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Belfort

Sean Johnson
United States
North Judson
Indiana
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Board Game: Belfort


Our original plan was not to buy or get any new games so we can finish playing through all of our games. However, right before we started our "We Are Almost Done" contest, we were able to make a really good trade for this game. I had played this game about a year ago, and I liked it fairly decently. Based on other games we have liked and played this year and my memory of Belfort, I thought this would be a game we would both enjoy. So are we going to build Belfort up or tear it down?

Game Overview
In Belfort players are trying to score points through building up the fictional town of Belfort. Players will collect resources, use those resources to build buildings in one of five districts, and then score points for having a majority control in those districts.

The game is played over seven turns. At the beginning of each turn players will take turn placing their workers in various spots. Players have Dwarf workers and Elf Workers. These workers can be placed at one of the guild halls (there are five and they change each game). The guilds provide powerful abilities, but cost a coin to use. Workers can be placed to recruit more workers. As players build buildings, some of these buildings will have locations where a worker can be placed for certain abilities. Workers can also be placed to change turn order, and finally they can be placed to collect resources. There are four resources. Only elves can collect wood, only dwarves can collect stone, a set of both is needed for silver, and either can get money.

Once players collect order, the collect resources, turn order may change, players collect money from built buildings, and then they pay taxes. The more points a player has the more they pay in taxes. Next players take their turn. On their turn a player can do several things. They may activate workers placed in guild halls or on buildings. They may build new buildings from their hand by paying the required materials cost. When a building is built the card goes in front of a player, and then a marker of that players color is put on one of the corresponding buildings in one of the five districts. A player may hire one gnome. Gnomes are limited and are needed to unlock the abilities on certain buildings. Players may also once a turn buy one resource and sell one resource. Finally, players may pay one money to get another building card.

Once all players have taken their turn, there may be a scoring phase. There are three scoring phases during the game. During one of these phases each district is scored. The player with the most of their markers gets five points, second gets 3 points, and in a four player game third gets 1 point. Players then score their workers. The player with the most in each elves, dwarves, and gnomes gets three points. Second gets 1 point.

The game ends after the seventh round and the player with the most points is the winner.

The Game We Played
In a two player game, there are two other colors that players have limited control of. Each turn a player will place one of the other colors in one of the building spots, and fill up one of the guild hall options. This makes it so that a two player game is scored like a 4 player game.

As we got into the game, I diversified my districts on the round right be for scoring, and this allowed me to jump into a point lead. We quickly realized the power of gnomes, especially given their limitation. This created a bit of a gnomes arm race as we wanted to get them all. I was able to use the ability of the tower building to get ahead of my wife though, and get the majority of gnomes.

I really focused on buildings. In doing so, I focused on getting resources. My wife diversified a bit more, and managed to collect more workers. On the second scoring round, I widened my lead some. This was problematic though, because this bumped me into a higher tax bracket. I did not really have the needed economy to do this, and for the last couple of turns I found myself very limited. Money is needed to do a lot of actions, and I did not have any. My wife was able to use make up grounds in districts, and she got a clear majority in having the different workers (except gnomes).

When we entered the final scoring phase, she scored more points than I did and really decreased the score gap, but she fell just short of overtaking me. I won with a final score of 46 to 42.

Our Thoughts
My Rating: 4 (like it)
My Thoughts: I really like how this game blends several different mechanism common to euro games together. I tend to be a fan of using workers to collect resources, and then using those resources to build things. Most games stop there, but I really like how this game adds the area control aspect. I like that points are not based on just how efficient players are, but it is based on direct competition for control of areas. This game has the sense where there is never quite enough time or stuff to do everything. This adds tension, but the game never has a foreboding feeling. Each turn offers multiple interesting decisions, and the random placement of the guild halls each turn ensures a decent level of replayability.

Her Rating: 4 (like it)
Her Thoughts: I do like worker placement and resource games. This game does have a good deal of advance planning at the beginning of the turn, but it felt manageable to me. I like the challenge of figuring out the best move to make each turn, but unlike other games I did not find the options overwhelming.

Verdict
Combined Rating: 8
It turns out that my thoughts on this game were right, and it gets added to our list of favorite games. I think the last time we added a worker placement euro to that list, I commented that I thought we do not need another one. Only time will tell if we will continue to like and play all of these games, or if in games of that style we just have too many games.
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Subscribe sub options Sat Oct 20, 2012 8:09 pm
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