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Subject: Favelas First Impressions rss

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Tiffany Ralph

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Abstract tile-placement was the theme of my SPIEL haul this year. Favelas, designed by Chris Bryan and published by Wizkids, is a game about building up your slum within the constraints of your player board, with the limited tile set available. Players compete for majorities of the 5 different color buildings, while adjusting the value of those buildings as they play. It's a tight game that has us cursing and praising the designer with each play.

The game lasts three years, or rounds, with players going through a stack of tiles each year. The size of those stacks depends on the number of players, but one nice feature you'll notice right at setup? They've included more tiles than needed at all player counts. This ensures that no two plays will be the same, and the likelihood that players are tile counting is reduced greatly. I mean, they even included more end of year tiles than ended, to make sure you can't depend on knowing what color combos those will be.

During a player's turn, they select a tile from the market of three (or draw blind) and place that tile on their own player board. Each player's board is a asynchronous layout of the five colors in a triangle shape, and is just the right size so that the double sized tiles won't fit evenly. Because you're building up on your board, never out or over it's edges, you're forced to make tough layout decisions almost every turn. The goal of the game is to have majorities in some (or all?) of the colors, but the restricted play field means you have to pick and choose which colors you go for. You have to balance between what your opponent seems to be going for, as well as what is available in the market.

What's more, the value of each color's majority is determined by the players themselves. Whenever someone overlays a building with another building that matches it in color, they must adjust the value of that color up or down by one on the beautification die. Going for purple? That means you're going to have to cover up your purple buildings occasionally, with purple, to build up it's value (or undo what your opponents have done). Want to tank an opponent's color goal? You're going to have to have buildings of that color to do so.

It's a tight game that feels like you're playing tug-of-war on a 5ft platform over a volcano. There's very little wiggle room to screw up, and I like that. So far we've only played the game at two and three player counts, and I already know four player is going to be MORE cutthroat. Out of the 5 abstract tile placement games we picked up at this year's Spiel, Favelas is the tightest, brainiest, most delightfully painful to play.
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Heath Washburn
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What were the other 4 games?
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Adam P
United States
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I like cutthroat.
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Tiffany Ralph

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heathbarATL wrote:
What were the other 4 games?


Sunny Day, Topiary, and I'm counting Indian Summer on this one, though it's not THAT abstract. The 5th one is slipping my mind right now, or I miscounted originally
 
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