Our board game week in retrospect

What did we play this week?

Blog banner week 45

We played a couple of the new games we brought from Essen. So this are all first impressions and for some we will be doing a more in-depth review soon.

Tibbar der Baumeister / Tybor The Builder


A new small card game set in the Longsdale setting which Alexander Pfister has created over the last few years in cooperation with the Österreichisches Spiele Museum. With this new addition, you will be building up the city which plays a major part in it predecessor, Oh My Goods. Through the different chapters you can play in chronological order (but don’t have too) and you will be experiencing the build up of that through Tybor’s lifespan.

The game is quite simple and doesn’t innovate anything in specific, but it does do some interesting things we like in our games. Card drafting, multi use cards and engine building are well implemented. You can use your cards in three different ways, for its strength value (worker), for the citizens type (soldier, merchant, priest, etc.) which gives you special powers and access to other buildings and of course as builder. If you discard the card that way, you can build one of the buildings available with your build up worker strength.

The use of chapters and scenario’s sound good, but with the current trend in board games with those added narrative experiences, this game may be overselling this a little in our humble opinion. Yes it does give a little story arc to the game, but don’t expect too much out of it in a more emerging game play. The new expansion for Oh My Goods sounds much better in that regard, so we hope to play that soon I guess.

The art is as always very recognizable and very good from one of the most famous artist in the industry, Klemens Franz. It does work well to tie in the different games in this series to belong in the same universe. We do look forward to where they will take this in the coming years, but we do hope it grows a little more teeth.

Overall we liked the game and we will play it again, but for now it doesn’t supersede Port Royal or what we have seen for OMG and all its expansions. But that may very well be our expectations being to high for this and this small little game was never intended to be more than it is, a fun little card game which is highly portable.

The Climbers


A reprint from one of the nicest publishers storming the industry lately, Capstone Games. Their line of games is scary good and Clay is doing an amazing job signing some solid mid to heavyweight games to his portfolio. It was fabulous meeting him at Essen and seeing him doing so well there, after an initial rough start with the booth.

The Climbers is one of those titles which will appeal to a very broad audience and is surely a game almost every gamer should have in his collection. You will try to outshine your opponents to get to the highest spot on the mountain. The game is very tactical and shines with more people at the table.

You can move your climber, you can move one of the blocks and you need to maximise the use of your tools and blocking stone. The way it works is, that you only can move on your own colour surface or on a neutral colour.

We played a two player game of it and it works, and maybe it was because it was our first play, but it quickly became a little obvious that there are (too) much choices to keep climbing up blocking your opponents moves become very difficult. May also depend on the way the structure is initial build, so for sure we will play it soon again, but preferable with more people.

Claim


Another small card game and this time a two player trick taking game. Yes, a trick taking game for two. As there aren’t many good two player options around, we were very curious what Scott Almes and White Goblin Games would do with this. Another title we are eyeballing is Fox in the Forest by Renegade Games Studios, but sadly we missed out on that title at Essen. But let’s see if someone can help us out with that.

Claim is played over two phases of 13 card plays each, in the first you are competing for the card which is on the table and build your deck for the second. In the second phase you will fight with those cards head to head to make the final push for majority in a given faction. But where are you fighting over you may ask and why? Well, let us tell you.

The king is dead, nobody knows how, but he died and now the realm needs a new one. It is the story of old, but never boring. Will you become the new king by luring the most factions to your side? There are five different factions in the game, which all have a different effect on the game and on the way you can manipulate the game in you favor.

We must say, we really liked this game and we may be influenced by The Mico his wonderful and alluring artwork at first, but the gameplay was also just pure fun. Again, it won’t rock your socks, but it does give for a fun fifteen minutes and you can take it anywhere. So yeah, we can recommend this game already after one go.

Carthago: Merchants & Guilds

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This was one of our most anticipated games from Spiel 2017. And I can already spoil the beans, we really liked the game after only a few rounds.

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Being set in the 800 BCE setting of Carthage and putting you in the shoes of influential merchants at that time, you had us at that already. But Bernd Eisenstein and Ralph Bienert, which we met at Spiel and that guy is so kind, went further and made the game even more appealing for us.

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As you all may know by now, we love multi use cards as much as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, so no surprise we were digging that. But they also took another witty thing we like a lot, getting things of your own player board and put them out onto the main area to expand your capabilities. Through trading your wares to ships (or just fight them for it) and buying influence on the Guild, you unlock more possibilities and also gain higher end gaming scoring in the process. To continue our praise, the variable end game scoring you need to unlock and the clever timing aspect also work delightful. It is a well-balanced game and you really feel like a mighty Phoenician when you have a full hand of awesomeness.

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Are there no negatives? Well, maybe just a few. While we love the art and the overall look of the game, black border cards are always subject to quicker wear. Also the cardstock could be a little better, but for the reasonable price of this game, that would have been a little too much maybe. The clever puzzle pieces to scale the game to the given player count is already a positive note, so well you may know what is coming now.

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Market cards

 

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Shipyard

The game is a very solid medium weight euro style game and has us wanting to play it more and if possible, very soon!

Santa Maria

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One of the games we preordered first for our Spiel 2017 list of games we must pick up and we were glad we did. Santa Maria from Aporta games sold like crazy. And we can say, rightfully so. Eilif Svensson and Kristian Amundsen Østby did a stellar job on creating another hit after for example the Escape series, Avenue and Mangrovia.

Santa Maria will take you to the time of conquistadors and shaping the future of the New World by building your colony as profitable as possible. Aporta included a nice historic background to the game which is called, Swords and Gods of Santa Maria. Do read it, it will give some context to the period and some of the reasons why things went as they went. The game itself will not have such emerging.

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One the most popular mechanisms from the last few years is dice drafting and using those dice in a variety of ways. In this game your dice are your workers and you have two options of them. The blue ones are your personal workers and will trigger your rows in the colony and the white dice are the common pool of workers which let you fire your column. You will build your colony on your own personal colony board in a tetris like why. Depending on which scoring and power tiles are out, you will try to put them in such a way where you can build your engine, align them with the end game scoring where possible, fulfil shipping contracts, and manipulate your capabilities as much as possible. There are a lot of paths you can take and it can imbued AP if you will consider all those options.

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The game looks very clean and it depends on your preferences if that appeals. We would have liked a little more of a serious style to it, but on the other hand, it does help in the fact all information is found around the board and keeping the theme too lightish. The happiness points are, well cute, but those we find a little odd to our taste and just influence points would have fitted better.

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Our first impressions are very good and this game has a lot of legs. This may end up high on our top 20 games of 2017 and maybe with repeated plays, a top 10 contender in general.

So what did YOU play this week?

Any games we need to keep our eyes on? Or do you have any wishes of games we should give a go from our Essen Haul you find here?

Love your board game life!

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