GeekGold Bonus for All Supporters at year's end: 1000!
10,334 Supporters
$15 min for supporter badge & GeekGold bonus
14 Days Left

Support:

Kevin Garnica
United States
West Covina
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
THE SPEICHERSTADT

45 Minutes
2-5 Players
By Stefan Feld

I. Introduction


Every game is somebody’s baby. And as such, every game will be loved by some people and less so by others. To this end, reviews on whether a game is good or not seem irrelevant to me. The more time I spend reading reviews, the more I realize everybody is going to like what they like, and not like what they don’t like. The problem is, sometimes we don’t always know either or both of these two things.

That is why my reviews (formerly “Kevin’s Fun-Filled, Five-Point Reviews”) will henceforth take on a different format: Know Thyself. This new incarnation of my review series is intended to simply explain the game as simply as a can and hopefully illustrate exactly what the game is, and what the game isn’t. My hope is that in this way, I can reduce unfair biases towards certain games on the basis that they are not good because of A, B, & C, and instead show that a game is actually good because of X, Y & Z.

All right already, enough philosophizing…on with the review.

II. Review

A. The Basics:

The Speicherstadt is a bidding/resource management game about a warehouse district in (you guessed it) Germany that was plagued with fires every so often.

Players go around bidding on various cards that come out, with their meeples. After bidding, each card is resolved and won by the player who is willing to pay for it. Contract cards come out that need to be fulfilled with certain goods. And later, goods will be available through ship cards that come out. Players do their best to allocate/save/convert these goods in the hopes that they can fully fulfill their contract cards for points. Most points wins.


picture provided by boardgamegeek.

B. The Details:

This is where the “devil” lies. The game is predominantly the bidding portion. Everything else (though important, nonetheless) feels like bookkeeping. When a player bids on a card with his meeple, he places it above the card. Other plaers do the same, stacking meeples above the card on the board. The ultimate price of any given card is the number of meeples placed above it.

Then, when each card is resolved, the player who placed his meeple first (just above the card) has the decision to purchase or pass first. If he passes, he takes his meeple back, thus making the price one less cheaper for the next player who has to make the same decision. Cards not bought are discarded.


picture provided by boardgamegeek.

The cards come out in “seasons” (winter/spring/summer/autumn – A/B/C/D). During spring, the goods begin to come into play. Also scattered throughout the deck are four “fire” cards, which can adversely affect players with negative points, unless they have purchased fireman cards for “protection” – in which case players score positive points.

The game ends when the entire deck is played through.

III. Observations and Musings

When I say the game is predominantly the bidding portion and the rest is bookkeeping, I don’t mean that as a put down, I simply mean that the majority of the game’s fun is the meta-game that goes on during the bidding process.

I’ve found that this game really shines with more players. While I have played it with 2 players and it does work, it is simply a different animal. If you understand this, 2 players can also be just as tense; it’s just going to feel very different. So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that it scales well.

Critics say that the game doesn’t have enough variety and begins to feel samey, but I have to respectfully disagree. I’ve found that there is plenty of “game” in the bidding. Players can increase the prices of cards that they want to deny their opponents, especially if they know they can’t afford it (money is not hidden). There are many subtleties when placing meeples; one such little bit of cleverness happened in one of my games when a player placed two of his meeples high above the card, making it impossible for everybody to purchase it, then he passed the first time, removing one of his meeples, and finally bought it for one coin! This tactic hadn’t even occurred to me, very clever, indeed.

And money is VERY tight. The game only comes with 25 (very thick) coins, and each player starts with 5. When bidding, you really have to commit to what you’re willing to spend – each player only has 3 meeples to use for the entire game. And when you purchase a card, you REALLY feel every coin spent! Though the income phase of the turns help, it is minimal, making this game a delicious dilemma of risk vs. being broke.

The cards are very intuitive, with very simple iconography to help keep the game flowing. Besides contract cards and ship cards that get loaded with goods cubes, there are cards that benefit certain aspects of game play, such as cards that help you get more money, convert goods more efficiently, store more goods, cards that award points outright simply for acquiring them, etc. But there is only one of each of these types of cards, so they will be fought over during the bidding phase.

The Speicherstadt has more than a couple of paths to victory. I’ve played games where one player won without purchasing a single contract or ships with goods cubes. I’ve played a game in which the youngest player won handily amongst a group of veterans. This is no doubt because the rules are simple to learn and easy to teach. The rules are very well written, leaving no stone unturned. There is even a quick startup page that summarizes the game, as well as a couple of index pages devoted to every card and what it does.

This is not a long, involved game with heavy mechanics and lots of fiddliness; this is a quick game about outthinking your opponents and trying to screw with them without screwing yourself in the process. The game always lasts roughly 45 minutes to 1 hour, including rules explanation, making it a super-filler, of sorts, and a super-fun game. There is no extra bling or chrome to this game; it comes with exactly what it needs, nothing more. This is a very clean, extremely streamlined game.

Elegant might be a better word.

Overall: highly recommended.

Kevin
"The Passionate Yet Judicious Gamer"
27 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Damien Seb. ●leoskyangel●
Malaysia
Bangsar & PJ
flag msg tools
badge
I play games not to win, it's the gathering that's important - Thanks for the tip Cate108!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This game is surprisingly good! I love how it can handle a 5 players game pretty fast in just 45 minutes, seriously a good lunch hour game.

I swore that I didn't look twice at this game before cuz of the so-so artwork. But when my friend busted this out during our regular board game meet up, I was blown away. I love the bidding part most. It's just soo good. Enjoyed the review. Thanks.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
flag msg tools
badge
Bitter and Acerbic Harridan
Avatar
Nice review. I agree it's a nice game. As you say, money is very tight. I personally love the screwage with bidding.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Derek Thompson
United States
Marion
Indiana
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
pacman88k wrote:
[size=18]
There are many subtleties when placing meeples; one such little bit of cleverness happened in one of my games when a player placed two of his meeples high above the card, making it impossible for everybody to purchase it, then he passed the first time, removing one of his meeples, and finally bought it for one coin! This tactic hadn’t even occurred to me, very clever, indeed.



You can't do this...


From the rules: "Place your worker on the lowest unoccupied building space."
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve Duff
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
aldaryn wrote:
From the rules: "Place your worker on the lowest unoccupied building space."


The tactic still works, but yes, you can't leave any spaces when placing meeples.

It's hard to tell if he was leaving gaps in the original post, it very well could have been something like this:

D
D
C
A
B
A

D places high, raising A's price to 6 or 4, B's price to 5, C's to 3, none of whom could afford those prices, so D gets it for 1.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Derek Thompson
United States
Marion
Indiana
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
UnknownParkerBrother wrote:
aldaryn wrote:
From the rules: "Place your worker on the lowest unoccupied building space."


The tactic still works, but yes, you can't leave any spaces when placing meeples.

It's hard to tell if he was leaving gaps in the original post, it very well could have been something like this:

D
D
C
A
B
A

D places high, raising A's price to 6 or 4, B's price to 5, C's to 3, none of whom could afford those prices, so D gets it for 1.


Ahh, I see. I thought he meant just starting at the top - in which case, why wouldn't you always do that...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kevin Garnica
United States
West Covina
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
UnknownParkerBrother wrote:
aldaryn wrote:
From the rules: "Place your worker on the lowest unoccupied building space."


The tactic still works, but yes, you can't leave any spaces when placing meeples.

It's hard to tell if he was leaving gaps in the original post, it very well could have been something like this:

D
D
C
A
B
A

D places high, raising A's price to 6 or 4, B's price to 5, C's to 3, none of whom could afford those prices, so D gets it for 1.


This is correct.
 
 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.