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QWERTYmartin's Unabridged Insights On Play
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New to me October 2020

Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Don't fall in love with me yet, we've only recently met
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Chartae - 2 plays -  7 
First Published 2019
Board Game: Chartae


Knizia does it again! This is a really clever game made from just 9 tiles and two rules and over in five minutes. Players take turns to either place or rotate a map tile, one aiming to connect as big a landmass as possible, the other an ocean. Only being able to rotate clockwise and only having two successive turns of rotation allowed pushes the game forward to its conclusion rather than getting bogged down in attrition.

Mapmaker: The Gerrymandering Game - 2 plays -  7 
First Published 2019
Board Game: Mapmaker: The Gerrymandering Game


Felt like good timing for this to appear on BGA - I'd read something about it a while back and was interested to try. Neat little game! Kind of a reverse area majority where the control tokens are all placed already but then the players try to divide them up into areas in the most favourable way. Really does give the feel of gerrymandering ('packing' and 'cracking') with a tiny ruleset.

Merchants of Dunhuang - 2 plays -  7 
First Published 2020
Board Game: Merchants of Dunhuang


Another neat one (dare I say Knizian?). The basic idea is set-collection from a triangular deck (1x1, 2x2, 3x3... 10x10) but with a clever double majority system. For each type of cards you have the majority in between all the players' hands you score one card of that type for its face value. But you also collect cards in front of you on the table and you are only eligible to score as many hand cards as you have majorities on the table. Ideally you'd have high-valued majorities in your hand and low-valued majorities on the table but it doesn't always work out that way.

The set-collection itself is driven by a rondel -- you move a (shared) pawn round to collect a card from a space and then also take the special action associated with that space. The further you want to travel round the rondel, the more it will cost, so there's a money management element too.

I'd assumed it was by a Korean designer (the publisher is Korean) but checking it out afterwards I discovered it was by the Italian Gabriele Bubola who also designed Hats, another game I noted as having Knizian touches. One to watch!

悪魔でお仕事 (Idle Hands) - 1 play -  6 
First Published 2020
Board Game: Idle Hands


Yet another Japanese trick-taker-with-a-twist. This one's mostly about avoiding negative points, which I usually do better at than winning tricks thanks to being brought up on Hearts! The twist is that each player starts with three face-up cards in front of them as well as a hidden hand. When you lead, you choose one of your face-up cards to be the suit to follow, but that card isn't eligible to win the trick. Shenanigans ensue...
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