designed by Matthias Cramer, Louis Malz, & Stefan Malz, published by Eagle Games
Go behind the scenes of the grand court of King Louis as the dressmaker for Parisian nobility. Begin each round by choosing three employees from your unused employees and then send them one and at time to perform one of five actions: hire a new worker, buy some dressmaking materials, add to the fabulous décor of the hall, or, make a fancy dress to sell for income or to clothe a courtier and send them to the hall to show off your fine work, or even fire or “depute” your employees for some quick extra cash. Plus, each worker can provide you with a bonus action, so between 4-8 actions per round over seven rounds As you get more workers you will get more actions, but it will take you longer to cycle through your workers to get the ones you need. Fill the grand hall with the most dresses, claim the most decorations, and earn points, and bonus points, for practically everything. Scoring is clever, but man, it takes a while.
Can’t get more Euro than this: Action selection? Check. Point salad? Check. Area control? Check. Resource management? Check. Limited actions in limited turns? Check. Analysis Paralysis? Double Check.
One Line Verdict: Seriously, for fans of Eurogames only. All others sign up for the Revolution (French, that is) instead.
designed by Bruno Faidutti, published by Fantasy Flight Games
Build your destiny in this game of “medieval cities, nobles, and intrigues” (yup, from the box). Each round, players will draft a noble from the common pool and then pass the remaining nobles to the left. Each noble has a special power: for example, the assassin lets you “kill” another noble and take away their turn, while the king scores points depending on the buildings you have already built and lets you go first the next round. The thief lets you steal gold from another player while the warlord lets you destroy one of your opponent’s buildings. Players take turns also depending on the number of the noble: 1 goes first, 8 goes last. When your turn comes up, take 2 gold or draw a card, then build a card, and at some point, you can activate the special power of your noble. First player to built 8 buildings in their district ends the game, most points win!
Really, a social deduction game as you try to figure out who has what so you can either avoid getting your character’s throat slit or figuring out which character’s throat to slit. Even though it’s the older game, it feels very much like next-level “Love Letter” with the added dimension of building your district.
One Line Verdict: I would say a modern classic for good reason, but can be seriously mean. I mean SERIOUSLY.
“The Heroes of Kaskaria”
designed by Benjamin Schwer, published by HABA
The evil trolls have stolen the Golden Amulet of the Kingdom of Kaskaria! Race on your cliff jumper and scaled griffin to retrieve this valuable treasure! On their turn, players will either draw a card or play two or more cards of the same color to advance their pieces, collect gold, or to add cards to their hand. The first player to arrive at the nest and recover the amulet ends the game, but gold is earned for being furthest along either the cliff jumper track or the scaled griffin track. Whoever has the most gold from collecting it along the way or placing wins! Did I mention this was a HABA kid’s game? My six year-old won and she liked it!
Enough gameplay options to both challenge the kids AND keep the adults in the game without them having to hold back. But with so many colors, it’s sometimes hard to figure out which colors actually match.