So it has begun… my list for Essen 2014
Jonas Baert
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An early start this year! After a first visit last year I'm really looking forward to go again this year. So let the preparations begin. Here's my list for Essen 2014!
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1. Board Game: Progress: Evolution of Technology [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:1608]
Jonas Baert
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Description Progress: Evolution of Technology is a card game about researching technologies. Each player takes his civilization from early antiquity and learns various technologies, moving progressively to the Middle Ages, the Industrial Revolution, and Modern Times and ending with today's Internet or Social Welfare.

Unlike other civilization games, Progress focuses on a single aspect of civilization building: researching technologies that help a society advance. The 210 technology cards in the game are divided into three ages (Ancient, Middle Ages, Industrial) and three types (Military, Science and Culture). With every advancement on a path, you gain easier access to its more advanced technologies and you'll end up opening the door to the next age.

Each tech card provides one bonus, which can vary from one extra knowledge to a larger hand size. Even though most tech cards in the game come in multiple copies (usually one per player), the key technologies occur less frequently, forcing players to specialize and granting them unique advantages. Every technology you research decreases the cost of up to three more advanced technologies, accelerating the race towards the end of the game.

The game play is streamlined, with players usually taking two actions, thus making each turn short and ensuring that you use the time when the others are playing for planning rather than seeing it as downtime.

After all these years, I still don't own a civilization-like card game, really glad I backed this one.

Will I buy this? KICKSTARTER - ESSEN PICK-UP
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2. Board Game: Waggle Dance [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:1351]
Jonas Baert
Belgium
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Description Build a beehive, collect nectar and make honey - be efficient, be strategic, outmaneuver your opponents! Waggle Dance is a euro-style worker-placement dice game for 2-4 players (ages 10+), designed by Mike Nudd and published by Grublin Games Publishing.

waggle dance (noun): a series of patterned movements performed by a scouting bee, communicating to other bees of the colony the direction and distance of a food source or hive site. (dictionary.com)

In Waggle Dance, players control worker bees to build their hive, produce more bees, collect nectar, return it to the hive and make honey!

Players need to organise their bees to make as much honey as possible to see the hive through the coming winter. The winner is the first player to successfully create 7 or more honey tokens in their hive.

It’s up to you how to achieve this... Do you focus on nectar collection, increasing your bee population, expanding your hive, seeking favour with the queen or splitting your resources to accomplish all of these? Whatever you choose, the natural world is a competitive environment and you can be sure the other players will be looking to maximise their advantage.

Waggle Dance is designed to be a highly accessible language independent game with a simple rule-sheet appealing to all levels of gamers.

Our gaming group tested the PnP of this game and we all thought it was excellent!

Will I buy this? KICKSTARTER - ESSEN PICK-UP
 
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3. Board Game: Deus [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:301]
Jonas Baert
Belgium
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In Deus, players work to develop their own civilizations in a shared environment. Each player starts the game with five building cards, and on a turn a player either uses one of these cards to construct a building or discard one or more cards to make an offering to a god. Cards come in six colors: red for military, brown for resource production, yellow for trade, blue for scoring, purple for temples, and green for a variety of effects.

When you construct a building, you build it in the appropriate location on the modular game board — which is sized based on the number of players with the hexagonal tiles composed of seven landscape "circles" — then you place the card in your personal tableau in the appropriate stack of colored cards and activate the power of all of those cards already in your tableau, starting with the card at the bottom of the stack.

When you make an offering, you discard cards, then receive the help of a god associated with one of the cards that you discarded, with the number of cards determining the strength of the associated action. You then refill your hand to five cards.

The game ends either when all the barbarian villages on the game board have been surrounded and attacked or when all the temples have been constructed. Whoever has the most points wins.

Pearl Games means instabuy!

Will I buy this? PREORDERED

Booth: 1C-136

http://www.pearlgames.be/page/gb/12/essen-2014
 
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4. Board Game: Fields of Arle [Average Rating:8.17 Overall Rank:55]
Jonas Baert
Belgium
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In the worker placement game Arler Erde, set in the German region of East Frisia, players develop an estate and expand their territory by cutting peat and building dikes.

The game last nine half-years with alternating summer and winter seasons, and each season allows or denies specific player actions. Different and detailed manufacturing processes allow a player to create goods needed to expand her estate. In addition, trades with adjoining municipalities can help a player gain the needed resources or goods for building and expanding.



Uwe Rosenberg - 2 players - 100 minutes...
I'm not a huge fan of Uwe Rosenberg but I like Agricola and definitely Agricola 2 players. So a 2 player with long playing time might be interesting


Due to the long playing time it would probably not find its way to the table that often. But maybe a better purchase than the expansions for agricola 2 players.
EDIT: Definitely a better purchase than the expansions for agricola 2 players


Price at Spiel 2014: 45€ (Z-MAN)
 
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5. Board Game: Akrotiri [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:593]
Jonas Baert
Belgium
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Akrotiri places you in the role of an explorer in Classical Greek times, combing the then-uncharted Aegean sea for lost Minoan temples that have long ago fallen into ruin. You've not only heard of these temples hidden around the island of Thera, but you actually have access to the secret maps that tell you of their hidden locations! Two mountains to the north? A volcano to the west? This *must* be the spot...

But running an expedition can be costly. In order to fund your voyages into the unknown and excavate the anceint temples, you will have to first ship resources found on surrounding islands back to the resource-poor island of Thera.

In Akrotiri players place land tiles in order to make the board match the maps that they have in hand. Players excavate temples - the ones that are harder to find and the ones further away from Thera are worth more towards victory, but the secret goal cards keep everyone guessing who the victor is until the end! May the gods forever bless you with favourable winds!

Akrotiri — part of the Z-Man Games two-player collection — combines tile placement, hand management, and pick-up and delivery.

From the designers of Belfort, which I like very very much comes this 2 players tile laying game. Really interested. Hopefully this will make it to Essen.

Essen release! I guess this is perfect for me & my partner. But still waiting for the rules...

Price at Spiel 2014: 20€
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6. Board Game: Murano [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:830]
Jonas Baert
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Murano the game is set in Murano the place, with Murano being a small group of seven islands near Venice that's well-known by tourists for its glassmaking. As in Venice, the islands of Murano are separated by canals, so gondolas and transportation are at the heart of this game.

The game board depicts the islands of Murano, with the islands being divided up into building sites and walkways. Surrounding the islands is a series of action spaces, with gondolas being present in some number of them at the start of play. On a turn, you move one of the gondolas in the direction of play to an empty space, then take the action shown there. You can't pass another gondola while moving or land in an occupied space, but for a coin you can move a gondola that's in front of the gondola you want to move, and you can pay to move multiple gondolas, if needed.

Some actions place shops on the islands, with shops coming in different types. You mark a shop to show ownership, and when tourists show up later, they will shop at various stores depending on their proximity and the goods they offer. You also need to take actions to move your personal gondolas to islands so that you can take actions there.

Why are you doing all of this activity? To score victory point cards in hand, and actions on the board will let you gain additional VP cards to give you direction to your actions or let you profit from what you've already done.

You can also use some of the buildings to create glassworks, and those glassworks come into play on the VP cards, through tourist sales, and via an action space shown at the bottom of the game board image that lets you sell different types of glass for money.


http://opinionatedgamers.com/2014/09/08/dale-yu-essen-14-pre...

From Markus & Inka "village" Brand comes this games which looks like a good adaption from the rondel mechanism. Interesting!

Very interested in this one but waiting for rules and details.
 
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7. Board Game: Wir sind das Volk! [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:535]
Jonas Baert
Belgium
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1949: Germany, still in ruins from WWII, is split in two, as the Iron Curtain of the Cold War descends. East Germany and West Germany become bitter rivals, each wanting to show its system is superior. Which will reconstruct quicker? Which will make its people happier? Socialism vs Capitalism; collectivism vs individualism - which will triumph?

“Wir sind das Volk!” (“We are the people!” - the main slogan of the East German demonstrators in 1989) recreates the history of the divided Germany, from the Berlin Airlift to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Flowing from how the 84 individually designed action cards are played, each game is different. There are many possible strategies. Will East Germany build the Wall or stem the exodus of its citizens another way?

East vs West: as a player, you take the role of East or West Germany. Use your action cards wisely. Build up your economy and increase the living standards of your people. Don’t fall behind, or you will face widespread unrest. Also win the contest for international prestige. Precise planning is the key to victory. But be careful! Even the best plans may be derailed by events like the 1973 Oil Crisis or the Monday demos. Mass protests, that may seal your fate, are always on the horizon.



I really like King of Siam. Wonderful tense game and playable in only half an hour. Wir sind das Volk is a lot longer (2,5 hours) and 2 players only. But that's not necessarily a drawback if the game can hold the tension. And I definitely like the theme.

€27
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8. Board Game: Nations: Inspiration Promo Pack (2014) [Average Rating:7.38 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.38 Unranked]
Jonas Baert
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Must!
Have!
It!


Not that we have played anything but the base cards but still. Must! Have! It!

edit: will not be available in Essen
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9. Board Game: Helios: Riese und Ballonfahrerin Erweiterung [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked]
Jonas Baert
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10. Board Game: AquaSphere [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:356]
 
Jonas Baert
Belgium
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News from the depths! The AquaSphere is a research facility stationed deep below the ocean's surface, and your skilled team — consisting of an engineer, a scientist, reprogrammable bots and exploratory submarines — is trying to gather as much data as possible.

The game board in AquaSphere has two main areas: A research station comprised of six sectors in which your scientist conducts experiments and a headquarters where your engineer supervises preparation of the bots. During each of the four game rounds, you take several turns, and on each turn you either:

Use your engineer in the headquarters to program a bot; each round you can choose from three of the seven actions.
Have your scientist bring a bot to a sector to perform an action.
Through actions such as improving your lab, sending out submarines, collecting crystals, and examining octopuses, you expand the abilities of your team or gather knowledge points, which are necessary to win. Additional challenges result from the limited size of your lab, which is your personal stock; you can increase the size of your lab, which makes life easier, but this costs valuable time.

AquaSphere is a challenging game of strategy and tactics with different paths to victory that requires planning in advance as well as skillful use of short-term opportunities.



Feld CHECK!
Hall/Pegasus CHECK!
Worker placement CHECK!

It's mine!

Seems that a lot of publishers are gonna release this one. For me it wil probably be the Quined Games one.


After trying to get through the rules & watching Radho's run-through I am enthusiastic but I also have some doubts. Looks like a very good game, but I don't see the "fun" in it. And the fact that is has such a steep learning is certainly not a thumbsup for our gaming group. Also, playing with 2 players looks a bit "meh". So it all depends on the third player in our gaming group. Too early for the final verdict, for now:

Price at Spiel 2014: 38€ / Preorder: 34€
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11. Board Game: The Walled City: Londonderry & Borderlands [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:2824]
Jonas Baert
Belgium
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From empty crossroads to the first signs of a settlement the Walled City is coming to life! Your job is to grow this new city, settling citizens loyal to you alone, as both you and your worthy opponents vie to be declared the first mayor.

Learning to play The Walled City: Londonderry & Borderlands is easy, but the strategies are endless! In the first round you will play cards to build road which divide the city into neighborhoods, then populate them with loyal peasants and nobles who share your view of this new city. In the second round, you will build the wlls themselves and choose which nobles will move into the towers to stand guard over the city as Watchmen. Beware, unfinished roads will combine neighborhoods, and gaps in the walls will cause Nobles to flee the city. Scoring is based on area majority... more neighborhoods loyal to you means more votes towards securing your seat in city council. If you become Mayor, what will your Walled City look like?

There's more to The Walled City than you might have noticed! Inside this box you'll find two complete games, each with its own flavor. Londonderry introduces players to the famous original Guilds of London, each with their own unique power. Just turn the game board over and you'll visit the Borderlands - a completely new map featuring new game mechanics and an extended selection of Guilds to interact with. You can even mix Guild cards between maps! This unique quality leads to uncountable combinations to play with, making The Walled City a place you'll want to visit game after game.

Must read the rules first...

Read the rules & I liked it. Certainly not a must-buy but I like to try it…
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12. Board Game: Doodle City [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:2959]
Jonas Baert
Belgium
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Doodle City is a quick family game of city building. By drawing a network of roads on their play sheet, players are building a city and trying to score points for their hotels, shops and taxis — all while avoiding pollution.

Working out an ideal road network can be quite the puzzle, so before the game begins roads through parks are randomized, making sure that no two games will be alike. Each round, one blue die and one white die more than the number of players are rolled onto the table. The blue die indicates which column the players must use, while each white die indicates a row. In turn each player picks a white die and draws in the given space. In most spaces you draw roads, but in parks you instead build houses. You can draw only once in each space, and if on your turn you cannot draw, you gain pollution.

A building is scored the moment you draw in its space. For example, when you draw a road through a hotel space, you score points equal to the length of the road passing through that hotel. Shops score according to how many houses are currently connected to the shop. There are also bonuses awarded to the first player who connects a shop to a certain number of houses.

The game ends when one player completes the highest possible hotel or shop score, or when a player loses his last tree due to pollution. Final scores are for connected taxis and for having least/most pollution.

Looks fun to play a few times.

Looks like a very fun game, but I still want to play it first…

Price at Spiel 2014: 15€
 
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13. Board Game: ReMatch [Average Rating:7.04 Unranked]
Jonas Baert
Belgium
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ReMatch is a tactical strategy game for two or three players. Players fight a David and Goliath like battle with different armies. Combinatory skills, and anticipating the opponents’ movement will make the difference in this game.

The game is played on a small hex board. One side fights with 4 pieces, the other side with 8 pieces (4 each of two colors). The player with two colors must alternate between them. The pieces move and capture others as in checkers. Capturing is mandatory. The larger army must capture themselves and the smaller army has a special move.

The game ends when all pieces of one side have been captured or a player cannot move.

An abstract for 3 players? Count me in. And it looks beautifully simple. MUST check this out at the booth…
 
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14. Board Game: La Granja [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:113]
Jonas Baert
Belgium
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In La Granja, 1-4 players control small farms by the Alpich pond near the village of Esporles on Majorca.
During the course of the game, the players try to steadily expand their farms into the mighty country estate La Granja. They also seek to deliver goods to the village. Here, speed is everything.
La Granja is a fascinating game that requires careful planning. Successful players must learn to cope with the imponderability of the dice and cards as well.

The player who has earned the most victory points at the end of the game is the winner and new owner of the La Granja estate!

Way too expensive for a boardgame! Hate it when a publisher uses "a limited edition" just to justify a high price. If it had a regular price I would be interested. For now I can only say thumbsdown

Spielworxx's website says: "Es gibt jedoch (vage) Anfragen von Partnern, das Spiel ggf. 2015 neu aufzulegen." Hopefully the game becomes available again at a regular price.
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15. Board Game: Castles of Mad King Ludwig [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:80]
Jonas Baert
Belgium
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In the tile-laying game Castles of Mad King Ludwig, players are tasked with building an amazing, extravagant castle for King Ludwig II of Bavaria...one room at a time. You see, the King loves castles, having built Neuschwanstein (the castle that inspired the Disney theme park castles) and others, but now he's commissioned you to build the biggest, best castle ever — subject, of course, to his ever-changing whims. Each player acts as a building contractor who is adding rooms to the castle he's building while also selling his services to other players.

In the game, each player starts with a simple foyer. One player takes on the role of the Master Builder, and that player sets prices for a set of rooms that can be purchased by the other players, with him getting to pick from the leftovers after the other players have paid him for their rooms. When a room is added to a castle, the player who built it gains castle points based on the size and type of room constructed, as well as bonus points based on the location of the room. When a room is completed, with all entranceways leading to other rooms in the castle, the player receives one of seven special rewards.

After each purchasing round, a new player becomes the Master Builder who sets prices for a new set of rooms. After several rounds, the game ends, then additional points are awarded for achieving bonus goals, having the most popular rooms, and being the most responsive to the King's demands, which change each game. Whoever ends up with the most castle points wins.



I do like tile laying games, and this one looks promising.

It will probably be picked up by someone else in my playing group.
 
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16. Board Game: El Gaucho [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:1416]
Jonas Baert
Belgium
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For now we have only the El Gaucho title and the brief information given elsewhere on this page.

I read the rules, a not to heavy game. Scoring reminds me of Lost Cities & Keltis the Card Game. Which I like. But it 's another game which uses action selection with dice. So it looks like a good game, but it's probably not different enough to find a place in my collection. But I give it an extra half star for the fence.
 
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17. Board Game: Five Tribes [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:51]
Jonas Baert
Belgium
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Lead the Tribes and Take Control of Naqala

Crossing into the Land of 1001 Nights, your caravan arrives at the fabled Sultanate of Naqala. The old sultan just died and control of Naqala is up for grabs! The oracles foretold of strangers who would maneuver the Five Tribes to gain influence over the legendary city-state. Will you fulfill the prophecy? Invoke the old Djinns and move the Tribes into position at the right time, and the Sultanate may become yours!

Designed by Bruno Cathala, Five Tribes builds on a long tradition of German-style games that feature wooden meeples. Here, in a unique twist on the now-standard “worker placement” genre, the game begins with the meeples already in place – and players must cleverly maneuver them over the villages, markets, oases, and sacred places tiles that make up Naqala. How, when, and where you dis-place these Five Tribes of Assassins, Elders, Builders, Merchants, and Viziers determine your victory or failure.

As befitting a Days of Wonder game, the rules are straightforward and easy to learn. But… devising a winning strategy will take a more calculated approach than our standard fare. You need to carefully consider what moves can score you well and put your opponents at a disadvantage. You need to weigh many different pathways to victory, including the summoning of powerful Djinns that may help your cause as you attempt to control this legendary Sultanate.

Five Tribes is for 2 to 4 players, ages 13 and older and takes approximately 40-80 minutes to play. The game is expected to be available in limited quantities at Gencon in August, and then from game retailers worldwide in September at an expected retail price of $60/€54.

I have played many Cathala games, and I think there are a lot of good ones. But most of the time I find them too abstract. So it's one to try out first.

€54... Seriously?
 
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18. Board Game: Black Fleet [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:634]
Jonas Baert
Belgium
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Pirates, merchants, and even the occasional captain of a Navy ship all seek glory and fortune on the Caribbean seas!

In the easy-to-play, tactical card-driven board game Black Fleet, you're in command of three different types of ships: your merchant ship earns you doubloons by conveying goods from one port to another, your pirate ship by attacking and stealing goods from merchants and burying them on islands, and the Navy ships by sinking your opponents' pirate ships. With your (not-always-honestly-won) money, you'll improve your ships by buying advancement cards, giving you powerful additional abilities.

Outwit your opponents with fortune cards and combos, earn money faster than they do, and pay the ransom for the governor's daughter to win the game!



Don't know why but it just looks fun!

The components are gorgeous but I'm not really into pirate games. Will try to convince someone else in my playing group to pick this up
 
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19. Board Game: Eminent Domain: Microcosm [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1894]
Jonas Baert
Belgium
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The galaxy just got a whole lot smaller...

Two mighty empires are about to collide. Play your cards right and become the ultimate ruler of this microcosm!

Eminent Domain: Microcosm is a quick-playing two-player card game which brings you all the thrill of building a space empire in just 15-20 minutes. Each turn you take a card into your hand from the supply, then you either play a card and carry out its instructions, or pick up your discard pile to refill your hand. Each card also has a scoring condition on it, and to win you'll want to maximize those conditions.

As in the grandfather game Eminent Domain, actions you take can be "boosted" by revealing other cards sharing the same icon. Colonize and attack planets, do research, and take advantage of politics to score the most influence by the end of the game!

Not really my theme, and I haven't played the Eminent Domain either but worth checking out.
 
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20. Board Game: Eminent Domain: Battlecruisers [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:3059]
Jonas Baert
Belgium
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Giant warships locked in battle...

Captain a mighty battlecruiser in the middle of a firefight as you try to gather 15 units of precious ore and get out — or die trying.

In Eminent Domain: Battlecruisers, you want to be the first to escape with 15 victory points, or be the last ship standing. Each round you and your opponents each play a card from your identical hands. If you play the same card as an opponent, you'll clash and bad things will happen! But if you manage to sneak a card through unhindered, then you'll reap the benefits.

Collect points or knock cards out of your opponents' hands. If you lose all of your cards, then you're out of the running. At the end of each round, check to see whether any player has won; if not, prepare to play another card!

Not really my theme, and I haven't played the Eminent Domain either but worth checking out.
 
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21. Board Game: Versailles [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:2658]
Jonas Baert
Belgium
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The palace and gardens of Versailles, finalized under the rule of Louis XIV of France, are an architectural marvel of the world. In Versailles, players take the roles of architects and interior designers, working together to build and decorate the ensemble of Versailles, competing for the favor of the King. Players take turns moving one worker from a building site to an adjacent one, activating all the workers in the new location.

Despite simple rules, players develop complex strategies, gathering resources, building the puzzle-like palace, designing impressive decorations and learning new skills, all while waiting for the arrival of his Majesty.



Another castle builder! From the creator of Praetor & Progress here's another game which uses Worker Placement, Tile-Laying & Point-To-Point Movement.

Read the rules, but I need to take a closer look.
 
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22. Board Game: Bruxelles 1893 [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:251]
Jonas Baert
Belgium
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Why on earth did I not buy this last year? Great game!
 
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23. Board Game: Helios [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:1343]
Jonas Baert
Belgium
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Watched the reviews, like it a lot!
 
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24. Board Game: Power Grid: Northern Europe/United Kingdom & Ireland [Average Rating:7.94 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.94 Unranked]
Jonas Baert
Belgium
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Funkenschlag's only map I still need.
 
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25. Board Game: Finca: El Razul [Average Rating:6.99 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.99 Unranked]
Jonas Baert
Belgium
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Great game. I hope the Spielbox where this expansion was included with is still available.
 
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