Bastille (2018) Review
The French Revolution is a period rich in events of the History of France. Yet, quite surprisingly, this is a subject that has not been too emphasized in the board game realm. Worse, the majority of the games dealing with this period come from foreign authors. A lack of interest or imagination for it ? Not enough good mechanisms to approach the best of this atmosphere? A lack of interest in this period? A difficulty to treat this event playfully? I admit that when I saw that the theme of the game Bastille was about this period, neither one nor two my curiosity was peaked.
Bastille therefore offers to dive a few weeks before the events of the capture of the famous French prison (and the shift from a society led by royalists to a society led by the bourgeoisie). Each player embodies a revolutionary faction that is preparing for this famous day. But for that, you will need support, weapons, money, recognition of the land. Bastille is a game released in 2018 by Christoph Behre published by Queen Games. The arts are by David Cochard. He shows us that he can have a fairly wide range of art styles.
The game's turns are played in two stages.
At first, each player has four influences tiles. Everyone will play their tiles on the different places available. Each location can only accommodate a certain number of tiles on the locations indicated above. Once the spaces are filled, no one can no longer settle in this area. Each slot can only receive one tile. As soon as all the players have played their tiles, you’ll move on to the second phase.
The second phase corresponds to the resolution of the actions. This is done in the order of the spaces. Then, depending on the power of the tiles influences present and in case of a tie, it’s the leftmost tile, the players will perform the actions indicated on the different places. Queen Game takes the opportunity to make you travel through a revolutionary Paris.
You’ll start with the Bank of Paris. This allows you to make money based on the power of your played influence tile. The first player to resolve the action receives the right to become the first player.
Continue with the Notre Dame de Paris. This area helps to improve a tiles influence for the players. The tile played on it is replaced by a tile of higher level. This action is essential and knowing how to use it at the right time without spending too much time can tip the game. The bonus for the highest token is a victory point.
Heading this time Versailles. Here, at each turn will appear tiles offering two possible bonuses to the players who have settled there. The first player will choose first, the second will take what is left. Each bonus varies depending on the tile revealed.
To infiltrate the capital, nothing better than to prepare for an invasion from below. The "visit" continues therefore through a forced passage of the Catacombs. There are only two slots available. The first player to perform the action will put two henchmen in a bag, the second will put only one. These goons occupy a special place in the game and will be used during the scoring. Neglecting them can make you lose the game.
Place Louis (named after the french "good king") is a zone of perpetual conflict between the various factions. It is here that you will recruit influential characters found in the form of cards. The characters are divided into three groups: peasants, soldiers and nobles. Each card has different characteristics but also a purchase cost which is more or less important. To recover a card, you have to pay for it in gold. This value is lowered depending on the influence tile played. Example: You play a tile worth 3 to buy a soldier with a gold cost of 7. You will then pay only 4 gold to acquire him.
In addition to the number of flags, diamonds, crowns and victory points, the characters have a weapon box. If it is white, the character is already armed. If the box is red, you must acquire a corresponding weapon before the end of the game at the risk of losing points. There are also monks who will serve as a joker in the composition of groups. The choice of characters is important especially to best resolve the objectives on mission cards. Recovering the right cards before others can quickly becoming crucial.
To finish the visit of the Paris of the time, we propose to you come to the main location and recover weapons within the Bastille itself. Capital building but mostly symbolic, this royal prison is full of ways to arm your faction. But the places are expensive. The first to resolve the action will move their marker the same number of its influence tile plus a bonus space. The second will advance only the amount of the influence expended. The further a player is on the track, the more victory points they will score. Giving them the priority on the choice of weapons available. Apart from the last player (who will collect only one), the others will win two weapons among those visible. The positioning on the track of the Bastille is very important. Neglecting can cost you the game.
But that's not all. There remains a last place to visit. Center of power after the king, the States General where the wealthiest members of the three orders of the Kingdom gather. This place allows players to collect mission cards. These objectives resolved at the end of the game will more or less guide you during the game, especially in the choice of recruitment of character cards. Fulfilling its objectives brings you a lot of non-negligible points. But it's not so easy. Each mission is in duplicate. Thus, the competition will be even more enraged between the players, especially in the choice of buying characters.
At the end of a turn, players check who has the most flags. These are present on the character cards. The player with the most number of flags will win the end-of-round bonus. The second player with the most flag wins the second prize. Without changing the course of the game, the flags are absolutely not to neglect. If you let a player recover all the bonuses alone, it will give them a significant advantage. Always be careful not to get too far behind.
The game is played over eight rounds. Half way through the game, so at the end of the fourth round, you’ll proceed to a first scoring round according to the characters and their icons on your possession. Five henchmen will also be taken from the bag. The player, whose color matches, has the right to choose a bonus from those still available. Players also collect weapons based on their position on the Bastille track. A second count will take place at the end of the game, ie at the end of the eighth round.
To be honest, I was really pleasantly surprised by this game. Mixed between the game of influence and placement of workers, Bastille is a surprising game that hits the mark. When you read the rules, you have the impression of being faced with a basic game. And yet, once inside, one quickly realizes the constant tension. Every decision is important and the timing to achieve it is paramount.
It is necessary to know how to moderate each action, without necessarily arriving too late, because speed is a key notion in the game. For example, Notre Dame is an important zone in order to increase the value of your tokens of influence. But if you perform this action too often, you will only waste time. You need to know how to juggle the need to increase your capacity for action without unnecessarily losing action in other places on the board. Having the biggest is not always the best way to win.
As you can see, a lot of actions are needed. But of course, you can not do everything. You will try to balance your choices to achieve as close a possible to a perfect route.
The choice of your recruitment is one of the most important mechanisms of the game. Guided by your mission cards but also the desire not to distance themselves from the flags, not to mention the fact of winning victory points, the choice of cards will be done drastically. Choosing first becomes the important thing, but it will not be so easy. Places will quickly become expensive. Do not forget to equip your characters well. Getting into the Revolution without being armed can be very costly. Indeed, you will lose points based on the number of unarmed characters you have at the end of the game. And the negative amount increases very quickly.
Bastille is not a game that invents or reinvents its style of play. However, it works particularly well. The game has easy-to-understand rules that read very quickly. Once read, do not go back. The iconography is extremely clear. Everything is indicated on the board precisely and efficiently. Everything is fluid and the rounds are linked precisely.
The game manages to create a special atmosphere, a constant tension between the players but also between themselves. The choice of actions seems simple but is rather complex in the sense that everything is important. Players must not leave large margins for others, try to respect your initial plan while adapting constantly to the evolution of the game. The interaction is ubiquitous. At any time, a place where one thought to be immune in the choice of its action can switch following the choice of an adversary having a stronger value of influence.
One can regret finally, as often in this type of game, the absence of a strong theme. The illustrations, and the way the game unfolds, try to get as close as possible to this period and get us into it. Unfortunately, we are still a bit too close to the German style gameplay. However, this does not spoil the fun. This is thanks to a dynamic and steady pace from the beginning to the end of the game. The number of players also limits the possibility of the release but for the more adventurous, a variant two players exist on Boardgamegeek.
Bastille offers a non complicated game at the level of rules but with a hidden depth that is strongly pleasant. There are several ways to score points, several ways to play, ensuring strong replayability. The game does not seem to script and varies a lot from one game to another depending on the situation. It mixes well known mechanisms while managing to keep the players in suspense. More than a nice surprise, a real success for its category that I can only advise you.
Technical note 9/10
Everything is legible and everything is clearly indicated on the board making everything extremely fluid. The rules are short but well written. The material without being exceptional, fulfills its role well. However, we regret the lack of plastic bags or efficient storage in the box.
My score BGG 8/10
(Very good, enjoy playing and suggest it)
A very nice surprise. A game that despite a classic coating offers constant tension. The interaction is ubiquitous. The game manages to provide an effective mix of mechanisms while remaining fluid and simple. A family / family+ game more than deserved to benefit from more exposure. We can regret the fact that the theme passes a little in the background despite an obvious willingness and high level illustrations.
Combined Rating 8.5 / 10
And now it's up to you to play.
Franchise (2018) Review
Franchise is a game that attracted me by its box. The old school visuals reminiscent of the 60s was immediately fly. On top of that, I could believe that it plays a bit in the style of Food Chain Magnate naturally more light. And that's a bit of an idea.
The game puts you at the head of a franchise of (put a random product of your choice here) and you have to grow it as well as you can in this, good old 60's America. The whole caboodle is it not? Your company is represented by an individual board of your color, that has no other function than to help you play. Moreover, the board is large enough, leaving room for an illustration worthy of the box, and the game aids are ultimately pretty small. Each tray has its own illustration which is rather pleasant. The bonus chips of the players are in the same line.
The problem we encounter quickly is the opening of the box. Not only is there still no plastic bags (yes I know this remark becomes recurrent with all Queen Games games), but most of the material loses its identity. Exit the pretty 60’s illustrations of Ian O'Toole. The material is very sober, very cold, very ... eurogamous. The map of the United States, on discovery can even be a little scary, with the sight of all these lines that go in all directions from these big circles. By the way, the cities are not better, simple discs with numbers. It is clearly not the actual visual of the game that will attract you. In it's defense, I think the focus has been mainly on the accessible and clear aspect. On that, it succeeds. Once the rules are known, all the material (even the cards) is easy to read. It leaves no questions, we did not return to the rules. This side is a success. Even so, it is always more pleasant when the ease of understanding is coupled with a visual pleasure. As in the end, the illustrations participate in immersion, especially in a game of this type.
Each player starts the game with a little money, some great 60s tickets (no, I'm kidding, it's just cards that resemble tickets). You will try to expand and impose yourself on the product market (insert the name you want) across the USA. The installation of the game is fast enough, except using the proposed variant, the board always remains the same. Each player will play the five phases of a turn, then play passes to another. Being an active player is important.
In turn, you will begin to receive your income. That will depend on your location in metropolises (big disks with numbers). You add up all the visible numbers where you are installed (one franchise is enough) and then you look on your income table and the amount you will touch (with a minimum of $ 1) Simple, effective.
Your dollars in pocket, you are going to conquer America, this beautiful country. There are two possible destinations in the game: a city or metropolis.
The city is a small peaceful place but has only one space. First come, first served. It does not earn revenue, but allows you to move more easily, more efficiently and earn a victory point at the end of the game.
The metropolis is the heart of the game. To be able to settle in a city, you must have an empty space and not be there already. Development is increasing your network and not your presence.
Wherever you choose to go, you'll place your development marker (a pion straight out of old Monopoly by the way). But be careful, traveling along roads is not always free. The place where you want to grow should be connected to your network by a road or path. When you go there for the first time, you have to pay the cost of the route, which can be $0 to $8. Yes, highways are expensive. Of course, you have to go to the first city or metropolis crossed, you can not pass through them. Your customers will not forgive you.
To increase your influence, growth is not the only option. As explained before, the action to develop allows you to conquer new markets. But to strengthen those in which you already are, you can increase your market share. This only works in metropolitan areas, cities being limited to one space. To do this is a very simple thing. For each metropolis where you are already present, you can add $ 1 to add one new franchise per metropolis. This one is put, like the development marker, in the middle of the circle.
Now you can build. In a city, it's simple. You replace your pion with a franchise. For a metropolis, you remove your development marker and add a franchise in the first available box. You do the same with the franchises you added by paying $ 1. Except that in this case, logically, you simply move your house on the first available space. At the end of this phase, if you obtain the absolute majority in a metropolis (ie your presence is greater than half available), or if the metropolis is full, we pass to its evaluation. As a good boss, it's important to know how the market is going.
For this count, there are two possibilities. If you have the absolute majority of franchies, you automatically earn as many points as indicated in the center of the metropolis. If there is no absolute majority, the one with the most franchises wins half of the points. Do you see the deceitful side? If there is a tie, the player who first opened thier franchise wins. Then remove the metropolis, the one who scores the points removes all their markers and places one. The others remain in place (which gives them access for their network). If it is the first metropolis in the region to be evaluated, the active player (not necessarily the one who scored the points) places one of their buildings on the space in the region (they will receive a bonus in the count of the region in case of tie).
Finally, we move to a final check with the end of the round. Players look at whether a region needs to be evaluated or not. If all cities are franchised and all metropolises are evaluated, then the region is counted. The thing is very simple, calculate the number of franchises of each player in this region. The one with the most wins the region's highest score. The second goes to the second (except for two players). If other players are present, they all win the smallest number. Once this is done, the active player places the region tile on the "evaluated region" track and earn as many points as indicated. Another advantage to make assessments when you are the active player.
The end of the game occurs immediately when a region token covers a red box of the "evaluated region" track. You'll then proceed to the final count. Each player then earns points for their presence in the cities, for every $ 3 and unused bonus tiles.
Each player has four bonus tiles at the beginning of the game. In turn, you may choose to discard one per turn to apply an ability. Bonus tiles give you the ability to do three things in addition to your normal actions:
These bonuses are very useful during the game but not using them can earn a lot of points at the end of the game. The choice is not always obvious and you must think hard before using them.
To be honest with you, apart from the graphics, the game did not attract me more than that. I still decided to try the experience without having a specific opinion on it. Well, I took it. It is ultimately a very good surprise and at the end of the game I wanted to go back. The game is much smarter and cunning than the rules appear.
One can without context reproach this for it’s lack of theme. Finally, franchises, buildings, fast food, whatever you want could have been used as justification for the game. It's a shame, it takes a little more to allow added immersion. But no mistake, we are facing a pure Eurogame. Franchise really lacks an identity of its own.
The game works very well. Even if one quickly forgets the fact of being a boss of a franchise, one begins to think, to calculate (slightly), and to see what could bring us back while, if possible, to penalize the other players. More than penalize, I would rather downgrade the other. The game is rarely naughty. Of course, you can go straight to the strategy of other players but you can not make them lose the game. Good news for players who do not like to be directly attacked in their game.
Replayability is present even if the board is very static. The placement variant is quickly essential to really renew each game. With two or three players it is playable, but it is four or five that takes the game to its cunning and interactive dimension. Below that, the players can very well end up playing in their own corner, losing the fun that makes the game. You can also blame it for some aspects, like being monotonous and repetitive. This is often the case with this kind of game even if I find that this one is doing pretty well on this side.
Because yes, apart from its austere and calculating aspects (slightly), the game is very pleasant to play. Without being too complex, it offers interesting choices to make. The interaction is very present and it can always be tempting to sacrifice your strategy to try to block the other. The game is relatively fluid from round to round.
Franchise is not what we can call an original game. On the other hand, it manages to use mechanisms that work very well together. A mix of route building but also the majority, you have to pay attention to the choices made because a small amount of neglect can capsize the clay feet of your franchise company. It will be necessary for example, to favor a good income over the detriment of a winning points from easy victory or points of victories in the metropolis over the detriment of a majority in the region ... The choices are subtle but appear quickly and are rather well thought out.
The author of the game Christwart Conrad succeeds in creating a game, at first cold and austere by making it competitive and above all with a lot of interaction. You can not concretely play in your corner without taking care of what others do if you want to win. Franchise is therefore easy to impose while offering an interesting challenge and a well-attended interaction. I could wish for a little more personality and originality or even more variety between each game. But the game offers a good challenge, several choices and the pleasure of being a good game. This re-release / enhancement of the Medieval Merchant game works better than the original. If you have the opportunity, do not hesitate to plunge into the 60s and the fierce competition of franchises.
Technical Score 7/10
What a disappointment when opening the box. This loss of identity is a pity. Of course the choice to highlight the visibility is quite commendable, I can not blame them. As for the rule, well written, you’ll never re read during the game.
My BGG Score 7.8 / 10
(Good game. Enjoy playing and would suggest)
I was really pleasantly surprised. The game hides a deceitful and devious side rather appreciable. It is fluid, simple to explain, pleasant to play and has good interaction. All of which can be played with players without necessarily being expert players. A good pick that deserved some improvements to become unavoidable.
Combined Score 7.4 / 10
Now, it's your turn to play ...
Skylands (2018) Review
When you see the cover of the box, you could almost believe that you were back in the world of Avatar. Here though, the inhabitants are green in color but moreover it is not at all the same story. If that's not the introduction that’s completely outside of the subject ...
Okay ... Skylands is a magical world apart. Unfortunately, following a cataclysm, this world has been completely destroyed. Up there in the sky, if you really care, you can see floating fragments of islands here and there. The inhabitants of Skylands have not all disappeared at the same time as their territory. They managed to regroup on a huge island. As always, they divided again into caste: blue, green and purple. Together they try to recreate new islands and provide energy to their cities. For that, they will use their magical powers coming directly from mountains, forests or crystal mines. But the people of Skylands are not necessarily what we can call a united people. Each player will take charge of one of these "tribes" and help it to rebuild their own archipelago.
Skylands is a game of Shun and Aya Taguchi. These two authors also worked together recently on Little Town. Skylands is a game that released during Essen 2018 with Queen Games.
Composant level, the box is rather busy. Many tiles, meeples, a central tray to simply mount, some pawns, a scorecard and individual trays. Yes, Skylands is generous enough. The installation of the game is done fairly quickly. The longest is to separate unused tiles according to the number of players. And once again, the publisher has chosen not to put a few more plastic bags. Too bad it could have facilitated storage and installation time.
Each player starts with an individual board in front of themselves. This plateau represents the space allocated to the archipelago that you will have to create. The trays are double-sided. On one side, three spaces are already occupied by three fragments of islands. These starting layouts are all different for each board. Each player therefore starts with two islands already formed (ie closed or complete) and two "openings". On the other side, it is a totally untouched area. This side is used for a variant that allows to start with a little more customization.
Each player also has a token associated with their color. This piece is positioned on the central board and will be used to indicate which action the player chooses. It can be quibble by reproaching the fact that the board is large enough compared to its use, but it does not interfere in the gameplay. Attached to the island welcoming all the inhabitants, which serves as a general reserve, you’ll find the four boards of action. Each is different in terms of graphics but also in its use. Each of them has a great illustration and a smaller reminder of the action of that board.
In turn order, the players will have to move their pawn onto one of the four actions. Once chosen, all players will benefit from this action. But, a bit like a game like Puerto Rico, the active player will receive a bonus, as a thank you.
The first possible action is the discovery of new islands. The active player will draw as many tiles as players + 1. If you are three, you will draw four tiles for example. These tiles are placed face up and in turn each player chooses one that they add to their individual board. You are free to put this new tile where you want as long as it respects the positioning rules. Be careful to choose well to avoid blocking yourself. You can also decide to take nothing and pass. The active player, once it comes back to them, can take a second tile as a gift.
The second action available is to bring people to your home. When you go to enlarge your archipelago, you will reform independent islands. When this action is chosen, you will select a complete island, except for one city, and place residents of the color corresponding to the city on each empty square. The active player can populate two instead of one. These characters are taken from the general reserve.
The third action will be to be able to use its inhabitants wisely. During the installation, you formed a reserve of special islands. These islands with special configuration or special powers can be bought by sacrificing inhabitants of the indicated color. Once purchased, the tile joins your archipelago and your "exhausted" inhabitants join the main reserve. These tiles have immediate, permanent, end-of-game powers or simply serve to fill your board effectively. Their cost varies but their interest is undeniable. On some special islands, you’ll find in the costs a white character. This corresponds to an inhabitant of any color to discard. The active player does not have to pay this.
The fourth and last action available is energy conversion. In terms of gain points, this is one of the most interesting actions but also sometimes one of the longest to achieve. Each player chooses a complete island consisting of crystals (blue) and a complete city island. Then each player fills the city squares with the blue inhabitants of the selected island. Once in the city, the inhabitants sacrifice themselves and disappear (return to the general reserve). In exchange, they offer a victory point for each square in the occupied city before the disappearance. These points are taken from the Victory Point Pool you formed at the beginning of the game based on the number of players. The active player they can choose to convey inhabitants from two blue islands into an island city or vice versa. In addition, they will earn two bonus points. This is one of the most interesting actions especially if you have managed to create a big island of crystals.
I told you that you had to change actions every turn. There is still an exception. Each player receives at the beginning of the game a tile of their color. This tile has 2 victory points on one side. If it is not used, it will pay this amount at the end of the game. At the beginning of you round, you may decide to use it to stay on the same action space and redo the action from the previous turn. This can sometimes be very practical even if this ability can only be used once per game.
The end of the game comes from the moment at the end of a turn, the reserve of victory pieces is exhausted or a player has only one place on their individual board. You’ll then move on to the final counting of points.
Starting by subtracting two points per empty square, then adding one point per pair of inhabitants still present on the archipelago, one point per island complete, the points of the special islands and finally the points tokens recovered in the course of the game. Not to mention the player marker if it has not been used. Of course, the player with the most points wins.
Skylands is a very colorful game. Patricia Limberger's illustrations honor this magical world. Depending on taste, it would please or tend to rebouter. But it is clear that this gives a particular charm to this game.
Skylands is not really an original game, but is exactly what is asked of it? It borrows many mechanisms known and proven by many games, including the most respected. It finally makes a mix with no real surprises but works pretty well. This allows the player to quickly make their mark, making a return to the rule useless. You will sometimes have to make long-term choices and those choices may be important. The game does not suffer from any downtime and the interaction is ubiquitous. So yes, you can not directly influence the choice of others or you can not directly attack the neighboring archipelago, but the choice of one inevitably affects the choice of the others. A real good idea of this title being, to combine the fact that all perform the action with the construction side which is in itself quite individual.
The game is simple to set up. Everything is clear about the iconography. This makes it a perfect family game. You can get it out easily with family but also with new players. In particular, it can serve as a stepping stone to more complex tile placement and resource management games.
Not without interest, Skylands offers you the opportunity to play in different ways and try different strategies from one game to another. This allows a fairly appreciable replayability at this level.
Playing can be quite short. One of the big bonuses of the game is the fact that it forces the players to keep an eye on the game all the time because even when it's not their turn, they still play through the choices of others. Chance, quite present, can be counterbalanced by the choices of strategy offered to the players.
However, it must be admitted that the expert players will quickly find fault with the depth and replayability. On the other hand, with an adequate public, Skylands will have its place in a toy library and especially on the tables of the players. A good family game that deserves to find its audience.
Technical Score 7.5 / 10
Skylands offers a fairly abundant material in style but still no extra storage bags. Tiles are good qualities. The rules are clear. The iconographies do not ask questions. You'll quickly enter the game.
My BGG Score 7/10
(Good game. I play it with pleasure)
A simple family game, easy to set up and explain. Skylands suffers no downtime and actually mixes playful mechanisms that have proven themselves. A good game of discovery in the universe of tile placement and resource management.
Combined Score 7.25 / 10
Now it's your turn...
Copenhagen (2019) Review
Hello and welcome to this beautiful city of Copenhagen. Capital of Denmark, this big city has its own charm. Among the treasures it houses, you will have the opportunity, during your strolls, to discovering the Little Mermaid Eriksen. This emblem of the city proudly sits in the harbor. And if you continue your walk a little more, you will also fall on the Nyhavn (new port). This canal located in the center of the city is mainly characterized by the bright colors of the houses that border it. Sorry ? Why am I talking to you about this? The reason is very simple. The Copenhagen game offers you the opportunity to immerse yourself in this colorful neighborhood.
Copenhagen is a four-handed game designed by Asger Harding Granerud (Flamme Rouge) and Daniel Skjold Pedersen (A Tale of Pirates). This is not the first outing for these two designers, they had already made together the 13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis and 13 Minutes: The Cuban Missile Crisis. Here, we totally change the register. The game does not really have the same target audience or the same goal, as this Queen Games titles shows.
I'm going to talk here about the normal version of the game. The game has benefited indeed from received funding via Kickstarter and this way, a Deluxe version has been published. The big difference lies in the improvement of the material: with the presence of acrylic parts. Apart from the aesthetic side, there is no change or additions of material between the two versions.
Copenhagen is a game that talks about its architecture. But you are not in front of a classic building game. The designers have chosen to draw on the principle of Tetris to transcribe the feeling of building a house.
Each player will find themselves in front of a building facade of their color. Outside the walls, the interior is empty. Your mission will be to fill it with tiles. These tiles are of different shapes. Ranging from 2 to 5 squares, they are also divided into five colors (yellow, blue, red, green and mauve). These colors do not correspond directly to the players. Once your facade in front of you, you will place your scorecard, representing a siren (I told you we'd be seeing it again), on the central scoring track. Each player has their own line. Next to this plateau, you will find a large boat moored at the port. This is where you’ll put the deck of cards and some of these will be available for purchase, when placed face up.
The game does not rely solely on the Tetris building system. You will have cards in hand. These cards will allow you to recover the famous tiles according to the color and number played. The game offers a very simple version of card management.
On your turn, you can do one of two actions available.
The first is to draw two cards that are adjacent. You can not take one. Too bad if the second does not suit you. Plus, you are limited to seven cards in hand. Beyond that, you will have to discard.
The second action available is construction. For this, nothing more simple, you must discard a number of cards corresponding to the box value of the targeted tile. But that's not all. All discarded cards must also match the color of the tile. For example, if you want a yellow tile of three squares, you must discard three yellow cards. Simple, is it not? The recovered tile is directly placed on your board. You always start at the bottom and the new tile must touch a tile already present. You can benefit from a discount, in the form of a card to spend less, if the new tile is the same color that it touches directly.
Of course, to help you in your task you can benefit from bonuses. At the beginning of the game, you already have the ability to draw two cards in two different places instead of being adjacent. Once a bonus is used, it is returned to its inactive side. To reuse it, you have to make it active again.
All along your facade, you can see the presence of blazon recalling your household. These blazons are either directly positioned inside, or they end up at the end of lines 2, 4 and 6. Once you fill these lines or you cover one of these, you have a free action. This action is to choose from three others. The first allows you to return all your bonus chips to the active side. The second allows you to recover a window of a white box to put directly on your board. The third offers you the possibility of recovering a new bonus: draw an additional card, play the two actions instead of one, change cards against cards of a specific color, benefit from a reduction of a card at the moment of construction (limited to one identical per player). Once this choice is made, the next player takes their turn.
But what is the purpose of all this? Indeed, we have not talked about it yet. The tiles that you will recover to build your house are composed of boxes. On these boxes are drawn walls or windows. Depending on how you fill your household, the points earned will not be the same. Each time a line is filled, you will have to score it. You will earn two points if there are only windows, but only one point if that line has walls and windows. In the same way, if a column is filled, a count is made. You will then earn four points if there are only windows, versus two if the two types rub shoulders. Yes the architects prefer the windows, it is well known it is more seller with the tourists.
The first player who reaches twelve points, wins the game immediately. However, there is a second way to end the game. If the deck reveals a card representing the famous siren which is hidden among the last cards of the deck (depending on the number of players), the game stops immediately. The player who is ahead in the points wins and in case of draw you’ll count the number of empty squares on those structures. Whoever has the least wins.
Copenhagen is a relatively simple and accessible game. In its aspects of puzzle game, you’ll find ourselves facing a pleasant family game with interesting possibilities. You can perhaps blame it for being a little too simple. Players are never really blocked. In turn, it is always possible to achieve something more or less interesting.
Level of interaction, it is present. However, do not expect to be able to really influence the other's game. Clearly indirect interaction. Where one can play off the other is in the choice of cards or tiles that they need, can eventually rage your opponent for a few seconds. But nothing really disabling or irremediable. As I told you before, the game is finally pretty tame. The pressure will come mainly from the scoring track in the middle of the table that reminds everyone of the urgency of the situation.
For the arts, we recognize the style of publisher. Markus Erdt is responsible for giving life to the atmosphere of this game. He is a faithful illustrator of the company. You can find him on a lot of other games like Pioneers, Armageddon. To be honest, the arts choice is not going to make you travel, but it does the job well. You’ll find the shimmering colors of this beautiful neighborhood. For the rest, everything is visible and functional. On the other hand, the quality level of the tiles is on the big cardboard, easy to take in hand and durable. The score track is big enough and convenient to be visible to all players. And believe me, you will often take a look at it.
Thematic level, since this is a race to have twelve points of victory, and not for example to finish your building first, you’ll quickly forget or always look for the case.
The game works well in all configurations. Faster for two, and requiring an adjustment at the level of the tiles, it is nonetheless interesting. At three or four, the clashes will be longer. Besides, the game is fast enough to play. To facilitate installation, I can only advise you to invest in storage bags. Unfortunately, Queen Games still does not provide adequate thermoforming or plastic bags in order to store and separate all parts of the game.
Copenhagen is relatively accessible at the level of the rules. However, under nine’s will take a few games to fully understand how to score effectively and quickly. The youngest can therefore have a little more difficulty to win. By cons, the fun of the game takes immediately.
Finally, in its aspects of puzzle games / constructions, Copenhagen turns out to be a racing game. The first to twelve points wins. It will be necessary to optimize your shots at best and to do with the luck of the draw to choose the right cards at the right time. You will need to quickly find a strategy to best develop your facade to maximize your chances of winning a sufficient number of points. The positioning of the tiles on your facade will also be a decisive element in the success of your mission. It will be necessary to choose well if you opt for the construction of columns or lines. The number of points to be won is not the same but the speed to build isn’t either.
Although the length of the game may be a little repetitive, the luck of the draw and the way your opponents play can offer enough renewal. In any case, it is a good pick. Simple, accessible, fun to play, Copenhagen is an ideal game to go out with family or with new players. These mechanisms can surprise as well as build trust. After all, the Tetris system is known to all and works relatively well at the level of understanding. Copenhagen is a real vice surprise. It will easily find a place in your games libraries, especially if you are a beginner or if you are looking for fun games to go out with your family. For others, I advise you to try it to make your own idea.
Technical Score 7/10
The rules are easily understandable and even in French, the cardboard tiles are very thick, everything is readable and functional if not really beautiful. It is a shame to still not have the presence of extra bags to facilitate the storage and installation of parts..
My BGG Score 7/10
Simple, accessible, pleasant to play. It is not free of defects but will easily entertain you in a relatively short time. The Tetris system coupled with cycling-style hand management work quite well.
Combined Score 7/10
Now it's your turn...
On the menu of today, a small step back in time. We are in 2013, and after a brief stint on Kickstarter, Amerigo arrives from Queen Games. Playable from 2 to 4 players, Amerigo is a game by designer Stefan Feld (The Castles of Burgundy). He has made a reputation in the community by offering multiple games with always original or multiple mechanisms for the same game. It must be said that this gentleman has talent. Although most of the time the themes of his games are quickly forgotten, but the mechanisms are pampered with love and minutiae. As a result, every time a new game is announced, the world holds its breath.
The game allows you to embody marine explorers. Your mission is to discover new countries and especially, to develop them. The game also takes its name from Amerigo Vespucci. This Italian explorer of the late fifteenth - early sixteenth century was among others, the origin of the name of the new world: America. The game Amerigo is trying to immerse you in this period of discovery. As much as I’d hate to admit right away, the theme is not the main asset of the game even if there was an effort made on it. Finally, you’ll quickly forget why you moved or what plantation you will recover (except for the idea of scoring points). And do not even talk about the development of the islands, which will be more a reflection on where you place your tiles, that then create a market, a swimming pool…
Amerigo is therefore a game of maritime discovery but also resource recovery. The game board is composed of tiles to assemble. As a result, each game will offer a very different environment. The islands formed will therefore be totally different in both number and size. There are two types of islands: small and large. The large ones are composed of more than 20 spaces. Rarer, they offer a bonus when they are completed, compared to small ones.
When you first open the box, you will see a multitude of components. At its opening, you’ll realize that this is not necessarily the case, but it’s far from the empty box. Without being exceptional, the material is of good quality. You’ll find traditional pawns, colored cubes, small wooden chests ... Where it gets a little more original, it is at the level of the main components. Already the tiles are of different sizes and shapes, a bit like the Tetris game. Yes, today it is not really surprising anymore but in 2013, there were few games using this system. The most original element and what made its notoriety, it is also the one that takes the most space in the box. This is the cube tower. You know what a dice tower is? This is the same but you throw cubes in instead of dice. This one is of good quality and will inevitably make you think of the tower present in the game Shogun, from the same publisher. Besides, cubes were also thrown in there.
Once the board is built, everyone chooses their color. Each player has an individual board that will be used to track their progress whether it is acquired bonuses, resources recovered or progress on the tracks such as cannons or technology. Another plateau is placed next to the maritime map. It is here that you will find the main elements like the available actions, the victory points track, the market and the available technologies. Depending on the number of players, the set up may be different. One agreeable thing is even with two players, there is no neutral player.
Amerigo is not a complicated game in terms of rules. A round of games is composed of seven throws of cubes into the tower. Each throw corresponds to one step and so there are seven. But beware, a step does not necessarily correspond to a type of action. It will not be a case of matching the color of the cubes that are cast. I’ve lost you? I’ll start again. In Amerigo, you will find seven different colors of cubes. Each color corresponds to a type of action. During a game turn, you will take all the cubes of a remaining color of a set and throw them in the tower. This will determine the available actions. The colors are in order:
Blue: the maritime movement of your boats. The plateau is divided into spaces with ports on the islands where you can set up a market. Each market will bring you points either to discover the island or during the game. But to create a market, you have to stop on the associated space. Each cube corresponds to a movement point.
Once you have thrown your cubes into the tower, you gently pick up the fallen cubes. As you will quickly see what you have put in is not necessarily what you are getting back. And this is all the ingenuity of the game. Among the available cubes, you will have to define the most present color. Once done, you will count the number of cubes of that color. And here you have the number of action points available. As for the types of actions? This corresponds to the fallen cube.
For example: I threw the seven green cubes. When they exit, I have three green cubes, two blues, one red and seven brown. So I have the opportunity to perform seven times the action of green, blue, red or brown.
Each player, in turn order, chooses their action and realizes it. You can all very well take the same. Then you’ll move on to the next step, so the next color is thrown in. And so on, until you have finished the seven steps. Then you’ll proceed to the end of the round with the attack of the pirates. If you have enough cannon you simply lose them. If you do not have enough you lose as many victory points as the attack. Do this for five rounds and then calculate the victory points. As usual, the one who has the most, wins.
Amerigo is a very clever game. Do not hide it, the cube tower is the main interest of the game. Its very original use makes it an example. Since Shogun, I have loved this system. It is true that it creates luck at the level of possible actions. But this chance is ultimately not so penalizing and offers a dose of non-negligible fun. The tower and its unpredictability breaks the routine and the cerebral monotony of which this game could suffer. The replayability of the game has only been expanded. And above all, you will have to adapt to all situations. Finally, the interest of the game is there. The ability for players to adapt to situations and many choices. The game actually offers many ways to score points. Especially a lot of choices.
Will I do this action now or wait to do the same action later, in the hope that it will be better? But if that does not happen, will I end up with nothing? And if I do red, I could do the green after except that if I do the blue it will bring me more points now, but at the risk of not being able to do the green after.
The strength of the game is there. It proposes a big challenge, with a multitude of choices to score points. A great replayability factor, while offering incredible easy accessibility. This title is not complicated to play. One could even consider it a family game by some aspects. But its richness and depth bring it closer to an expert game.
It should nevertheless be noted that Amerigo offers a fairly limited interaction between players. It is not absent, but is not direct either. The interaction will be more at the level of resources to recover before the other or discover the island first or even finish the construction of the islands before the other. It's more of an opportunist game. Amerigo could be compared to some sort of race. Many actions correspond to this idea of first come, first to have more points. But sometimes just being on an island can save you a lot of points. We were never really bothered by each other directly. But if you do not care, you can be stung by having your livelihood taken from beneath you. So it forces you to pay attention to what happens during the turn of the other players.
Amerigo is a game that will inevitably surprise you. Already because of the size of the box. It's huge and hefty. Then at the level of its price: finally not so high if you compare it to other games the same size (especially years later). But it is at the level of the game in itself that the size will surprise. Feld has managed to make a subtle, fun, smart, fluid, very deep and rich game of possibility and gameplay, while offering a very strong accessibility. The game is explained and understood quickly.
One could of course get pestered on certain points like:
We could be pestered. But we would miss out on so many other qualities that the title knows how to develop and offer as long as it is allowed to do so. The recycling of the Shogun tower system is a great idea. Its perfect integration offers a special flavor to the title. We have a great time during the games we played, which are not that long. We did not see the time pass. It is a real pleasure to go back to sea and return to face this famous tower. One of the best games from this designer. A very good game to consume without moderation.
Technical score 7,5/10
The graphics are still very old school and the choice of colors could have been better. Apart from that, the components are of good quality and the insert in the box is very well thought out.
My BGG score 8,9/10
(Very good game. Always a pleasure to play)
Simply one of the best Feld’s. Fluid, original, fun, intelligent, with a huge replayability, deep yet accessible. A very good game
Combined score 8,2/10
And now it’s over to you...