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Subject: Bruxelles 1893: a basic review rss

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dimitri notte
Belgium
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So, I had the opportunity to play this game last sunday, during the Brussels Game Festival, in the presence and with the explanations of the author Etienne Espreman.

I went to this event thinking just to have a look, maybe buy some stuff but certainly not to play as it was as I expected too noisy and crowded (how naive I was).

And then passing throungh the gaming tables I saw a Box with "Brussels" written on it. I am realy attached to my city so I had to get a closer look. Then I recognized on the cover art the interior of the "Maison Van Eetvelde" one of the masterworks of the Art Nouveau architect Victor Horta. And bing, i felt a rush. A urge to play. I really like Art Nouveau, actually I even work regularly in this field, as I'm a cultural guide and roughly 25% of my job goes about this incredible architectural style. So even if nowadays I'm more of a conflict oriented gamer (wargames,ressources management to build armies to crush the enemies and hear da lamantations of da wimen) and I clearly saw that it was a eurogame I went to the guy organising the sessions and asked him to join the next game. 5 minutes later we were 4 learning the rules. At first it seems a but complex because there are lot of possibles actions and parameters but while we were playing it all became much clearer (we just had to ask Etienne, the author, a couple of precisions while playing).

I will summarize here the main elements of the game, to give you a taste of it, but I will not go into all the details (for this check the rules when they will be available).

The game is currently in production and will be available at Essen so we played with the final prototype.

The artwork is great, there are lots of tiny details for specialists like me (i.e. the Palace of Justice illustration on the board is the historically accurate one not the post WW2 version... yeah that kind of details...ninja )and is really into the theme.

So you play one the famous architects of the time (Horta, Hankar, Strauven...) and you try to become the most famous/prestigious.

Basically it's a worker placement. You have meeples that you play on the 2 main boards for actions.

The action board is modulable and if you will have all the different actions available each turn they will not be available for everyone.

The possible actions:

that cost you money (at least 1, but you may put more for the end of turn auction):

Get 2 construction high quality materials.

Build a level of your personnal house (except for Santenoy who builds the Old England shop) on your personnal board (and claim property on some action so that when other people want to use it you get a bonus).

Create a work of art.

Sell the work of art for money and prestige (there is a clever mechanism to influence the value of your works).

Find a patron (Solvay, Prince Albert... famous people of the Belle Epoque that will give you some advantage-money, influence, materials...- when you activate them).



Actions that don't cost you money but were you risk to lose one of your meeples:

Get 3 low quality materials (if you build with them you will receive less prestige).

Go to the stock exchange and get some money.

Do one of the actions that cost money for free.

Activate your patrons.

When everybody has passed, the turn is over and there is an art exhibition were you can sell your works (the first one to pass gets a money bonus).

Now here is the tricky part: on the action board there is a double majority system. I will not describe it (too long for my english wrting skills) but it's about having surrounded some symbols on the action board to get directly prestige points and/or having bet the more money on the columns to get bonus cards (with an instant bonus or prestige points multiplier for the end of the game)

Rinse, repeat 4 turns.

At the end of the game you add the points harvested during the turns and you calculate your bonus points. The degree of completion multiplied by your "architect level" and 1 point per 4 money/1 per patron etc... (with a possible multiplier from a bonus card) and the one with the most points wins.

And voilà!

It took us 2 hours to finish the game (quite faster that I expected)

It was a great experience (especially speaking with Etienne and sharing thoughts about our common Art Nouveau passion) and as soon it's available this game will join my collection (and I will recommend it to my colleagues).

It's a game full of possibilities but each action is fairly simple, you have to anticipate the moves of your opponents to block some of their 1st choices, but still keeping in mind your strategic goals (you will get points in every category but you have to focus on one or two of them to get a chance to win).

I think there is a light risk of AP (I will avoid this game with some of my gamers friends)but maybe after a few game it will fade away.


I you like workers placement you will like this game.
If you like Art Nouveau you will like this game.

If you like both you will be double happy (like me )

I hope you will enjoy this game as much as I did.

Thank you for your attention (and pardon my english)

Dim


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E&E's Spellenmolen
Belgium
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Thanks for your review!

As a student at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, I'm looking forward to try/buy it at Essen!
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Dave Moss
United Kingdom
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Thanks to preview / review

I was hoping this game would make Essen, and now that it appears it will be, I'll definitely be looking out for it.
 
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Robert Manore
United States
Colorado Springs
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Warlord beats Troll, Troll beats Elf, Elf beats Water Sprite, and basically everything else beats Enchanted Bunny.
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Let's go Pearl Games, open those Essen pre-orders!
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Benoît Delcorps
Belgium
Bruxelles
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Nice (p)review
I like worker placement games, i love my city (see my peeing microbadge whistle)
Added the game on my watchlist
 
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Thanks for the review.

Added to my wish list! It looks like I have to buy every single Pearl Game release
 
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Nick Davies
United Kingdom
Haddenham
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Thanks for the mini-review!

I'm not entirely sure why, but I'm really quite excited about this one; my only reservations are to do with all the different tracks which affect the final score, and I worry that the balance could be off (e.g. go heavy on one track and you are v. likely a victory) - did you feel that could be the case when you were playing?
 
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Jonathan Franklin
United States
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Is there an arc to the game? Did you feel the last round was different from the first one, so it was all one game tied together, rather than four rounds where there was not a sense of progress from one to the next?
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dimitri notte
Belgium
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I just played once so it is difficult to say... I think that for my second game I would concentrate on 3 possible paths of victory, chosen according to the opportunities on the 2 first rounds and then try to exploit these during the last rounds... For the first game, after round 2, I decided not to go on the city influence board anymore except for specific immediatly useful actions (like: I need some materials to build and I go to get them) or if I had some worker left and I saw an good opportunity for direct gain (actually it was generally to block someone else which I consider a gain). I think that concentrating on building in good quality combined with a higher level in architecture skill could be a good base combo but still it depends on the bonus cards that are in play each turn...
 
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dimitri notte
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Well the last round was a frantic serie of completing moves to maximize my path to victory (by the way I lost laugh ) that I would have liked to initiate one round earlier...
 
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