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.
“Blue Moon City”
designed by Reiner Knizia, published by KOSMOS
Rebuild the Ruined City of Blue Moon! At least that’s what the box says in this area control game where you play cards to rebuild different buildings in different districts of, well, Blue Moon City. Each district requires a certain number and color of cards: on your turn move your pawn to that space and then turn in matching cards to place a marker on that district. Earn crystals, dragon scales, and cards from the district you helped build as well as from completed surrounding districts. Or use the special powers on the various cards to move the dragons or help you in your building task. Use crystals to build the obelisk at the center of the city: but be careful, the different pieces of the obelisk get progressively more expensive. First to put four (five or six, depending on the number of players) blocks in the obelisk wins! Just make sure you don’t burn all your cards in one turn: it takes a while to get them back as you watch your opponents blow by you.
Modular board keeps the game fresh; the board movement adds a nice tactical feel to your overall strategy; and multi-use cards inject just enough options in this challenging and clever area control game.
One Line Verdict: An oldie (in boardgame years) but a goodie. Take at least one visit to this fantasy city.
designed by Phil Walker-Harding, published by Kosmos
Build the wonders of Ancient Egypt, from pyramids to obelisks to temples and burial chambers. Place blocks on boats, and once a boat is full enough, sail that boat to one location. Unload and score points or get market cards to help you in later turns! Each location builds and scores differently: maybe you’ll stack blocks to form an obelisk, or put blocks pyramidally to build, well, a pyramid. But watch out: opponents can end up choosing where you sail your boats and scuttle your plans.
A pretty light game, with clear choices, but an interesting spatial component as you try to figure out where your blocks will score, and then realize it doesn’t matter anyway ’cause your opponent will just sail you to the last place you want to go. It’s almost press your luck: how long can I delay sailing to maximize my points?
designed by Reiner Stockhausen, published by Tasty Minstrel Games
Raise your power and prestige in the Medieval French city of Orleans! In this “bag-building” game, randomly draw up to four different workers from your bag: knights, craftsmen, monks, farmers, and boatsmen. Assign them in groups of two or three to different actions on your player board. Advance on different progress tracks to collect resources or build buildings (which provide more spots to place workers), or to travel through France building trading houses and collecting resources. Collect citizens from the progress tracks to earn extra points. And then stare at the workers you drew and realize you are only one worker away from a MONSTER turn.
Easily the most Euro game you will every play: so many decisions with multiple paths to victory. The blind worker draw adds just right amount of randomness. But so many decisions…
designed by Donald X. Vaccarino, published by Queen Games
Build your kingdom via strategic placement of your settlements! A game of very few choices: you get one card, you play it, and build three settlements on the terrain type (flower fields, deserts, forests, mountains) matching that card. Note the strict building rules: you must build next to an already existing settlement if you can. Build next to bonus tiles which usually give you the ability to build, another settlement! Try to score points at the end based on three randomly drawn goals that makes the strategy of every game different. Sometimes you need the largest settlement, or have the most separate settlements, or sometimes, score for both. The four modular boards provide some extra variety as well. But in the end, the whole affair feels a bit bland.
Not a whole lot of choices makes for a rather dry game at times.
designed by Matthew Dunstan and Brett J. Gilbert, published by Asmodee Games & Space Cowboys
Call upon the powers of the Greek Gods and build your legends! Yes, it is a resource management game, and yes, it is a set collection game, but never done like this. Choose from a variety to different gods to start the game: some gods have attack powers, while others are far more peaceful. Each round, draft a card from a central pool and knock down one of four pillars, but make sure the pillar you knock down doesn’t stop you from taking a future card. Then use card powers, but only score them once you transfer them to your Elysium…and then you score points by sets. And it’s maddening in you only get five turns to do all this!
Hard to wrap your head around the mechanic at first, but once you figure out, it’s an elegant system of drafting and building. The variable god powers will set the level of player interaction as well. That’s a good thing.