Tonights game was my choice and I have been looking forward to playing The Merchants of Amsterdam again for some time. I have played it a couple of times before and really liked it. So I brushed up on the rules on the train home and was all set. It was going to be Steve, Garry, Richard and myself participating. But, fate plays a hand again and a text message from Richard stuck at work knocks my trading venture on the head. A bidding game with only 3 is not so much fun, so to plan B. A 4 player game will play better with 3 of us so out comes Die Nueun Entdecker, an exploring game from Klaus Teuber. Here is a brief description courtesy of Boardgamegeek.
Essentially the same game as Entdecker, the game still starts with a blank game board that represents an unexplored sea. Tiles are drawn and placed on squares on the board. As the tiles are placed islands develop on the board and players pay to place settlements, bases, or scouts on these islands in an effort to become the most powerful discoverer of all. Completed islands yield victory points to all who have invested in exploration on an island, but of course the most points go to the player who has established the strongest presence. This updated version adds a larger board, fees to enter from all but one edge of the board, a different income system, new bonus waterfall tiles, the ability to draw (for a price) from open stacks of tiles, and most of all an entirely new area of the board that represents scouts exploring jungles on the islands in search of exotic plants (this is the bonus discovery chip system revamped), among other changes.
Steve and I had played before but it was new game for Garry. Steve ran through the rules, which I needed too, it was a while since I last played. Then we were off. The board has a few tiles already laid to start off with, including 3 bonus island tiles, two 5 pointers and a 10 pointer. Quickly Garry and I established a presence on these while Steve went off and did his own thing. I got into trouble moneywise early on and had to keep rolling because I was less than 4 money. This took a while to get out of all the while keeping Steve and Garry nicely funded. Steve took advantage of the rule that says if a tile is closed in it automatically gets filled. Garnering some small islands. Eventually the board started to fill and I was lagging well behind, Steve was in front with Garry solidly in second. I had quite a few scouts in the jungle investigating the flora and fauna in the native huts hoping for some late points. The last island gradually grew to a monster with Garry having the biggest presence due to his village.
I had got out of the poverty hole and gambled on being able to get my village in there as well which would give me, hopefully, the majority. I also had two forts on it. Well, when the game ended with that island being completed I did indeed have the majority which gave me a healthy 40 points. This moved me into he lead. As the scouts were moved into the jungle I was still hoping that the points I got there would take me over the finishing line. But I ended up only winning one hut and tieing for about 3 others, unfortunately not having the closest scout. So in the end Steve won by quite a healthy margin but the game was pretty close up to the end.
It’s one of the games I enjoy and Garry said he liked it as well and was glad he had a copy, he might even play it now!
Final Scores (*denotes starting player)
Colin* 77, Steve 89, Garry 61