This avatar stinks!
I remember when the release of New England was the heralding of a major new player in the Euro game publishing business in the U.S. It was a big box game from Goldsieber and this was the first one brought to these shores by someone other than Rio Grande.
It's an auction and tile laying game and it might be the best collaboration between Alan R. Moon and Aaron Weissblum. The game starts off by the players taking turns placing their three starting tiles on the board, which cannot touch another tile. These tiles, and all the others in the game, have two sides: a developed (scored) and undeveloped side. Tiles are always placed on the board with their undeveloped side facing up.
Each turn has three phases. The first phase, the start player determines how many land tiles and cards he wants to make available. Three to six land tiles are drawn and then enough development cards are placed to bring the total number of items available to nine.
The start player then chooses a bidding/order tile between 1 and 10, and then the next player will choose one of the remaining ones, etc., until every player has one. This will determine two things: turn order and costs for cards and tiles. The players will take turns from the highest bidding number chosen to the lowest. Each player may buy zero, one, or two tiles and has to pay an amount equal to their bid chip for each one bought. Tiles and cards must be played when bought.
At the end of their turn, the player puts their bid marker back on the track and collects their income.
Some of the cards cause scoring for the payer which takes them. They flip over the land tiles in a matching shape on the board to score points. Some of the cards are pilgrims, barns, or ships from England which give different advantages.
I haven't played this game in almost six years and, as with all the other games in my Game of the Week posts, it is a shame it has been ignored this long.
What happened last week?
We did play Medici on Saturday using the newest Rio Grande edition. As I said, I replaced the "spice bag" markers with cubes. I forgot that the tiles were a little difficult to deal with and cards would have been a better call. This is especially true when playing with less than six players when some are taken out of the game.
We had four players. Mike and I have played it a fair amount, Michael had played it before, but it had been a long time, and Nico was clueless. So I went over the game, with Mike's help, and we jumped into the high-pressure world of renaissance commodity shipping.
I had what I thought was a bad first day and ended up out of the scoring bonus for the ship value. If I recall correctly, I managed to stay completely out of one good type and just shipped one of another, so I was in first or second for three goods the second and third days, when I also grabbed highest ship value. I ended up winning by a decent amount, but it was lucky because the ship values are so hard to judge when 12 tiles are not blindly removed each day.
I had forgotten that while the game works with four players, it really is best with six and each player removed from the maximum reduces the strategy involved. That's why we need to play these great games more often, so the little things aren't forgotten!
We did get one rule wrong. We said the current player couldn't offer more goods than you could buy, but the rule is the number of goods offered must be purchasable by at least one player. Oh well, I guess we should play again with the right rule?