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Go to the The Great Fire of London: 1666 (Second Edition) page
Oridyne {Avid Gamer} May 4th, 2016
“The Great Fire of London 1666: My Impressions”

Please note this review is based on the original edition of the game.
The artwork on the board and cards is very good
The playing pieces are well thought out and suit the theme of the game, especially the Fire Tokens which make the board look on fire, work well and are of good quality

However, The Hero of London card looks a little odd and my game board has warped slightly but this does not adversely affect playing the game.

25 Fire tokens are placed in Pudding lane to depict the seat of the fire.

Each player is then dealt 5 Fire Move cards, if they 5 identical cards they show them and are dealt 5 new cards until at least 1 card is not identical. You then take the Fire Stack cards based on the number of players and build the draw deck using the remaining Fire Move cards. Any remaining cards left over are placed back in the box.

5 Houses of each colour are mixed and then placed out at random into one region on the board, the first 30 are placed into the Orange region. Each district within a region has a number of House symbols indicating how many houses should be placed into it.
This is repeated until all 4 regions of the map are filled with the houses.

The six colour cards are shuffled and one dealt to each player at random, these depict the colour of the houses they need to protect within London.

The black tokens are placed face down, shuffled and then distributed randomly among the districts with yellow labels.

Shuffle each of the three Special mission Decks I, II & III and then deal each player one of each deck.

Finally, starting with the First player a number of Trained Band cones are placed on the board, the amount again is based on the number of players.

This process does take some time and it is certainly worth bagging the houses in the sets of 30 mixed to make the initial setup a little bit quicker.

The rules are a little complicated but once you start playing they make more sense.
The game plays for a set number of turns as you build a deck of fire move cards, based on the number of players, with fire intensity cards dispersed within the deck.

The idea is to protect your Coloured houses, whilst helping to put out fires across London. Each player also has 3 secret missions to protect specific districts of London, if these areas still have houses on at the end of the game the players scores the value of that card.

Unusually each player starts with Victory points, this total is slowly eroded as play progresses as each of their houses that burns down reduces their score by 2. This game was immense fun and the gameplay fits the theme really well, we managed to get a few of the rules wrong (there are a lot of things to remember).

On a Players turn they move the Fire by playing a Fire Move card from their hand, each card has a compass depicted on it with a direction highlighted with arrows. This shows where the fire is to spread on this turn and the player picks a space with at least two fire cones on it then follows the Fire Movement Priority outlined in the rules. Players can then take 4 actions either moving a Trained Band or their Landowner pawn or both (1 space per action), or put out fires in contained areas and Finally they take a new Fire Movement Card to take their hand back to 5 cards. This is the main part of the game and as this progresses the fire spreads through London damaging areas as it goes.

The black tokens dotted around the board are collected if the player moves a fire token into a district containing one. These provide either an explosive charge (which can be used to demolish a district to create a fire break), a Double-Move (Allowing the player to move a 2nd Fire cone in the fire moves phase) or a 1VP.

The Trained band cones can be moved to help contain fires and stop them spreading (the number of Trained Band Cones must be equal or higher then the number of fire cones to contain fire)

At the end of the game players total up what points they have left on the score track, plus any fires they have put out and any points from the areas on their secret mission cards. The player with the most Points wins, ties broken first with the number of fires put out then by the number of intact houses.

I really like this game, but I think it will take a few more plays before we get all the rules down, a player aid would have been a useful addition to the game to remind players of the options and fire movement rules.

I did feel the gameplay and components fitted the theme well and you do get a sense of fighting the fires as you play. The game plays with up to 6 players, which is always useful and certainly plays well with more players.

It is certainly fun to watch players squirm when they realise you have just spread the fire into one of their scoring zones.This is where the game is devious as you are all working to save London but with the hidden missions and the specific houses to save, players are more protective of certain areas.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
18 out of 20 gamers thought this review was helpful
Player Avatar
I play blue
Go to the Rialto page
Dick Dale {Avid Gamer} May 3rd, 2016
“Worker placement - Area control - City building”

The goal is to collect victory points by controlling as many of the 6 districts of Venice. You can increase or lower the value of each region by placing bridges and gondolas. The playing order for each district is randomly assigned at the beginning of each game. This adds to the replay-ability.

The game is played over 6 rounds with each round consisting of 3 phases. In each such phase, buildings of a certain color may be activated for their special abilities. To activate a special ability, a player needs to put one coin from his supply on one of his available buildings (see buildings below for types of buildings).

Quick overview:
Phase I: Each player gets 8 cards and keeps 7 of them. Players can activate green buildings to get or keep more cards.
Phase II: The players play their cards over 6 stages to carry out actions A–F. They can activate yellow buildings to support these actions.
Phase III: Players can activate blue buildings to gain those buildings’ benefits.

A Doge – Move a space on Dodge track for each card played. Bonus: Move one more space.
B Gold – Take 1 gold coin for each card. Bonus: Take 1 more gold coin.
C Building – Take a building with a value equal to or lower to the number of cards played. Bonus Add 1 to the number of your cards.
D Bridge – One VP for each card played. If none played lose 1 VP. Bonus: Place bridge on any open connection.
E Gondola – Move councilmen from general supply to personal supply. Bonus: Place Gondola on any open connection.
F Councilman – Place councilman from personal supply into current district for each card played. Bonus: add an additional Councilman to current district.
G Joker – Wilde card can be used as any of the above
THE BONUS is for the most of any card type played including the joker cards added to each card type.

A building can be activated by placing a coin on it during the appropriate phase. At the end of each round all coins are removed from buildings and returned to general supply.

Each player only has room for 7 buildings. The player can make room for a new building by returning a building to the general supply and receives the appropriate victory points for the returned building.

Each building is associated with a specific phase in which it can be activated, according to its color:

Green buildings for phase I
Yellow buildings for phase II
Blue buildings for phase III

The Doge Track

The Doge track indicates the players’ influence on the Doge.
The Doge track:
* breaks all ties
* defines the play order whenever it matters unless explicitly stated otherwise

When two or more counters occupy the same space on the Doge track, the order between them is from top to bottom.

I love this worker placement, area control, city building game. It moves very quicklime once the players understand the flow. It takes about 2 round for this to happen. It is a little advanced for new players but they can get the flow if they watch it played before they try it themselves.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
20 out of 22 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Gamer - Level 7
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Explorer - Level 3
Go to the Settlers of America - Trails to Rails page
Marvin K. {Avid Gamer} May 3rd, 2016
“Catan ramped up”

This is the Catan game with some interesting extras added. The basic concepts of Settlers of Catan are here, so if you don’t know the game you might want to look at a review and play the basic game first. The theme is the colonization of America. Players start with 2 settlements on the right side of the board. You can play a pre-setup layout or randomize some of the game. Where the numbers are have fixed resources on the spaces for some of the board but some have an empty space by the resource so the number can be random. At the start the empty spaces on the right side have tokens with numbers on them. As the game progresses the number tokens will be moved to new locations. Once a location loses it’s number token it will no longer produce. You will build trains and wagons to expand with new settlements and build tracks trains and wagons. Every time you build a settlement you will gain a cube that must be shipped to a settlement via train. You cannot ship your cubes to your own locations so you will build tracks(road equivalents) to travel to other cities with your train(s). The board is full of locations and when a wagon arrives at a location you build a settlement there and replace the wagon with a settlement marker. There is no choice when you arrive at a location, but only 1 settlement per location. There are paths your wagons travel on, so you can bypass a location but you will take longer to get across the board. You win the game by having 10 settlements and delivering the 10 cubes. This is an enjoyable variant of the game that is more strategic than the base game but still uses the same luck mechanism(dice rolls) to drive the game. If you have not played a lot of board games or are unfamiliar with the Catan system I recommend playing the base game first, but if you are ready for a challenge or change try this one.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
19 out of 24 gamers thought this review was helpful
Player Avatar
Book Lover
I play green
Go to the Mascarade Expansion page
TouchstoneTheFool {Avid Gamer} May 3rd, 2016
“Adds excellent variety to the base game”

The base game of Mascarade is a wonderful stew of player-driven social chaos, and the Mascarade Expansion gives players old and new even more ways to tweak the game to their tastes. Players can either add more chaos (Alchemist, Puppet Master) or less (Princess, Sage) as well as a variety of other money gaining (Gambler, Patron) or role shenanigan (Actress, Usurper, Necromancer) cards.

A welcome addition are two roles that can be played with 6+ players in addition to more 8+ player roles. All too often I’ve had enough players to make Mascarade a good choice, but not enough to add any of the fun 8+ roles. These new roles add some nice, interesting variety that can be used in lower player counts.

Ultimately, if you’re a fan of Mascarade you owe yourself a try of this expansion, as it offers even more variety. It might even change your mind if you weren’t quite a fan to begin with, as it gives even more avenues to tweak the game to your tastes.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
21 out of 23 gamers thought this review was helpful
Player Avatar
Go to the Fresco page
Oridyne {Avid Gamer} May 3rd, 2016
“Fresco - Basic Game Review”

I was undecided as to whether to buy this game but I am very glad I did. This game is extremely well made, the components and artwork are superb suiting the theme well and it is a delight to play. The main board is double sided one side is for 3 players the other for 4 players this seems to be a trend with newer games and it works very nicely.

You each play a master painter with a team of Apprentices whose task is to help restore the Cathedral and its Alter. Having not played board games all that long I can not comment on whether the mechanics in this game are anything new but they are certainly used well and fit right into the central theme of the game. There is plenty of things to think about on your turn and various actions you can take. The turn order for actions is determined by the players choosing what time to wake up, this selection is done in reverse order of the Scoring track (random on the first turn). This effects the mood of your workers and the cost of your paint in the market. Going first gets you the most choice but costs more, going last is cheaper but you only get to chose from whatever the other players leave. You start with 5 apprentices but if their mood is really bad you will lose one but if they are really happy you gain an extra one. Each action you can take you can allocate up to 3 apprentices to perform it, so you have to decide carefully what actions you can take this turn and whether you want to do some more than once. During the last turn the actions you can take change so you are able to blend paints and then restore a Cathedral piece this is very important as for most of the game blending paints is done after restoring the Cathedral which makes your choice of paints at the market and paints used to restore Cathedral pieces very important.

I really enjoy this game and every game is different with the added benefit that the game comes with 3 expansions right in the box allowing for plenty of tweaking helping to keep the game fresh and exciting. The rules are short (always good) and mostly quite good and well explained. There are a couple of areas where the rules are less than clear and the examples given do not add much to the clarity, that said getting them wrong did not harm the gameplay that much, I read a thread here on forums that helped clarify the rule.

The game plays equally well with 3 players as it does with 4 and the expansions also provide rules for playing this 2 player, though I have not tried these yet. Whilst the rules and mechanics are quite simple to pick up there is a lot of depth here even with the basic game.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
24 out of 28 gamers thought this review was helpful

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