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Subject: New Bedford: A Town Worth Visiting rss

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John Moller
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The following was written without the knowledge of the designer or publisher. I was not asked to do this. I was not sent a review copy.

The History…

In my travels I enjoy play-testing new games. The Congress of Gamers in Rockville, Maryland each late summer/early fall always gives me an opportunity to play several. Congress of Gamers 2013 was no exception. The Unpub Protozone there provided me the chance to play New Bedford and I loved it…both times (a 3 player and a 2 player game.)

We borrowed the prototype and played a few more times including a 4 player game, before returning it several weeks later. We were hooked.

When Unpub 4 came up in January of 2014, I had made a promise to myself to play only games I hadn’t played before. …which I promptly broke when asked to join in a game of New Bedford.

Waiting for this game to hit the streets has been excruciating. I really love a lot of games, but a “must have” pull this strong I haven’t experienced since I played my first game of Tammany Hall (before the reprint,) and that remains the most expensive game I ever bought.

The Overview…

New Bedford is, at its’ heart, a worker placement game. It’s engine building. You are gaining resources to create buildings which help you gain points, earn money, more resources, and…go Whaling.

Unlike farming, whaling offers no guarantees. When you send a ship out, you do not know how many whales it will return with or how valuable those whales are going to be. All you know is how many turns that ship will be out on the waters. You can send them out longer, by supplying them more heavily when you send them out. You can send them out for shorter times too. That’s up to you. The thing to remember is the ship that’s the farthest out has the better chance of reaping the greatest reward.

Back home, in New Bedford proper, you need to build the town. Ownership is important because it will give you benefits, but ownership does not mean (in most cases) that you are the only one who gets to use that building throughout the course of the game. If you own a building that someone else uses they owe you some money. So maybe the choice is not to build something you will use, but something someone else will.

In placing workers and making the town thrive, there is a central player board with a minimum amount of actions available. The first player to use those actions gets more from doing so, and the second player gets something similar, but less. That’s standard with most (but not all) of the game provided action spaces (there is also a “docks” board with Whaling actions on it.)

To truly excel you will need to pay attention to both halves of the game, the whaling and the town-building... but to what extent you do both is up to you (and the rewards of that decision may be lucrative.) Therein lies the game.

The Review…

My opinion has been pretty clear throughout… I really enjoy this game and can’t wait to play again.

It doesn’t matter how many players have been involved the scores have always been tight. That’s an amazing thing and a lot more rare than it should be. It scales well.

The length of play has been appropriate. It feels as if the game goes fast, I say less than an hour for just about each one I’ve played, but I didn’t keep track. It just doesn’t feel like 90 minutes of grueling farming. The game only lasts 12 turns.

The theme is wonderful and absolutely fitting. It’s well integrated and unique.

The components I’ve played with were prototype quality, but the publisher (Dice Hate Me Games,) has a great track record with components so I expect them to be top notch.

I thoroughly enjoy the game play. It provides several paths towards victory and I can’t say that one path came out as dominant in the times I’ve played. The game has been in development for a while (at least more than a year so far as I know) and I know many people have play tested it through the Unpub program and privately through the designer and the publisher.

The Bottom Line…

New Bedford is a town worth visitng.
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Nat Levan
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John, thank you so much! I know I'm biased, but I still think this is a wonderfully written review.
I was just noticing today that I have pictures of you playing at both Congress of Gamers and Unpub 4. So thank you for being a fan all this time!
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John Moller
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Sivilized wrote:
John, thank you so much! I know I'm biased, but I still think this is a wonderfully written review.
I was just noticing today that I have pictures of you playing at both Congress of Gamers and Unpub 4. So thank you for being a fan all this time!


As I'm sure someone in this world has already said: a biased opinion is still an opinion. You are welcome!

Thank you for designing a great game.

I'm glad you have pictures. I always like to toss in a few pictures at moments like this, but it seems I have none. (It's even more rare to have pictures with me in them!)

Harp On, everyone!



 
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Keith Turner
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Is there any variance in the buildings that come out, or are they always the same?

I read that the 2 player version also removes half of the buildings. Are the same buildings always removed? How many are there to choose from?
 
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John Moller
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aReclusiveMind wrote:
Is there any variance in the buildings that come out, or are they always the same?

I read that the 2 player version also removes half of the buildings. Are the same buildings always removed? How many are there to choose from?


I do not recall what variation on the buildings is possible. I do recall that the player version does involve less buildings.
 
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Mathue Faulkner
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I'm interested in the game...but I'm afraid my wife may be turned off by the theme. I don't think it would be bad if the players themselves weren't the ones doing the whaling....
 
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Nat Levan
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aReclusiveMind wrote:
Is there any variance in the buildings that come out, or are they always the same?

I read that the 2 player version also removes half of the buildings. Are the same buildings always removed? How many are there to choose from?


With the basic game, the buildings are the same, though you choose if and when to build them, and games can go completely different directions. The two player game uses a specific subset, chosen to keep gameplay tight, though you could potentially swap one or two each game for some variety.

But some of the stretch goals on the kickstarter project will be adding extra buildings, so you can vary setup even more.
 
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Nat Levan
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mfaulk80 wrote:
I'm interested in the game...but I'm afraid my wife may be turned off by the theme. I don't think it would be bad if the players themselves weren't the ones doing the whaling....

I understand that can be a hard sell. I hope you'll still take a look at the rules (available now on the Kickstarter project page). The game is at an industrial scale, so it's not about harpooning or killing. Thanks for taking a look!
 
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Mathue Faulkner
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Sivilized wrote:
mfaulk80 wrote:
I'm interested in the game...but I'm afraid my wife may be turned off by the theme. I don't think it would be bad if the players themselves weren't the ones doing the whaling....

I understand that can be a hard sell. I hope you'll still take a look at the rules (available now on the Kickstarter project page). The game is at an industrial scale, so it's not about harpooning or killing. Thanks for taking a look!

We just had a baby, but I'm going to try putting the PnP together and see if we can squeeze in a game. I think she'll enjoy the mechanics of the game if she can get by the theme.
 
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Keith Turner
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Sivilized wrote:


With the basic game, the buildings are the same, though you choose if and when to build them, and games can go completely different directions. The two player game uses a specific subset, chosen to keep gameplay tight, though you could potentially swap one or two each game for some variety.

But some of the stretch goals on the kickstarter project will be adding extra buildings, so you can vary setup even more.


Thanks for the response. I'm glad to hear that swapping some buildings from game to game is possible in the 2 player version without breaking anything about how the game works.

I hope some of those building stretch goals are met. Having variance from game to game is a big factor in 2 player replay value for me. If I feel like this is a game my wife can play with me again and again without losing interest than I'll likely hop on board.

On a side note, I have been to New Bedford quite a few times since I grew up fairly close by. It is nice to see a game focusing on an area I am familiar with.
 
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Nat Levan
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aReclusiveMind wrote:

Thanks for the response. I'm glad to hear that swapping some buildings from game to game is possible in the 2 player version without breaking anything about how the game works.

Well, no guarantees, as I haven't tried it
Realistically, you shouldn't run into too many problems. Most of the 3+ buildings are just extra resources, which might accelerate certain strategies. The Inn is probably the worst, because the owner should always take it or get paid by the other player.

Quote:
I hope some of those building stretch goals are met. Having variance from game to game is a big factor in 2 player replay value for me. If I feel like this is a game my wife can play with me again and again without losing interest than I'll likely hop on board.

I can assure you there is still plenty of replayability even without variable setup. Making sure it was equally strong as a 2-player game was part of the design from the start. It's not just a tacked-on/hacked-up version of the main game.
 
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