. Very good value.
Very quick and interesting abstract game. Long rules (because of their notation system), but it's pretty simple stuff. And the wrap-around board makes it pretty original. If you can't find a copy, this is one to make at home.
Nice fun game, quick and tricky enough. A cross between Labyrinth and Memo, it's nicely done. I played this at Beyond Monopoly!, the copy donated by the publisher. *** Played again, and this time it was very cuthtroat. It was fun, but we concentrated hard and tried to catch mice in the holes. We also played with the little expansion and that worked well too.
Finally got to play my copy after several years! And the rules I had were flawed, so check all the comments by the designer on this page. But it turns out to be an interesting game of climbing and building scores. A bit too much randomness in the Law Tiles and a bit too much screwage for my liking, but I'd certainly give this another go. With some tweaking, Cheops could easily see a re-print today and go down well.
Wildly over-rated game, relying heavily on ridiculously complex movement patterns by the different pieces. But I did watch a BBC TV show which treated a Grandmaster tourny as a sports-cast, with a play-by-play announcer and a colour announcer. For the first, and last time, it made sense to me.
For what it is, it's not bad. It is an old style game, a dice-roller in which you attack other players and try to gain more money. You can actually win early by satisfying one of three conditions.
Your actions are very basic; move around, take over bars to gain cash, roll dice to destroy opponents and gain rank, buy more gunmen. The key in the game is the special dice which vary the odds. A 1 rank gunman rolls a 123456 dice, a 4 rank rolls a 555666 die. Highest wins, tied rolls you both remove a rank (get to 0 rank and you're dead). The winner gains the cash value of the loser and gains a rank up to 4 max.
Which means that for a 1 rank gunman to beat a 4 rank, the 4 rank gunman must roll a 5 (1/2 odds) and the 1 rank must roll a 6 (1/6 odds), giving odds of 1 in 12!!!
A 2 rank gunman rolls 344556 and a 3 rank rolls 445566.
Which all means that id one gang gets a couple of 4 rank killers, and another gang only 1 or 2 ranked, they're going to get wiped out. You lose income and fight at suicidal odds, and losing gives even more cash to the winner. A real snow-ball effect and we quit our 2 player game after 10 rounds.
And yet, we liked it. There's something here that needs work, needs modernising. The odds need a little mitigating, but we thought a 3 or 4 player game would be more balanced in play. We liked the game in relation to the theme, as basic as the game was, it felt like mobsters running around shooting each other.
I gave this a trial run in Essen and got a full play now at Beyond Monopoly!. I'm not good at auctions, it's much more of a money game than a train game. But I really like the simple dials to track the actions and drive the pay-outs, much nicer than moving cubes on a track. Overall an attractive game and a good experience, but the same old lame auction mechanism and lots of paper money mark it down for me.
The graphics spoil this game. It's too hard to read the numbers on the cards, especially at any distance, and that makes the whole game too hard to enjoy. The game uses poker hands to compete for owning buildings, but with 4 players it became too hard to limit the leader and we were all happy when it finally finished.
I only played the basic game, but this is a good re-issue of Kardinal & Konig. I didn't realise that the board was double-sided with maps to suit different player numbers. It all looks good and I'd like to play the extra rules now.
RATINGS CRASH - I had this rated at 10, I've busted it to 7. This after recent games where new players totally fail to make sensible deals with me, and make stupid deals with each other. Petulant? Moi. Nope, if the game can't be played well first time, there's something wrong. I just don't want to play this any more. ***** Out of print, you must buy this game. Not for children, nor inexperienced gamers, this is a superb, absolutely pure negotiation game. Some luck in the draw, and it helps if players are ready to deal, but the skill lies in squeezing the deal. Maybe 6 rounds is a tad too long, players are doing the sums by the 5th round, but this is still a great game, with the winner often being a surprise. What I really like too is that the player left with several business tiles lying in front of it clearly cannot win, and deserves not to since they didn't trade them away.
A trade from ixnay66 for geekgold! Interesting game, a little convoluted, and a short timeline made for a quick game and amusing discussion. Okay for what it is, maybe some modern expansion would help.
My friends did not have a good time playing this, but I can honestly say I think they misunderstood the nature of the game. The game didn't really show itself well until we'd been a way through, but I really liked the way spies came into the market and into your spy service. Our big mistake was that the first three players brought spies on a lot, and the last two players didn't, and built up their secrets in their divisions, so getting a good control of the game. I also think that the dynamic of a player forcing a Circle win to get the win being worst player is very interesting. So why the bad experience. Clunky rules (and my misreading), too many confusing icons, no player aids and just general ennui. Don't dismiss this one, give the Circle a go and I think it will turn into a sleeper hit. Eventually.
Not my kind of game and not one I'm good at, and the translated rules had errors. So I didn't really enjoy it much. Seemed to be a lot of game for not much result or control. But my friends liked it, so you must judge for yourself.
I bought this untried in Essen. My trust in Martyn was fully vindicated, this game is EXACTLY my kind of game. Totally visual, very fast but open and flexible play, some brain burning, but I come out the winner. I totally enjoy the multi-solitaire play in this game, exactly the same as in Take It Easy. I give this an 8 today but I can see my rating going up.
I enjoyed playing La Citta. This was my second 3-player game and this time we had the rules properly understood. I kept my food supply up mainly by lucky use of the Rich Harvest cards, but made the odd mistake in timing my development. Mike went for 2 big cities that constantly sucked farmers from two of my three cities. In the end, he beat me by just 2VPs, based purely upon sucking 2 last citizens from me. Richard was learning the game and couldn't sustain his third city through constant suckage. He lost it twice in the same place, and when he rebuilt it elsewhere, the game was over. I'd like to try La Citta as a 4 or 5 player game. The rules and cards are really basic, it would help if I had a player aid to keep track of my citizen/food ratio. Timing becomes crucial, and taking money at the right points lets you build a strong city. But being Close To The People early on gives you a distinct advantge.
Really enjoyed playing this, although our first game was over 3 hours. The graphics are very attractive, but as always, the icons are a little too tiny. But the gameplay is very good. Nothing new in the game, it's all familiar stuff. Drafting tiles at the start of the round. Spend money to build/sell/swap tiles, gain VPs, cubes, use cubes for more VPs. Supply tiles with cubes, transport cubes, pay other players to cross their tiles, get bonuses, get extra points for contiguous tiles. Player order goes from poorest to richest. Most VPs wins. Absolutely nothing new in the game at all, just the usual stuff in the usual order.
So why does the game work so well? The money and pricing is amazingly close. We were constantly starved of money, and having to sell tiles we wanted to keep in order to build. Only 4 rounds, but it started slow and decisions were crucial. One player screwed up badly, and went into the 3rd round with no money and no cubes to use, and could do nothing! All his own fault, he was in a good lead, and we capitalised on his error.
Definitely a very good game. If you find a copy at a reasonable price, and you like this sort of game, grab it with both hands.
It's a good quick game, but I'm thinking now it's too random to have a strategy going in. You've just got to read the board quickly and make the best of it. Is it worth trying to fool the others about your colour? I wonder...
...and the german edition as well... *** We had to intepret the rules to mean that you couldn't extend your pipeline UNTIL you had fixed a leak. That made the game work. Otherwise you would just leave one leak and fill out your pipeline until your last turn when you use a wrench and then play your spout. Fun enough, but it's a take that game, good for non-gamers.
Not my kind of thing. If you like this sort of thing, you'll like this. Very basic dice combat, movement, extra powers. Quite crude game play, but nice graphics, painted minis, lots of theme. Not much in the way of medieval traders. Hmmmm...
I played poorly, I didn't get to build enough, I kept 2 of my merchants inside of capitalising on them, but I was totally safe from the croc. Lots of bits, nice game, the German text didn't bother us. There was nothing in the rules about the trompe l'oeuil cards, but we worked it out. My main gripe was as the 5th player of 5, whenever my turn came around, there was nothing in the marketplace worth getting. Long stalls or the good stuff was taken before my turn came around. I should have started with more than 3 cards...
Better than Santa Fe, this has Moon's trademark route map of North America, masquerading here as the South Seas. The Clippers are better than the Junction cards, the wood sticks better than the cardboard rails. The cost of Options is okay, but the teeny weeny flag markers are toooo small. But the whole thing works well enough. It's a nice game, but not great. Worth picking up cheap if you get the chance.
It's a nice mix of dice and cards, works for me! Good fun, probably better with more players than 3. *** Played it with 5 and it is better, more tension, longer balloon rides. A tactical win in the end.
Moderately interesting version of the base game. A modular board, improved movement/events and some decisions. But the event and item cards didn't really affect play significantly. The NPCs didn't start in the game or really make any difference. The potential showed by this edition shows there is life left in the old game, but this is not it.
It's okay, light and easy deduction. One player becomes an early victim as the more they reveal, the easier it is to deduce their remaining pieces. Maybe better with 4 players or with the Scramble tiles in the game.
Grew on me slowly. More to this than first seems from the basic pontoon mechanism. Gradually, understanding the ways to combine the simple card actions (kill, give/steal, preview, reset), and how to play the Agent X powers, adds some dimension to the game. But still, lots of extra rules on cards, fairly repetitive process, a bit long for what it is. But with nice graphics, good use of contemporary photos and groups, the theme works.
Surprisingly good, this is a close relative of Raj/Hols der Geier and For Sale. The special cards add a lot to the game, and the auctioneer choosing high low brings some nice timing elements. Definitely worth looking at and a good game for art fans. I can see this being re-issued as is and doing well.
The designer Reinhard Staupe recommended this to me as his best game. Like Eschnapur though, it's an odd mixture of familiar elements, auction, placement, variable scoring. The rules set we had is poor, but even so, we struggled to gain a feel for what's needed. The flag placing each round seemed a weak mechanism and the scoring seemed unbalanced, hard to catch up. There's a good game in there, but too much in the pot. The german rules also include a recipe for cowboy beans.
It's unfair to compare Staupe with Knizia, but Reinhard needs to learn when less is more.
Up my rating from 6 to 7, there's a touch more to this if you put the effort in. Nice quick fun game but not much to puzzle over. Draw a card and play it, pick up a row and score. It may play better with more than 3 players. I liked it, but much prefer Limits.
I own both versions. ** Titan the Arena: Whilst I took to this game easily, I'm not sure I'd want many plays. I think a lot depends on your very early decisions, and you cannot really recover from a damaging start. But I did like the mechanisms, especially the creature powers and I can see this being popular especially with RPGers and US gamers. It would seem to be a game that works better with more players. Nice graphics, poor plastic chips, on balance a good game. *** Played the FF edition Colossal Arena - usually US love of rules upon rules, but the game itself works well enough. We exhausted the deck by round 3 which says something to the difference in the versions. But we enjoyed it and think it would play much better with more than three players.
Disappointed. A vastly over-complex rules set with many repetitions of the same rules (the same rules ideas are explained in great detail many times)(there's a lot of repeating of the same mechanisms in very long sentences with Many Capital Letters)(it looks like an actual lawyer wrote these rules with Multiple Repetitions Of Detailed Points (see the detailed point multiple repetitions clause 3.2.7 on Page 22)) hides an essentially simple set of choices.
There's a basic problem in this game. At best, you have 5 actions. But it takes 2 actions to generate income (money/licenses) and it takes 2 actions to resolve ships or armies into VPs (and armies are very unlikely to succeed anyway), so the only valid choices are going after officials and students. The gifts takes 2 actions, buy a gift then give it, but influence does help win students and ministries.
The game ends up being a large, long exercise in pointless choices unless you made the right choice very early on. There's no way to come back into the game and it feels more like an educational exercise than a game. There is something buried away here, and experience tells me that a German editor would have hacked away to reveal the heart. but a Brit designer is stuck with complexity for complexities sake.
I have a prototype edition. A quick and simple 2 player game with an original idea. You throw down the stars and take turns to place your sticks, creating constellations as you go. After placing your 5th stick, you start moving the end ones and removing the stars. The last player to move is the winner. After playing twice, you need to start from a good position, to be able to keep your constellation going as long as possible. Very simple components make for a visually attractive game.
I love the design of the box and the simple components. And I love the Spanish name - I'd keep the whole thing as is.
Nice bits, but very dry economic game. I came a poor third, and I have a major gripe. I'll concede that I could have done better if I'd taken loans early in the game, but to me a game with a loan mechanism is a warning to over-spending. In this game, it is a requirement to keep cash fluidity. Certainly a reflection of modern economics, and look where that's got us.
No, my mojor gripe was that as the 4th player, I got screwed. The game basically has three cycles, Production brings in containers, Buying puts them into a dockside, Selling/deliver turns them into cash and VPs. As the 4th player, the most favourable choice of these three was always taken by a player before me. If player 1 produced and set a low price, player 2 or 3 would take them to their docks. If player 2 set a low selling price, player 3 would by them before me. Whatever happened, wherever there was a good deal, I missed out. I could have won more auctions if I had taken a loan. I missed out on several auctions by 1 penny. But even so, the 3 stage flow of the game meant that when it got to my 4th turn, all the good stuff was gone.
So it wasn't a good experience for me.
However, I just don't think it's much of game. It's not much fun. The whole thing is more of a sim than anything. You cannot vary a previous price unless you spend that action. If I'd played this in playtesting, I'd have been moaning a lot. It's not boring, it's just not fun. Dry economics.
For basically a speed dice-roller, it's actually not bad. The requirement to have your colleagues fulfill some of your needs get people calling for help. So it's noisy but actually purposeful. I was surprised.
I enjoyed this game although it was more of a brain-burner than a bumper-car game. We played as two teams, but I think as a 2p game it would be the same. It's a game of margins, scraping ponts from ringing the bells when you are ahead. But as the game progressed, we found the strength of using the Operator and the benefit of missing tiles. A good mix of card play and movement, only the rules needed work to rally understand. A nice result, but if you're expecting a fast fun game, this is a slow fun game.
Not my kind of game at all but I did like it and the game worked well for its genre. A dungeon bash without the dungeon, the players are presented with a series of encounter cards with various creatures. You play attack cards from your hand to drive down the monsters HPs, but only the player delivering the killer blow will take the prestige points as VPs. This means that the players are working as a team but actually plottng against each other all the time. You also have action cards that allow variations, such as letting another player take your damage, and potions and amulets and such like.
Nicely done for what it is, good design, lots of variety. But what it is, is a lot reading of rules on cards, working out turn order, working out damage and victory conditions and so on. Way too fiddly for my liking and too much back stabbing and screwage. But I do not deny it was a fun game, inventive, just not my cup of tea. If you like dungeon bashing, go for it!
Not boring, but seemingly unbalanced. Going 3rd in a 3 player game, I struggled to get any more than 2 actions, where the other 2 got 3 or 4 actions. However, some luck in the dice preserved my position and I only lost my lead in the final moves. The tiles are unevenly distributed, the other players got more turns than me. The real problem is that the game favours the attacker and it descends into a dice war of attrition. The tiles laid after all the dice are down, do nothing except control the actions. A good try but not a successful game.
We only played the basic game, but we had two goes at it because it ended so quickly (in defeat for me! TWICE!). Maybe the advanced game is worth it, but the basic game really didn't impress us. The way the cards pass to your neighbours is interesting, but the actual game play and result is quite poor. We were surprised that the rules were so long for such a basic game. I'll have to try the advanced version but at the moment I would not recommend this.
I am enjoying this the more I play it. It has pretty light decisions, and new players will let the experienced player run away with it, and you have to read ALL the rules, but when you know what you're doing, it's a very nice game. I think the mechanism has potential and I can see this game developing into new versions.
It's okay but it's more of a puzzle than a game. It's too easy to spend your moves blocking the others, and not actually getting anywhere yourself. The game uses rhombic tiles (diamond-shaped) and players can slide and rotate them. Interesting idea but needs work.
A children's game that's great for adults. A memo game, but you're trying to match the underside of gravestones to your vampires, so as to laid them to rest. It becomes surprisingly hard surprisingly quickly. Quite the challenge and enormous fun.
It was OK, but playing as day, so many of my cards seemed dependent upon Night standing on a day tile, which hardly ever happened! Plus, got blocked by crystals so couldn't move, couldn't get cards, couldn't do anything for 2 turns. That happened a few times too. I can see how this is a nice game if you like this sort of thing, but for me, so-so.
A fairly light pick up and deliver game with some randomness and very poor graphic design. Cheap doesn't have to mean bad. Teeny tiny symbols, solid dark green background make the game look ugly. Which is a shame since the game play is quick and fairly simple. I liked the mechanism to limit speed on bends, I liked the track building, I liked the build up of steam, I didn't like the confusion of loops, I didn't like the tiny symbols, I was uncertain about the scoring. A shame. A little more investment in the product would have made the experience better.
Very good game. Extremely simple game of placing value cards, but the trick that your card goes face down and reveals the previous face-down card is very good. There's a nice mix of tension, threat from the cannon cards which blow your card away, card counting and arithmetic. Throw in two counter-moving pawns that add or remove treasure and this game is a winner. Very quick to play, the Playroom edition looks more childish than the game really is. Adults and gamers will enjoy the simple challenge it presents. Recommended!
For deduction purists only - it reminds me a lot of Sleuth. Dry but enjoyable for me, since I like the way inference can be drawn from even the broadest questions later in the game. Good fun if you like that sort of thing. Needs a crib sheet for the way the cards for a question and for the way the 2 evidence cards lead to the guilty party. I liked it and will play again with the right people.
Easier to play than you'd think from the rules, it's still a weird game. Needs some more plays but I suspect it may be broken, ie too hard for Grey to win. But for collectors, this must be on your list for novelty alone.
A hit for me, although it has a negative element. You lay numbered/coloured cards to put your people in the city. Then the volcano erupts and you place lava tiles, and start moving your people out through the gates. Any that get burnt or trapped are dropped into the crater (and become the tie-break). The most escapees wins, the least in the crater is the tie-break.
Quick, simple decisions and fun, but you are attacking the other players and actively killing people, which is macabre.
The components are just too small, the flags too tiny to read quickly, the colours on the cards don't match the tiles, the plastic bits are taken from other games and don't match the theme, the dice add a shade too much randomnesss, you can't really plan your tent building until your turn arrives and the play is a bit progressive with the rich getting richer. And yet... there may just be something here. It took us till the end of the game to develop an optimum way of playing, but I am interested in trying this again. The scoring worked well and the game has some appeal for those liking a bit of analysis. Not an instant hit, a bit of reworking could make this game great though. Perhaps a proper map, or a variable landscape.
Played 3 times today, last with the Office expansion and I lost that game. My friend finally dumped lots of Residential onto me, and finally set about buying Parks. But oh those unhappy faces put the kibosh on him when he could have won!
I'm really enjoying Design Town. It is a deck-building, it has no inter-action beyond dropping cards onto opponents, but it is still a fascinating little game. To get so much game out of so few cards is incredible. To have so many different ways to tackle the same objective too, it's a remarkable game.
The double sided cards seem new to me, I don't think I've encountered that anywhere before. I must have, but it seems so innovative, you'll be seeing it in lots of games.
I've sleeved my cards now, in anticipation of a lot more action. Cracking little game!
Better than I recalled, which may indicate I'm in a nicer group of gamers these days. Familiar mechanisms, and an auction each round (I'm terrible at auctions and this uses the worst form of auction). But the actual racing went very well and the two tracks made it a fun event. Unlike Ave Cesaer, the card mechanism means that if someone is blocking you, can might be able to move them first, still allowing you some movement for your car. A good game, but very samey to most other horse/bike/car racing games.
Good fun game of brinkship. Better than Can't Stop, nice bits, very quick play. Plays best with more people, up to 8, the more the merrier. Some tactics, bailing very early can nab you 4 or 5 gems alone, more than you'd get going deeper. Worth playing, worth buying.
Not going on my wishlist. It was OK for what it was, but it wasn't much. Just basic trick taking, with gem collecting actions tied to the suits. I felt I had little control, since I could win tricks, but not necessarily trigger the correct actions in the correct order. Frustrating but not unpleasant, it simply didn't sit well with me.
Fun whilst you are making your own words, but a lot of downtime waiting for the dice to come round again. The dice themselves are excellent and the letter distribution is well thought out. If you are looking for a word dice game, I'd pick this, after Boggle. But Dicewords would be an excellent 2 player game.
I've owned this game for nearly 20 years before finally FINALLY getting it played. And I wish I'd played it a lot sooner. What appears to be a complicated game is really just a series of simple planning and market choices. It's as basic as, plough the field, sow the seed, add fertiliser and pesticide if you want, harvest the crop, sell it for profit, repeat.
The real heart of the game actually lies in keeping your fields healthy, as measured by the number of worms. A fallow field gains +1 worm. You have a compost bin which can supply worms, but this costs money. More worms mean a bigger yield depending on the three breed of potatoes you can plant. But cropping, fertiliser and pesticides all remove worms, so how hard do you work your five fields?
Add to this an organic element. A healthy field has sunflowers, and 3 sunflowers means you can sell your crop as organic (called Bio here) for potentially more money. But the actual market prices all vary according to the total yields, so if too much organic crop arrives, the price crashes.
And fertiliser boosts a field's yield, but removes all sunflowers! So do you build up your organic farm slowly, or hammer the soil for quick gains, or rotate slowly and take profit as it comes.
Aaaand... you do not win by having the most money!! You gain points for being a good manager both in cash terms, and organic terms.
The whole game seems fiddly and isn't helped by old fashioned forms and confusing use of language (the Abacus edition includes English rules that slightly muddy the water). There are lots of tokens moving back and forth.
But in reality, it is no more fiddly than Agricola or a dozen recent Euros. The economic decisions are all sound, the organic element is genuine gameplay and not green dressing. The game as a whole really works. With some tidying up and streamlining, it could be published today easily.
And I waited years and years to play this! Oh what a fool! It's a really nice game, you should definitely track one down and get it played.
Loads of fun playing this building game. The rules are simple, but we had to keep in mind the ending condition, triggered but NOT CLIMBING, not by NOT MOVING. It says 45 minutes on the box. We took 2 hours. We are 4 hardened gamers, and had great fun climbing higher and higher. We finished with a 3 tower monster at least a metre tall. We kept thinking it was over, but we found ways to push the game further and further. Great experience, a must buy game for stacking fans.
A standard trick-taking game with a nice contract method and a twist that fails. Didn't like this much, but not because I'm total crap at contract tricks. Rather, the twist is that instead of bidding, you can be a Traitor, and try to screw over the other players.That's fine, but if you fail to do any damage, the worst points you lose is -4, whereas if you fail to meet your contract, you can lose a ton. So if you have a comfortable lead, then take the Traitor option regardless of your hand, and you can't lose.
If you like contract tricks games, you'll love this. Me, not so.
Enjoyable, light, family fun with some tourist info and photos. The mechanism of players having to move on from where the previous player placed is good, but we did go in circles a bit, leaving one player with a single option a few times. The process of building groups on your Kolam was good, but the colours/symbols could do with a touch more distinction. In all, nicely done fun.