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Subject: Trolling. In a good way. rss

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Stefano Castelli
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Premise: After several years spent in the board-game world you have to use physical threats against me in order to force me to buy another bidding game. Ra and Fist of Dragonstones gave me everything I want and in recent times the only auction game that I've bought and appreciated (a bit) is Fzzzt!. So, why did I bought Bridge Troll? Well... first of all, it is a Z-Man game, and you seldom go wrong with this company. Also, the game has a nice theme and looked quite fresh. So, I've put it into my shipping cart in my monthly gaming purchase and bought it. Did I choose wisely?

As the most sharp readers may have already suspected, Bridge Troll is an auction game. Players take the role of hideous trolls who live under stone bridges and kidnap people who cross the bridge in order to either eat them or gain a ransom.

So, basically, players are evil, and this in a game is always a good thing (how many times in Carcassonne you wanted to eat a meeple?)

The troll's preferred tool is the boulder: each player in fact owns a small reserve of boulders (which look like wooden cubes in different colors, indeed... ) which they use to throw at each other in order to gain advantage in choosing the preys or hurl at dangerous threats such as knights, dragons and goats ( ) to keep them away.

At the beginning of each turn the start player tosses a weather dice to check how many people are trying to cross the bridge (the better the weather, the more people are coming...). People are drawn from a deck of cards and put face up on the table, with the exception of a card who is put face down to add a little bit of mistery and suspance.

Then, players proceed with a session of bidding in order to decide the order of kidnapping the people. Some players may also decide not to partecipate to the bidding: in this case they spend time refurbishing their boulder reserve (and eventually steal boulders from other players). Kidnapped people may be used as food or for requesting a ransom: each card has two different values, one for each use (food and gold). At the end of each turn every player may use kidnapped people cards for obtaining victory points with some very easy rules. Also, victory points may be spent for buying bridge upgrades and gain more points at the end of the game.

There is a batch of other rules, such as dangerous cards which hurt players (removing kidnapped cards from their reserve), people with special effects (which players can use at their advantage) and so on, yet the main mechanics of the game are quite slim and easy to explain.

The most interesting twist in Bridge Troll is the possibility to remove ourselves from the bidding and spend the turn doing something else: this is important, as a "closed" player has a batch of interesting options and it is very important to understand when to stay out of the auction.

Also, spending our cards in the advanced turns is better, as the bridge upgrade cards cost less points and can be bought more easily, yet it is dangerous to keep too many cards in our reserve as some bad cards (such as the bandits, knights and dragons... not to mention (again) the goats...) may hurt a lot.

Additionally, the boulder management is very smart, as losing players may keep other players bids to increment their reserve and thus balance the flow of the game. Also, boulders can be spent in several ways to obtain more victory points and to defend ourselves from the dangers.

So, Bridge Troll is a straightforward auction game filled with interesting small mechanics. A game runs for about 40 minutes when every player know the rules, so technically the game is a little more than a filler. The game is for 3-6 players and works better with 4 or 5 players, as it feels more balanced.

Components are top-knotch: the artwork is very nice, the box is sturdy and the wooden cubes are... well... you know, wooden cubes.

In the end, if you own other auction games that you like you'll probably don't need that much to buy Bridge Troll. On the other hand, if you have to choose a new bidding game, this one is one of the coolest published in the past pair of years and you'll probably won't regret the purchase: it is original enought to fit in everyone lutoteque.

For the rating, i feel it is a solid game which my friends enjoy to play, it is fast and it is not trivial. Not every auction game can boast those merits, so I rate it seven trol... ERR... ninjas out of ten.
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The bottom line: There is more than meets the eye in this auction game. Beyond the nice artwork and original theme there is an engine which is not trivial and may appeal almost every kind of player.
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Greg
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This space intentionally left green.
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Castef wrote:
The troll's preferred tool is the boulder: each player in fact owns a small reserve of boulders (which look like wooden cubes in different colors, indeed... )

I want my Bouldeeples! Nice review! I bought this game somewhat blindly to get free shipping on an order, and I have to say I'm pretty happy with it.
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Booker Hooker
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Thanks for the review. Makes me still want the game (Someone trade me!)
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Stefano Castelli
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gdapkus wrote:
Castef wrote:
The troll's preferred tool is the boulder: each player in fact owns a small reserve of boulders (which look like wooden cubes in different colors, indeed... )

I want my Bouldeeples! Nice review! I bought this game somewhat blindly to get free shipping on an order, and I have to say I'm pretty happy with it.


Also, i noticed that it works well with 5 players, not a thing I can say about most other bidding games.
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Bruce Murphy
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Not a thing you can say about most bidding games? That's a bit strong. Medici? Felix? High Society? probably some others.

B>
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Stefano Castelli
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thepackrat wrote:
Not a thing you can say about most bidding games? That's a bit strong. Medici? Felix? High Society? probably some others.

B>


I feel that Bridge Troll allows for a bit more control over bidding when playing in 5/6 than most other bidding games. I felt it more balanced that other games.

Probably due to the stone-refurnishment phase, which constantly balances the game.
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Bruce Murphy
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I don't know, the way in which Medici makes people who win auctions less able to win others (limited slots) is very cute. I've added this to my wishlist, though.

B>
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Stefano Castelli
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thepackrat wrote:
I don't know, the way in which Medici makes people who win auctions less able to win others (limited slots) is very cute. I've added this to my wishlist, though.

B>


Oh, this is a hole in my ludoteque: i never played Medici.

So, in exchange I'll add it to my wishlist (or, at least, at my "Hey! I totally have to try this!" list)
 
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Stefano Castelli
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Castef wrote:
Oh, this is a hole in my ludoteque: i never played Medici.


Quick update: now I have Medici as a result of a trade.

Your fault!
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