Jayson Myers
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Please check out my other reviews at:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/145695/item/2805111#it...



Conclusion:

While Feld is currently the "hot designer", I have to admit I have not played a lot of his games. To be exact, I've only played Notre Dame and Year of the Dragon and liked (not loved) both. While my wife really likes Notre Dame, neither of the two are games we play all the time. My wife, who is a non-gamer, was able to correctly guess that Bruges was designed by the same guy who did Notre Dame. That tells me he has a distinctive style and "voice" in his games.

Bruges is considered a "gateway" Feld game. Even so, it is harder to teach than most gateway games, but gamers won't have a problem picking it up with a little effort. After first glance, the game is rather intuitive and the player aids are really good and helpful. There are fantastic decisions to make as each card can be used about 50 different ways. There are even more ways to score.

Let me explain a little more. This is the type of game that I really want to enjoy, but it makes my head spin with all the decisions. It is a game that is learned by playing and not necessarily by reading. Everyone did learn the game as we went and by about halfway through the game we all were pros (on how to play not being good at it). At the end of our first game, I won but it wasn't very satisfying as I thought I was in last place. In other words, I felt I deserved to lose but I actually won the game. Not a great outcome.

This is a game I need to play a lot more to really figure out. It seemed very hard for me to get people out on the board, but the other players had no problem (people are represented by the cards). This is mostly a card game and getting the right card at the right moment is part of the game. It can be very frustrating to have a solid plan, but watch it crumble because you didn't get the card you had to have. You do have a lot of freedom on your turn or so it would seem. Yet, the color of the cards dictated a lot of what you could do and what you will plan to do. You can plan for the future, but you need to be flexible. See what I mean about this game? It can be fun and frustrating at the same time.

The components are decent. The rule book is very good. Everything in the game works together very well. In my mind, this is a gamers game. I wouldn't bring this out with new gamers. The choices and ways to score can be overwhelming. This is not for the light of heart (only in relation to scoring). Nearly everything you do in the game either scores you points or directly leads you to scoring. You really need some planning, but also the ability to diversify your choices down the road. You don't want to make a hard plan, you have to allow yourself the ability to score no matter which card you draw. It might be a tad overwhelming your first couple of plays.

We had a lot of fun with this game. It is designed to be over in a hour, so making your choice and moving on is part of it. If someone decides to agonize over every decision you will be here a lot longer.

After playing, my wife stated this game is in her top 5, so this is an obvious keeper.



Components:

The components are about what I expected from a Feld game. There is a lot of wood in the game and it all looks nice. The board is very busy and it doesn't really help the game. There really isn't a lot of use for the board. It is mostly decorative.

The cards are nice and designed very well. The art work is normally of grumpy old white men. The cards were a little flimsy and the quality was a little on the cheap side. I was a little worried about shuffling them too much, but they do feel nice in your hand.

The wooden parts are really nice. You get some larger workers which score for you and smaller ones for the main workers in the game.

There are other tokens and chits which are all high quality. Other than the thinness of the cards, I really had few complaints about the components.



Rule Book:

The rule book is very good. I found the rule book explained the game wonderfully. The turn order is explained in order of play and the game can be best explained by following the rule book step by step.

The rule book is full color and has great examples. At the back of the book, it explains the scoring which could be rather confusing. In addition, each card is explained on the accompanied reference sheet.

Also included is player order and player aids printed out on regular sized cards. They are very useful and everything is printed on two cards (front and back) and there are a set for each of the players. This is more than expected but very appreciated.



Flow of the Game:

This is going to be a little tough. I won't explain all the rules, instead I hope to explain the flow of the game.

The goal of the game is to score the most VP. You get VP from buildings, players, canals, statutes, etc. In other words, there are a lot of ways to score points.

On a players turn, you do the following:

1. Draw cards up to 5. There are two decks and you can draw out of either. You can see the color of the card which is a little information.

2. Roll the dice. The dice get put on the board in numerical order. All 1's and 2's are added together. This amount is the cost all players can pay to move up one spot on the reputation section (this is VP at end of game). Also, you get a threat marker in the color of the dice that have 5 and/or 6 on them. If you get three of the same threat marker, something bad will happen (lose a person, lose a canal spot, etc).

3. Play cards.

This is the main part of the game. The cards in the game have a lot of different uses and different ways to score. I will not list all of your possible actions, but I want to highlight a few.

A. Discard a card:

a. get two workers of the color of card discarded
b. get X money (X = number ruled in 2.)
c. discard a threat marker/score a VP
d. build a canal (pay the price marked with money)

B. Play a card:

a. build a building (pay with a worker)
b. play a person (has to be played a building of his color and you pay the cost on the card)

Each of the different options helps you score in different ways. Workers help you build buildings (each building gives you 1 VP). Money helps you pay for canal spots and playing cards. Discarding threat scores you VP, but also prevents bad things from happening to you. Building buildings scores a VP and allows you play the people. The people are the hardest to play (you need workers, another card played for the building, you need money to play the player), but give you perhaps the biggest reward. Each person gives you a power (some are always, end of game, if conditions are met, or if a worker is used).


You never really know the best move to make. Sometimes you do an action and hope it helps down the road or you get that card you need so it does. Everything plays well together and you want to "do" all the cards you draw. It is difficult to always see the best option and the best option might just be doing the best with what you have.




Should I buy this Game?:

Yes. This is a very solid game with a lot of replay. You have to take it slow and realize this is a very good game. Do not get frustrated if it is a tad overwhelming. At first, focus on learn the game; next, learn the strategy. This is a game with easy mechanics, but deep strategy.

You can really grow with this game and play it over the next 5 years. There is a lot to learn and a lot of strategy to learn. I have not found a strategy that will win this game; instead, you have to adapt to the cards you draw and your opponents.

With the entire package of what you get in this box, I do have to recommend this game. I would amiss if I didn't point out the little boy on the box stealing an apple. This might be my favorite cover ever.

Keeper.
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Oscar Garcia
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Just a small observation. You can play character cards on any building, regardless of color, by just paying the guilders cost. The rule book states: "Each house can accommodate exactly 1 person. The person may be of a different color than the house".
Thanks for the review!!!
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James Cheng
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Thanks for the review!

Notre Dame is in my top 5, and I like Brugge very much. It's definitely not a very heavy game.
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Matt
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oscargarciaosuna wrote:
Just a small observation. You can play character cards on any building, regardless of color, by just paying the guilders cost. The rule book states: "Each house can accommodate exactly 1 person. The person may be of a different color than the house".
Thanks for the review!!!


Yeah, this is an easy one to get mixed up, but it really does make a huge difference in what you can do. I'd be interested in hearing if this rule changes how you (and/or your wife) feel about it. It should make it quite a bit less constricting.
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Oscar Garcia
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Absolutely! It makes a huge difference. If houses were required to be of the same color as persons, then it would very difficult -if not impossible and frustrating- to somehow achieve whatever your immediate goal for the turn is. And I emphasize "goal" (and not strategy), because regardless of how beautiful, well done and fun this game is, it is a tactical game. You act and react according to whatever cards you have in your hands and based on the dice results, therefore, there is very little room for deep strategy here. Don´t get me wrong, my wife and I love this game, specially the artwork and all the combos that you can do with all the characters! BTW She always beats me. This is a very good game for 2 players.
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Jayson Myers
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oscargarciaosuna wrote:
Just a small observation. You can play character cards on any building, regardless of color, by just paying the guilders cost. The rule book states: "Each house can accommodate exactly 1 person. The person may be of a different color than the house".
Thanks for the review!!!


Hmmm....I must have played it wrong.
 
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Jayson Myers
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eunoia wrote:
Thanks for the review!

Notre Dame is in my top 5, and I like Brugge very much. It's definitely not a very heavy game.


I play a lot of games, but I'm not a gamer. I'm more of an average guy who really likes this hobby. Nearly all of my friends, and people I game with, are non-gamers and have never even heard of this site. I really hope this is a different perspective than most reviews.

A game like this is a tad heavy for the people I play with.
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Jayson Myers
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mjortman wrote:
oscargarciaosuna wrote:
Just a small observation. You can play character cards on any building, regardless of color, by just paying the guilders cost. The rule book states: "Each house can accommodate exactly 1 person. The person may be of a different color than the house".
Thanks for the review!!!


Yeah, this is an easy one to get mixed up, but it really does make a huge difference in what you can do. I'd be interested in hearing if this rule changes how you (and/or your wife) feel about it. It should make it quite a bit less constricting.



Yes, this makes it a lot less constricting. It makes me like the game more as I can get more cards out. It is a fun variant to play it the other way.
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I can definitely appreciate that perspective, Jayson. Thanks for sharing it!

I bought it because it's (I think) significantly easier to teach than Castles of Burgundy, and will (hopefully) have a much shorter play time than 4-player CoB. My wife and I still like CoB more I think, but for groups of 4 players, and/or newer players, I think Bruges is the better game. We've only played 2 games so far, and my wife wasn't thrilled with the game on the first play. It's great that yours was though. Enjoy!
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Damien Seb. ●leoskyangel●
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Thanks for the review!

I on the other hand really like the board. It's small, yet functional in every area. No waste of space, I think.

Agreed about the overview cards. It really helps teaching the game and speed up the process. I always print player aids from the files section of a game, but when I saw this game has them, I was happy. The overview cards explained everything about the game (end game, game phases, all 6 actions and effect of threats) very well.

I also like the interaction in this game, be it the majority tokens, card play and the dice.

I really really dig this game. It's light (to me), yet deep because of the card play. A friend of mine said this is Stefan Feld's take on Glory to Rome, as a card in this game can be used for one of multiple things. Pretty cool.
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James Cheng
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william4192 wrote:
eunoia wrote:
Thanks for the review!

Notre Dame is in my top 5, and I like Brugge very much. It's definitely not a very heavy game.


I play a lot of games, but I'm not a gamer. I'm more of an average guy who really likes this hobby. Nearly all of my friends, and people I game with, are non-gamers and have never even heard of this site. I really hope this is a different perspective than most reviews.

A game like this is a tad heavy for the people I play with.


I would describe myself a lot like your first sentences. But I mostly played with gamer-gamer, and most of them would consider anything lighter than Puerto Rico to be "light" game. So it's more relative rather than definitive.

For me, it's not heavy as in I don't have to have a long term strategy in place. I enjoy a more tactical game like Brugge, Glory to Rome, or Innovation.
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dtroy_de_rapcore wrote:
Thanks for the review!

I on the other hand really like the board. It's small, yet functional in every area. No waste of space, I think.

Agreed about the overview cards. It really helps teaching the game and speed up the process. I always print player aids from the files section of a game, but when I saw this game has them, I was happy. The overview cards explained everything about the game (end game, game phases, all 6 actions and effect of threats) very well.

I also like the interaction in this game, be it the majority tokens, card play and the dice.

I really really dig this game. It's light (to me), yet deep because of the card play. A friend of mine said this is Stefan Feld's take on Glory to Rome, as a card in this game can be used for one of multiple things. Pretty cool.


Interesting and I do agree with you. It just takes a game to get it all sorted out. There are a lot of options in the game (card use and scoring). It is a tad interesting to teach to non-gamers. The interaction of all the components is really neat.
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