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Pentegarn

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Go to the Power Grid page
Go to the The Castles of Burgundy page
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9
Go to the Viticulture page

Viticulture

6 out of 6 gamers thought this was helpful

While I wouldn’t say this is my personal favorite worker placement game, I would say it is an objective worker placement masterpiece that most avid worker placement fans will enjoy

Gameplay/Replay

As a family running a vineyard you use your workers through the year to grow various kinds of grapes, turn them into wine and fill orders with the various people looking for certain kinds of wine of certain ages. The game is played over multiple rounds where you go through 4 seasons doing things throughout each season to help make your vineyard the best. You start by placing your rooster meeple on the turn order track to get a reward, the better the reward the later in the round you go. In the summer you choose to build improvements, plant grapes, get grapes to plant, entertain visitors or give a tour. Fall gives you a summer or winter visitor then in the winter phase you can harvest, make wine, entertain winter visitors, hire an additional worker, or fill an order. The catch to all this is you only have so many workers to spread through the entire year and a summer worker cannot be played in the winter (barring certain visitor cards changing this of course). Play continues till someone scores 20 then the year is played out and the player with the most points wins. With all the different visitor cards you will find a new way to play every time.

The Bad

Very little to talk about here. I guess if you hate crass jokes about a word that is a synonym to rooster then you might get irritated when people say “ok it’s wake up phase grab your roosters” and all the people as immature as I am start giggling. Also the theme is a little dry (Ha! Get it?!) but I found myself enjoying the game theme and all.

As worker placements go you can’t go wrong with this one. Get the essential edition though it really improved the original game by leaps and bounds

6
Go to the Artifacts, Inc. page

Artifacts, Inc.

6 out of 6 gamers thought this was helpful

Artifacts Inc. is a nice dice placement that packs into an easy to carry box. Good for trips where you might be looking to kill an hour

Gameplay/Replay

In Artifacts Inc. you race to get to 20 points first and then have the most points after all players have taken an even number of turns. Players do this by gathering various kinds of artifacts like fossils or idols or gems or parchment. Each player starts with 4 cards that give them 3 different locations and 3 dice per turn to roll. The 3 locations give players 2 expeditions and a place to purchase upgrades to their artifacts for hire company. Money can be made by selling artifacts in amounts to various museums or by selling them to a public space where you can get 1 dollar per artifact with a bonus per extra unique type you sell. This money can be used to buy upgraded buildings which give you points. All points are tracked as you buy which can make the game seem to end sooner than expected, but it is often a tight race where having majority in things sold to a museum (the only end game bonus) can make all the difference. Every game the buildings are randomized so each play is different, though the dive mechanic will remain the same every game.

The Bad

This game can be prone to AP for some as you get more and more to do with upgrades giving yo u more dice, rerolls, or the ability to increase/decrease a die roll. More options means more thinking about what the best move is. Also it isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing game yo have ever looked at and at times you will not have enough cubes (you can use a site that sells cubes to fix this however.)

All that said for what it costs MSRP wise this is a good little middle of the road dice placement game

8
Go to the Grand Austria Hotel page

So if La Granja’s dice selection mechanics and the tile placement mechanics of Castles of Burgundy had a baby that they lay in a bed of Victory Point Salad you would have Grand Austria Hotel.

Gameplay/replay:

You are managing a hotel/cafe where you have to prepare your rooms and give the customers in your cafe what they want to entice them to occupy said rooms. Played over 7 rounds with 2 actions per player per round, there’s certainly scant little time to screw around. And the game can be very unforgiving if you neglect certain things (like the emperor track in odd numbered rounds where not hitting your goal can be catastrophic). In these 14 total rounds, you select customers, then choose between getting desserts and drinks (which your customers want), preparing rooms (so you have a place to put those satisfied customers), hiring staff (for end game points or for abilities that help throughout the game), or getting money or a push on the emperor track. As you fulfill the needs of the customers you select they will occupy rooms you have prepared, which get you points both for the customer and at the end of the game for the room. Every odd numbered round from 3 on is an emperor track scoring round where you either win a bonus, win nothing, or take a severe penalty. The game ends when the 7th round concludes and the end game points are added to your score overall. As there so many ways to get VP you can try many things in future plays and keep things fresh for yourself.

The bad:

There’s a heavy amount of iconography and yes the book does a splendid job explaining it, but there is so much that multiple people will need to see the book slowing the game at times. The game would be better served with some quick reference sheets (print them up if you can find a good set anywhere) The first time you play this it will be a bit of a challenge to maneuver properly through the myriad system of combos that the cards can grant, but don’t let that deter you

In the end, it is a heavier game than it looks at first, but it is really fun and worth learning if you like a Feld-esque game without the Feld in it.

8
Go to the Tyrants of the Underdark page
7 out of 8 gamers thought this was helpful

Conquer the Underdark by accumulating the best army and spreading your influence to the various Underdark Locations. I have always been a fan of deck builders but lately I want something more from them (for example A Few Acres of Snow) and Tyrants gave me just what I wanted from a deck builder in a market that has plenty to choose from already

Gameplay and replay:

The game is played over multiple turns. Similar to Ascension in execution, you play your hand and buy cards, then take military actions such as deploying your troops, or removing opponents troops or spies from play. You start like in most deck builders with very basic cards that give you either one purchasing power or one military power, but as you purchase more powerful cards the number of purchases and military actions you can take grows. You assert influence in places you have presence, which means you must have a troop adjacent to, or a spy within, the location in question before you can put a troop there. Spies become very essential and you have only 5 to use. They are returned to you if removed from play. Troops are also limited, though you have dozens of them, however when a troop is removed from play by another player, it goes into their trophy case for points at the end of the game. You may also at times (provided you have a card that allows it) promote cards from your deck into your inner circle, they become more valuable for end game scoring, and also act as a means of culling less useful cards from your deck. Controlling areas will grant end game points, and controlling major areas will grant you VP and additional purchase power.

The game ends when one person is out of troops or when you cannot refill the available purchasable cards from the faction deck. Points are then counted from your trophy case, your territories you have control (with a bonus for each location you have total control of), your deck value, your inner circle value, and the number of victory point tokens you get from total control of a major location.

The Bad:

Not much to report here, the worst thing I can say is the insert could separate the cards better (much like a Thunder Stone or Dominon insert does) but that is a nit pick gripe just so I have something to put here. The insert is actually pretty nice otherwise.

Great game, very easy to learn, fun to play but really good tension and player interaction. Give it a whirl!

8
Go to the Terraforming Mars page

Terraforming Mars

18 out of 19 gamers thought this was helpful

Terraforming Mars is a treat once you manage to learn it. An epic task, worthy of your time for sure, but monumental to learn

Gameplay and replay:

The game is played over several rounds where everyone takes turns using their various resources earned at the end of each round to fulfill contracts, alter Mars’ topography into a hospitable planet, preform tasks, or install cities. You build an engine with your actions allowing you to do further actions in subsequent turns until the game ends by getting the right amount of water in the surface, oxygen on the atmosphere, and global temperature. Points are scored for making these 3 things happen, fulfilling certain contracts, installing cities surrounded by greenery, and getting achievements and trophies

Each game get a little better as you better understand the rules. Which brings me to

The bad:

Love the game, hate the poorly written rulebook. Unclear syntax, awkward sentence structure, and a lack at times of clear examples makes for a confusing out of the box learning experience. Not overly fond of the player mats or box insert which falls apart almost as soon as you return the game to the box while the player mats suffer from things getting jostled around on surface where necessary information is too easily

Overall bad box, rulebook, and player mats aside, the game itself is a well put together experience that you will love once you manage to muddle through the poor rulebook

10
Go to the The Castles of Burgundy page
11 out of 18 gamers thought this was helpful

Feld made a ton of great games, but none were better than Castles of Burgundy. Few games can claim that dice are their primary mechanic and still manage to be deep challenging games the way CoB can.

Using a die roll you can take a tile into your board, place it into your kingdom from your board, sell goods, or sell the die roll for workers who can manipulate future die rolls. You’ll need them because what you roll is what you are allowed to do.

I strongly recommend this one to anyone looking to go into their first euro with a more hefty oomph than a gateway game offers

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