Recommend
6 
 Thumb up
 Hide
5 Posts

Hansa» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Hansa: goods for thought rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Deepak Bobbarjung
United States
Indiana
flag msg tools
I was looking for a game that was a little heavier than T2R europe and Carcassonne, that had a decent theme and that scaled well from 2 to 4 players.
I thought Hansa fit all these criteria and bought it recently. My overall experience has been quite positive.

Weight
Playing hansa requires more thought and analysis than the
lighter games that I just mentioned. It also scales well from 2 to 4 players. (It does not play with 5 or more).

Theme/Components.
In terms of theme, Hansa has been disappointing. We have played several games and I still do not recall the names of all the cities on the map.
For all I care the board could have been a directed graph with nodes labeled A, B, C...
The board is also pretty dull as are the ship and the goods markers. The only think that inspires some notion of theme
are the talers (currency coins) which seem to be well designed and have an authentic feel.
The quality of the components is quite poor imo. One of the goods markers did not come out of the holding cardboard
properly, so I can always tell when a particular closed good marker is a pink good with two barrels; Very annoying:
There is also no plastic insets to keep everything in place. The market booths resemble tiny medicine capsules that can be easily swallowed by children. The quality of the cardboard box that holds all components is also mediocre at best. Overall, I got the impression that the manufacturer/publisher has not given much thought to the presentation (look and feel)
of the game.

My rating for theme/components: 1/5

Setup time:
Before playing Hansa, we have to get rid of certain goods markers depending on the number of people playing. Unless we have arranged the 6 types of goods markers in 6 different zip lock bags (which we have not), we have to sort out the required goods markers before game begins. Even with the right zip lock bags, the goods have to be placed in the cities and the remaining warehouses.

So setup time: 1 - 4 minutes.

Game Play:
Hansa is a highly tactical game. At each turn a player can perform exactly one action at the ships current location,
move the ship to another city if allowed by the directed graph (moving the ship is one taler), perform one action at the new city,
move the ship again.. and so on, until he wants to or until money permits. Players receive 3 talers from the bank at the beginning of each turn and players cannot have more than 3 talers at the end of their turn(all money more than 3 talers will have to be paid as taxes).
At each city the player can perform one of three actions - Buy goods, set up market booths, or sell goods.

Final score is based on the number of goods sold during the game and the market booth presence of each player at the end of the game.

The tax and toll system implies players cannot save money to accomplish future long term plans or design strategies for the long term.
The only strategy a player can try to incorporate in her game is to establish and maintain a fairly distributed market booth presence, in order to ensure that she always has a fair number of lucrative options irrespective of where the ship is located at the start of her turn.
Still the wide array of choices ensures a fair amount of complex decision making during ones turn;Should a player use a good marker she just bought to set up a market booth in her current city and establish a majority market booth presence in that city, or should she sell the goods to ensure some victory points? Should she move the ship to city A where she can get a 3 barrel good marker for free or should she move it to city B, where she can establish a market booth and ensure that player X does not get away with free goods in his next turn. Such is the nature of the decisions a player has to make during her turn. This can be a bit of problem in 3 or 4 player games, as analysis paralysis of one player could result in downtime for others. Unlike games such as puerto rico, there isn't much to do for others during one player's turn. However I believe that good players will still follow closely what all other players are doing (who has sold how many goods, who has the most cities, the most monopolies). Because of the nature of the game (all sold goods are turned
upside down and need not be disclosed until game end), it can be difficult to say who is leading at any point of time. Closely following the other players moves will help in making decisions such as which good should one sell, should one pay now to get the good markers replenished, Is it a good time to end the game? So what I am trying to say is that yes there can be down time but only if you chose to shut off your thought process and think of something else when it is not your turn.

Overall in terms of game play, Hansa turned out to be what we were looking for. It is heavier than T2R and carcassonne, but not too heavy
that we never feel like getting it out. It turned out to be a good next step for me and my wife who have been playing lighter board games for a couple of years now and wanted to move on to something more challenging.

My rating for game play: 4/5.

Luck factor: The only luck factor is introduced by the random placement of goods markers and the replenishment of goods markers onto the empty warehouses. If all the cities where you have a market majority now contain three barrel goods markers after replenishment then yaaayy..
good for you, if not ...not so lucky.. So yes luck has some role, but not as much as in card games, where a win or a loss depends on whether or not you get a particular card and your opponent does not. (City Hall or Guild hall in San Juan for example). After several games with each other,
my wife and I have rarely felt that luck played a major role in the games outcome.

Number of players:
Hansa plays equally well with two, three or four players. Two player games finish faster. Four player games
could result in down time if one of the players is particularly has a bout of analysis paralysis. But like I said before ... it is in your best interest
to follow closely your opponents moves.

Game time: The first few games take longer. But once everybody has figured out the rules and tactics, games tend to complete fairly quickly.
Two player games take about 35-45 minutes. Four player games can take up to 90 minutes if one or more players are new to the game.

Game time: 35 - 90 minutes.

Player Interaction:
Hansa allows for both direct and subtle player interaction. When player A sells a good of a particular
color, all players who have unsold goods of that color are required to give up at least one good marker of that color. This rule
allows players to plan and irk other players if they are so inclined. It is quite important to follow what other players are doing
throughout the game, to keep track of market presence of various players to ensure that no player has too many market booth monopolies
in a particular city (4 points per monopoly city) and so on. So there is sufficient interaction and Hansa is by no means a multiplayer solitaire game. Still player interaction is not as direct as in games like t2r europe, where you can build a route you know your opponent wants badly and force him to build stations.

my rating for player interaction: 2/5.

Overall:
In summary, my wife and I are both very happy with Hansa. Once the disappointment of poor theme and poor component quality was put behind, we started enjoying the game play and the challenging decisions presented during each turn. The game play is the strength of Hansa and goes a long
way in compensating for many drawbacks. I would recommend this game highly to recent geek converts who are thinking about a game that is slightly more challenging than their first few board games but do not feel like they are ready yet for the true heavy weights such as T&E or Goa.

My overall rating for Hansa: 7.5/10
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joe Casadonte
United States
Media
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
designer
badge
The compass always points to Terrapin.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
bobbg wrote:

Theme/Components.
The board is also pretty dull as are the ship and the goods markers. The only think that inspires some notion of theme
are the talers (currency coins) which seem to be well designed and have an authentic feel.
The quality of the components is quite poor imo. One of the goods markers did not come out of the holding cardboard
properly, so I can always tell when a particular closed good marker is a pink good with two barrels; Very annoying:
There is also no plastic insets to keep everything in place. The market booths resemble tiny medicine capsules that can be easily swallowed by children. The quality of the cardboard box that holds all components is also mediocre at best. Overall, I got the impression that the manufacturer/publisher has not given much thought to the presentation (look and feel)
of the game.


Damaged goods marker notwithstanding, I would offer a counter-point to Deepak's opinion. I love the look of the board and thought that the quality of the cardboard components was quite fine. I haven't had any problems with the box, which has stood up to quite a lot of abuse in the form of constant packing and unpacking in the game bag. I like the lean profile of the AbacusSpiele, which does not lend itself well to inserts of any significance. I'm not saying Deepak's opinions are wrong, mind you; I just offering an alternative.

re: the damaged goods marker -- I'm sure if you wrote to Uberplay, they would send you a replacement promptly.

Thanks for the review!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jay Borden
United States
Somerset
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Just a few comments on your review:

Theme/Components
I like the look of the board, but it is rather dreary. It's really hit or miss. Regardless...the colors chosen give it a unique look compared to the other games in my collection (for better or worse).

The theme is thin, but not the worst offender. While the mechanics don't jump out as instantly intuitive, I think they fit well for what it is.

Set Up:
If you play with only 2 player most of the time, use 2 zip locks for the good markers. Just keep 2 colors in one and the rest in the other(obviously the one with the damaged good should be in the bag with only 2 colors in your case).

2/5 for Player Interaction:
While I would agree with this for a four player game, I'd like to add that the 2 player game has a lot more interaction (I'd go as high as 4/5).

While there's no direct interaction between players, every action in a 2 player game will change the state of the board (and indirectly change your opponent's options). Where you leave the boat, how many booths you put in a city, which goods you buy, how much gold you save...everything your opponent does can greatly influence your decisions.


If looking for something after TtR Europe and Carcassonne, before Hansa I'd reccommend Through the Desert as the next step tactical game. If that was well liked, then move on to Hansa, Torres, and on to Tigris and Euphrates. If not, I'd look to other types of games (maybe For Sale to RA, or San Juan to PoF).

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jill Rogheden
Sweden
Söderköping
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
I must be the only one who really likes the design of the board. Since I´m into medieval stuff I really like that it resembles a medieval map! And the names of the cities makes it to fit better with the theme. Maybe it´s because I´m very familiar with the history about the Hansa and maybe it´s beacause I´m from Sweden myself (and with a father from Riga). But on the contrary I don´t like the coins in the game. The are not authentic at all. In fact they are not even coins but the seal that the Hansa used. The coins during this time used by the Hansa were not even called Taler. It was called Witten. I also think that the theme would feel better if the goods were called something other than just colors...

Besides this I really like this game as a 2 player game (have only tried it with 3 players once) and I think your review sums it up well.
It´s a game that is easy to teach new gamers, but it still requires a lot of thinking to play it!
 
 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.