- Cliff HomewoodUnited Kingdom
Southend on sea
It's a shame this isn't more widely available, from my opinion they should print it commercially as Catan is my favourite game and I have a few of the versions (Cities, Seafarers, Fishermen, Oil Springs, star trek, frenemies, Elasund, starfarers, america) and for me this is one of the best.
There are two games here, Rincewind is pretty much standard settlers except for two facts, one you get to build ships with your resources, once built they go on a track each time the die are rolled your ships are moved along to the next hexagon in which ever direction that roll dictates, sometimes falling off the board, in which case it is put into a holding pen and you can pay the right resources to release it and try again. If it gets successfully to the end of its journey you get one victory point. You can also pray to the God IO once each turn which for a resource lets you move your ship one hexagon in the direction you require.
The second difference is the dragon track, whatever hexagon the robber is sitting on if you pay three of that resource you can move your marker one along the dragon's tail, whoever's furthest along the dragon's tail gets 3 victory points (if i remember rightly, might be 2) second place 1 victory point. So this is interesting in the placing of the robber you maybe placing not to hinder players resources but to optimise your over-production (of course if you are lucky both come together).
Have played this version twice, first wasn't that impressed as it is very similar to standard Catan, with just a few extra nobs and whistles, second time I appreciated it more as it is actually quite fun to try and steer your ships along and not lose them. First group I played with took the game seriously and strategically, second were more about having fun with it, funny how different groups affect your enjoyment.
No the reason I love this game is the other side, the Guilds.
The hexagons are placed in a ring, every other one is almost the standard Catan hexagon other than the fact it has two numbers instead of one. It also has a guild icon, you can pay the resources on this tile to move yourself ahead on the Guild track and whoever's in the lead on the Guild track gets one victory point and the ability to trade at 2:1 on one particular resource. IN the two games I've played I think this aspect is an essential way of winning the Guilds game, getting dominance on the Guild track, so hardly ever trade 2:1 as prefer to establish or maintain my lead (won my last game doing this!).
Every other hexagon has a special ability that activates when one of its numbers is rolled. Some of these are rather good. If for instance you have a house in the assassin's guild you can roll a dice and if you get the required high number (the more houses the less high the number has to be) you get a free house to place anywhere on the board! This seems very powerful to me and well worth doing even if you've only got a 1 in 3 chance at the start of succeeding. You also have to pay a resource to the assassin's guild to attempt this.
The reason why placing a house anywhere on the board is quite powerful is because Guilds of Ankh-mopork has its own placement rules. Gone are roads, as its a city where everything is built on top of each other. No you are only allowed to build houses next door to your current houses unless you are in a Guild, for each Guild you have managed to become a member of you can place the house one space further away. As I said earlier this Guild track is very important! As well as assassin's the same hexagon gives you control of the robber as well, if you haven't got a house here you can't do the 'ol place a robber on an opponent and nick one of their cards trick. But even if you can it rarely happens because you start with two receipts (and its easy to get more), you just pay a receipt to stop yourself losing a card (or cards if you've got more than 7).
A fun one is the Alchemist's Guild, if its number is rolled they have struck gold and you can take one resource from the bank of your choice. Of course it then catches fire so next time its number is rolled it produces nothing, you just remove the fire token.
So as you can see it is thematically sound, and changing the placement rules of houses makes it quite a different game, as does the addition of the Guild track, one of the group I played it with last said he preferred it to Settlers of Catan as it gives you more options. I think it would be popular as it adds a worker placement type mechanic to settlers with all the hexagons that do different things.
Let's hope if you like the sound of it you'll get to play it sometime (Discworld being a commercially popular commodity with generally mediocre games it makes me wonder why this hasn't been released commercially, perhaps it's a licence thing?)
I do hope you enjoyed this my first (maybe second, shows you how good my memory is!) review.
- [+] Dice rolls