Very interesting and pretty abstract area influence game. The king moves around the circle of territories under player control. Each place he visits gets resolved. The winner places a tower and merges the territory with any neighboring territories with their towers. Very tense, but a bit chaotic at the end.
I don't care as much about retaining the original theme as I do about retaining the game itself. If it ends up being FFG-ized (500 indistinguishable plastic figures and tokens, decks of command cards, simple rules disguised as complex rules), then I'm not interested.
A lot of game for such a small package. This game is unique in that it has a two-tier "election" system. The bottom tier is area influence, and the winners of those 7 areas get to vote for the results of the top tier. There's a lot of potential for screwage and leader bashing, but is really a blast if you don't mind thinking.
Players are trying to maximize their party's political control in Germany. Elections are held in 7 regions. Each region resolves itself over 4 turns and is offset from the previous region by 1 turn. Regions are scored partly based on each party's popularity there. Popularity is a dynamic graph similar to a stock chart. Players attempt to cash in their "meetings" when the graph is high so as to score as many votes as possible. This is complicated by the fact that players can change their party's stand on the issues each turn, and by the fact that the stance of a region on the issues is only revealed one new issue per turn.
So you need to find a balance between your party's issues and the 7 constantly (but slowly) changing regional issue sets. If you max out the current region which is about the hold the election, then you may have almost no sway at all in the next one. But maybe it's worth it. Winning an election gives you a big boost on the national charts, and let's you sway opinions...
Tile laying, but the tiles are wooden blocks. Feels like playing chicken. You must grab the palaces when they get big enough. If you grab too soon, you get few points. If you wait too long, someone else grabs them. The additional mechanics of the villagers and walls gives some extra tension to the game.
One player is the Detective, and the other player is Jack the Ripper. There are 8 characters on the board. One of them is Jack, but his identity is unknown to the Detective. Both players have partial control over all the characters. To win, the Detective must accuse Jack within 8 turns. In order to do this, he must correctly deduce Jack's identity, then get another character to Jack's location. Jack wins if he escapes the city, if he remains unaccused after 8 turns, or if the Detective falsely accuses the wrong character. Jack may only escape if he was not witnessed on the previous turn. Through control of the characters available, their positions, the careful movement of street lamps, manhole covers, and roadblocks, the players play a cat-and-mouse game of risk, bluffing, and wit.
Great game. Typical Alea physical quality, which is to say okay. The cardboard coins, VP counters, and messages are really too thin. The main boards are much thicker but also too thin. The purple cubes are too close to the black cubes. The "red" message counters are barely orange.
Rating based 1 play. Sort of a 1-dimensional version of E&T, except that the river winds back on itself in some places making some spaces adjacent that wouldn't normally be. Some luck of the draw, but being able to use any card to reinforce a knight in play (as long as it's not adjacent to an opponent's knight) makes this game work nicely.
This game stands on its own while giving some feel of Puerto Rico. Setup is minimal (shuffle a deck of cards), so it's much easier to bring out if you feel lazy. A little heavy on luck, but light enough that it doesn't matter so much.
Own it but have only played online. As the game progresses, the AP gets a little daunting. I tend to want to calculate out the current score in order to decide what to do. My rating may drop a little over time. Definitely use the "all cards in hand" variant if you don't like the luck element.