Essen Report 1
Simon
Netherlands
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Just a quick report back to all of you poor souls who couldn't make it - this is just Wedn, press day, so as you can imagine not too much happening JUST yet!
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1. Board Game: Confucius [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:1997]
Simon
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This game is a typical Alan Paull game - very tightly themed, some interesting mechanics, intricate, interesting.
We were explained the game which took a little while, while all around us the Britpack (Surprised Stare, Warfrog, JKLM,..etc.) unpacked and got ready for the real 1st fair day tomorrow.

We didn't complete a full game, but played long enough that w got most of the gist of it - about 2/3rd of the way through.

Essentially you are presented with a number of options for actions, and start with 3 action (for 4 players) which goes up as you give and receive gifts. Gifts cost money to buy, and when given place an obligation on another player - usually to vote for you either in one of the 3 government offices, where eventually elections take place; or in voting for you to graduate a student who joins one of the three offices.
Apart from buying and giving gifts, you may also invade - by first preparing and then sending armies over - the longer you wait, the more risk that the invasion will not be successful - or by sending out the navy. to help you do this, you also have to have man in the right offices of the government - again greasing palms helps!
Otherwise, you spend a lot of time drawing or exchanging money cards which is sometimes tedious but quite cleverly, some things (armies) are paid for with cards which have lower money amounts on which balances your luck slightly.
The advanced game apparently features an Emperor who introduces some chaos to teh game - but no chance to look into that.
A very good game, looks like fun, in fact was fun - so I bought it!
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2. Board Game: The Princes of Machu Picchu [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:1071]
Simon
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Played this game in the evening - very good.
At first a confusing game - so many options - simplifies rapidly as you enter the cycle of obtaining resources, trading and spending resources so well-known of the Rondel games - but with a difference since the effective rondel formed by the different areas you can move into is mixed up quite well, and you can cross from one place to many others, or move anywhere by playing a Llama!!
The starters game encourages a Machu Picchu victory which is not a good relfection of the real game, I suspect, (where a Spanish Victory would be more likely than it was) but it was very enjoyable with a close finish. Seems to be a game where a decent balance of different workers (in this case, Incans) iun different areas pays off but where some of the areas can be neglected depending on the cards you hold, which are used to determine the final scoring.
Some of the mechanics are very nice, such as the use of the sun and moon to dictate beginning and end of day (round) and the Puerto-Rico like mechanic where, when one person chooses a region (eg pottery) everyone who has an Incan in that area may also buy a pottery - but in the case o fthis game, the more Incans in the area the more pottery may be purchased. The bonuses are thus smaller than PR and the potential to get lots of goods by focussing Incans on an area are quite different to PR.
Sorry am rambling now...anyway, a good game that will be fun to play for quite a while, I suspect.
The game seemd pretty quick too - I think it took us 90 mins, for 4 players, not including rules.
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