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Every homo sapiens needs an outbuilding within the curtelage of their property
Welcome...to my Shed!
I've been banging on about it for ages now so I suppose I'd better give it a formal review: Nusfjord or "You're gonna need a bigger boat!". Obviously, I don't normally 'review' anything; I might mention something in passing AND/OR provide a simplistic summary as part of a session report AND/OR pronounce my general approval or disapproval BUT I can't recall ever having sat down and composed a proper, considered appraisal. Why, then, should now be the time? For a number of reasons and here they are:
I have now played it >40 times
I have played it at all of the player counts
I don't feel like stopping any time soon.
Additionally, I have been fortunate enough to access a whole series of feted prototype expansions which, in their theme and variety, transport me back to the heady days of 2007/2008 when it's grandpappy - Agricola - first tickled my gaming nuts and blew softly in my gaming ear!
The framework of Nusfjord is comfortingly-familiar: worker placement where one collects and spends resources and a little bit of board management. With only the three resources available - fish, wood and gold coin - the web of possibilities is spun. Because wood and gold are, effectively, secondary goods; the competition to get them is always heated - be it via the acquisition of personal action spaces (elders), card combinations and/or share-dealing.
If you've experienced Glass Road then much of Nusfjord will be straightforward: the focus in both are the buildings - rich in VPs and tricks. Unlike Glass Road, however, there is no unbearable hidden card selection horrorshow; no, the agonizing choices lay out in the open for all to see. This is no multi-player solitaire; you will ALWAYS be stepping on someone else's
fins toes as you go about your fishy business: fishing for fish, consuming fish, paying fish and serving fish.
Saying that, you can buck the thematic hammer and win Nusfjord perfectly well without fishing beyond your paltry starting ability (the 'Catboat'); you can, instead, invest in other players' endeavours and subsist on a regular dividend. You can ignore the perceived 'standard opening moves' (sell a share, take an elder) and drop straight in to cheap buildings or forest management depending on what cards have been dealt to the opening tableau. Satisfying combos are plentiful and you will be well-rewarded for "doing what everyone else isn't": I have seen (and been) a player exploiting a full Reserve, no reserve at all, ship-building, ship-ignoring, forest decimation and a gerontophiliac obsession with Elders.
Nusfjord is another milestone in Uwe Rosenberg's oevre in that it boils all of his worker placement ideas and mechanisms in to a match-fit, all-killer-no-filler, forty-five minute, 'Feast'-free fantasy: it's so frigging tight it squeaks! Nothing is superfluous, no element is an indulgence; this is a game that's pure in the challenge it presents. The fact that it emerged in to the light of our notice just before Spiel 2017 - no information, no hype - only adds to the sweet aftertaste; that it was unavailable outside of Europe until the Spring of this year also allowed its reputation (the word of mouth recommendations) to grow.
Don't be fooled by the cynical, the dismissive and/or the ill-informed: play Nusfjord yourself and discover the Best New Classic Euro of the last 10 years (apart from Snowdonia, natch)!