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
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