2013 Golden Elephant Award- Heavy Game of the Year!
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Back in November of 2014, the Heavy Cardboard guys released their inaugural Golden Elephant Heavy Game of the Year Award for 2013. Finding many of the major awards neglecting this part of the hobby gaming world, we decided, last year, to create our own. If you have a problem w/ something, come with a solution and this is that solution.

Have a listen and tell us if we got it right, wrong, or your thoughts!


2013 Golden Elephant Discussion (click to listen)

2014 Golden Elephant Discussion (click to listen)
2014 Golden Elephant Award- Heavy Game of the Year!


Winner: Madeira

1st Runners-Up:

Both: Craftsmen

2nd Runners-Up:

Edward: Wildcatters - Tony: Bora Bora

3rd Runners-Up:

Edward: Cuba Libre - Tony: The Capitals

4th Runners-Up:

Edward: Rolling Stock - Tony: Wildcatters
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1. Board Game: Madeira [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:299]
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Designer: Nuno Sentiero & Paulo Soledade

Publisher: What's Your Game?

Synopsis:
Quote:
Madeira is an island officially discovered early in the 15th century by Portuguese seafarers. Madeira, the Portuguese word for wood, refers to the dense forest that covered its wild, fertile landscape. This, and its strategic position far into the Atlantic Ocean made the island one of the most significant Portuguese discoveries. Madeira served as a “laboratory” for what would become the Portuguese Empire.

Wheat plantations were the first means for survival on the island. After that, when D. Henrique decided to increase the economy of the Empire, sugar became the core business of Madeira. Once sugar started coming from other places in the world, such as Africa and Brazil, profits from sugar were no longer enough, and production of the very famous Madeira wine became the most important economic product of the island.

Players try to adapt themselves to these constraints, working to find better fields for farming the right goods and for obtaining precious wood, essential for erecting new structures in the cities and for building ships. In turn, the ships are crucial for trading in foreign markets, as well as for taking part in new expeditions to discover other countries.
Madeira has been established just as it was in the original administrative division of the island under 3 captaincies (Funchal, Machico, and Porto Santo), where the ultimate goal is to develop the Island, gaining the most prestige under and for the Portuguese Crown.

The Crown of Portugal has a series of requests regarding expeditions, urbanization, opening trade routes, increasing wealth, and controlling the guilds on the islands. Three times during the game, the players gain prestige for fulfilling certain requests by the Crown. At two other times, the Crown requests that the islands change the focus of their agriculture due to the changes in the world.

Players must carefully choose the correct timing to show their achievements. Too early and you don’t gain as much prestige, too late and you risk someone else stealing the best opportunities. Will you have what it takes to excel in all of these endeavors?
Beware, wheat may become scarce, money is never enough, the population is hungry, and the shadow of piracy looms large….
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2. Board Game: Craftsmen [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:3384]
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Designer: Krzysztof Matusik

Publisher: G3

Synopsis:
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A long, long time ago in a distant kingdom, there was a town, a town so small that the cartographers in the kingdom did not bother to put it on any of their maps.

The mayor of the city decided to change this. He sent messengers all around the kingdom to announce that a skillful, smart and experienced entrepreneur was needed to elevate the economy of this small town. The price for this effort would be a memorial on the main square of the town, eternal glory, and the satisfaction from a job well done.

Years passed before the candidates finally reached the city. The mayor had never been happier, but he didn't know which of the entrepreneurs would be most suitable for the position, so he decided to give each of them a chance to prove that he was the long-awaited entrepreneur. Each of the candidates received five helpers who were admittedly not very bright, but who were certainly loyal and obedient. They have three years to prove their craftsmanship and skill, and after this time, the mayor will decide which candidate most deserves the honorable position.

In Craftsmen, players try to gain appreciation points by building production buildings, creating connections between these buildings, producing raw materials and consumption goods, or buying them outright. They can also gain points by sending produced goods to the farthest parts of the world. In the end, whoever has the most appreciation points wins.
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3. Board Game: Wildcatters [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:1394]
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Designer: Rold Sagel & Andre Spil

Publisher: RASS Games

Synopsis:
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Wildcatters is a tactical and strategic board game set during the booming business of the 19th century oil industry!

The players are oil barons who develop oil fields; bid for oil rights; and build rigs, oil tankers, trains, and refineries. Your goal is to deliver more oil barrels to the continents than the other players while also collecting more shares and money then them.

The game lasts seven rounds with four players, and the game set-up is the same for each player, with three rigs, two trains, one tanker and one refinery being placed on the board. The game board features a world map divided into eight areas where you can find oil. Players choose an open area card and get money to build rigs, tankers, trains and refineries, after which they can buy oil actions. The players work together in an oilfield to find oil at a lower cost. The players transport oil together to the refineries, using trains and tankers from other players to deliver oil to the refineries – and all with one purpose: deliver more oil then the other players by the end of the game.
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4. Board Game: Bora Bora [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:162]
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Designer: Stefan Feld

Publisher: alea

Synopsis:
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In Bora Bora, players use dice to perform a variety of actions using careful insight and tactical planning. The heart of the game is its action resolution system in which 5-7 actions are available each round, the exact number depending on the number of players. Each player rolls three dice at the start of the round, then they take turns placing one die at a time on one action. Place a high number on an action, and you'll generally get a better version of that action: more places to build, more choices of people to take, better positioning on the temple track, and so on. Place a low number and you'll get a worse action – but you'll possibly block other players from taking the action at all as in order to take an action you must place a die on it with a lower number than any die already on the action.

Three task tiles on a player's individual game board provide some direction as to what he might want to do, while god tiles allow for special actions and rule-breaking, as gods are wont to do. The player who best watches how the game develops and uses the most effective strategy will prevail.
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5. Board Game: Cuba Libre [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:499]
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Designer: Volko Ruhnke & Jeff Grossman

Publisher: GMT Games

Synopsis:
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In December 1956, paroled rebel Fidel Castro returned to Cuba to launch his revolution with virtually no political base and—after a disastrous initial encounter with government forces—a total of just 12 men. Two years later, through masterful propaganda and factional maneuver, Castro, his brother Raúl, and iconic revolutionary Che Guevara had united disparate guerrillas and exploited Cubans’ deep opposition to their dictator Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar. Castro’s takeover of the country became a model for Leftist insurgency.

Castro’s Insurgency

Following up on GMT Games’ Andean Abyss about insurgency in modern Colombia, the next volume in the COIN Series, Cuba Libre, takes 1 to 4 players into the Cuban Revolution. Castro’s “26 July Movement” must expand from its bases in the Sierra Maestra mountains to fight its way to Havana. Meanwhile, anti-communist student groups, urban guerrillas, and expatriates try to de-stabilize the Batista regime from inside and out, while trying not to pave the way for a new dictatorship under Castro. Batista’s Government must maintain steam to counter the twin insurgency, while managing two benefactors: its fragile US Alliance and its corrupting Syndicate skim. And in the midst of the turmoil, Meyer Lansky and his Syndicate bosses will jockey to keep their Cuban gangster paradise alive.

COIN Series, Volume II

Cuba Libre will be easy to learn for Andean Abyss players—both volumes share the same innovative GMT COIN Series system. Like Volume I, Cuba Libre is equally playable solitaire or by multiple players up to 4—and with a shorter time to completion than Andean Abyss. But Cuba Libre’s situation and strategic challenges will be new. A deck of 48 fresh events brings 1950s Cuba to life.
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6. Board Game: The Capitals [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:1611]
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Designer: Thiago Boaventura

Publisher: Mercury Games

Synopsis:
Quote:
The world's most famous capital cities didn't just appear overnight. It took careful planning, resources, and time. Now, new countries seek to build great capitals of their own, and you are challenged to create a city unlike any other – but with each new era comes new challenges, and you must be prepared to make important decisions. The winning player will earn the right to host the next World Expo, but that's a prize reserved for only the most prestigious city.

The Capitals is a city-building game unlike any other, featuring new and creative game mechanisms. Cities take many years to build, and The Capitals requires players to plan ahead to create their vision. Playing over three eras, from Victorian to Modern Day, players are challenged to build a capital city that can compete with the world's best but also stand the test of time. With over one hundred unique buildings to construct, no two cities will ever be identical.

What story will your city tell?
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7. Board Game: Rolling Stock [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:3297]
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Designer: Björn Rabenstein

Publisher: All-Aboard Games

Synopsis:
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Rolling Stock is a card game about stock and company trading. Players are investors buying private companies in auctions, which they may later use for an IPO (to turn them into corporations) or sell to already existing corporations (to turn them into subsidiaries of that corporation). The majority share holder of a corporation controls its actions: issuing new shares, paying dividends, and buying more subsidiaries from other corporations, players, or an ominous foreign investor.

The companies are transportation themed, starting with the early Prussian railroad. As more companies are bought, the scope of the game expands to Germany, later Europe, and ultimately even space. With expanding scope, older companies become less and less profitable until they have to be written off eventually, severely hitting the book value of their owner.

As a pure card game, Rolling Stock has no game board to simulate actual transportation. Instead, networking effects are modeled by synergies between geographically adjacent companies that are subsidiaries of the same corporation. This simplistic model merely sets the stage for the trading of stocks and companies, which is the heart and soul of the game.

Rolling Stock is vaguely inspired by the 18xx series of games but it is clearly not a part of it. Obviously, track building is missing entirely, but even the stock market with all its superficial similarities turns out to be fundamentally different.

Compared to the 18xx series, Rolling Stock has extremely simple rules. Strategically, however, it is comparably deep and complex.
 
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