Monday, 19th Dec 2011
So, Monday night we (Me, Eric and Jeffry) hit Belfort the first time. Belfort is a game of worker placement and area majority from Tasty Minstrel Games, designed by the Duo Canada Designers Sen Foong Lim and Jay Cormier. Basically it’s a hyped game of 2011.
Jeffry and I, had read the rules. So I just needed to explain the overall of the game to Eric. We start the session at 19.00 (including the explain and setup) with 3 players game. It took quite a lot of space with multiple boards and player mats. Based on our first play, the game is different, it felt unlike any other worker placement or resource management games. We played with a lot of mistakes, not ruling but wrong decisions and miscalculations. This game has different feels. The phase order of the rounds is uncommon and could results in different uptakes and miscalculations.
The key point about it is the timing of income and taxes are in the middle of the order, which sometimes, if you’re not common or used to it would potentially lead to miscalculations and wrong decisions. The money is tight, the resource aren’t cheap. We used 5 random guilds from 3 categories. Which led us to display 2 resource guilds, 1 interactive guild and 2 basic guilds. By the looked of it, 2 resource guilds (gain 4 stones; gain 4 wood) are quite essential in the game. The 5 districts formed as a pentagonal uni-board, a very unique and classy approach on the component. Though the artist (Joshua Cappel) really done a great work by putting a fine and high details on the board illustrations, i just thought it’s better if the layout of the buildings aren’t the same for each district. The symmetrical layout seemed bore me down, but i guess it’s done that way to set the balance of the game. The King’s Camp available slot is kinda odd. I think it would be better if a player wants to be the first player, he need to pay for it (for instance 1 gold), and the rest of the planks are free. This could prevent players from swaps crests easily. And more of it, i think it’s better with 4 players rather than with 3. The reason is, with 3 players the competition of swapping crests would happen mostly from the first and last player only. Property cards are important, they really tweak your condition, beside giving you buildings for majority. Property cards give you other benefits such income, hire gnome, elf or dwarf (workers). This workers also essential to the game, which like other worker placement games, having more workers always a good thing. The points also embedded by a simple tax payout, which the higher your points, the bigger the tax is. Players get points from district majority and workers majority.
In Belfort, timing is important. Players must know what to do and when to do it. Quite impressed with the game but I must agree, that this was an over-hyped game in http://www.boardgamegeek.com
The components are in good quality but I noticed that the box was bowed (a common issue for this game). The rest are good, but I’m not really fond of the matte finish (or whatever you call it). I still prefer linen finish, but it’s still good.