2014 is rolling. I know that it’s been months that I haven’t had any post to this blog, and I am sorry for that. Let me make it up to you guys with this one.
It’s already a new year, 2014 is on our path. So I’m gonna write a whole lot of stuff regarding 2013 specifically about Essen 2013’s games. Yes that’s the latest hype and let see if those games live up to the hype in my book.
Essen is always an interesting annual event for me (and also for board gamers of course), the reason is simply because there are lot of new games being launched in this event. Long before it’s even coming, we all already made a list of games that we expecting in Essen. Now for Essen 2013, there are lot of games that were added into my list, some of them of course I managed to purchase. But some I only or need to try them first before making any purchase decision.
I’m gonna write a small review (more like sorts of an impression) about Essen 2013’s games that I have managed to try.
Euphoria : Build a Better Dystopia (Nov 16, 2013)
I don’t know if it’s included as an Essen 2013 game or not but it was first shown (officially) on Essen 2013 if I was not mistaken. Jamey Steigmaier is a great designer and an honorable man. His KS project of Euphoria really really a hit and I was quite disappointed for not backing his project. Anyway, I was a playtester for this game with the prototype and I was surprised that my name and my friends’ names are on the back of the rulebook. Awesome Jamey! Proud that my name was immortalized on his game’s rulebook. So it wasn’t the first for me, but at least it’s the first for the official published version of the game. When I looked at the published game, my impression was over the moon. The game’s components are exceptionally great, those beautiful shapes of wooden components, great looking custom dice sets, awesome cards and don’t forget the two-sided board with alternative color tones. Okay enough with the overkill produced components, let’s jump into the water. I guessed there were no significant game play / rules changes from the playtesting. The game has a unique dice allocation mechanic (which is attached with a nice thematic worker intelligence) along with set collection and the core mechanic of VP racing. That’s the main discussion over here, VP racing mechanic. Personally I do not like a racing game (not thematically) and Euphoria is one of those games. This is the main reason that I did not back the KS project.
In overall, the game’s goal is to be the first player to place 10 stars. Once you do that, you win the game immediately. That’s what I called sucks.
But when playing the game I was enjoying the process, though I still think that the winning condition is irritating. For me this game has a collector value and worth to have.
My score would be 7.5 out of 10. It would be 8.5 if not for the racing game.
Russian RailRoads (Nov 22, 2013)
This one is one of my favorites of Essen’s 2013 games. Why? Well you need to feel it yourself. But I’ll try to explain it to you the best I can.
At first I was not interested on this one, the title seemed very 18XX-ish if you know what I mean. But a friend mentioned to get this game and that made me look into it. Surprisingly the visual presentation did a very good job intensifying my interest. After reading the rules, I ordered it from amazon with quite a bargain on the shipping. While waiting for my copy to arrive I tried a copy of my friend’s. The rules are simple and easy to understand, just like a simple worker placement game on the main board. But the point generators are what the main attraction on this game. These engines are lies on the player board which is consists of three Trans Siberian tracks (Vladivostok, St. Petersburg and Kiev destination) and an industry track.
During the game player will need to make lot of hard decisions to build their rail tracks and industries. Normally the game last 7 rounds. Each round players will score their progresses. What’s interesting with this game is there are lots of combination of strategies and you need to find out which ones are the best and most efficient to give you maximum points. At first the rules could be quite intimidating (I am talking about the point generators and how they work) but once you play your first game you’ll realized how easy to play this game (just like Castles of Burgundy and I know why this game is very similar). But the essence is how to get the most out of your plays. The engines are not as easy as playing the game. In order to win you need to carefully mix and match your strategies. Whether you play all three tracks, only some or with industry or maybe leave out the industry aspect at all. It’s very interesting and each turn you will have to make a decision where you should placing your worker(s), because next turn that slot wouldn’t still be available.
This game is one of my favorites and it’s easy to get this on the table often. My girlfriend likes this game just as she likes Castles of Burgundy.
My score is 9 out of 10.
Bruxelles 1893 (Dec 13, 2013)
I planned to buy this game but I changed my mind in the last minute. I changed my purchase to Russian RailRoads instead of this one. The reason would be simple, the situation wouldn’t let me. Well, that time I could only afford one game. While I already set my target on this game, a new game (which is Russian RailRoads by the way) emerged and judging from the situation it’s easier to come by rather than Bruxelles 1893. So there you go, I missed this one. The truth is I did not regret this, it’s a fine decision. But I do not say it’s a bad game, in fact it’s good looking game. Would love to have this on my collection. The visual presentation is stunning, not main stream stunning but in a unique way. The art style followed the theme in which art nouveau is the main attention. The theme is really describing what really is from the title itself. Bruxelles is a city from Belgium which on 1893 was very profound of their art progress and style. Arts are highly regarded as great work and respected among the society. In this game players play as artists who perform arts in various mediums suchs as paintings, sculpts and also models or furnitures. Alexandre Roche was doing the artworks for the game and I must admit that his work on Bruxelles 1893 really drips Troyes style artwork (which I also love).
The game last for 5 rounds where in each, players will get their workers / assistants to help them with their works. So this is a worker placement game, nothing new here but hold that thought because there is a twist in it.
To assign a worker you must also place coins in it (with minimum one coin). You place the worker on available tile slots on the round (yes each round the first player will decide which tiles are used in a given round based on the column and row, ain’t that interesting?). After all players already placed their workers and resolve the actions, the next thing is to resolve the bids based on the total number of coins on each columns. The winner gets the card under that column. These cards can be used for instant benefit or you can place it under your player board for end game scoring upgrades.
Also there is a majority scoring on the tiles. It’s pretty unique and more of it the chart of market price are also one of a kind. You can adjust the selling price of your art in the market by adjusting the chart based on how many types of arts you have. You can choose to get more coins or more points.
It’s pretty interesting and also not very brain burning. My score would be 8 out of 10.
Madeira (Dec 14, 2013)
This game is brilliant. Hail to Nuno Sentieiro and Paulo Soledade for making such a game. It was published by What’s Your Game and I pre-ordered the game as soon as I heard that they opened the preorder on their site. €40 include international shipping was really sold me out. Instantly purchased and I waited for around 1 months to get it shipped, and 2 weeks to receive the game. I love the artwork but there were some component issues. They informed me that the first batch copies have a minor miscutting register and it would need utmost caution punching the tokens. That’s not a big deal. But what I mostly concerned about was the game box. The outer lid has severe torn on one of the edges. The reason is still unknown since the packing was exceptionally good with bubble wraps and sturdy outer box. No dent was ever found. I told them about this and they told me that they will check into this.
The components are in good quality, I love the dice and the board.
Madeira is an island that was officially discovered by Portuguese seafarers.
In this game players will need to cultivate the lands and adapt in the land’s condition. The goal is to be the player with most points. The game lasts for 5 rounds in which each round players will choose a set of dice, activate available characters with their dice and also activate buildings with their action markers. And in the end of each odd round they will score points from Crown’s request tiles they own. It does sound easy doesn’t it? But the fact says otherwise, it is one hell of a brain burning heavy euro games. It has heavy strategic and planning with moderate learning curve. One needs 45-60′ and a huge motivation to explain this game to new players (or vice versa).
Though the learning curve is ain’t as high as Brass but it’s notable to put this under consideration. The first game would totally blow you away. There are lots of elements that get in the way of the game play. So you need to learn the mixture of things while you play.
I love the game, yes it’s hard but rewarding in my opinion. The pirate aspect really adds players interaction. The dice allocation mechanic is unique. Each round players is gonna choose one set of three dice from the available sets. These preliminary phase has already put players into deep and careful planning since what you choose is not only the dice but also turn order, guild’s favor refresh and your scoring possibility as well.
This mechanic alone shows Madeira has a rich game play and challenging experience in each session. During the character phase, players will take turn to use a die (their own or even a pirate die) to activate a character. There are 5 characters available that randomly distributed into 5 fix locations on the board each round. This also gives players new experience each session.
The island is divided into 3 region (region 1 to 3) and these regions restrict the use of dice, in which random dice rolling factor can be mitigated by the use of breads. Using breads let players to break the restriction of placing a die into a region. The dice have 3 values from 1 to 3 (each value has 2 sides) and each value corresponds to the region where it can be allocated. For example you may only place a die with value 1 onto character in region 1 and a die with value 3 into any region. So this is where the bread tiles come into use, if a player want to place his die but restricted because of the value, he can pay 1 bread tile to virtually modify his die one value higher.
Once all players are already passed (they choose to pass or they cannot use any more die) the buildings are resolved in order. Players who have an action marker in a building have to pay the cost (this cost is generated for each building by a specific number minus the sum value of re-rolling all the dice used previously on the character that’s on it). They need to pay regardless they want to activate the building or not, if they do not want or cannot pay, they receive pirates token (1 pirate plus the value of re-rolled pirate die if any).
After all the buildings are resolved, the rest of the round are upkeep and cleanup. Each odd round players will score points based on their Crown’s request tiles. In round 1, they will choose one out of 2 tiles, where in round 3 they will choose 2 out of 3 tiles and in the last round they will score all their tiles (3 tiles). In the final scoring, player with the most pirates gets penalty 16 points, the second most gets penalty 8 points. This aspect really adds tension in the later rounds and also very punishing. I love the game, the components, the quality, the artworks, the strategy and decision making, the interaction and the game play. The downsides are it’s intimidating rules, complexity and duration length. My score for this game is 9 out of 10.
Asgard’s Chosen (Dec 8, 2013)
Okay, it’s not a hit. But based on the review it has very nice feedbacks and reviews (besides the lousy component qualities). It’s an innovative deck building game with Norse mythology theme by Morgan Dontanville. I came across this game the first time through boardgamegeek.com (what else?!). I always love mythology theme with gods and such and it’s Norse mythology where you can find Thor and Loki in it. I read the game’s designer diary and it totally sold me out. I found it really interesting of what the designer think about the deckbuilding mechanic and how he wants to take it into another different level. This one might be another addition to my list of loved games but not particularly liked by others (along with Wiraqocha and Panic Station, etc). The artworks look fantastic, you can see there’s also David Cochard in the artists line up (in case you geeks did not know, he’s the artist behind Dungeon Petz and Lords artworks). The characters have great detail artworks and they decided to bring distinguished looks in each character’s level which turned out pretty awesome. This game is published by Mayfair games, which is one of the most famous board game publishers. But they delivered this game very disappointing. The components are in bad quality especially on the game box material (bad finish, thin material) and the punchboards. The tokens are easily worn out and the printed surface is easily falling off. This is very bad, big time.
The card quality is OK but not impressive, a little bit thin and flimsy.
And I do wonder why they use different size hero meeples, I can see the different shapes, but the size just didn’t cut it. The female hero meeples is cylindrical in which if the female hero was vanquished you need to place it aside and with that cylindrical shape, it’s easily to roll out.
Okay let’s talk about the meat of the game. It’s basically a VP racing game (which is I am not personally favor at), players need to appease a number of Gods to trigger the end game and the one with most appeased Gods win the game. Each player will get a set of God cards (10 Gods to be precise) which includes Odin, Thor, Loki, Tyr, Heimdallr, Frigg, Freyja, Sif, Hel and Baldr. Each round, players will have to take turns to move their 2 heroes one by one in a set of modular boards consisting different type of terrains. Their heroes will conquest uncontrolled or controlled terrains. One of the reasons to do this is for deck manipulation / deck building. They need to diversify their controlled terrains to be able to muster new creatures available in the Tisch during muster phase. What is the ‘Tisch’? The ‘Tisch’ is a 2 rows of cards with 4 cards each. It consists of creature, town item and magic item cards. These cards will help players to appease their Gods. Creatures have their terrain affinities as well as magic and town item. In other words, in order to get them you need to control the matching terrain. For example if you want to muster a mountain creatures you need to control at least one mountain terrain. The same thing if you want to muster a town item you need to control a town.
Now let’s get down to the game play. Each round there are sequence of phases, starting from God phase in which players decide which God in their hands that they want to use it’s favor. That God card is placed in front of them and they can use the favor describes on the card. Next the Charm phase, players may use one item card that can be activated during charm phase from their hand. The next one is the Campaign phase. This is the core system of the game. Each player will take turns to move their heroes one by one. The ‘move’ action in this game means players could literally move their heroes inside their controlled territories or conquest other territory that is adjacent to theur controlled territories. So player can conquest an uncontrolled territory or an opponent’s controlled territory. When they try to conquest an uncontrolled ones they will be facing thr game mechanic, otherwise they’ll be facing the game mechanic and also the controller of that territory.
The next phase is Muster phase. This is where all the deckbuilding happens. Players may take turns to muster a card from the Tisch. These recently mustered cards are placed on the discard pile along with the cost.
The last phase is renewal phase in which players discard and draw up to 7 cards and revive their vanquished heroes.
Appeasing Gods. There are some restrictions when it comes to appeasing Gods. At all times, players can only appease one God per phase and may only doing so during their turn. Played God card during God phase cannot be appeased, they may only appease Gods from their hand.
I like the unique appeasing God and the deckbuilding mechanic. It’s very thematic and one can say it’s pretty much fiddly, to cover all those details and elements during the game. The 6 different terrains, the unique and various creatures’ abilities and the restrictions for each action. The learning curve could be quite high judging it’s not a simple deckbuilding game. In this game, to build your deck you need to plan your actions.
My score for this game would be 8 out of 10.
Lewis & Clark: The Expedition (Dec 26, 2013)
I highly interested on this game but decided to give it a try before making a purchase. It’s my most anticipated game that I want to try so badly. At last I tried the game from a friend’s copy. It has beautiful awsome artworks and more than that, each player card set has different illustrations though they have the same effects, even more there is no duplicate name and illustration on all the cards. Pretty neat huh? The game is about the expedition of Lewis and Clark during the time when United State bought a portion of land from the French and decided to order an expedition to mapping the location led by Lewis and Clark. They mapped the location from the river stream, from one point to the other end. Now this historical theme might led you to think that it’s a racing game, and it was true that this is a racing game. The first player who reach the destination wins the game. This is the only reason why I hold my purchase and decided to try it first. I’ve read the rules and must admit that I was completely interested on the game play and mechanics, despite the fact that it is a racing game. Players goal is to be the first one to bring their camp to the finish line.
In this game each player will get a set of character cards, a player board and also camp & scout tokens. During their turn, players may play a card, place Indian(s) or set up camp. Playing a card must be accompanied by another face down card, Indian meeple(s) or both. The Indian symbol and meeple(s) represent strength or activation time.
With cards they will collect resources, convert resources, move scouts and other things. They can also place their Indian meeples into available spaces of powwow area on the game board. These spaces provide players with resources and upgrade options. They can also set up camp. To do this they will need to resolve left out cards in their hands and also the player board situation. These will determine where the exact space they can set up camp.
Players can also buy new cards from the available row with some cost.
While one of your aims is to collect resources for your expedition, you cannot travelling carrying heavy luggage, this is why players consider on their supply. With heavy luggage they cannot travel as quick and fast as they travel in light. So there is something that they need to consider when planning. And also, the route is getting more difficult by having 2 different kind of terrains (water and mountain). These 2 kind of terrains will slow your progress, since in order to pass through these terrain a different kind of transportation is needed, either with canoes, horses or yaks. It’s pretty much great decision making aspect to get what you after.
I like the beautifully looking components, especially the Indian meeples and also the cute tiny resource hexes (more if attached with resource stickers). Another reason that I wanted to try this first before purchasing was I also want this game to be liked by my girlfriend. I do not really want to get this game and do not get it into the table because my girl doesn’t like to play it. But luckily she said it is good. So can’t wait to get this one in my next purchase.
My score is 8 out of 10.
Legacy: Testament of Duke de Crecy (Dec 26, 2013)
This game garnered quite a hype amongst my buddies that moment. But I did not agree. Not really interested on it and did not bother to look into it. But a friend asked me and my girlfriend to join for a session and we both liked “Why not? It’s a new game to try”. Apparently the game has similar resemblance theme and play style as Last Will, though they’re completely different in origin. In Legacy, you are the head of a family that needs to protect and preserve your bloodline for three generations (rounds). You will get married, make children of your own and get them continue your bloodline from generation to generation. This is actually a pretty interesting idea for a theme and I found that my first play was really enjoyable and fun. I felt lack of actions (only 2 basic actions in each turn) which hold you down with so many things you really want to do. Arrange marriage, make children, make friends, get a title for your family, buy an estate and such. That’s a lot to do. It’s basically a card game, as you can see mostly the components are cards, with player boards, main boards to place cards and tracking rounds, cubes and action tokens and also coins.
We’re having some difficulties to differentiate the gender of the child. I don’t see why they make the boys have a long hair, which easily create player’s confusion. Anyway it’s an ok game, with quite a lot of luck factor on the friend cards, their nationalities and also the children’s gender. It’s just not my cup of tea, though playing it the first time could be fun and enjoyable.
My score would be 7 out of 10.
Concordia (Dec 26, 2013).
A new game from Marc Gerdts, that’s not involving rondel. Usually Marc Gerdts designs games with rondel mechanic, such as Antikke Duellum, Hamburgum and Navegador. It’s his signature, and now he’s making a game without it, interesting.
Actually I was never interested on this game at all, aside I have Antike Duellum on my wish list. A friend asked me to join and I was gladly accept it. It’s a pretty straight forward Euro with paste out theme, leaning more onto abstract side. The game uses roles and set collection with the combination of networking and resource collecting. At first each player has the same set of cards, each with a specific role. Each turn players will play a card as an action. The game ends if the last cards on the row is bought. The anatomy of a card has different part, there is the role part which describes what action the card can do, beneath it there are list of recources as cost to acquire this card. In the bottom is the end game scoring reference. In other words, players will have to choose wisely what kind of cards they need to invest in. Either they get cards for its actions or for its final scoring. The main board has a map drawn and depicts several provinces. These provinces consist of different areas and each of it’s own resource. Players also need to cover areas with their ships and colonies to get benefits while harvesting and final scoring. Surprisingly the game is quite good and it’s fun. But sometimes this could let to AP prone situation while deciding which card you want to use, since more and more you’ll get more cards, which your hand will be full of cards. It’s not like a deck building that you have to fill your hand up to some amount. In this game you take back all the cards you have into your hands after you play a specific cards, that makes you hand really really full. And also deciding what areas to get and where to go could lead to AP situation. With lots of access and randomly different recources in each game leads players to a new situation. The resource tokens have cute shapes, and the card design is so classic old roman style.
My score for this game is 8 out of 10.
Archon: Glory and Machinations (Jan 11, 2014)
This is my new game for 2014. I should have backed this game while it’s on KS but I did not. I pretty much had a tight budget back then and also not really sure if it would be good. So I skipped the KS, but a friend of mine gave me the opportunity to buy his new sealed copy right after it’s arrived. So I did not skip it this time. The main attraction of this game is the artworks. As you know, Antonis Papantoniou did all the illustrations for the game and man he is one of the best illustrators I know. You can see his works in Drum Roll, Among The Stars and Fallen City of Karez. In this game he also uses the contrast color tone approach on his illustrations (which probably his main style). The characters on the cards are really depicting royal and prestigious feel with gears and bolts all over them. This is the thin red line, the strain that connects all of the illhstrations. The board is amazing and huge, just like Fallen City of Karez. That monstrous and gigantic illustrations of locations and places that put together into a one higly detailed big city embodied with gears element.
In this game players need to collect the most points for 9 rounds. Each 3 rounds there will be an event and scoring. The game is quite simple, players play cards in order to place their workers into slots from locations on the game board. There are mainly 2 kind of cards, courtiers and magisters. Courtiers are basic characters and do not have special effect. While Magisters have different kind of types and effects. At the start of the game each player will have 8 Courtiers and 2 selected Magister cards in their decks. In each odd round players will need to assign 5 cards that they want to use during this round and the next. Cards for the next round are placed face down for future use. This mechanic is unique and gives you more freedom to build your hand, of course this is not a deck building game, despite you refine your deck of cards, the numver of cards are still 10 cards. Once you get a new Magister card you need to replace it with your Courtier. The flexible thing is you can replace it with Courtier card from your hand (so that newly acquired Magister can immediately be played this round) or from your discard or from your next round’s cards. Players get points from advancing their tracks on the guild hall (getting Magisters), placing Elite warrior on the 2 wall spaces that generates 1 point, build structures, collect science and arts and also collect Elite Warrior cards. There are also end game scoring from 4 level 3 structures. Though the game is good and challenging, there is some issues on one of the strategy in the game. The Roy Guard action to place Elite Warrior cards are deemed not worthy the actions and cost to be taken into account. Yes you get the protection from event, 2 points on the wall an majority from Elite Warrior cards but the actions and resources you need to complete that are almost nonsensical.
I’m gonna bring out topics about the game components, the game uses unusual colors for the playing pieces. They are all monochromatic. From white, beige, grey and black. Also the same with the resource cubes. These colors could look the same and some players reported the misidentified colors between white and beige, black and grey. This turned out to be fatal for my first play, which we identify the grey as black on one of the locations symbol. They should use different shape if they persistent with the colors. They said it’s for the color blind issue, and that’s not a bad thing, I just a bit disappointed that they did not consider other aspect as well. And also during the KS project development, they proposed an alternative art for the game board (the darker one) which could help to bring out more distinguishable look of the buildings apart ftom the background illustrations. This would surely stressed out the functionality design on the game board, but the crowd responses were critically discharge. It’s too bad though, I like the darker ones. Anyway it’s a fun game and I do not regret for having this game in my collection.
My score for this game is 8 out of 10.
The Capitals (Jan 18, 2014)
This is one big and expensive game. The main reason is the game weight, it’s full of building punchboard tiles all over it. The game is very similar in theme with Sunrise City, City Tycoon and Suburbia. It’s about city building. Players will control their own city and try to build it the best way they choose. After the game ends, player with the best city wins the game. There 3 rounds of scoring with 4 turns in each round. During each turn players will determine turn order and buy a building tile. Then they take action(s) activating their buildings based on their power plant level and cultural bonus.
There are different kind of building types which shown in different color background. The building has immediate effect once built and also has active or passive effect. Active effect need to be activated first to get the effect. Activation cost needs power cubes from power plants.
There are several different aspects that players need to manage, they are city fund, population, cultural, industry and public works. There are also the tourism concept that I find it interesting. Tourism lets player with the most advance on the culture track to get benefit from the tourists that came to his city. Those tourists apparently come from other (players’) cities. This is interesting, since having highest culture give the city benefit for being the most wanted place to be visited. While cities with lower cultures really do not favorable place to visit even their citizens prefer to visit another city. The benefit is in the form of a car meeple that can be used as energy cube. The advantage is the car meeple can always moving around each time you want to activate a building. So it’s more flexible and give you easy access to more buildings.
Another unique thing is the population track in correlation between the work force track. These 2 tracks must really balance. At first population has minus points up until some point. So you need to expand the city population up to at least safe level. But beware you must also manage the work force track. Good level of population is not good if the work force is not balance that could lead to potential jobless threat.
The turn order is also interesting. Players will need to pay thebturn order based on their current order. First players must pay a lot of money to maintain his turn order while of course the last player can easily take the first place if there is no one fill the position yet. In other words, first player that maintain his first position will be wasting points since $4 is worth 1 vp.
I like the game, it’s simple and easy to play. Yes it has random factor from the building tiles but it’s still manageable. You also have to be careful with your point condition. Players will start with minus points and you have to make it positive and gain as many as you can before the time is up.
My score to this game is 8.5 out of 10
Kohle & Kolonie (18 Jan, 2014)
This is one of my favorites games of Essen 2013. A monster game of the same level as Terra Mystica (well at least the box has the same size). I was interested on the theme and the visual presentation. I wanted it but trying first would be a wise decision since this game it’s not cheap and it’s very heavy. So we’re having board gaming session last Saturday and this game is right on top of my list to play, along with Nations.
When I looked inside the box there are lots, I mean lots of components inside. The box is full with boards, tiles and wooden components. Awesome feeling for unboxing I am pretty damn sure. Each player gets their own player boards with double sided ability tiles, cubes, discs and tiles. It looks gorgeous and I love this.
Let’s get into the game play. The game has a mining theme integrated into it. Players will be a mining businessmen who buy mines, run them and take profit from them. The board is spread long to the side, depicting a map with different region separated by lines and colors. There are around 5 or 6 regions on it. Each region also has some areas with mining sites on it. The game last 5 rounds and there is a progress track on top of the board to eadily track the phase progress of each round. A disaster track that also functions as round track on the right bottom of the board. Each round players will have normally 2 actions (more if you take the bonus tile and spend an extra action tile). During these actions players may take one of available actions (they may take the same actions with all of their actions). These actions are buy a mine, deploy and move workers, place a settlement and 2 workers, train an engineer, make a steam engine. Players also has ability boards that can be placed with their workers, steam engines and engineers. These tiles have double sides with the back sides are higher level that will be available after upgraded and are integrated well with their 3 action tiles.
At the start of each round new mines will become available to purchase. These mines also gives income for the owners, and players can place up to 6 mines on their player boards. These mines also give players points based on how many mines are inside the area. Settlements also give points on how many adjacent mines owned by the player. Each round there is disaster phase, which has a unique drawing mechanic. Players who have uninsured mines will put their disc / uninsured mine into the bag along with black discs. Then 3 discs are drawn. If their discs are drawn, they need to pay the penalty and place a worker cube per drawn disc into the disaster phase (minus points for placing cubes here). The first disaster is natural disaster, which is gonna stay until the end of game (it’s effect will triggered when the beige disc are drawn). If black discs are drawn, bank will buy the lowest number of mines and the bank threshold value is added.
After income and scoring mine phase, there is consolidation phase. Each area has different consolidation round, which depicts when the mines on that area will be cobsolidated. This phase is also unique, since if there is more than 1 owner of the mines (other players and the bank itself) they will take part into consolidation bids. The winner will take control of the area and score points from it. The losers will score 2 points for each mines they have on that area.
Players also get benefit if they complete connected networks on the rails with their workers. There are 4 rails spread over the map each with different length. When players take deploy and move 2 workers, they can deploy workers into their built settlements or into available slots on their ability boards and then move the workers (on settlements) into connected stations. If it’s the first worker moved into the station players can get a bonus tile available on the station. Each player may, during his turn, upgrade his ability boards by spending coins and / or neutral workers. Upgrading ability boards mean that he turn the board into the other face side up which gives him points and also better slots. There are 3 ability boards that when upgraded will automatically flip the action tile corresponding to that ability. Action tiles that are flipped are not only the player’s but also other players. The flipped action tile has higher cost than the basic one.
I love the simple and streamline game play that the game has to offer, okay maybe it has a bit conplex on the consolidation phase but that’s it. There is many things you can do with all your 2 actions per round but I guess it’s still ok compared with Legacy. I wonder when can I added this game into my collection. Since it’s quite expensive and I even haven’t get Terra Mystica. I guess my girlfriend likes this one better than Terra Mystica. It’s one level below Terra Mystica on the heavy Euro scale.
My score would be 8.5 out of 10.
Alright, those above were Essen 2013’s games that I tried and still lot more to come. I still haven’t try Nations, Rokoko, Glass Roads, Caverna, Patchistory, CV, Om Nom Nom, Tash-Kalar, A Study in Emerald, The Witches, Mauna Kea, Coal Baron and Rampage.