One of the games I’ve been looking forward to trying since Essen is this new game from Ralf Burkert and released by Hans im Gluck (a Rio Grande version is on the way). HiG have a reputation for picking good gamer games and this one certainly fits the bill.
The game is set in Germany in the late middle ages and players compete to acquire victory points through taking over control of regions, being Emperor and building cities. Five rounds are played and in each round, players purchase the right to carry out various actions, with a view to moving their followers into the positions of power in the various regions. The controllers of each region will then be entitled to vote for who takes the position of emperor, if the current emperor has been challenged, following which the appointed emperor gets some victory points and extra actions. Power within a region is dictated by the nobles and knights within a region and cities situated there. Nobles can become married which increases their power and over the course of the game they will age and eventually retire. The person who has accumulated most VPs by the end of the game wins.
There is a lot going on here and plenty to try and work out. Consequently, the game started off fairly slowly as we were feeling our way as to how best to achieve our ends. Early on, Mark K and I both married off nobles in regions where the head position could only be taken by an unmarried person, preventing us from winning the region. We all made mistakes because of the huge range of options available and it was pretty hard watching your own position without trying to work out what other people were planning. We decided to cut the game short after just three rounds, by which time I had recovered from some early setbacks to take the lead. This is one we will play again soon and I would expect it to move much quicker having become accustomed to the rules. Mark’s I think rating reflected the slow progress we made.
Players Result Ratings
Garry 16 7
Mark K 13 6
Nige 11 7