The best part of this game is that all comodities can be traded with -- not only wares and money, but also messages, orders, privileges, owner markers, and special cards. And with the 1:1 special card you don't even need another player!
Furthermore, there is virtually no downtime, constant player interaction, no leader advantage or disadvantage(!) and there are lots of tactical and even some strategical decisions to be made.
"If you go to the postoffice and allow me to make my action, then I'll give you one of the messages..." "And I let you even pick which one..." "OK, thank you, then I use this 1:1 card to exchange this silk for a building action card, which I then use to pick up a salt and a pepper, because I have an owner marker there. Oh, and I use the salt to deliver this small order to the postoffice!"
The game mecanisms of Puerto Rico are beautifully interlocked, all effecting eachother in intuitive, subtle ways.
Part of this game's fun is to develop and try out new overall strategies. There are several ones that seem to work about equally well, but their success always seem to depend on the stategy the others choose.
On a tactical scale the game is outstanding as well. What Role to pick? What building to buid? What goods to ship in which boat first? Etc. And what will the other players do?
And constantly you are aware that your opponents are trying to guess your decisions and you are trying to outguess theirs.
Finally, the rules are clear, the theme fits smoothly and the playing pieces are fine! I cannot imagine a better game in its genre!
There are two interesting aspects of this game: playing the game itself and building a deck.
When playing, there are lots of tactical and strategical choices to be made. Can I attack? How will I block an attack efficiently? Shall I play this 'instant' now? Shall I bring this creature on, or maybe wait until my opponent lost his fire potential? Shall I take damage or prevent it for now?
Deckbuilding is the other virtue of this game. After all these years, I can still enjoy spending many hours building a well-balanced deck and then see it perform against a number of others that are built according to the same set of rules.
This game, or actually the game scene, has its downside too. Some people spend way too much money on it. And new editions keep spilling into the market. I've stopped buying years ago. (edit: I've started buying again...)
Still, this game is outstanding. I always want to play and I expect this will never change...
This cross between a wargame and a negotiation game is the best in its genre, by far.
In order to win this game, you have to do well in both war games and negotiation games. You need to be clever in manouvering the few pieces you own in order to make even a small gain. But, far more important, you need get other players to move THEIR pieces so that they help YOU to win the game!
The game can be played by mail, but is best played face-to-face. This way, a game can easily take eight hours and still feel like a fast-paced game, without a single minute of 'down-time'! It is a turmoil of little chats, strategic discussions, and tactical plotting. You have to try to influence the other players in doing the right things, while constantly be aware that players may not tell the truth and are scheming to backstab you. And finally, you have to complete your complex orders under the pressure of the clock.
This investment game has a nice wargame-like touch. It is a mixture of Railroad Tycoon, Acquire and Diplomacy. I like both its complexity and simplicity. I like both the lack of luck and the gambling element in betting on the right countries.
Upgraded to 10 after three plays. This game is getting better and better.
I like pickup and delivery games -- and this is the mother of all. It's one long game of picking up and delivering stuff.
I also like to build things that will later benefit you. This is the case here as well; not only do you build all kinds of buildings for producing stuff ranging from clay and trunks to coins and shares, but you can also improve your transporting possibilites by upgrading your transporters and improving your road network.
Another good thing is that you can play this game in a peaceful way (without much player interaction), but you can also play it very nasty, with conflicts arising almost every turn. It all depends on how you put together the modular board.
Finally, this game is suitable for one player gaming!! The one-player scenario's are actually puzzles in wich you try to maximize your score in a customized 20-turn game. I've spend many hours figuring out new strategies already.
The downside? It's long. From two hours for a peaceful two-player game, to as much as six hours for a dense four-player game. It's fiddly too, requiring steady hands and a stable table, as it uses vast amount of tiny chits.
Initially, I gave this game a 9, but I now raised it to 10.
Rating increased from 9 to 10. I seem to like this game more and more...
It seems to award the courage to invest and the creativety to exploit opportunities.
It's fun to build up a railroad network, upgrade your trains and plan on routing the goods to their destination.
It's also fun to see that new players have an inclination to find the shortest routes for goods to be delivered, where more experienced players are rather looking for the longest (feasible) routes for delivery...
Excellent building game with only cards in an original concept. It has money cards, building(=action=kingdom) cards and victory point cards, yet there isn't even a seperate building area! The thing you are building is your deck of cards, which you recycle continuously to buy more buildings and victory points.
The deckbuilding aspect somewhat resembles the deckbuilding in Magic(CCG). There too you have to find a delicate balance: not too much mana, not too little, not too many low-cost spells, not too many. In Dominion the trade-off is between Victory cards, which only pollute your deck, and money/building cards, which improve your deck but don't make you win by themselves.
This game is an excellent improvement of Railroad Tycoon. - it reduces randomness. - it repaces the bidding process for start player each turn by relating it to the action you took the previous turn The downside: - you cannot complete routes anymore - it makes a split between income and victory points. I am not sure about this feature. I think it makes the game simpler to play by adding another rule. I think I like RRT a bit better, there.
Rated 8 after one play: I think I like Through the Ages better. Rated 9 after two plays: this game deserves a place next to TtA, being less complex, but not simpler to play! Rated 10 after three plays: this is a game I really like very much!
This game is excellent for gamers and non-gamers alike. The rules are simple, the goal is clear, the game plays quick and smooth and tension is building quickly.
But the game has a unexpected depth as well. Shall I go for the long routes (20 points or so) or the short ones? Shall I collect more cards for the long tracks (5 and 6) or spill it on the shorter ones? How should I detour when other players disrupt my perfect plans? And do I detour deliberately for more points? Or even for more flexibility?
This cardgame is a derivation of Elfenroads/Elfenland/Elfengold, but plays much better than the original.
The best improvement is that the board has become modular -- each round 'the board' is assembled from land cards (as part of the game). Moreover, the scoring mechanism has become more fine-grained, which prevents those boring 20-(or 19)-points draws.
Why is this game so great to play? I like games in which you’re building something up; where your constructions help you later in the game. This is true in Caylus for both building houses as gaining favourites from the king. Each game of Caylus feels really different, simply because houses are being built in a different order, which opens new possibilities very soon or only late in the game. The builder houses function more or less like a modular board that is being laid out due to player actions as the game progresses. Moreover, it is nice that you can really adopt several strategies; going for bare points; going for the castle; going for house building; or aiming at large monumentral buildings in the end. All strategies can be maximized by tuning your actions to it, especially when you really focus them towards one goal. There seems to be no best strategy for all situations. It seems te depend on the number of players and on the order in which the first buildings are being built.
Besides this game really scales well to six persons. Like in Roborally, all thinking is done simultanously by all players, so there is not much down-time. Unfortunately, like in Roborally, the game gets a little more chaotically, so you really should scale down your goals.
After only one play: It's fun to play. It's hard to do well. It's a bit fiddly. There are a lot of agonizing choices to be made. It really feels like Sid Meier's Civilization III (the computer game) which I like a lot
After two plays: The full version of this game is too long for what it is (we played a four-player game in 8 hours).
After three plays: A 2-player still takes a full evening, but that's OK. I like it that way.
This new deck really is an improvement over the base game. There is a better distribution of power plants which makes the game flow more smoothly.
The start is already better. You can either go for a plant with a low number (now the lowest number is 1), which lets you choose a better spot on the board. The downside is that these plants are really inefficient. You need three coal to power one city.... You can also go for a more efficient plant and accept one of the more inferior spots on the board to start with.
One more clever thing is that if no one chooses the 1 plant, it gets removed automatically when players have build their first city!
This game is (not suprisingly) similar to Memoir'44, but I like most of the differences: + Leaders add a nice touch and a little complexity + Lines of troups become important + The setting is ancient + more close combat + more distinct playing pieces - less plastic - I had dificulty making the distinction between all those different light troups of both sides..
What a smartly designed game. So simple: buy a tile, lay a tile, collect income. I am normally not fond on tile-laying games, because there is not much strategy in them. But this game is different in that perspective. There are initial goals - hidden and open, for which players are competing. Furthermore, all tiles interact, on different levels and with different aspects, which introduces new (sub)goals. The consequence is that each player desires almost every tile, but for a different reason. There are many paths to victory, but all go through the same set of ever contested tiles.
This is the excellent light version of Puerto Rico!
I also love the fact that the same cards are being used in four ways: as buildings (from your hand to the table), as money (from your hand to the discard pile; to pay for the buildings), as goods (from the draw pile (face down) to a production building), and as victory points (from your hand to the chapel).
The game also plays very well with two!
Edit: After having played 'Race for the Galaxy' a lot, I lowered my rating from 9 to 8 for this game. I'm afraid that 'Race for the Galaxy' took its place...
This is a long, difficult game. It is played in only 5 rounds that have 14 phases each! It is sort of a war game, but you can only attack in 5 of the 70 phases. So you really have to be creative to win.
The first of the Catan expansions that really changes the feel of the core game. It shifts the focus away from resource gathering and building towards far more player interaction. Besides mutally benifical trade, players can now hamper their opponents with all kinds of action cards.
This game feels somewhat like Elfenland. Like in Elfenland, you have to find an optimal route through a number of cities. Moreover, you can only travel over certain paths, depending on the resources you have collected. The only difference here is that the resources do not dictate over which roads you can move, but rather which cities you can effectively visit. In Hermagor, the roads have different costs (you have to pay money to travel). In Elfenland, roads also have different costs (you have to pay in cards that have different value). The travel principle in both games is the same, though.
I Liked Elfenland, but it felt a little too light. Almost always, more than one player managed to visit all twenty cities. And even when we used the optional rule for ending as close as possible to an 'end town', the game ended in a dissapointing draw. In Hermagor this will never be the case. The scoring mechanism is much more fine-grained; the difference between 139 and 140 is still 1.
But enough about Elfenland. Hermagor has something new: the way in which to resources are auctioned on the market. I've never seen this auction mechanism in a game before, although it vaguely resembles Roulette. There too, you can bet for one number or spread your chances over two or even four numbers. The same holds for the market in Hermagor, and it really makes this game special and worthwhile playing!
"Perfection is not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to be taken away". In this light, the addition of passengers and special locomotives in the Märklin Edition makes it certainly less perfect than the basic game.
On the other hand, the division between long and shorter routes is something that really cannot be left out! Getting good routes no longer depend on cheer luck; you can choose between short routes that are easy to complete or longer routes that yield more points.
When I play this game, I still hear the American guy that explained us the game in Essen. Enthousiastic, with a Donald Trump accent, he explained the negoting, making and breaking of deals. It was fun to listen too. And the game did live up to the expectations we've got there!
In its core, this is a light-weight blind-bidding game. It needs a little bluffing and a little tactical thinking. The theme adds some flavour to it. Artifacts and spells complete the game by bringing some complexity.
In fact, nothing on this game is very special or exciting, and yet, it plays elegantly. It's fun to play, it's exciting without being too tense.
This is a nice investment game. You should not be afraid to take some loans and invest. But because money is the only thing that counts at the end of the game you should invest wisely and make your investments worthwhile...
After one play, I have still to decide between a 7, 8 or may be even 9.
This is a nice game. It plays somewhat like other light wargames, like Nexus Ops, Risk 2210, Twilight Imperium and even Shogun (Dirk Henn's). This is a good thing, as I like those games, but it is also a bad thing, as they all start to look alike. With this heavy competition, I am not sure whether this particilar game will win the field...
One othe good point about this game is that, dispite the various player powers, all seems the be well-balanced!
The Korea side has two markets. When buying resouces you may choose from which market to choose. This turns out to be an advantage for players that are forced to buy later (due to player order). You can always buy on the other market than your predecessor did.
This game is chaotic, but not too much. It feels unbalanced, but not always in favour of the same player. It rewards attacking, but being attacked can be quite rewarding as well. Moreover, this game can also be won with negotiation and clever use of the various powers, technologies and artifacts -- without ever having to win a single fight!
It's a simple game -- but not too simple. It's a short game -- but not too short. It involves luck -- but not too much. It's not renewing -- but it's refreshing. It's about building stuff -- but you can only build six things.
This doesn't feel like playing Yathzee at all. The theme is suprisingly well-suited for such a light dice-rolling game! Even though it really remains a simple game, it really feels that you can make strategical choices on a civilization scale!
I've played this game only once, in Essen, and did not even finish it (dus to its length). I like the game and the market mechanism. The theme feels really pasted on, though; it should have better been about ordinary factories in some industrial area. The game is really expensive -- too expensive for what it is.
After 3 plays: Resembles "Magic: the gathering", but seems to bring something beyond being a magic clone. You have to defend three zones (kingdom, quest and battlefield), instead of one, and cards may function differently in each zone.
I am not sure whether it misses the 'real' deckbuilding fun of Magic. I've only played the preselected decks yet.
This game is really fun for them! They are not bothered by the simple mechanism of roll and move and are absorbed by the little choices they can make and the items they can pick up. They are really excited. The game captures their attention fully for half an hour or so. I my self would rate this game 5, But for my children this is a 10!
It's a nice short game, that you can play with many players. Unfortunately, with many players, it's not that short anymore (especially with those long-thinking players) and suffers from long downtime....
I've played this only once. I think I need another play before deciding between 7 and 8. The game feels OK, but the end may create a kind of a hangover, it seems, as you can have the feeling you are doing pretty well during the game, but in the end you cannot manage to convert you advantage into victory points....
This has a lot of Knizia ingredients: tile laying; abstract; pattern building; maxmizing on every turn; points rewarded for set collection; only a few simple rules. Fortunately, no theme has been pasted on! Excellent Game!
It's more fun to play than Scotland Yard (it feels about the same, but there are more options and the game is a bit more balanced). As a rough comparison, 'Fury of Dracula' compares to 'Scotland Yard' as 'Mystery of the Abbey' compares to 'Clue'.
Rating after one play: 7 This is an OK game that I enjoyed playing. It took us 90 minutes, but I didn't think it was too long. It plays like a nice dungeon puzzle, with some combat, pits, doors and other usual dungeon stuff, mixed with rotating dungeon sections.
Potentionally a very good game. It has many ingredients I like: Simple card and dice driven combat using distinct fighting units with complex properties, outguessing your opponents, building an infrastructure, harvesting resources, simultaneous action selection, etc.
It is your the scoring mechanism that leaves me unsatisfied in the end.... (all that work, for so little: I want to have the feeling that I have achieved something in the end, even when coming dead last. I don't want to come second in a four-player game on tie breaker, with 0 points.)
It is not the best one in the series, but is certainly not the worst one either! The story line is good and smart, but unfortunately it did not came to life as well as it could through the clues the players received. There was humour, opportunity to play in-role, and detective-murder-mystery. There were also inconsistencies and difficult to visualize scenes (even for us players with 20 years of experience in these games)
I did not count the lack of replayability into the rating.
It's actually only a two-player game: Scotland Yard vs. Mister X. I personally think this game is slanted towards Mister X, who really has a lot of escape options. It can still match itself against mordern games of its kind, like "Fury of Dracula", allthough I like the latter one better.