Due to a combination of circumstances there was no games played this week. Been reading all the Essen reports I can find and boy, am I jealous. Especially so of my friend Jo, who did go, sounds like he had a great time and picked up some great games too. He very kindly picked up the Ticket to Ride Mystery Train expansion and Der Graf von Carcassonne (The Count of Carcassonne) for me. As Jo was flying he was restricted to how many games he could bring back but I think he did pretty well. His purchases were Carcassonne the City (Rio version), Jambo (Rio version),
Clocktowers, Railroad Dice Duetschland, Reef Encounter, Scottish Highland Whisky Race, besides all the games he got for friends. That City version of Carcassonne is pretty heavy by itself by all accounts. Hopefully we can have a session one weekend soon to try some of them out.
Some of the games have interested me after reading some of the reports but as our group is normally 6 number of players does decide to some extent what I will buy. Some of the good games only play 4 and I know that they will only get played occasionally. Anyway here’s what I like the look of.
IM SCHATTEN DES KAISERS
Germany in the late middle ages! It is a time of flourishing cities, influential bishops, the powerful popes, and a pompous aristocracy. In such a volatile climate, no dynasty can remain in power for long. Several aristocratic families seek to acquire the crown of the emporer. But this decision lies in the hands of the seven elector. 2–4 emporer candidates use their knights and cities, marry their barons, and work to influence the electors. But all efforts are useless if the candidate is not elected to be emporer. But, in the shadow of the properly elected emporer, are always those who want to displace him and become the new emporer. (Description from Rio Grande games).
Only a 2-4 player but I like historical games.
Niagara is set in the not particularly safe world of rushing waterfalls. In the late 18th Century, the Shawnee and Iroquois Indians pointed white Desperadoes, Mercenaries and Adventurers in the direction of hidden caches of valuable jewels, in the hopes of turning them against one another and away from their territorial expansion ambitions. Players play as some of those Adventurers.
The first player to be able to claim ownership of five jewels is the winner. But the chase after the riches has some snags. The speed of the river is always changing, since the speed depends on the decisions of the players and the changeable weather. And once a canoe goes over the walls, it's a hefty investment to replace it. And there are also the Desperadoes to contend with, who aren't above trying to plunder the riches from Adventurers returning home. Niagara is distinguished by an innovative movement mechanic as well as a beautiful three-dimensionsal rendering of the waterfall setting.
3-5 players, this looks interesting as the board is laid over the box and moved every round causing some boats to plummet over the falls!
STRUGGLE OF EMPIRES
From the designer:
Think of Civilization/Age of Renaissance set in the 18th century. Players take the role of one of the major powers of the period and fight in both Europe and the colonies. The twist to the game is that in each war players must form into two alliances. Once allied with a player you cannot fight each other. This means you do not have the backstabbing of Diplomacy to worry about; if he's allied he's with you until the end of the war. This means that a player has to think carefully about who he wants to fight against and who he wants to ally with. Very often he will want to ally with his natural enemy and go to war with the guy who doesn't really want to fight him. On top of this you have lots of improvement tiles that you buy to shape your empire, plus alliances with minor powers, and the possibility of going into revolution. The game is 99% done and personally I am very pleased with it. Even though it is a big empire building game it will scale from 3 to 7 players and has pretty simple rules.
The new Martin Wallace game plays up to 7 and is historical and plays in 90 minutes to boot! Could get this one.
The game, which is about power and influence in the French court at the end of the 17th Century is by Rudiger Dorn, who will have his second game in the alea series after "The Traders of Genoa".
The 2-4 players 12 and up take on the roles of members of the Court, and have about 100 minutes in which to carry out their missions and goals at Versailles. By using cards and influence stones, they influence high-ranking Court attendants, such as the King's Mother or one of the countless Royal mistresses. Naturally, the Sun King himself has a special role here to.
An excellent time and a high level of tension are guaranteed. The final outcome is in doubt right up to the end. Each game is different. A change of pace but still a highly promising strategy game in the finest alea tradition, one which sits at level 5 on the Alea complexity scale.
Only 4 players but a rich historical theme.
Anyway I look forward to playing some of the new games from Essen and will elucidate you with my impressions as and when.