W. Eric MartinUnited States
Edition Spielwiese debuted at SPIEL '16 with Cottage Garden, a tile-laying game reminiscent of designer Uwe Rosenberg's earlier two-player game Patchwork, but one with unique challenges that allowed for both solitaire play and games with up to four players.
Edition Spielwiese followed this first release with Rosenberg's Indian Summer at SPIEL '17, and now for 2018 the company is closing out this tile-laying trilogy with Spring Meadow, which will actually debut in July, not in October at SPIEL '18. Here's an overview of the game from the publisher:Quote:The first delicate flowers herald the end of a harsh winter. The sun shines longer day by day and pushes the snow back. Lush meadows bloom, and curious marmots slowly awaken from hibernation. Finally, spring is coming into the mountains — the perfect time for a hike. Choose your route carefully, watch out for the burrows of the marmots, and pack enough snacks. Your chances to earn an edelweiss hiking pin are rather low if you sit hungry in the snow.In more detail, players draft tiles from a central board as in Cottage Garden, but with the board being 5x5 instead of 4x4. You choose one of the tiles in the row where the signpost is located, place the tile on your board, then move the signpost. When the signpost starts on a line that contains only one meadow tile, the scoring is triggered. To determine your score, count the number of completely filled rows from the bottom of your board, stopping at your first incompletely filled row; spaces in that row also count as points, but any filled rows above this one are ignored.
The complexity of Spring Meadow — the most interactive of the trilogy — is set in between those two games, and fans of the trilogy will find familiar elements combined in an innovative way.
Place your meadow tiles with 0-2 holes skillfully on your mountain board to receive extra tiles when creating or expanding groups of holes. Find your way around the burrows of the marmots because they can restrict you during tile placement. Scoring takes place depending on the players' selection of meadow tiles from a central game board. Whoever has the largest meadow during a scoring receives a hiking pin, and the first player to earn their second hiking pin during scoring wins.
New puzzle challenges are guaranteed with 172 tiles in 49 shapes.
Says Edition Spielwiese's Michael Schmitt, "Spring Meadow is the most strategic game of the trilogy as it allows the players to go for either a short-term or a long-term strategy. The first player who wins two scorings (and thereby earns two hiking pins) wins, so there is a trade-off between an early game rush or the preparation for later scoring advantages."
When placing a tile, you can earn extra tiles by creating groups of holes on your mountain board or by extending these groups. The maximum size of the extra tile depends on the number of holes in a group.
Your individual mountain board starts with a number of marmot burrows on it, and these burrows count as covered spaces when determining whether a row is completely filled. At the start of the game, you cannot place a meadow tile over a burrow, but if you place a tile so that you can see the burrow through the hole in this tile, then this counts as a cleared burrow, which allows you to cover a burrow on a future turn. To represent this, you take a marmot token from the supply, and when you do place a tile so that it covers a burrow, you place the marmot token on the already cleared burrow. Pop goes the marmot!
During a scoring, cleared burrows are worth one point each, but the winner of a scoring must cover all of their cleared burrows with marmots. Says Schmitt, "These burrows add more choices and restrictions for the players. You can always puzzle around them, but you can also use them to your advantage."
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