Boardgame News - Sun, 10/10/2010 - 1:07am
Discussed game: Grand Cru – A Game for Wine-y Players
In 2009, about two years after I shelved Grand Cru, I heard of a scholarship for budding board game designers awarded by the Spiel des Jahres jury every year at the board game designer meeting in Göttingen. Many of the previous winners had managed to place a game with a publisher after receiving the award. Furthermore, the scholarship provides several internships in the boardgaming industry. My interest was aroused. To apply for the scholarship you had to present two games in Göttingen. I had a prototype which was almost finished, but apart from that one, all of my other games were still in the earliest stages. It seemed as though I wouldn't be able to apply – but then a friend and fellow game designer remarked, "But you have a finished prototype. Why not take Grand Cru?"
So I pulled Grand Cru off the shelf for the first time in two years. Right away, on the first rereading of the rules, I scribbled around wildly, cutting whole paragraphs, altering many things and wondering at several points why I had set the rules as I did. Thanks to the gained distance, after only one hour, I had completely streamlined the rule set for Grand Cru.
Many of the changes involved rules in which I didn't want to limit the players as much. For example, players used to be prohibited from owning more than two varieties of wine or improvements – a restriction that I couldn't comprehend anymore. I found it more interesting to guide the players in a certain direction by means of a feedback system rather than to simply prohibit certain actions. Soon, though, it became apparent that I had gone too far in the other direction because every system needs rules and boundaries; otherwise it tilts. So I rebuilt certain limits, but only to the point that it was absolutely necessary.
With this game, I felt ready for Göttingen – and while there I actually won the scholarship! As for what happened during my internship with Hans im Glück, you can read that story (in German) on the Spiel des Jahres website.
Sure enough, three publishers showed an interest in Grand Cru and asked for a prototype. A few months later eggertspiele offered me a contract, with the game to be published at Spiel 2010.
Immediately I started working on the game again after having not played it for several months. I was still generally content with it, but there where a few problems I couldn't really master. Frequently there wasn't enough action during the last third of the game. Because of the long term planning that dominates the game, the players would have built up their systems by this point and were only waiting for their strategies to unfold. Another game designer counseled me to leave the existing system as it is since he thought it was good. Instead, I should have the courage to introduce a supplementary element into the game because I could tailor-make it to deal with the problems. This solution wouldn't have occurred to me as I had been working so long with the existing elements.
That's how the wine festival came to be, an event during which all the sold wines are collected and majorities in the different varieties are awarded prestige points. With this prestige, players can purchase special actions that help them realize profits earlier than they would otherwise. These little bonuses were exactly what the system needed. The players had successes earlier in the game, without feeling the system was less challenging. Apart from that, a few nice tactical decisions had been added. Soon the wine festival seamlessly fit into the game, and the publisher was also happy with it.
The focus now shifted to the minor problems: Rules that could be written more elegantly, the exact emphasis of the victory points, and most of all the price parameters. At this point it was extremely helpful that the publisher had several playtesters at hand who had not yet played the game. These fresh views on the game have introduced quite a few helpful suggestions.
While I am writing this, we are still in the middle of this editorial process. The graphics are being finished bit by bit, the rules being worded correctly, and thousands of little things still need to be done. Once this process is over, I'm specifically looking forward to one thing: playing Grand Cru in a relaxed way, with a glass of good red wine, and not thinking about how to improve things. I want to be asking myself whether I should harvest this merlot now, or instead place a bid on this great improvement. But maybe the next player will end the year and in that case I'll have almost no wine in my cellar, which I'm going to regret bitterly in two years... Aaaarrrrrrrrgghhhhh...
With these types of dilemmas, I hope to arouse your enthusiasm for viniculture.
À vôtre santé!
(For a German version of this section of Ulrich Blum's Grand Cru designer diary, head to this page on Reich der Spiele.)
Categories: Game News
Boardgame News - Sun, 10/10/2010 - 12:15am
20th Century Designer: Vladimír Suchý Publisher: Czech Games Edition — October 2010
Featured at: Spiel 2010 Publisher: IELLO — ? Publisher: Rio Grande Games — ?
Here's a description of Vladimír Suchý's 20th Century from the publisher:
In the 20th century, every country strives to develop and improve, each in its own way. Some become financial leaders. Others become centers of learning. Both science and commerce serve to propel nations toward the future – but toward what kind of future? Growth produces waste, and the greatest advances may come with the greatest cost to the environment. How will these countries mitigate the inevitable ecological catastrophes?
Your goal is to build a land free of garbage and pollution – a land where the environment is as healthy as the economy. Only then can you consider your country to be truly developed.
The game consists of six rounds, during which you oversee the urbanization of your country. Some lands produce income. Some produce scientific research. Others improve the quality of life. Your research allows you to discover new technologies that will shape the way your nation develops. Science can even help you avert ecological catastrophes. At the end of each round, your lands provide you the money and research that you will need to deal with the challenges of the next round.
You accumulate points each round, based on your nation’s quality of life. At the end of rounds two and four, you also score bonus points for certain aspects of your country’s development. At the end of round six, you will score bonus points based on your country’s income, research, and environmental quality. The player with the most points wins, having built the country with the highest standard of living.
Categories: Game News
Boardgame News - Sat, 10/09/2010 - 11:54pm
Monuments: Pergamon Altar Designer: Stefan Risthaus Publisher: Abacusspiele — October 2010
Featured at: Spiel 2010
Designer Stefan Risthaus and publisher Abacusspiele have already released one tiny expansion for Risthaus' 2008 release Monuments – a three-tile freebie expansion available at Spiel 2009 – and as of Spiel 2010 one more monument will be up for grabs: the Pergamon Altar.
According to Abacusspiele rep Matthias Wagner, "the legendary Pergamon Altar vests great power in those who control it and adds new scoring possiblities." Head to the Abacusspiele booth to discover this mini version of an enormous Greek monument...
Categories: Game News
Boardgame News - Sat, 10/09/2010 - 10:25pm
Antverpia Designer: Mac Gerdts Publisher: PD-Verlag — October 2010
Featured at: Spiel 2010
Antverpia is an expansion for Mac Gerdts' 2007 release Hamburgum, an expansion that mirrors the game play from the earlier design, but with the game's setting moving from Hamburg, Germany to Antwerp, Belgium. To win the game, you need donate to the church more wisely than any other player – but to do that, you'll need to earn money via shipping and other business.
In a (translated) press release, the publisher notes that Antverpia "is somewhat simpler but no less exciting than Hamburgum." The expansion includes a double-sided game board, with Antwerp (shown below) on one side and another look for Hamburgum (shown above) on the other.
Categories: Game News
Boardgame News - Sat, 10/09/2010 - 9:17pm
Reviewed game: Rise of Empires
It is a simple formula: Martin Wallace + Empire Building game = MUST play. Wallace's Struggle of Empires is one of my all-time favorite games, so I was interested in seeing what further twists he would put on a game in this genre.
Rise of Empires places players in control of an empire that they will guide from the early stages of history to the modern era. Empires will gather territory; achieve advances; construct towns, cities, and great wonders; and engage in conflict with their neighbors in order to expand their territorial holdings. The player who is able to best transform his fledgling civilization into a massive empire will emerge as the world's superpower and win the game.
The game is played over the course of three eras, each with two rounds. In what is the game's most distinctive feature and creative idea, the actions a player takes in the first round of an era will be repeated – usually in a quasi-reverse order – in the second round. This forces players to plan their actions for two turns, which requires great foresight, care and judgment.
Players begin their journey in Europe and Northern Africa, with new areas becoming available for settlement in each subsequent era. Each territory will earn resources (income, food, resource discs or new population markers) and victory points for the player who controls it at the end of each era. These are a significant portion of a player's overall victory points, so there is usually keen competition to control these territories.
Each era consists of two rounds: A & B. During round A, players will each choose their actions – one at a time – by placing markers on the action track. There are five possible actions, and each can be performed only a limited number of times. If all spaces of an available action are occupied, that action can no longer be selected by any player. When a player places his action disc on one of the tracks, he immediately performs the appropriate action. The possible actions are:
- Take a Progress Tile: Each turn, a variety of progress tiles are available. These tiles provide atmosphere – agriculture, iron weapons, colonies, printing, religion, electricity, television, etc. – and each gives the player a specific advantage, often enhancing other tiles a player has in his possession. With each passing round, new tiles are revealed. Tiles in subsequent eras tend to grant more powerful advantages, but often carry a financial cost to acquire. Further, at the end of each era, players must pay a gold for each progress tile they elect to maintain.
- Take a Territory Tile: There are a variety of different territories – forests, mountains, islands, towns and plains – and each grants specific resources and/or player cubes. It is important to acquire territory tiles in order to garner a healthy influx of resources and cubes each turn.
- Take a City Tile: City tiles cost gold when purchased and have an ongoing maintenance cost each turn which must be paid in resources, cubes and/or food. However, they provide invaluable victory points. As the game progresses, the cities that can be founded become significantly more valuable, but carry a higher acquisition cost. The valuable tiles will generally be scooped quickly, so turn order will become increasingly important.
- Take an Empire Tile: Empire tiles allow the player to place units (player cubes) onto the board. The tile will specify the maximum number of territories and the continents into which units can be placed. A few will allow the placement of units into the Mediterranean, and in later eras, allow shipment of units overseas. The idea is to place units to control territories, thereby gaining resources and victory points.
Units can coexist with other units, but if the active player so desires, he may initiate conflict. There are no dice or cards to resolve combat. Rather, the empire tile specifies the losses both players will incur. The defender will usually lose more units, and sometimes the attacker will emerge unscathed. A few tiles allow the player to fight multiple battles, but most allow only one. Players must consider these factors when selecting the empire tiles and plan their actions accordingly. They must also consider the tiles that will be available to their opponents, as they could be used against them.
Trading: There are seventeen trade boxes available in the on-board display. Many are not available until later eras. Each box lists the number of resource tokens that must be placed into the box, which then yield the indicated number of gold pieces or victory points. The more resource tokens placed, the greater the yield. Once one player claims a box, no other player can place tokens into it. As the game progresses, the competition for the more valuable boxes intensifies, which again makes turn order vitally important.
After players have selected and executed their actions, players again perform the SAME actions, but usually in a quasi-reverse order. In turn order, players remove discs one-at-a-time and once again execute the appropriate action. There is no cost to removing a disc IF no other discs in that same row lay to the left of the disc being removed. If there are discs to the left, the player must pay one gold, player cube, resource disc, food point or victory point for EACH such disc. This can be quite expensive, but often the desire / need to perform that action makes the cost worthwhile.
This mechanism is brilliant, but also the source of much angst. The actions a player selects in Phase A will be the same actions the player repeats in Phase B, albeit in a somewhat reverse order. There are a few progress tiles that allow the player to switch a token to a different action during Phase B, which can be quite useful. However, the vast majority of times, players will be performing the same actions as they did during Phase A. Multiple times during the course of a game, players will bemoan the fact that they cannot perform a different action during Phase B. This entire process causes some gut-wrenching decisions.
After all Phase B actions are performed, players must calculate their food gains or losses. Most territory and city tiles earn or cost food points, as do some progress tiles, while many regions on the board also earn food points. If a player plummets to the bottom of the food track – meaning they are consuming more than they are producing – victory points will be lost. If a player has a very productive empire and he reaches the top of the food track, gold is earned for excess production. In the former case, opponents should be a bit wary, as it is likely the starving empire will lash out and attempt to capture new and more productive territory. In an effort to prevent players from starving their population on the final turn, all food points, whether gained or lost, are doubled. Since plummeting past the bottom of the food table costs victory points, players will want to avoid this dire situation, as the loss of a few victory points could well cost them the victory.
Income in the form of gold is now earned in a fashion similar to food. Many city tiles, territory tiles and regions earn gold for the controlling player. Gold is required to acquire many city and progress tiles, and is also needed to maintain progress tiles and some city tiles.
Players next earn victory points for city tiles, some territory and progress tiles, and for controlling regions. The tiles specify the amount of victory points earned, as do the regions. To control a region, a player must have more units present than any of his opponents. If more than one player ties, the victory points are split evenly amongst the tied players. Victory points are recorded on a track that surrounds the map.
Turn order is reassessed at the conclusion of each turn. In reverse victory-point order, players select the position they desire for the upcoming turn. Turn order can be critical when selecting and executing actions, but one must remember that while going first in Phase A can be desirable, there is often a cost to do so during Phase B (due to the cost of removing discs from the action chart). This presents players with yet another tough decision with numerous factors to consider.
Rise of Empires is played over the course of three eras. At the conclusion of each era, certain tasks must be performed. Progress and city tiles must be maintained (costing gold and/or player cubes), although players may voluntarily surrender progress tiles if they no longer desire or can afford to retain them. The big shake-up is on the map, as players must remove half of their units from each region. This does make more units available to them for the subsequent turn, but it also makes it easier for opponents to make incursions into controlled territories.
As mentioned, each new era opens up more regions for conquest and areas for trade. More and often superior progress, city and territory tiles also become available. Thus, each new era presents more options and challenges for the players. It is vital for players to amass a collection of tiles and regions that bring them a steady supply of food, resources, player cubes, gold and victory points. Balance is critical.
The third and final era can be bloody. Victory points win the game, and the copious amounts available via control of the regions is simply too tantalizing for players to ignore. The final era usually witnesses numerous conflicts over valuable territories. Since players lose half of their units at the conclusion of each era and the outcome of each conflict is not left to chance, there are few defensive measures players can take to protect themselves against these incursions. This final era is chaotic, with regions changing hands frequently and violently. This chaotic last-turn situation is one of the few complaints registered against the game from those with whom I've played.
At the conclusion of the third era, victory points are earned for gold and resource discs (one for every three, respectively. These are added to each player's cumulative total to determine the ultimate victor. Most of our games have taken about three hours to play, with one notable exception that lasted four hours. That, however, was an aberration.
For years, gamers have been searching for the definitive civilization-building game that can be played in just a few hours. The target has been to capture all of the feel, strategy and epic scope of Francis Tresham's Civilization without having to invest an entire day doing so. Numerous attempts at such a game have been made, with Rise of Empires being one of the more recent. While I have a strong suspicion that such a search is akin to the fruitless quest for the Holy Grail, I still harbor hopes that such an effort will one day succeed.
Does Rise of Empires meet this challenge? Well, it probably comes just about as close as any game will. It is exciting, tense and filled with a myriad tough decisions. There are numerous factors to balance, and as in many great games, there are more actions a player desires to perform than he is allowed. One must choose his actions carefully, but even the most careful plans can be upset by the actions of one's opponents. Adapting to a changing environment – both on-board and in the various tile selections – is a constant challenge.
Truthfully, though, it is probably unfair to hold any game to such a difficult and quite likely impossible goal. Yes, comparisons to other games within the genre are very appropriate, as are considerations to how a game's mechanisms have been utilized in previous designs. However, each game should be considered for its own merits and not just in comparison to other titles. Rise of Empires is a fine game that attempts to create, albeit in a fairly abstract manner, the feel of empire-building. While the absence of historical empires causes the game to feel too abstract, the progress tiles add a touch of atmosphere that does help a bit. Still, I long for the sense of history and atmosphere that is evoked as I lead and maneuver historical empires such as the Egyptians, Syrians, Romans and Great Britain through the challenges of their eras.
The lack of a historical atmosphere, however, doesn't doom the game. Rise of Empires is very engaging game that constantly challenges players with often agonizing decisions throughout its three-hour duration. As with the legendary Civilization, it forces players to pay attention to more than just warfare. Trade, cities, progress, resources, food and finances – all play a critical role in the success of one's empire, and the challenge is to find the optimum combination and balance. It is a challenge that has proven exciting and enjoyable each time I've accepted it, and I have no doubt it will continue to do so in the future.
Categories: Game News
Boardgame News - Sat, 10/09/2010 - 1:00pm
Discussed game: New Steam/Age of Steam Expansions from Bézier Games
I like to keep pushing the Age of Steam/Steam expansion envelope. This year, for the first time ever, I'm releasing three double-sided MOUNTED expansions, as well as a double-sided bonus map. There's a fair amount of additional cost involved in printing up mounted expansions, especially at the relatively low volume necessary for expansions to AoS/Steam, but I know that's what most players really want, and I fall into that category as well. Mounted gameboards are more durable, store better, and seem more fun to play than paper maps. Without exception, all the maps I've printed on paper I would have loved to have mounted, if the math were to work out. With a slightly weaker Euro, I decided to take the plunge, and the new boards look just amazing.
For all the mounted maps I've produced, I've always used LudoFact, known in the industry for the highest quality game components. All the big German publishers use them for most projects, and Rio Grande uses them as well. I had the good fortune of visiting them a few years back with the Valley Games folks, and LudoFact has an amazing operation. That's why every single mounted map you get from Bézier Games is super high quality.
Okay, enough of the sales spiel – this particular set of maps is in many ways more "typical" than what I've released in the past. (Three years ago, I released a set of one- and two-player maps; two years ago, I released the totally unique Secret Blueprints of Steam series in which each player had his own map; and in 2009 I released four two-player maps on the back of "regular" maps.) Every one of this year's maps plays with three players, and all but one plays with four or five people. For uniqueness this year, I've included a three-player-only map and a co-op map. I really don't like co-op games, so I had a bit of fun with the latter (see below).
Steam vs. Age of Steam
As the only publisher who is releasing dual AoS/Steam expansion maps, I've run into a bit of a challenge: How to make maps that work for both systems, as while they are very close, they have some fundamental differences. In some cases, as with Atlantis, the differences are erased by rule modifications. (Production and cube dispersal via the traditional AoS/Steam rules is eliminated, replaced by an integrated system.) In other cases, like California Gold Rush, the map is more interesting for AoS players than Steam players, as there's no income reduction in Steam (thus removing most of the value of having a real "end game" advancement to VPs). However, my #1 goal with this year's maps was to make them work as well with both systems as possible, with as few tweaks specific to AoS or Steam as possible.
Not only that, but this year's maps have a single set of rules, not one set of rules for Steam and another for AoS. This cross-platform goal was challenging to create and test and keep everything straight, especially without making the maps too generic, but I'm really happy with the results. What came out of this "cross platform" rules goal was a leaner ruleset, something I favor anyway over the more verbose, involved rules of some of the other expansion maps out there.
(I know that many players have both games, and while pretty much everyone prefers one or the other – I'm agnostic in this regard – the ability to be able to play expansions with either game is huge. I wish Railways of the World / Railroad Tycoon had normal-sized tiles, so I could make these maps work with that system as well...)
Simple Rule Changes
When I play an AoS/Steam expansion, I don't want to have to refer to the rules during the game, but instead get a quick summary of them when we start and be able to keep them in mind while we're playing. My philosophy is that expansions for AoS/Steam are rarely played multiple times within a few weeks or even months, so players can't be expected to have a learning game. If they can't "get" the rules upon an initial reading to everyone at the table (with the exception of the game set-up, since that doesn't have to be memorized), then I need to scale back the rules.
One of the areas I've tried to focus on when developing new AoS/Steam maps is to keep the rule changes interesting and compelling without adding all sorts of exceptions and clarifications; it's amazing how a simple change to an existing rule often causes a domino effect that can result in paragraphs of explanatory text. You'll find the rule changes in this new set to be very crisp, even though they have to address both AoS and Steam.
The California Gold Rush rule change (only one in this case) is simple and doesn't have a dramatic impact on regular game play rules: Gold (yellow) cubes can be delivered at any time, but they don't count as income until the end of the game...after income reduction. That tiny rule change has a dramatic effect on how you play AoS/Steam, requiring you to weigh the value of 5 income at the end of the game vs. 4 or 2 incremental income on a six delivery (thanks to income reduction) during the mid- and endgame.
Another simple rule change appears in Sharing, which again has a big influence on how the game is played, but in this case the change does require various clarifications in the rules because it "breaks" some normal conventions. Sharing allows a player to become a co-owner of any link by playing the current owner(s) one share. While this seems straightforward enough, clarifications are needed for all of the situations where things are a little odd. Like what if one of the owners is at two shares already? He gets $5 from the bank. What happens if you become a co-owner of an incomplete link? Any owner can extend that link and complete it. Who gets the income when goods are delivered across a co-owned link? It's determined by the player who makes the delivery. And so on. In this case, the fundamental rules change was so compelling and interesting that it was worth the additional clarifications.
Another area of rule changes is a result of optimizing for a certain player count. In the case of Trisland, my goal was to make a three-player map that really worked for three players. There are a few other maps that work well for three players – Montreal Metro is the best of the lot, though one could argue it's a four-player map with rotating control of the "dummy" government player – but in general players run into the issue that AoS/Steam really isn't a great three-player game. Ireland tried to solve the problem by essentially removing the Locomotive action. My Essen Spiel map scales in size to the number of players, making a much tighter map for three players than six – but Trisland is different. I took the approach of thinking that if I had to sell AoS/Steam as a three-player-only game, what rules would I change? How could I retain the elegance of AoS/Steam as well as the cutthroat nature of the game when it is played with four or five players in a three-player environment? And how could I do this without totally changing the fundamentals of AoS/Steam. Here are the three things I did to make this the perfect three-player map:
- I made the map perfectly symmetrical. A huge problem with three-player games of AoS/Steam is that board position is absolutely huge, with more impact than with more players. A player who "lucks" into being left alone while the other two duke it out for cubes and track position is guaranteed to win. Having a symmetrical map means that the only variable each game is the initial outlay of cubes. And making the center spots rather costly prevents a player from hogging the center of the map without a significant investment early on.
- I reduced the number of goods colors by one. No purple cubes means no purple cities. It also has the effect of making it harder to create 6-link deliveries. This isn't something particularly new: I used this to great effect in last years' two-player maps (Alabama Railways, Antebellum Louisiana, 1867 Georgia Reconstruction and South Carolina).
- I reduced both the number of actions and how many times during the game a player can choose each of those actions. This piece was key. Gone are First Move and Turn Order (arguably two of the weaker actions anyway); I also limited each player to choosing the remaining actions only once or twice per game. This had the added benefit of making turn order important in the last few turns if your remaining available actions were the same as any of your opponents, regardless of what those actions were.
The great thing about these changes is that #1 is all on the map; no rules explanation is necessary. And #2 is just a set-up rule, and since there are no purple cubes or cities, this change is something that players don't have to think about for the rest of the game. The action selection mechanism is the only real change, and that's easy to grok by the use of tokens on the action spaces.
The result is AoS/Steam for three players with a minimum of rules tweaks. Understanding the rules is as simple as saying, "You can only take the actions represented by the tokens on the action spaces" and then players are off and running. It's super streamlined and provides what I consider an ideal three-player AoS/Steam experience.
When it comes to environments, this set has something for everyone: Historical scenarios in California Gold Rush and Underground Railroad; real world locations with Amazon Rainforest and Sahara Desert; imaginary locations with Atlantis and Trisland; and unnamed areas that may or may not exist with Sharing and Really Friendly Sharing.
I've wanted to do a map based on the Underground Railroad for a long time, as the thought of smuggling slaves to freedom in the North seemed like it would be really compelling. Because it's such an important goal, this is a place where I changed the winning conditions for AoS/Steam: the winner is the player who frees the most slaves. Slaves, represented by gray cubes living in towns and cities in the South, are treated mechanically like any other good: You need to connect to a city that will accept them – several cities in the north are gray as well as another "standard" goods color – and must have a locomotive that can travel enough links. However, you don't receive any income for delivering those slaves. Instead, you hold on to them for the end of the game, at which time the winner is the player who has freed the most slaves by delivering them to the North.
Adding to the tension is that there are only 16 slaves available to deliver during the game, so you have to figure out how to balance the financial needs of your railroad with your ultimate goal. And lest you think you can beat the system, you can't win if you go bankrupt during the game...
For Sahara Desert, the challenge of building a railroad network across a wasteland of sand and barren land seems unthinkable. To prove my point, the game play in Sahara Desert is brutal, requiring the limited resource of water for each delivery, or a substantial payment (or action choice). Rushing to get water early on seems like a good strategy until you realize that the cost to build track to the water ends up costing more than just paying for it...and you might end up with an inefficient set of track as a result, too. Getting ahead and being financially stable by the mid- to endgame is absolutely critical here – if you wait too long, you'll be shut out, and if you crest too soon you'll run out of viable deliveries.
Really Friendly Sharing, the bonus map to the Sharing bonus map, is the cooperative game version of AoS/Steam. If you find current cooperative games to be challenging or frustrating, I think you'll find Really Friendly Sharing to be right up your alley. Most of the decisions to be made are group decisions, such as where to build track and which cubes to deliver each turn. You even work together to place cubes during the setup phase to ensure optimal deliveries later in the game. In addition, many of the more harsh rules in AoS/Steam have been relaxed to take the edge off of game play. In fact, this is more of a novelty map than any other you'll find out there, so don't expect an edge-of-your-seat I-hope-we-don't-go-bankrupt playing experience.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Atlantis. When I originally designed this map, I was making maps that were impossibly brutal. Most playtesters back then hated this map. Even the grizzled old AoS/Steam players who were famous for being efficient found themselves unable to successfully run a railroad here. After years of being stored in the "Game Designs That Need a Break" cabinet, I brought this out to see whether I could make it at least playable and fun, specifically with AoS/Steam players in mind. It's still a very tough map, and the six-player game can easily cause someone to be eliminated if he isn't careful, but it's more accessible and playable now. One of the key elements of Atlantis is the central spoke and hub design: Cubes are generated in the center of the island and need to travel to the outskirts for delivery. This in itself makes traditional "loop" building ineffective and costly, and requires a whole new track building strategy.
The Essen 2010 AoS/Steam expansion set from Bézier Games can still be ordered through 10/15/10 and is shipping now (and can be picked up at Essen). The mounted maps will be available at Essen for sale individually at Bézier Games' booth: 5-100.
Categories: Game News
Boardgame News - Fri, 10/08/2010 - 2:21pm
Navegador Designer: Mac Gerdts Publisher: PD-Verlag — October 2010
Featured at: Spiel 2010
Here's a translated description of Mac Gerdts' Navegador from the publisher:
In the 15th century the Portuguese Prince Henry the Navigator (Henrique o Navegador) called for the best cartographers and mariners in the country to explore the coast of Africa. The lessons learned through this navigational and shipbuilding experience ushers in the "Era of Discoveries" and finally led to a sea route to India and China. At the height of its power, Portugal controlled trade from Brazil to Japan and with this spice monopoly came immense wealth.
As part of this enterprising trade dynasty, players participate in the building of this global Portuguese colonial empire. The explorers will make their way clear through to Nagasaki, but the unknown maritime regions will take their toll. By establishing colonies and constructing factories, the players will create the necessary economic foundations. The prices of sugar, gold and spices, however, are constantly in motion, and only those who can adjust to the market will be able to finance their ambitious plans. In the competition for new discoveries, colonies, shipyards and churches, the players must watch the actions of one another closely.
Navegador is an addictive strategy game with a small luck element since no one knows what awaits when exploring new areas of the sea. The actions are executed according to simple rules on a rondel, allowing the game play to flow easily.
In case you don't want to download the English or German rules linked to above, designer Mac Gerdts has posted a summary of the game's setting, mechanisms and challenges on BoardGameGeek.
Categories: Game News
Boardgame News - Fri, 10/08/2010 - 1:51pm
First Train to Nuremberg Designer: Martin Wallace Publisher: Z-Man Games — November 2010 Publisher: Argentum Verlag — 2010
Featured at: Spiel 2010
Z-Man Games, in conjunction with Argentum Verlag (publishers of Hansa Teutonica), will release Martin Wallace's Last Train to Wensleydale with the new title First Train to Nuremberg. This game was originally published under the Treefrog line of games. This new release will come with a separate board showing the influence points table and available trains. On one side it will have a new set of tables optimized for 2-3 players. The other side will show the original tables for 3-4 players. Scoring will be different for transporting passengers with the trains on the 2-3 player side: the more the train costs, the more victory points the passengers will score. This simulates the historical pricing for first, second, and third class passenger cars.
Along with the original map, the game will come with a second map, Nuremberg-Fürth – as well as an additional rule: connecting Nuremberg to Fürth gives the involved players extra victory points. The second map is easier to play than the original, making it more attractive to general gamers. Since the tables have been separated from the maps, three players have four different combinations of play from which to choose.
Update, Oct. 8, 2010: Argentum Verlag has passed along this description of the game for those who want to know more about the new setting as well as the game play:
One hundred and seventy-five years ago – on December 7, 1835 to be precise – the first German train powered by a steam engine started operating between Nuremberg and Fürth, transporting passengers and goods. In England's region of Wensleydale, transport of goods via railway tracks was started 13 years later.
First Train to Nuremberg is a revised edition of Last Train to Wensleydale. You take the role of a railway promoter, backed by the investments of hundreds of local landowners. Your aim is to build lines that can make a profit from the transport of passengers, beer, post, cheese, and stone. However, you should not miss the best moment to negotiate the sale of your lines when they become unprofitable (as they surely will).
Playing First Train to Nuremberg, two to four players can enjoy this extraordinary train game. They can play using the original Wensleydale map or the new Nuremberg map, both offering their particular challenges. Depending on the number of players, you may choose from two variants of transporting passengers, both allowing a different approach to winning the game.
First Train to Nuremberg offers a variety of challenging game options for ambitious strategists who are always keeping a keen eye on their competitors.
Categories: Game News
Boardgame News - Fri, 10/08/2010 - 1:37pm
Hansa Teutonica: East Expansion Designer: Andreas Steding Publisher: Argentum Verlag — October 2010
Featured at: Spiel 2010 Publisher: Z-Man Games — Oct/Nov 2010
Andreas Steding's Hansa Teutonica was one of the best received new titles at Spiel 2009, so for 2010 publishers Argentum Verlag and Z-Man Games (which will release Hansa Teutonica in the U.S. any day now) are introducing a small expansion for the design. Here's a description of Hansa Teutonica: East Expansion from Argentum Verlag:
The German Hanse, or Hansa, expands into the eastern regions of Europe. New alliances must be forged and ocean routes are growing more and more important, increasingly depending on wholesalers. Even cities not affiliated to the Hansa now were supposed to become part of its network. In addition there are some cards for the original map which trigger off a tighter competition about Kontors.
The players have to meet new challenges in order to reinforce their reputation as best merchant.
Hansa Teutonica: East Expansion includes a new game board and nine cards. The cards provide players with hidden goals to shoot for during the game, while the game board transports the action of the original game into a new arena with four bonus markers waiting to be claimed along with ocean trade routes, among other changes. Download the English or German rules – links above – for details on what's new.
Categories: Game News
Boardgame News - Fri, 10/08/2010 - 8:00am
Discussed game: Time to Act Up with Freeze
A designers' diary by Hans-Peter Stoll and Andrea Meyer
(At the end of Part 1 of this two-part designer diary, Andrea Meyer and Hans-Peter Stoll had found the magic format that would bring improv and games together. Now they just needed to finish everything else! To conclude the story...)
Hans-Peter Stoll: Testing, testing…
Despite settling on Hierarchy as the format for the game, many questions were still open or not fully solved: The situation cards needed to be clearer, the handling of the cards was not good yet, assigning the ranks was not either, and also the length of a round and the choice of actors required more testing.
Up to this point, we had been sure that all spectators had to guess the player ranks on the stage against a timer. If a spectator managed to finish guessing before the timer beeped, he would get a bonus. Of course he'd score extra only if he had enough correct guesses. The consequence was, of course, that everybody needed pen and paper, there was a lot of time pressure, and at the end of every second round there was a debate as to who actually was the first to shout "Stop!" The "grabbing mechanism" from Thomas Fackler's Prestel Architekturspiel helped us a bit but was not the be-all and end-all. We wanted both actors and spectators to score for correct guesses, but we did not know yet how to do that.
In October 2009 at the Spiel '09 game convention we had an appointment with a French publisher. The editor was interested, even though he did not like the title Hierarchy. We quickly put together a French prototype and sent it by email in PDF format, as agreed upon in Essen. We were sure that our design matched one of their lines of games.
In order to reduce the language dependence of the game we started experimenting with pictures instead of texts on the situation cards. After the first tests we soon realized that this does not work as there is no exchange among the actors as to what situation a certain picture might indicate. Hence, in the worst case everybody might see a completely different situation in a picture. That's too bad, but detecting these dead ends is also part of designing games.
Andrea Meyer: Flashes of Inspiration
While we were waiting for the feedback from the French publishers, we continued playing with several aspects of Hierarchy. At the Nuremberg toy fair in February 2010 I met the editor again. He said he had not found the time to cut and paste the prototype and asked whether we would please send a "real" prototype. Of course I did that immediately, hoping that the publisher also thought that our game made a perfect match for their line of games.
At the Cannes Festival International des Jeux in March 2010, which I had been invited to as a co-designer of the nominated Linq, everything suddenly sped up. The publisher we had courted obviously was not interested. During the game night at the "Off" I tested Hierarchy with another editor and his test group. After a short uproar – "Come on, acting?" – everybody had a lot of fun. However, our scoring system fell flat. As the editor charmingly put it, "You German – you turn everything into a German game."
Be it the long nights at the Off, the days at the Oya booth where Linq was presented, or the creative exchange with Christophe Hermier and Erik Nielsen who had come from the U.S. – suddenly I was bursting with ideas. And after having played the French version of Linq several times – which worked thanks to a French-English dictionary, even though my associations did not get anywhere near mother tongue French – the idea suddenly struck me to employ elements of the French Linq into the scoring for Hierarchy. Accordingly, paper and pens, which we had considered indispensable all the time, disappeared from our box. Instead a four-sided die moved in, which we would use to determine the situation and the rank to be guessed.
With these changes I flew to attend the Gathering of Friends in Ohio in the U.S. It was not until the next-to-the-last night that I eventually playtested Hierarchy, having worked on my entry for the "Game of the afternoon" contest all week. Eight or nine players got together, and we played bank robbers, were in Hell and found ourselves stuck in an airplane – except for one player who continually found herself in the changing room, which was very funny. For the first time I experienced how group dynamics could carry certain situations from round to round. After a player with rank 1 in Hell had made the fellow actors do push-ups, she became a victim of the same command shortly afterwards – as this time the bank robber who had done push-ups in Hell had drawn rank 1. His revenge was impromptu – accompanied by roaring laughter. Two U.S.-based editors laughed with us until they cried and asked for prototypes. We'll see where that will take us.
Hans-Peter Stoll and Andrea Meyer: Producing Freeze
In the meantime Hans-Peter tested the new scoring system. Most games were followed by at least another game, and our confidence grew that the time was ripe for Hierarchy. In May 2010 a plan that had always been there grew more detailed. We are going to produce a small print run ourselves to see how it would go. Fortunately the original name "Freeze" was still available as Hierarchy failed flat with most people. Besides, Freeze has the advantage of working in German, English, and French.
At the end of May we decided to assemble Freeze manually and offer it in Essen. Andrea contacted Fréderic Bertrand, who had illustrated The Three Commandments and who luckily had time and wanted to illustrate Freeze for us. Sebastian Wagner, whom Andrea has been working with since 2002, agreed to be in charge of the artwork. We started asking for quotes, calculated, computed, and recalculated and finally reached an acceptable result: Freeze in the square metal box should cost €25 at the Spiel 2010 convention. Selling the game via retailers will most probably not happen considering the narrow margins. However, we are hoping to sell the major part of the first print run directly in Essen, and we believe in the persuasiveness of our product.
While Fréderic and Sebastian illustrated and designed, we refined the rules and – hopefully – removed the last problems. During a last playtest at the Berlin-based Spielwiese, we "discovered" that with eight players the groups of players on stage don't mix with one another. We had known about this previously, but experiencing it convinced us that we needed a change of the relevant rule. We introduced a rule for eight players, which we then adopted for every player number in order to have varying groups on stage every time. We like the new rule better because to us it is more elegant, shorter, and thus more to the point. The major criticism of the Spielwiese group was easy for us to accept: They said the game was too short!
As Freeze not only comes in German, but also in English and French, we were looking for proofreaders. Fortunately, again, the DIGers-mailing group helped us out – thank you all! Especially since in the course of an email exchange with William Attia concerning the French translation, several weak points came to light – not surprisingly, as we already knew how the game is played ;-)
In the meantime Sebastian developed a layout for the situation and rank card. Countless emails later we had agreed on a final layout. In the last round of corrections some more mistakes became evident. I still do not understand why the German "Jakobsweg" – which is literally translated as "The Way of St. Jacob" – translates to "The Way of St. James" in English.
Hans-Peter Stoll and Andrea Meyer: The Big Show at Spiel 2010
One thing was obvious: At the Spiel 2010 convention, our game could not simply be presented with a table and chairs. We wanted a Big Show at our humble stand. Hence we needed a stage, some ambiance and an audience, of course. What is more, a Big Show needs a program, which made us think about what we could offer during the convention.
One idea was to entertain the people queueing at the cashiers outside the fair by playing Freeze. Another interesting suggestion by Andrea's life partner Karin was to have a group of people freeze in front of the hall doors before the convention opens. Karin had taken part in such a flashmob in the past. In fact, there are several groups internationally who plan and perform such flashmobs, and not just because such an event was taken to the Eurovision Song-Contest 2010 in Oslo. However, we dismissed the idea because we supposed that the convention organizers would be "not amused."
Soon we agreed that if an improv game is to be released in Essen, we would contact Essen improv groups. Very quickly – which is common among improv groups – people agreed to join us in Essen and present improv theatre on our small stage. Accordingly, the two Essen based improv groups DelikatEssen and Wortkomplott will each present thirty minutes of improv theatre at stand 11-65: DelikatEssen on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and Wortkomplott on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. On those two fair days, we will be able to watch previously unseen, improvised scenes – we are curious already.
And we invite you to visit the BeWitched booth and freeze with us Thursday, Friday or Saturday from 3 to 4 pm. We look forward to meeting you!
Categories: Game News
Boardgame News - Fri, 10/08/2010 - 4:16am
Monkey See Monkey Doo Designer: Anna De Martino Designer: Dante Maiocchi Designer: Salvatore Russo Designer: Vincenzo Russo
How do you mime a zombie monkey standing on a foot and with finger in your ear ? Why is everybody trying to get their hands on the Power Banana ?
Turn your home into a Jungle where 3 to 12 monkeys will challange each other in fun mimes and random positions.
The first to get his hands on the Power Banana will have the chance to take a guess!
All this thanks to a simple but effective gameplay for both adults and kids, to laugh, have fun and wipe out all inhibitions.
Will you be able to mime a dinosaur monkey sticking your tongue out or mime a ghost while picking your nose ?
Or the rest of the 76 different characters and actions that come with such an immediate and effective game. Above all, a game capable of providing pure fun, with a simple and short rules.
In the box 110 cards, 1 Foam Banana, 300 wooden tokens.
You can preorder your copy for Essen here for a special 16.50 euros
Categories: Game News
Boardgame News - Fri, 10/08/2010 - 3:29am
Wings of War Miniatures Revised Deluxe Set Designer: Andrea Angiolino Designer: Pier Giorgio Paglia Publisher: Nexus Games — October 2010
Featured at: Spiel 2010
During World War I, colorful planes challenged each other in the skies of Europe, piloted by the "Knights of the Air": men of exceptional skill and valour which shaped the way to fight in the air for the following century. Wings of War – Revised Deluxe Set is the ideal starting point for players who want to play Wings of War with miniatures, flying in those ace’s seats.
This revised edition feature 4 completely assembled and beautifully painted planes, in 1/144 scale, with colours only found in this set. Each plane is complemented by its special gaming base and maneuver deck, which provide an accurate representation of its capabilities and that are the foundation of the innovative, accurate and easy-to-play Wings of War gaming system.
In addition, in this box you will also find two different deck of Fire cards ("A" deck and "B" deck); game rules; and all the accessories and counters that you need to start playing, minutes after opening the box.
Wings of War Miniatures Revised Deluxe Set is a complete game for 2 to 4 players, fully compatible with existing Wings of War WW1 sets (Famous Aces, Watch Your Back, Burning Drachens, Flight of the Giants), with the Balloon Busters expansion and with all WW1 Airplane Packs and Booster Packs.
For more information: See the preview article
Categories: Game News
Boardgame News - Fri, 10/08/2010 - 1:00am
Travis Reynolds and CharCon 2010
Each year around this time I check in with Travis Reynolds to see what is brewing for our local game convention. CharCon 2010 runs October 22-24 in Charleston, West Virginia, and is a fun alternative for those who can't afford to go to Germany.
Kris: What year is this for CharCon? Why do you think it has been successful?
Travis: This year will be our fifth anniversary and we are really excited about it. I think our success to this point has a lot to do with the overwhelming support we get from the local gaming community. West Virginia gamers have embraced CharCon with open arms. We went into this wanting to bring something special to WV and to provide local gamers with a game convention they can call their own and the response has been wonderful.
Kris: What's new this year at CharCon?
Travis: I think 2010 will become known as the year CharCon became more than just a gaming convention. We are partnering with a tech oriented group with the name "304 Geeks" to host Hack3rcon. Hack3rcon will be a mini-convention within CharCon and it will be focused on securely using all of your tech devices and gadgets. They hope to educate the general public and enhance the knowledge base of the tech community. Since we were already doing this tech oriented event, we felt it was the right time to add video games in earnest. This is something our attendees have been asking for for years, and The Landing Zone of WV is going to make that happen for us.
In addition we have added a few specific events centered around the lounge near our hall. We will have a Friday Night Social in which we hope to expose the general public and local business community to CharCon and the games we play. This event is all about promoting games to people who might be curious, but are hesitant to come for the full convention. On Saturday, we will use the same lounge and provide a place for gamers to relax, watch movies, play games, have a cocktail or beer and generally just kick back.
Kris: Who are this year's special guests?
Travis: Last year was such a great year for special guests and this year should follow suit. Author Eric Flint is one of our featured guests. Eric writes for Baen Books and has a huge list of great works. He may be best known for his work on the Ring of Fire / 1632 series. In these books, a small town in West Virginia is transported through time back to Germany during the Thirty Years War. With well over twenty works in this series that focus on the residents of Grantville and their impact on Europe during this time, this series is a great read. Add in that Grantville is based on an actual town in WV and Eric has great ties that make him a wonderful guest for CharCon!
Kelly Brightbill is our featured artist for 2010 and he has done a wonderful job on our cover art. He trained under last years featured guest, Larry Elmore, and he does some amazing work. In addition we will have artist Tammy Pryce, author Ed Holsclaw & author Craig Halloran.
Oh, did I mention that world famous game designers and general men about town Jason Matthews and Christian Leonhard will be in attendance as guests? We are featuring Founding Fathers as part of our Premier Board Game Tournament and are thrilled to have them attending. They are both great guys and always fun to have around. Everyone should come and hang out with them.
Kris: What are the best reasons for someone who has never been to CharCon to attend?
Travis: The absolute best reason to attend CharCon, whether you have been before or not, is FUN. We just have so many truly fun things going on, that anyone who attends is sure to have a great time. Specific for board gamers, two great reasons to attend are:The CharCon Premier Board Game Tournament. This year we will be featuring Charon Inc., Egizia, Founding Fathers, Road Kill Rally and The Adventurers. We always have a great lineup of games and this year may be the best yet. We will teach these games and players will play them all weekend long.
Also, we are once again hosting a North American Catan Championship qualifier. Play in our Settlers of Catan event on Saturday and the winner gets a paid trip to Gen Con in 2011 to compete in the championships hosted by Mayfair Games. How sweet is that?
CharCon continues to grow each year and we would love to have any Boardgame News readers who are close to Charleston attend. Check out the CharCon website for more information.
Categories: Game News
Boardgame News - Fri, 10/08/2010 - 12:04am
Rise of Empires Designer: Martin Wallace Publisher: Mayfair Games — November 2009 Publisher: Phalanx Games — November 2009
Here's a description of Martin Wallace's Rise of Empires from Mayfair Games:
Don't just make history – guide it! Take the reins of a developing civilization, choosing the resources and development paths that will lead to the fastest expansion, as you claim and defend territory on a map forging an empire that eventually encompasses whole continents.
In Rise of Empires play is divided into three eras. Choices made early in the era are repeated late, so your decisions must have both short-term and long-term benefits to be successful. This process requires tough decision-making and promotes an atmosphere with nail-biting suspense. Victory points are rewarded for building cities, for having an empire, for progress in science, and for trading goods.
Rise of Empires breathes new life into the civilization games genre! Balance gold and food, war and agriculture, territory and technology to forge an empire that is destined to rise above all other nations!
Phalanx Games will release this game in German and Dutch at about the same time.
First impression, by W. Eric Martin
Version played: Prototype
Times played: Once, with two players
I sampled this game at Spiel 2008 in a rough form with preliminary graphics and liked what I saw, despite enduring the typical "don't know what to do, so I'll just do something" feeling that often accompanies the first play of a Martin Wallace design.
The action mechanism during each era is incredibly clever, and I'm surprised that no one seems to have used it previously. Halfway through the era, after choosing actions one at a time and suddenly finding yourself forced to run through those actions once again in reverse, you realize that you've trapped yourself to some degree. You can pay to take actions out of order, but the cost is steep. Expect to be disoriented in a learning game, then try it again for real afterward.
Categories: Game News
Boardgame News - Thu, 10/07/2010 - 11:01pm
In March 2010, designer John Yianni announced the release of a ladybug token – well, two tokens, one for each player – for his two-player game Hive without saying what the ladybug would actually do. Instead he held a design competition and solicited ideas from gamers on BoardGameGeek, as noted in September 2010 on this site. Gen42's BGG competition is now over, and after months of speculation Yianni has finally revealed how The Ladybug expansion will work with its flagship game:
The Ladybug moves exactly three spaces: two on top of the Hive, then one down. It must move exactly two on top of the Hive, then move one down on its last move. It may not move around the outside of the Hive and may not end its movement on top of the Hive.
In the set-up below, the Ladybug can end its movement in one of the ten green positions.
While the lucky winner will soon be enjoying his or her own copy of the game, Hive: The Ladybug will first become available at Spiel 2010, which opens October 21. Gen42 Games is flying in a limited number of copies of this expansion just for the fair, and Hive fans not able to secure a copy at Spiel should check the Gen42 website for further release details.
Apart from this expansion, the Ladybug is included with Hive Carbon – a new take on the look of Hive also due out October 2010 – and will soon be implemented in the Hive iPhone/iPod app.
Categories: Game News
Boardgame News - Thu, 10/07/2010 - 1:42pm
Kim Satô's Gosu – published by Moonster Games and distributed by Asmodee – is hitting U.S. stores as of early October 2010, and now Moonster is already teasing an expansion for release in March 2011. (I plan to post a review of Gosu in the next few days.)
This as-yet-unnnamed expansion – or to use the European term, "extension" – will include five new clans of goblins, one of those being Shadow Goblins, which share qualities similar to the Dark Goblins of the base game in that they specialize in trapping other creatures (i.e. turning them face-down) and mutating into creatures in the discard pile (instead of from a player's hand).
The Shadow Goblins are tweaked, however, in that some of them arrive in play themselves trapped, therefore being usable only in the next battle and not allowing you to use them to play higher ranks immediately; this drawback compensates their higher power levels. Some Shadow Goblins also bear an activated ability in which they trap themselves in order to do something else, such as destroying a free creature. Check out the sample image below of a Shadow Goblin from artist Bertrand Benoit:
Categories: Game News
Boardgame News - Thu, 10/07/2010 - 1:00pm
U.S publisher FRED Distribution, which is handling distribution for the largely dormant Face 2 Face Games, reports that the new edition of Sid Sackson's I'm the Boss! – announced in August 2010 on Boardgame News – has arrived on U.S. shores and should be available from retailers in the near future.
Categories: Game News
Boardgame News - Thu, 10/07/2010 - 12:11pm
Charly: Verwöhnte Sau Publisher: Abacusspiele — October 2010
Featured at: Spiel 2010
Charly: Verwöhnte Sau – aka, "Picky Pig" – is a free expansion for Inon Kohn's Charly that will be available at Spiel 2010 for those who purchase the base game from Abscusspiele directly or from certain retailers at the show. Abacusspiele hasn't released details about the expansion, but given the name I'd assume that certain pigs are no longer quite so indiscriminate about what they eat...
Categories: Game News
Boardgame News - Thu, 10/07/2010 - 10:44am
Anno Domini: Im Osten Designer: Urs Hostettler
The latest brick in the Anno Domini wall of game store domination is Im Osten – In the East – with players now being challenged with obscure (and not so obscure) facts about historical events in Asia.
In each Anno Domini game, players receive a hand of cards and they take turn either adding an event card to a growing chain of events on the table – trying to place that event in its proper place in the timeline, without seeing the years for any of the events in play – or challenging the previous player. In a challenge, all the played cards are revealed, and if the challenger is correct, the other player draws two cards; otherwise the challenger draws two cards. The first player to empty his hand wins.
Categories: Game News
Boardgame News - Thu, 10/07/2010 - 10:18am
Martin Schlegel, whose game Key West was going to be published and presented by spiele-idee.de at Spiel 2010, has passed along word that spiele-idee.de's owner Horst Rokitte has died, after suffering a heart attack on Sunday, October 3, 2010.
Rokitte stepped into the world of game publishing in 2009 with his self-published Attandarra, the game play of which is based on Rokitte's hometown of Attendorn. As Rokitte revealed in an interview with Deutsche Welle in December 2009, he spent years researching history and incorporating it into the game design:
Before getting started, Rokitte talked to the town's registrar to make sure he got his history right. The Black Death is one of the historical events that players have to watch out for during the Attandarra game. Getting permission from the archbishop to mint coins in the 13th century and receiving the official town charter in 1222 are also highlighted.
The game revolves around erecting buildings, and bringing more citizens and money into town. Each player has their own board where they can build houses, castles and city gates. Meanwhile, the main board serves as the center for the players' pawns, the town citizens, wealth and resources.
The cards used in Attandarra show a lot of buildings that still exist today. "You can still see most of them in town," said Rokitte. "At the beginning I used neutral buildings, but later on the castle took on a specific face" - namely, Schnellenburg Castle, which can still be seen in Attendorn.
Categories: Game News