Recommend
12 
 Thumb up
 Hide
5 Posts

Penny Press» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Extra! Extra! A Penny Press Review rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Justin Berman
United States
White River Junction
Vermont
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Disclaimer: I don't do many reviews. Matt and Robert, the designers, are good friends. I was also involved in the playtesting of Penny Press. They know I'm writing a review but had no input to the process -- other than making the game, of course.

The version I played is still a prototype, albeit a much more advanced version of the one I first started playing months ago. So, in the end I elected not to post pictures of the prototype. I'll also stick to the feel of the game rather than the specifics of the rules.

What games I like

It is useful to start here else you don't know where I'm coming from and this helps calibrates you to my biases. I'm a traditional Eurogamer. Typically, for me that means these types of games have five defining characteristics: 1) Thematic overtones, 2) Indirect player conflict, 3) No player elimination, 4) Little randomness or luck and 5) Nice bits. I won't debate whether these are the most accurate descriptors of eurogames, but they are the most accurate to me. So, it seems natural to frame the review based on these desired characteristics.

Thematic overtones

The game is set in the late 19th century where you are the News Boss for a NY newspaper of the day. Players compete for getting news articles for their newspaper and publish their papers before the other players. There are many facets that tie to theme - cards with real 19th century stories affect the different types of stories players can "scoop" while in play, players have their own newspaper layout cards that need stories, top stories must be above the fold on your card, news stories vary in size which impact how they are laid on your card, etc. So, without having explained the specific mechanics my intent is to relay that the game does tie closely to the theme. Do I actually feel like I'm a News Boss? At times, yes. It's a great feeling "scooping" a story away from another player and you feel a sense of accomplishment in publishing your paper too. I also felt the drive to finish my newspaper card before the other players. It was certainly tense at times which I attribute to the theme and mechanics.

Indirect player conflict

This is a worker placement game, so people compete for resources -- specific news stories. This competition occurs in several ways. First, players compete for individual stories in specific categories based on the current News Beat value (a function of number of stories in a given category and number of those stories with reporter meeples played on them). Second, each news story has a different value. These values, which represent news story significance, contribute to special bonuses at the end of the game for those News Bosses having the most valued stories in that category. Third, your card has a specific layout. To fill your card optimally requires choosing stories of particular sizes, and there are four different sizes of stories. It gets harder as the game progresses as you have to place story articles around advertisement tiles. Last, players fill their news paper multiple times in a game before endgame is triggered. There is an advantage to timing when you want to finish your paper -- sometimes sooner, sometimes later. All of these create short term and long term resource conflicts that makes for very interesting and dynamic choices.

No player elimination

As is typical in eurogames this game allows players to play throughout and always make interesting choices on their turn. That said, it also rewards good play and choices with a better position towards a win.

Little randomness or luck

No dice are involved for starters. Card draws to set up the game board and card draws after the players complete their papers do result in bonuses and additional stories for different categories. However, I view this less as randomness and felt this is more of a mechanic that keeps the game interesting as no two setups are ever the same. Game play is done by each player in clockwise order with four options for players: 1) placing any home meeples on a story, 2) moving one meeple from a story to another story, 3) returning any story meeples on a single story back to the home and 4) publish a paper (which means taking all the stories, arranging them on your card and scoring the news beat values for the article categories). These are simple choices in mechanics but fairly deep in strategic choice -- yet another feature I really like in eurogames.

Nice bits

We'll see. I understand this will be a Kickstarter campaign. All of the component information by then should be transparent to investors. The uniqueness of the theme, card stories, news category iconography, news story tiles, etc can lend to some very nice artwork and quality that enhance the feel of the theme and era. But, since this is not published yet, I really can't comment on this.

But, how does this play?

There are many aspects that I really liked about the game. One is that this plays in 45 minutes. If it was a 2 or 3 hour game I wouldn't want to play it or find the value in investing in the game. However, for 45 minutes I feel it's a very good return on my time invested and makes for a great gaming experience. There are also some very interesting choices. They seem fairly simple mechanically but there's really a lot of depth of strategy. Because you are trying to get papers filled in different categories and of different article sizes and value (to get bonus end game points) there is a lot of player interaction. The play can feel intense too as you "rush" to get your paper published and get a lock on the most valued articles to get those bonus points. There certainly is lots going on but Penny Press doesn't feel complex -- and that really works for me.

Sure, I helped playtest this. But, I can truthfully state that I want this in my game collection so I can play it often.

Hope you enjoyed the review. Please feel free to comment or leave me feedback.

Justin

Edits: For phrasing and accuracy.
14 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gordon Spaeth
United States
Upper Valley
New Hampshire
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Don't forget that Penny Press was a finalist in the Cards Against Humanity Tabletop Deathmatch game design competition. The first bunch of videos have been released, though not the video with Penny Press yet. Keep your eyes open people. This is a great game...
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt
United States
Norwich
Vermont
flag msg tools
designer
Penny Press is out in stores! Thanks to all our Kickstarter backers for making it happen.
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the great review, Justin!

And to Gordon's comment, our video has finally been released...

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mathue Faulkner
United States
Austin
TX
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Any thoughts on player count? 2 vs 5p?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Justin Berman
United States
White River Junction
Vermont
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I've played it with 3, 4 and 5 players -- never 2. Each worked great but I think 4 works best.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.