Best of the Middleweight Euro Games
Craig Viau
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I have moved all my lists to group them together. Any games added by others were included but all the comments have been lost.
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1. Board Game: Wallenstein (first edition) [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:342]
Craig Viau
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The game begins with the start of the war, each player controlling several countries. Player actions include the conquest of new countries, tax collection, erection of buildings (i.e. development of the economy), feeding the populace, victualling the army, etc. Some actions increase the chance for unrest and expensive rebellions can occur. The strongest power at the end wins.

Just as good as as El Grande, Attila, Web of Power or Wongar. This is a awesome game of "area control". You must manage your troops, money, food and building construction. All while negotiating and manevering troops on the board.
 
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2. Board Game: Ra [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:134]
Craig Viau
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The theme for this game is ancient Egypt, but as is normal for Reiner Knizia, the theme-mechanism link is quite weak. This game is an auction game plain and simple. Each turn players are able to purchase three lots of tiles with their bidding tiles. Once a player has purchased his three lots for the round, the other players continue until they do likewise, which can set up a situation with a single uncontested player bidding on tiles before the end of the round occurs. The tiles give either immediate points, prevent negative points for not having certain types at the end of the round, or give points after the final round.

The best bidding game bar none. I would give it a 10 but even with all the great theme, components, gameplay and tension. Essentially you are still bidding on items which will be of varing value to different players once you're a little ways into it. That said it is a awesome game.
 
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3. Board Game: Amun-Re [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:260]
Craig Viau
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The latest strategy game from Reiner Knizia, for those who have waited long for his next great strategy game, is set in ancient Egypt. Players try to outdo each other in building pyramids and growing crops, but must watch out for floods and droughts along the nile.

Excellent game involving many aspects. Just the basics involve bidding on plots of land near the Nile. Then building farmers and pyramids. Farmers to make money and pyramids to score points. The pyramids score points three different ways. In addition you can score and do other things with a plethora of power cards. Temples also score points. There is even a second secret bidding element involved when the contributions to Amun-Re are collected. Overall an excellent game with many possibilities.
 
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4. Board Game: Web of Power [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:507]
Craig Viau
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Players struggle for influence over regions of Europe by placing two different type of control markers, Cloisters and Advisors. Cloisters are the basic placement, with the goal to be to secure a majority in a region or chain of Cloisters or even a decent points from second place. The placement of the Advisors is more restricted as the total number of Advisors in a region is limited by the majority player's number of Cloisters. The game is played in two rounds and is very fast paced.

Another of what I call "Area Control" games. This one is right up there with Attila, El Grande, Wallenstein and Wongar. Its the quickest of the bunch but I would say the strategy is just as deep. Its also reasonably priced so if you are just considering one game of this type this would be a good choice.
 
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5. Board Game: Union Pacific [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:468]
Craig Viau
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This is a revision of the older Abacus title, Airlines. Players are seeking to control various train companies by taking cards which are shares in the company. When a player has more shares than the others, he scores points based on how big the company is. Over the course of the game however, players must chose to either expand the companies or play stock from their hand. But the real hook is that when the randomly determined scoring rounds occur, only played stock counts, which makes for some delicious moments.

It has that railroad magic for me. This is no doubt the best of the bunch at least of the ones I know. Many people myself included feel some adjustment is needed to the value of the Union Pacific shares. Their is also a slight advantage to going either first or the closer to going first you are. This can be offset by using a fixed or a bidding system to determine seating order. Overall a excellent game.
 
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6. Board Game: San Marco [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:512]
Craig Viau
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Players are attempting to score the most points by building up influence in the districts of Venice, Italy via their artistocrats. The game uses a card distribution mechanic whereby (in the case of a four-player game) two players draw cards and divide them up into two piles each, the other two players pick one group and the remaining groups go to the players who formed the groups. The action cards allow players to place and remove artistocrats, erect and move bridges and score individual regions.

The entire game last three Passages and each Passage may contain several turns.

Probably the best 3 player game. Its also very good with 4 imho. I also classify it as a area control game similar to Attila, El Grande, Web of Power and Wallenstein. The card distribution method is sheer genius.
 
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7. Board Game: Liberté [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:697]
Craig Viau
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Liberté covers the French Revolution from 1789 and the meeting of the Estates General to the Directory and Bonapart’s coup d’état in 1799.

The game is played in four turns. In each turn there will be a variable number of rounds, followed by an election to see which faction becomes the government. There are three factions, the Radicals (red), the Moderates (blue), and the Royalists (white).

This game has some interesting mechanisms. The basic system is very good. Had a chance to play this again and found out we were playing it wrong. The game is much quicker than we thought. There are several ways to score as with most games these days. Overall a good solid game.
 
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8. Board Game: Mü & More [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:824]
Craig Viau
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This game is regarded by many as one of the best offerings in the trick-taking genre. The cards are numbered zero to nine, with an extra seven and an extra one included in each of the five suits. Players use cards to declare their bids, and the highest bidder is the Chief. The second highest bidder is the Vice. First the Vice chooses a trump (either number or suit), and then the Chief selects his trump. The Chief, with his chosen partner and his superior trump then try to accomplish the bid. The Vice and the remaining players seek to stop the Chief.

Maybe its the group I play with or maybe its just me but I've never had as much fun losing a game as this. I've only won once but I would play this consistently if time permitted. Great bidding, trick taking game with rotating partners.
 
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9. Board Game: Ingenious [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:328]
Craig Viau
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Anyone who knows a little about Reiner Knizia’s games will know that the good Doctor loves games that deal with trying to get points in various different categories and then only score that category in which the player has the least. In the past, Knizia has used this mechanic to develop highly complicated games, but with Einfach Genial, he has distilled the mechanic down to its purest form.

The game is played on a hex board. 120 equally sized pieces, each consisting of two joined hexes come with the game. There are symbols on each hex that makes up the piece – some pieces have two identical symbols, some have two different symbols (not unlike dominoes). The pieces go into a cloth bag so that they get drawn randomly. Each player receives six pieces to start the game, which are placed onto a rack and visible to them alone.

Three plays for me all of which were very good. Two players adds more control but 3 or 4 is still very good. the team version should also be interesting. My opponents also seemed to think highly of it.
 
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10. Board Game: Santiago [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:523]
Craig Viau
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Appropriately enough for the hot summer we’ve had this year, the game is about sufficiently watering the fields. And not only watering them; the fallow ground must be cultivated too. To accomplish this, a number of tiles denoting various plantation types come into the game each round. The tiles are auctioned off such that each player gets one, and the tiles then placed onto the game board along with an ownership marker that also indicates how plentiful the tile’s yield will be. Whoever bid the lowest in each round gets to be the canal overseer and decide where a canal will be built that round. The other players may make suggestions to help the canal overseer decide, and back up their suggestions with money. The final decision is always wholly up to the overseer, though.

At the end of each round, players determine what the water supply situation looks like. Should a plantation not be sufficiently watered, its production drops dramatically; should it happen more than once, then that plantation may revert to fallow ground. At game’s end, naturally only the cultivated land counts. Each plantation is counted according to type – the bigger the better. But since the ownership markers play a role as well, the same plantation can give drastically different points for different players.

Excellent cuthroat game. There are two bidding rounds both of which can offer some tough decisions and opportunities to mess with your opponents. You also have to decide which tiles to take and where to place them. You can really put the squeeze on the canal builder when you know he wants to go one direction by placing a suggestion with a large sum of money on it in another direction. Thus forcing him to pay to go the way he wants.
 
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11. Board Game: Vinci [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:595]
Craig Viau
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Along the lines of History of the World by Avalon Hill, players cycle through a series of european civilizations as they attempt to score the most points using the civilization's special powers. The game is set in Europe and each player is provided with a pool of wooden tokens to represent their civilizations. Each player selects a combination of civilization tiles, which give his civilization special abilities or characteristics. Players expand their empire through territorial expansion, often at the expense of other players. The key to the game lies in chosing when to decline your currently played-out civ to get a new one which will keep generating points. Play continues with the cycling of civilizations until a certain score is reached whereupon final rounds are played and a victor is determined.
I really enjoy the way the empires bonuses are created. This is a excellent lighter multiplayer wargame. There is also room for a little or a lot of negotiations which is something I like. This is true in many multiplayer games. But, multiplayer wargames for obvious reasons stand out because who you attack so dramatically influences their position. Therefore, the negotiations are more critical to your outcome. Be forewarned.
 
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12. Board Game: Medina [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:731]
Craig Viau
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This could have been the fifth title in the much-misnamed Reiner Knizia tile laying trilogy, after Samurai, Euphrat und Tigris, Durch die Wueste and Rheinlaender. But it's not by Reiner Knizia... Stefan Dorra has created a tense waiting game. Each turn you can place two pieces on the board, either augment an existing building or start a new one if the current building of that color is as finished as it will ever be. Each player will claim one building of each of the four colors by the end of the game, giving one point per wooden piece attached to said building. Plus, if you own the largest building of a particular color you get a little bonus based on the color you dominate in. Lastly, there are bonuses similar to the color-type for the player who most recently connected one of their buildings to the walls, which grow from the four corners of the city.
Well designed and balanced game. Lots of room for planning. Very enjoyable middle weight game. I always like a game that simultaneously rewards short term tactics based on one turn's play while also requiring and rewarding long term tactics. I was just reviewing my comments on the games and felt this game deserved some more airtime so to speak. When I read my comments I realized they didn't convey the excellent strategies this game had. The whole game was enjoyable from start to finish. This game had me thinking right from the start and it was great fun to try and implement a gameplan. You are placing pieces into a city and trying to score points based on the areas covered. this sounds simple but the tactics are fascinating.
 
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13. Board Game: Attika [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:563]
Craig Viau
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In ancient Greece - the cradle of European culture - Athens, Sparta, Corinth, and Thebes compete for dominance of the Greek peninsula and influence on the shrines.
Each player oversees the building of his city-state. Temple, theater and oracle, a harbor with ships, vineyard with vintner, and many more must find space on the Greek peninsula.

Players must move fast to get the best land for themselves while blocking their opponents from good building spots. As building is expensive, players seek to save money by using the natural resources of the peninsula. Players also seek to organize their building in an order that allows building for free.
I'm really tempted to give this a 10. Played it only twice but it seems awesome. I have it on order so I'll update this when it arrives it will probably be the first game I play when it gets here.
 
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14. Board Game: Primordial Soup [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:679]
Craig Viau
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Themes and the German games they adorn are usually discrete items, but this game is quite exceptional in that regard. Ursuppe translates as "Primordial Soup," which is supposedly where all life came from. Players take charge of a tribe of amoeba as they struggle to survive. In order to help their quest, tribes will take various genetic advantages, which allow them to 'break' the rules of life. For instance, instead of going hungry, your amoeba could learn to attack foreign amoeba for food. Or perhaps your amoeba could be taught to need less food to survive. Either way, this is a very interesting take on the game of life.
Excellent game overall. It went much quicker than I thought it would. We played with 6 people, 3 of us for the first time and we still came in at about 2.5 hours. With 4 or 5 who know the rules this game is as fast as most. I love games where you get to differentiate your "units" from the other players and this doesn't dissappoint. The abilities are balanced and a lot of fun.
 
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15. Board Game: Aladdin's Dragons [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:839]
Craig Viau
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After the immediate response to Richard Breese's Keydom at Essen 1999, Hans im Glück contracted to take the basic game idea and produce version of the game. Aladdin's Dragons, or Morgenland in the original German, is the product of their cooperation. The game features players putting numbered bidding chips face-down onto the board sequentially. After the players have placed all of their chips, then each of the areas is resolved. The bottom part of the board is where players attempt to gather resource tokens, which is the overall currency of the game. The middle part of the board features a number of special actions, which help the players cast spells, trade in their resource tokens, or block other players' actions. The top part of the board is where players use resource tokens to gather treasures, and the player who can collect the most treasures by the end of the game will be the victor.
This is a easy to learn game but which holds a lot of strategy due to the fine balance between multiple necessary goals. I probably could have said that better but it just came out that way. To repeat you have to carefully decide where to spend your money to collect the right jewels which are then used to buy artifacts. The winner is the player with the most artifacts. There is more to it than that because there is a middle level to the board which is the city where you can also spend your money on 5 other areas which give you various advantages. The only drawback in the whole game for some might be the blind bidding but in this case I think it adds to the game.
 
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16. Board Game: Evo [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:756]
Craig Viau
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Alberta
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217,453,883 years, seven months and 26 days before our time, the first dinosaurs left their home in the sea and climbed onto the land. The ever-changing climate was their first adversary, forcing them to remain constantly on the move. But weather was not their only problem. In order to survive and flourish, they had to evolve, and to do it quickly!

In EVO, you control the survival and evolution of a species of dinosaurs called Dinos. You guide their migrations to temperate climates, you acquire the perfect genes to develop your Dinos and mutate them, and you push out other creatures that have yet to learn the meaning of the term “dominant species.” At the end of the game, you and your Dinos will not be the winners unless you've evolved more quickly and successfully than everyone else.

Each turn is divided into 6 phases, in which Dinos move, fight, reproduce and evolve to ensure that their species has the characteristics to survive the various perils of prehistoric life. Players earn and spend mutation points to adapt their species for survival. But don't spend all of them. The remainder are counted to determine the winner.

Only played this twice but it is excellent. Developing your species gives the game the element of differentiation from your opponents which I like and it also has a bidding element that draws me in. It plays much better using one less adaptation than the number of players.
 
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17. Board Game: Serenissima (first edition) [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:1100]
Craig Viau
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In this game players represent a merchant family during the Renaissance. Players attempt to balance the need of trading and open commerce versus the cut-throat economic piracy of the day. Players create a fleet of ships to purchase and move various commodities around the Mediterranean while also keeping well manned ships to attack and defend against other player's fleets.

Very impressive game. Lots of opportunty to screw with your neighbors and good decisions required. Room for negotiations as well.
 
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18. Board Game: Carolus Magnus [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:896]
Craig Viau
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This game uses a collection of smallish hexagon clusters arranged in a circle. Mercenaries, in the form of small wooden blocks, are placed onto the land pieces. Players can then use these blocks to attempt to gain control of the corresponding mercenary type, or place the same small blocks onto the board which can help the player who controls that color. Once a player has majority of control markers on a piece of land, he can build a tower there. The tower serves as a semi-permanent control marker, as well as a way to win. If two land pieces are controlled by the same player, the land pieces are combined into one, which makes the position harder to take by the other players. The first player to place a set number of towers wins the game, but the game can also end when the land masses are reduced to three or fewer, in which case the player with the most towers placed wins.

I'm not sure how to classify this, some say abstract strategy which I normally shy away from but if thats what this is then its the best of the bunch. I need to play it more to see if it has staying power. If so it could go to a 10.
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19. Board Game: Capitol [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:1377]
Craig Viau
Canada
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Building game set in the ancient Roman Empire
A very good construction and card management game. More tactical than strategic but the tactical play still requires good planning.
 
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20. Board Game: Oasis [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:1243]
Craig Viau
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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You are the head of a Mongolian family, intent on becoming the most powerful in the land. Use your resources wisely to take control of fertile steppe lands to raise horses, build sacred temples, develop caravans of camels, and control the beautiful oases. The player with the most points at the end of the game will be anointed the Noble of the Oasis.

Played this with 4 people and thought it was excellent. I like auction games and area control games so this suites me fine. I found the game to be very elegant as described by some. After reading the comments I can see it would be worse with 3 players but even better with 5 players so this is a very solid game overall.
 
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21. Board Game: WildLife [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:1602]
Craig Viau
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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Millions of years ago the first men fought with other creatures for survival. By their ability to adapt to new types of terrain, they were able to flourish and eventually dominate the Earth. In this evolutionary game, players control up to six types of creatures indigenous to different regions of the land: Eagles (mountains), Bears (forests), Crocodiles (water), Mammoths (plains), Men (savannah), and Snakes (desert).

Each player takes the role of one of these six creatures, and tries to expand their herd and learn new abilities. As long as there is enough room in the region for all of the animals, the creatures can live together in harmony. Otherwise, battles erupt amongst the creatures for control of the region. Now, the success of the creatures depends on how well they adapt to their new terrain.

Which creature will grow its herd and develop the best strategy for survival?

On the positive side. This game has many elements to it. With several ways to score. It presents some very interesting strategies and tactics. You have units on the board, food supplies, adaptations, abilities, bidding elements and various ways they interact with each other. While for me this is all a bonus it did lead to some analysis paralysis. I personaly like Tikal, Torres and that type of game but many in my group don't. The first game and only one so far lasted about 3 hours with rules being explained. However we missed one rule about the game ending when one player has placed his last man so that would have sped things up considerably. The rules aren't that complex. The two elements some members of the group didn't like are the limited player interaction as in Tikal where you seem to optimize your position on your turn. Note there is plenty of interaction when bidding on cards they want to sell. The second element is the game also lends itself to some leader bashing. It is actually inherent in the design and in my opinion is not a major issue. By their very nature these two elements contradict one another because when trying to optimize your position you can't always bash the leader and bashing the leader obviously involves some player interaction so none of these things mar an othewise excellent game in my opinion. Normally I avoid even mentioning possible rule changes but the others in the group thought there were so many positive things about the game that they gave some thought as to what could be done to speed things up and make things better in general. Two things stood out. One: Don't allow expansion or aggression to areas not adjacent to one of your own pieces already on the board. In our own words "no parachuting of a piece accross the board" the mobilization ability would also be limited in some fashion. Second do not allow the abilities to be stolen, this would require they be auctioned off whenever a card with the arrow comes up rather than simply taken by the player lucky enough to get the card. Both of these changes limit the randomness of the game and require the player to be more strategic in their thinking. They would both also speed up the game and limit the leader bashing. Both of the suggestions sounded excellent to me so I,m going to try them next time. We all liked the basic premise, adaptations, scoring, abilities, food supply and the bidding system.
 
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22. Board Game: Empires of the Ancient World [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:2858]
Craig Viau
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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Going back to the age of Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar, you control the destiny of your empire--building armies, annexing neutral provinces, trading across the Mediterranean, and fighting battles. The heart of the game is its innovative card combat system. Superb, full color cards allow the use of pikes, swords, war bands, elephants, heavy cavalry, foot skirmishers, light horse, siege towers, artillery, and galleys. Special cards allow you to develop better military leaders, diplomats, traders, and engineers. However, winning the game is not just about having the largest empire. The player with the largest army will also lose the most victory points, so he had better use his forces well! If warfare is not to your taste then you can trade your way to victory, by having the largest trading empire.

Had this game and traded it. It has some very nice unique elements. I didn't think I would miss it but I did so i bought it again. If you like a reasonably fast multiplayer wargame this is a excellent candidate. It borrows some elements from a lot of other games but puts it all together quite well. Another game that seems to grow on you.
 
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23. Board Game: Urland [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:2382]
Craig Viau
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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In Urland, players compete to get their creatures on land. One player selects which land area is scored in a turn while other players use a number of actions to move their creatures around. At certain intervals on the scoring track, gene modifications are auctioned which offer additional actions to the players.

I like evolution games. This one along with Evo are two of my favorite games period. This one has some luck elements but there is lots of strategy both in what to do each turn and when it comes to bidding for evolutionary improvements. I am always on the edge of my seat trying to maximize my score.
 
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24. Board Game: Magna Grecia [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:2257]
Craig Viau
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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Magna Grecia (sub-title: The cradle of the civilization) is the main attraction of the year with Clementoni. The game is a joint work of Leo Colovini and Michael Shacht. The southern region of Italy was called Magna Grecia and was settled 2,500 years ago by Greek merchants and adventurers. Before the arrival of the Greeks, the country was only inhabited by few small tribes. Fruitful soil, navigable rivers, large forests, bronze and silver mines offered enormous developmetn possibilities. Larger cities developed, such as Tarantum, Syracuse, Katane, Locri and Naxos. In addition, numerous villages, of which no trace remains. A local road system promoted trade and rich markets developed in the cities. More and more rivalries between the cities arose, particularly over control of the Oracle, which represented an important source for fame and wealth. Sufficient material for an evening of play. Each player must successfully settle and develop Magna Grecia. At favorable points, markets are built, villages are developed into cities and interconnected by a road system. Only thus may the interior be opened and the Oracle controlled. Constructing your own large city is often very expensive and it is sometimes worthwhile to build instead in the neutral villages or opponents' cities. The board is covered with a hexagon grid on which pieces of road, towns, or markets are placed. A game is 12 rounds long. Each round is determined by an action map, which is set up at the beginning of play according to a certain pattern. The map specifies the player sequence and indicates to which extent the three basic actions (road construction, city building, and supply) may be used. There are also, of course, certain building rules are to be considered. Additionally, markets can be established, the value of which depends on the number connected locations. The Oracle is shown on the board. In order to control an Oracle, a player must connect one of his own cities to it by road. But if several cities are connected to an Oracle, the most important city takes precedence, determined by the number of locations connected to the city (not including Oracles). Markets and the Oracle determine when the game ends.
Got a chance to try this out. I had already played a 4 position solitare test game after which I was thoroughly impressed. The game against real opponents for some reason didn't go quite as well. I enjoyed it but for some reason the others weren't as impressed. Its not as much of a brain burner as I thought it would be. On the positive side I still think the game has some great tactical opportunities and requires some strategy as well. You can make the best short term tactical play every turn but still lose. My test games aren't helping me
 
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25. Board Game: New England [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:1697]
Craig Viau
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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From Alan Moon on The Terminal City Gamers web page: There are three types of land in the game, land for settlements, land for crops, and land for animals. Players each start with some of each land. Each round, players bid (using a new mechanic) to buy more land, to build cities, to plant crops, and to graze herds. There are also ships to buy and Pilgrims to entice to your land. Players always want to both acquire more land and to develop their land, but you can only do a limited number of things each turn, so there are tough choices to be made throughout. You need money for everything of course, and you never have enough!

Quite a good game. The player interaction includes bidding for position and placing territories on the board. You really have to watch what you are leaving for the next guy. The pilgrims, barns? and ships add some finer strategy elements.
 
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