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Subject: Could this be the start of a spatial relationship? rss

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Matt
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Isn’t Gonzaga a sort of cheese?

No, the Gonzaga family ruled part of northern Italy for nearly five hundred years, losing control to the Hapsburgs from Austria in 1708.

What is the aim of the game?


Players build fiefdoms across Europe to stake a claim on harbours and cities, while also trying to complete secret missions.

How long does it take to play?

The game lasts 7-12 rounds, which works out at a playing time of about 20 minutes per player.

What are all those retro-coloured plastic hex tiles that remind me of Blockbusters?

Sorry, there’s no "I’ll have a P, Bob" in this game. The plastic components are fiefs comprising of multiple linked hexagons, some with castles.

What do you do with them?


A round starts with each player drawing a fief card from their individual deck; each fief card depicts one of twelve fiefs that they must then place on the board. Some of the fiefs are similar, so finding the one that exactly matches the card drawn can take a bit of time at first.

So I take my fief (whatever that is) and place it on the board?


A fief is a tenure of land subject to feudal obligations. To place your fief each player secretly chooses both a region card and an action card, and then reveals them simultaneously. At least one hex of the fief must lie in the chosen region, and the action card determines whether a player must play the fief on harbours or cities or a mixture of both.

I guess that if I place my fief over a city or harbour I score points?


Yes, you score points for covering cities and harbours, for connecting at least three harbours that share the same symbol, and for setting aside your fief as a donation to the church. You also earn points at the end of the game for the player with the longest connection of individual fief tiles.

See, so it is like Blockbusters?

The twist is that the cards you play are set aside for the next turn, thereby forcing you to switch regions and actions as you place fiefs.

Anything else?

Players can use one of the cards to form an alliance. This allows them to place one or two of six individual fief rings on the board, even on spaces that another player has already claimed. These rings can also be spent to help ensure that you get the first turn in a round - useful if you have reason to believe that an opponent may block your proposed move.

When does the game end?

The game ends after twelve rounds or after a certain number of cities and harbours have been covered. Then players reveal their secret missions and score bonus points based on the number of cities that they have covered that match the symbols on the mission card.

How does the game scale?

It scales really well, the number of active regions vary based on the number of players and the scenario tile drawn at the start of the game. This helps ensure that the game is always a tight battle for area control.

Any faults?

Since the next fief tile to play is determined by card draw it is difficult to make any long term plans, this random element may annoy some players. The biggest concern is that the in 3 or 4 player games some players may be in direct competition to complete their secret missions whilst other players may be unopposed.

Will I enjoy playing?

The biggest barrier to enjoyment is the spatial aspect of the game, figuring out where to place a fief can be tough if you haven’t got the brain for it. Furthermore, since you want to keep you placement options secret you cannot simply place the fief on the board to see if it fits, you have to carry out the spatial contortions in your head. Having said that, my own spatial skills are not that great and I still enjoy the game. It helps if you have understanding opponents who are prepared to give you an extra couple of minutes to think things through.

Overall opinion?

This is an abstract game with a paper thin theme that has nevertheless been excellently produced. The map, cards and plastic fiefs are all excellent, filling the box to the brim. The fiefs certainly give the game an original feel and I found the game to be deeper and cleverer than is first apparent. Unless the spatial element real puts you off then this overlooked game is certainly worth tracking down.
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Paolo Desalvo
Italy
Country area north of Rome
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I'm a feder-allergic and I blame the Klingon for not having smashed the Federation in time to save us from Star Trek serials.
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And the relationships can be stronger if you join YouPlay.It to play it. Look to a part of the many games there are in progres, not to talk of the ended ones!

I wait you, wwscrispin, danwojciechowski and Ursus_Major there to play with the fellows.
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Dan Wojciechowski
United States
Aurora
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Thanks for the good review. Your opinions relfect mine after the one chance I had to play. I would like to clarify one thing, though. Gonzaga is definitely not a cheese (though if it were, I would try it). Gonzaga is a small college on the West Coast of the USA with a reputation for having a strong NCAA Division 1 Men's Basketball Team. Just thought you should know.
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Dan Wojciechowski
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BlackSheeper wrote:
And the relationships can be stronger if you join YouPlay.It to play it. Look to a part of the many games there are in progres, not to talk of the ended ones!

I wait you, wwscrispin, danwojciechowski and Ursus_Major there to play with the fellows.


Thanks, for the tip. I don't play much on-line, but I'll try to look into it.
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Paolo Desalvo
Italy
Country area north of Rome
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I'm a feder-allergic and I blame the Klingon for not having smashed the Federation in time to save us from Star Trek serials.
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danwojciechowski wrote:
BlackSheeper wrote:
And the relationships can be stronger if you join YouPlay.It to play it. Look to a part of the many games there are in progres, not to talk of the ended ones!

I wait you, wwscrispin, danwojciechowski and Ursus_Major there to play with the fellows.


Thanks, for the tip. I don't play much on-line, but I'll try to look into it.
I think you will like the site.
Hallow, I wait you too. goo
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Tom Flatt
Canada
Whitecourt
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#1 Great review! This is a very "spatial" game, it is one of our favorites!

#2 Brilliant title for your review!
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John McD
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I only read this review cause the title was so awesome.
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Paolo Desalvo
Italy
Country area north of Rome
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I'm a feder-allergic and I blame the Klingon for not having smashed the Federation in time to save us from Star Trek serials.
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BlackSpy wrote:
I only read this review cause the title was so awesome.
This means that the writer got its target. ninja
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Jeff Shoot
United States
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Great review! And not just the title...

IMHO this is one of the best written, easiest-to-follow reviews I've read. The Q & A format works well and you cover so many aspects in a very enjoyable style. Just enough humor as well. (Or should I spell it "humour"?)cool

A few more things:

1) I so appreciate the "20 minute per PLAYER" comment. Don't know why more game reviewers and/or game publishers don't put it that way, when it matters.
I realize for some games, it may be irrelevant, but it makes a huge difference in others! (And for me, available time often determines what I get to play!)

2) I see Gonzaga ranked as a "Family Game". Perhaps you covered the issues without specifying age, but I was wondering if you have played it with younger children, and what issues may come up.

3) You mention the "competing missions" aspect. Would this game make any sense without the "missions"? I was thinking of playing this with a younger child who might not handle this well.

Thanks again for a great review!
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Matt
United Kingdom
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Many thanks for the kind comments.

I've played this a couple of times with my 10 year old daughter, she picked up the rules and mission objectives with no problem. However, she did struggle with the spatial element - I guess this is down to an intrinsic trait rather than to do with her age.

Overall, the game didn't go down too well with her (her current favourite is Samurai).

I guess you could play without the mission cards for the first game or two.

I'd definitely recommend giving it a try - maybe try a couple of online games?
 
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Jeff Shoot
United States
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You're quite welcome! I'm no expert but it's amazing how many of these reviews I have read... and they have saved me from purchasing something I would not enjoy, or introduced me to games I do!

Thank you for your quick reply... and now I need to check out "Samurai" too! (Did you mean the one by Reiner Knizia? If that's her favorite, I'm impressed!)
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Paolo Desalvo
Italy
Country area north of Rome
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I'm a feder-allergic and I blame the Klingon for not having smashed the Federation in time to save us from Star Trek serials.
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About teaching to youngs you che read the thread Simplified Versions in which Nick, even ifI continue to say that he should have used 'uncle' Guglielmo to do the work.
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