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Subject: The Anaylist's View: Anno 1701 rss

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Jeff Greening
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I would like to start by saying I don't speak German. My wife is German and it is she who translated the rulebook for me. The symbols used on the cards are so clear that very little language is actually needed once you know the rules. The purpose of this review is to provide some translation of the game materials as well as give my opinions of the game.

Anno 1701 is the second in Klaus Teuber's conversions from the computer game over to board game format. Released in Germany by Kosmos in 2007, there is currently no talk of an English version.

Teuber has done well in managing to produce a number of variations for the Settlers board game. Now it seems he has turned his hand to producing variants for the card game as well. While this does borrow much from the original Settlers card game, it has a lot that is new to bring to the table.

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1. Components:

The game includes a full colour rulebook, 120 playing cards, 1 six sided production die, 1 six sided event die, and 2 markers.


Box and Box insert

The box is colourful and the correct size for the components it holds. (I strongly dislike oversized boxes full of air!) The box insert is black plastic with individual spaces for the dice and markers. There are three slots for the cards which hold them all nicely. Manufacturers please note: Well designed box inserts are a must!


Rulebook

The rulebook is well laid out and full of colour illustrations and examples of play. Individual card rulings are found in the rear of the rulebook. Sadly, the rulebook is only available in Germany for the time being.


Cards

The cards are printed in color on one side and black and white on the other. As before they are square and quite durable. They are split into:

Starting Layout
The starting position of each player is dictated by the rulebook as:




Set the cards up with their names at the bottom to give the correct starting stock of resources. This setup never changes through the game. You cannot expand you settlement by building roads and additional towns. All you can do is upgrade what you have. The four small starting "Pioneers" (the equivelant to settlements/cities in standard Settlers) may be upgraded to "Siedler / Settler" for 1 VP then to "Burger / Citizen" for 2 VPs and finally to "Kaufmann / Merchant" for 3 VPs. The game ends when one player reaches 7 victory points or has built 2 "Kaufmann".

As in the standard settlers card game, there are two building slots above a pioneer, and two below - giving a total of 16 building slots. Again this never changes throughout the game.


Resources

Resources are split into two types, basic and luxury.
Basic resources have a green border and a produced by the production roll each turn.



The basic resources are:

Nahrung - Food
Tuch - Cloth
Holz - Wood
Ziegel - Brick
Werkzeug - Tools

Players begin with one of each of these in stock.


Luxury resources are shown in a warehouse and have a brown border. Players start with none in stock.




The luxury resources are:

Tabak - Tobacco
Rum - Rum


These cannot be produced, they can only be acquired by going on voyages. Once got they cannot be affected by any action of your opponent in any way. No card may affect your warehouse. They are only lost when they are spent on settlement upgrades.


Town Center

Your 2 town centers are used to indicate how much gold you have. Again gold cannot be produced. Each center can hold a maximum of four gold. For each gold you have less than four you get one unhappy citizen (shown by a red face icon). If a center ever drops to zero gold it is flipped to its black and white side. The resource regions above and below it will not produce until you have a least one gold again. If both centers ever drop to zero, the player loses!

Note: Unhappy citizens are unrelated to happy citizen icons. The two do not cancel each other out!


The Ship



Each player starts with one trade ship and can never gain another. The roman numerals around the edge indicate its hull strength. It begins on 2 and can be increased for free by the production roll showing its number. Players may also spend any amount of wood to repair the ship at the cost of 1 wood for 1 point of strength. If the ship is ever reduced to zero life during a voyage, it is turned over to its black and white side and the voyage ends immediately. It now has no production number and can only be repaired with wood.

The ships begins with three "sails" and zero "cannons". This can be increased temporarily by action cards and permanently by buildings.


Buildings
These use screenshots from the actual computer game on the color side and look very good. The resources required to build them are shown by symbols on the left side. These are clear and easy to see. Each building may also have a special ability, but these are always shown using clear symbols. Buildings may also have cannon, sail or trade icons on them to depict naval strength and commercial power. Some also show a happy citizen icon.


Buildings with cannons



Buildings with sails



Production buildings show a dice number and a resource symbol indicting when they produce. These buildings are the ONLY way to increase your production beyond its starting point! You may build duplicates of buildings if you wish (in fact you have to, if you want to progress)


Action Cards
These again use screenshots from the game. All action cards are personalities that appear in the computer game. They are played for a one off effect, such as stealing a gold, increasing cannons and sails for one voyage or getting resources for free.




Voyage Deck
These have a question mark in the back. The front shows either trade opportunities, pirates, tidal waves and other potential discoveries. Most of these again require little language as icons are used well.




Cannon Marker
The player who has the most cannon icons on his buildings controls this marker. If both have the same it is returned to the center. If a cannon is rolled on the event die, then the player controlling the cannon gains a basic resource of his choice. The marker itself is black wood and looks very effective. Control of this marker does NOT grant the player a victory point.


Trade Marker
The player who has the most trade icons on his buildings controls the trade marker (a money bag). Like the cannon is uncontrolled if there is a tie. If the money bag is rolled on the event die the controlling player can steal a resource from his opponent. Control of this marker does NOT grant the player a victory point.




Opinion
Pros:
1. The chunky dice are great and easily read.
2. Good box and insert!
3. Full colour screenshots make each card look great.
4. Great icon use greatly aids gameplay.
5. The 3D Wooden blocks for the cannon and trade markers are very effective.


Cons:
1. The back of the settlement upgrade cards are in black and white, making the icons showing their building costs harder to read.


Overall
for components!

_________________________________________________________________________________________________


2. Gameplay / Rules:

Scroll down to the next line if you are familiar with the rules.

A players turn begins by rolling both dice. Both players then produce the resources shown on the production die (the six sided one). Then both players can use any buildings which have abilities that correspond with the production die. Eg a farm shows the number 4 and a food symbol - showing you can produce an extra food if the roll was a 4. The lodge shows the number 2 and the action symbol. This building allows you to place a card under a stack and get another if the roll was a 2. Other buildings allow the swapping of resources and other abilities on certain die rolls.

Next the event shown on the event die is resolved (this is the opposite order from the settlers card game). The events are as follows (listed in the same order as the summary card):

Fire:
When a fire is rolled both players lose 1 gold for each "Burger" and "Kaufmann" they have. Remember if you drop to zero gold you lose. Always keep some gold in reserve in case a fire is rolled (until you have a fire-station)!

Queen's Favour:
The queen rewards those who have a content settlement. Each player who has less than 5 unhappy citizens in total gains one standard resource of their choice.

Taxes:
Happy citizens contribute towards the settlement. Each player gains gold equal to the number of happy citizen icons they have. (Note: Gold is rare! This is one of the main ways to get it. The others are some action cards, killing pirates, some voyage cards, the trade ship event and building religious buildings.)

Trade Ship:
Each player may sell any 1 standard resource for 1 gold or buy 1 gold for any 1 standard resource.

Commercial Advantage:
The player controlling the trade icon may steal one resource from his opponent.

Naval Superiority:
The player controlling the cannon icon gains one resource of his choice.


Active Player
Next the player whose turn it is may:
Expend resources to build cards from his hand.
Upgrade his settlement buildings
Play action cards (remove from game once played)
Trade with his opponent
Trade resources with the bank at 3:1

Each of these may be done as often as desired and in any order.

There are two ways of concluding a turn:
1. Refill your hand up to three cards.
2. Send your ship on a voyage.


Refill your hand
The player draws cards from the central card stacks up to his hand limit of three. There are no buildings that increase hand size. 1 Gold may be paid to look through a pile and select a card but the order of the cards must remain unchanged. This gives strong tactical advantage to remembering which order the cards will be drawn.

Unlike the standard settlers card game, you may draw cards from many different stacks on the same turn. If you are familiar with the decks after spending gold then you can quickly get the cards you want.

The draw decks are split into three stages. Each of these is further split into two even piles. While you have no upgrades you can draw only stage one cards. The first upgrade "Siedler" will allow you to draw from stages one and two. The second upgrade "Burger" allows you to draw from all three stages.


Go on a voyage
The other way to conclude your turn is to go on a voyage.

To go on a voyage players simply announce they starting a voyage. The player may then draw cards from the voyage deck one at a time up to the number of sails they have. A player can stop a voyage at any time after resolving the current card.

If the player encounters a pirate they can either bribe it one gold to leave or else have to fight it. To fight simply roll a die and add your cannon score, your opponent rolling a die and adding the pirate's cannons. Draws are re-rolled. If the player wins he is usually rewarded with one gold. Losing usually results in taking one ship damage. The player may carry on after the pirate regardless of the result as long as his ship is still in tact and he has more sails left.

Some pirates cannon score is marked as "?" - meaning they have the same score as your opponent. This strongly encourages the arms race!

If the player meets either natives or a trade ship he may perform ONE trade. This involves spending one or more gold to get resources or luxuries.

Encountering a tidal wave costs one hull point. Players may find cargo in the water requiring simply a roll to see what you get.

If at any stage your ship is reduced to zero hull points it is flipped over and your voyage ends!

Once the voyage deck is depleted simply shuffle and go again.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________


3. Strategies:

Gold income
To survive and progress a player must have a good source of gold. The two best sources are, happy citizen icons and hunting pirates.


Happy Citizens:
Building abbeys, schools and churches provide a one off gold payment of 1, 2 and 3 gold respectively. These happy citizens then provide a regular income for each Taxes event rolled. The action card "Bishop" also rewards the player with gold for his abbeys and churches.


Hunting Pirates:
There are six pirates in the voyage deck. Two have a cannon strength of 3, two have strength 5, and two have the same strength as your opponent. If you have a significant cannon lead you can get a regular gold income just from going on a voyage most turns. As usually you are awarded only one gold reward for beating most of them, this will produce less than happy citizens in one turn, but doesn't leave you waiting for the taxes to be rolled.


Production Buildings v Ship Improvements
How you decide to strike this balance really depends on your gold strategy above. If your opponent has a good lead with cannons, then you may as well let him have it. Building production buildings means you'll get the resources you need to build much faster. Then simply build happy citizen cards to get your gold. Almost all of the pirates can be paid off anyway (only the pirate base can't be bribed) at the cost of just one gold. If you are rich enough even priates aren't a problem as long as you have....


Sail Advantage:
Two of the voyage cards refer to either the faster or the slower ship. One deals a big two damage to your hull if you are the slower ship, while the other gives one gold if you are the faster. Being the faster ship means your voyages will be much more successful, not only because of these two cards, but also because you will turn over more cards in total for each voyage, giving you more trade opportunities.

Don't let your opponent dominate in both sails and cannons. He will then have nothing to fear from anything in the voyage deck (other than the two tidal waves). It'll be an easy ride of constant voyages, hunting pirates for gold then trading it for luxury resources.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________


4. Opinion:

This game feels very different from the Settlers card game, even though its basic mechanics are the same. The voyage element really encourages development of both sails and cannons or else you just cant get anywhere.

The careful balance required of producing resources, gold and then getting the luxuries needed to upgrade is very interesting and engaging. Players tend to be constantly competing on all these points. Buildings are few and once you have built one it means you opponent cant. The pressure to get the buildings you need built quickly is felt by both.

The voyage mechanic also forces difficult decisions. You have get the best you can out of every voyage. This is because you cant refill your hand and go on a voyage. The turn after a voyage you are unlikely to be able to do much as you'll have few or no cards to play.

The game is well staged by the splitting of the cards into three stacks. The game forces you to go through the stacks in order, even if you can draw higher, as the buildings are cheaper at lower levels. The production buildings are all in the first two levels. The final level has lots of good action cards to end the game, but the buildings are not so critical.

A balance of production and navel power is crucial but difficult to achieve. It is easy to want to specialize but that will leave you with holes in your abilities, as all are needed to win!

_________________________________________________________________________________________________


5. Overall:
This game delivers a great experience for two, full of difficult decisions and challenging balances. You feel a real sense of race and time pressure to construct and progress faster than your opponent, it is in no way two player solitaire. While it may seem a little overwhelming at first (especially if you haven't played the standard settlers card game) it is quickly got to grips with thanks to great illustrations and good use of icons.

If you've played the settlers card game and are looking for a twist, this game delivers. If you haven't played the standard Settlers card game, this is still great but may take longer to pick up. My wife and I really like this game (although we also like the standard Settlers card game), but I wouldn't recommend it generally as a game for non gamers as it is on the heavier side and does have a lot going on.

overall!

Happy Sailing
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Pottsie
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Re: Anno 1701: The Anaylist's View
Jeff,

Great review! I have been thinking about this game, but unfortunately I do not read German. Your review has pushed me a little closer to picking this game up, and giving it a try.

Mike
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Chris
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Re: Anno 1701: The Anaylist's View
Thanks for sharing this info - nice review and very informative.
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Jeff Greening
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Re: Anno 1701: The Anaylist's View
Mike

I hope to be posting a complete translation of all the cards in the game as a PDF file in the not to distant future. Hope it'll be useful.

Jeff
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Jeff Greening
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Re: Anno 1701: The Anaylist's View
The card translation is up. Check out the files section!
(Dont forget to thumbsup if you like it!)
laugh

Happy sailing!
arrrh
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Andy Andersen
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Excellent review
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