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Subject: A brief review by a fairly new board gamer (reveiw sans mechanics) rss

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Howard Heart

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I am fairly new to board gaming having started only a few months ago and have played a little more than a dozen games so far. With that, I had the opportunity to play Bruges.

I'm going to skip over the mechanics of the game and give my thoughts about what I liked and what I didn't. In our game, we were all new to this game, though half the group (4 players) were fairly experienced in board games and even this designer in particular. I felt a little intimated by the number of things going on, but it didn't take long (I think 2 or 3 rounds) before everyone figured out core mechanics and could devise their initial strategy.

The Good

I'm not normally a fan of euro games, but I liked this game. I enjoyed the fact that it doesn't have a secret object. I dislike secret objectives as they can punish beginners by not knowing what objectives exist so they take actions to block suspected players with them. I also like that it has a high luck factor with the dice rolls and card draws. Although, in the game I played, I won largely by placing a great personality (the biologist) in a house early on. It even has a push your luck part on eliminating threat tokens this turn or next. I spent much of the game with the looming threat of losing my workers being 2/3s the way from disaster. And while I thought the number of different ways to accumulate victory points was good, I found it best to give up on a source of VPs (in my case building canals) if there is too much competition for them and/or you fall behind the pack. I ended the game without a single canal built. I do think the art for the board and the cards with pretty good. The components serve the game well.

The Bad

What I didn't like was nearly all of the victory points are added up at the end so it it hard to know exactly who in the lead and by how much. I understand some of the mechanics don't allow 'real-time' VP tracking but, I nearly quintupled by point value at the end of the game. Additionally, while I don't like to interfere with other players (but I like it to exist), I didn't see much this in the game. However, this could have been because we all new to the game and were attempting to not step on each others toes for fear of unknown retribution. Lastly, the theme for this game is incredibility boring and not really tied to the game and board itself is practically worthless in regards to the game mechanics. Say what you will but, theme is very important to me. I thought the game Suburbia did a good job a putting me in the role of a urban planner, in a SimCity kind of way. But Bruges didn't give me the same impression. I started the with the idea of creating a college of scholars early on (I figured I was going to lose so might as well have fun with being thematic) but only drew two scholar personalities the whole game. By the end of game, I had the Queen, a biologist, a minstrel, a poet, a guild master, and number of other motley people in my district.

The Bottomline

I thought this game was more fun, if less thematic, than Suburbia but not as much fun, largely due to the theme, as Lords of Waterdeep. I give is 7/10.
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