sean johnson(SeanXor)United States
Last year I turned 30. Right around this same time last year, my wife asked what I might want for my birthday, and I told her a box of games. Which is exactly what I got One of the game's in that box was Glen More. This lighter weight euro game seemed to be the kind of game we would both like. So was this game a good gift or did it turn out to be a bust?
Glen More is a tile laying game with a very neat mechanic for turn order. The theme of the game is 1600s era Scotish Clans increasing their holdings. or typical euro game stuff. In Glen More players will be moving a meeple around a board. that has various tiles on it. A player is free to go to whichever tile they want. When a player moves to a tile they take it and place it as part of the tiles in front of them. To place a tile it must be legally placed, which means if it has a road/river it stays connected and it is placed adjacent to a meeple that is occupying another tile. When a tile is placed, the placed tile and all tiles adjacent to it are activated. Players can activate these tiles in any order. The abilities tiles provide are varied. Many produce basic resources, while others allow these resources to be turned into victory points or even whiskey barrels. Some tiles allow players to move their meeples on the tiles around, or remove them from the board and make them a chief. After a player is done, the next player will go. However, the way turn order is determined is great. Whichever player is in the back of the line, goes next. So jumping towards the end of the available tiles means a player gets the tile the want, but they will also have to wait a while to play again. There are three special scoring phases where players are scored on how many whiskey barrels they have, how many special tiles they have (mostly castles and lochs), and how many chiefs they have. There is special scoring at the end, and a "land tax" so players who hung towards the back of the line, got more turns than others, and have a ton of tiles in play will be penalized. There are some other details like a interesting market mechanic, but hopefully the basic idea has been communicated. Whoever has the most points wins.
The Game We Played
One of the neat things with Glen More is it scales well. In a 2 or 3 player game there is a die that is treated like another player. When the die is at the back of the line, it is rolled and will move 1, 2, or 3 tiles forward. Whatever tile the die ends on is removed form the game. This die speeds the game up, and in a 2 or 3 player game adds a level of unpredictably and uncertainty. We both pursued different strategies. My wife went with a very production heavy strategy. She produced goods, and then turned them into victory points using an Annual Fair and Butcher. This became extremely effective when she got Loch Ness, which is a powerful tile that allows a player to activate one tile of their choice every turn. After getting the Loch she was getting five points with the Fair every time she had a turn. Meanwhile, I pursued a strategy of focusing on the end phase scoring categories. In Glen More how many points one gets for these items are in relation to other players. So if for example, I only have one more Whiskey barrel than the player with the least then I will get only one point. However, if I have five more I will get 8 points. This strategy worked well for me, because at the end of the last phase I got 19 points. The deciding factor was that my wife realized that she was on her last turn. The amount of goods that can be sold to the market is limited by demand and she sold out her goods making it possible for me to sell any excess goods. At the end of the game coins are worth points, and the coins she got from this sell off is what made the difference. It turned out we each had an equal amount of tiles so no one lost points from the land tax. My wife won 59 to 52.
My Rating: 4 (like it)
My Thoughts: I really like the uniqueness of this game. I like that Glen More mixes strategic play and tactical play really well. A player needs to have a long term strategy, but each turn offers interesting short term choices that have an impact on the overall strategy. I also love the Scottish theme. Six years ago my wife and I went to Scotland. The special tiles are named after real Lochs and Castles. As it turns out, we visited most of these locations, so it is always fun to acquire someplace like Castle Stalker and think I've been there!
Her Rating: 3.5 (it's OK)
Her Thoughts: I think the "dummy player" die works really well, and it is the best game with a dummy player that I have played. I get frustrated that sometimes I am unsure what to do in the game. The reason I like this game the most though is that it is set in Scotland.
Combined Rating: 7.5
This game falls just short of being an instant classic for us. However, it is a game we both consider good. For me, this game is a prime example of one that we do not play enough because it gets lost in the crowd. Because we love the theme, we will be keeping this game for sure. I also hope that once we finish this project Glen More will be a game that gets more plays.