Recommend
44 
 Thumb up
 Hide
10 Posts

Bibliogamo» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Books for Sale! A Review of Bibliogamo. rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Chris Hansen
United States
Riverton
UT
flag msg tools
designer
If given the option, I would prefer to play with the green pieces, please.
badge
I have two new 9 Card Games: 300 Spartans and Franky's 1st Christmas
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This review is part of my series reviewing games that were entered in the 2011 Solitaire Print and Play Contest. All reviews in the series are available on this geeklist.

Game Summary
Bibliogamo is a solitaire game in which you are trying to create and sell books for a librarian. The game is played on a board showing the city of Bibliogamo and it’s many towers - each of which produces a different book. At your disposal are four types of artisans (Researchers, Scribes, Illustrators, and Binders, which you must allocate to the towers to produce the books. Each book is worth the same number of victory points, but at the start of each game you will draw a random Prestige Collection card which contains a list of books which will earn additional victory points if competed.

Game in Play

Game Play
The game is played by assigning the artisans to jobs making specific books. Each type of book has a specific number of artisans needed to produce a book. For example, a history book needs three researchers, three scribes, and two illustrators. Once all the needed artisans have been placed, the book is complete and available for purchase. While you are making books, the librarian is moving around the city and purchasing completed books from towers that he has stopped on.

Money earned from selling books can be used to bribe the librarian to go to certain buildings, saved to hire additional artisans, or traded in for victory points at the end of the day. The time track on the game has 40 spaces, but this does not necessarily translate to 40 turns. When the librarian offers a price on a book you can move the time tracker up by one day for a chance at a better price. If you’ve spent a lot of money to move the librarian to a certain location, getting a low sale price can be disheartening so it makes some sense to burn through a day or two to get a better price. The game ends when at the end of the 40th day and victory points are tallied based on books sold, money earned, and completion of the Prestige Collection.

The Artisan Cards handle several mechanics in the game. They are used to assign and pay for artisans, place restrictions on what types of artisans may be used in that round, randomly determine the movement of the librarian, and determine the price a completed book is worth. There is a lot of information crammed onto the card, yet it doesn’t feel cluttered or hard to read.

The artisan cards show the artisan types the can be played (colored circles in center), additional movements for the librarian (roman numeral in upper left corner), colors that can’t be used in the current turn (colored circle in upple left corner), and price of books that are being sold (coin marker on the right side of one card adjacent to the number on the left side of a second card - in this example the price is 5).

Theme
Overall, Bibliogame makes very good use of theme. The artwork, Prestige Collection goals, and artisan types fit the game’s theme amazingly well and help to immerse you in the beautiful old city depicted on the board. The librarians movement also fits the game well. Sometimes you will get lucky and the librarian will just stop at a tower that you are trying to sell a book from, but often times you will have to bribe him to move there. This mechanic combines the fun play of money management with the cool theme of bribery. (Granted, the rules never mention the word “bribe” so I’m probably making up my own theme - but it’s an easy connection to make.)

On the other hand, the theme can feel somewhat lacking in places. Unlike many of Todd Sanders’s other games, Bibliogamo does not take place in a very exciting world. This is not the fascinating steam punk land of Arkady or the beautiful fantasy landscape of Lassadar. In Bibliogamo, you are just a book maker trying to sell books to a librarian. Honestly, that’s all the game needs to be playable, but past experiences with the designer may leave some players wanting a bit more.

I also feel that the game may have missed a few thematic opportunities. Each round, one type of artisan cannot be used unless you discard a card with that artisan type on it. This mechanic makes the game more challenging and fun to play, but is lacking something thematically. Are those workers on strike? Are they sick? It could make the game a little bit more enjoyable to have some of these plot holes filled in. Also, the types of artisans needed to make the books, while very balanced in terms of game play, can be a bit thematically weird. Why, for example, does a poetry book need three researchers? Researches make sense for atlases and history books, but don’t for poetry. Also, the use of binders as one of the artisan types is an odd choice since every book would need a binder, but many towers don’t require them to complete a book. Granted, this is incredibly nitpicky since you’re probably just focused on the needed colors rather than the job titles when you play, but it still has the potential to make the game a little bit less engaging.

Quality of Components
As with all of Todd Sanders’s games, the component quality in Bibliogamo is top notch. The artwork is beautiful and adds a lot to the game. In addition to looking good, the game board functions very well and makes keeping track of money, time, artisan workers, and the librarian very easy. There is plenty of space to keep track of your pieces and even though you can have a lot of pieces in play, the board never feels cluttered. The one exception to this is the Prestige Collection card, which doesn’t leave a lot of room for the pieces used to track books in the collection.

The Prestige Collection cards

The rules are clear and concise (only one page!) and you should be able to start playing right away once reading them. A lot of information is contained on the artisan cards, but a thorough explanation is provided that should answer any questions that come up.

Print and Play Section
How Much Time to Make?
There are 52 cards in the game and and a game board on two pages. With a strait edge and X-acto knife, you should be able to have this game fully assembled in under ten minutes. The other game pieces (26 black cubes and 16 red cubes) you will need to provide yourself.

How Difficult is it to Make?
This game is very easy to make. Just cut out the cards and tape the board together and you’re done. There are card backs which are spaced to not require perfect alignment if you print the cards on both sides of the page.

Materials Required
The game requires a lot of shuffling (you’ll go through the artisan deck several times during play) so you will probably want to print the cards on heavy weight card stock. If you print the game on regular letter paper you’ll want stiff card protectors.

After printing I cut the cards using a strait edge and an X-ACTO knife. I recommend using this method or a paper cutter with a sliding blade. Cutting the cards with regular scissors could possibly result in some slanted or curved edges unless you have a very steady hand.

What’s the Ink Damage?
The artwork in this game is amazing but it will use a lot of ink to print. The cards, card backs, and game board are in full color with very little white space. A lot of the game is in brown or golden tones so you’ll be using every cartridge in your printer. Even the rules use a pretty decent amount of ink.

The full color cards

Final Verdict and Rating
I love this game. The mechanics are fun, the game play engaging, and the theme utilized terrifically (despite my nitpicking complaints about it). The game plays fairly quickly and doesn’t have a lot of set up time or take up a huge amount of table space so it’s easy to play whenever the mood strikes.

This isn’t a game in which you win or lose but rather you are trying to get as high of a score as possible. The rules don’t provide any sort of indication of what constitutes a good or bad score, so all you can do is try to earn a score higher than you did previously. I think the game could benefit from a chart showing that a score of 20 meant that the player was adequate and a score of 30 meant that the player was a master book maker or something similar to that.

The theme of this game may feel a bit dry to some players. I know several people who were not excited by the idea of playing a game about book making. I love old books so this game worked well for me, but I can understand some people feeling a little bored by it. Nonetheless, I think it’s a creative theme that hasn’t already been done to death. Also, the game play doesn’t require you to actively think about book binding but rather just allocating workers to needed roles. A player can easily ignore the theme and focus on assigning workers to the red job rather than artisans to the researching job.

The Prestige Collection Card provides some road map as to what your goals for the game should be, but overall, you are faced with many decisions in this game. You never have as many artisans as you’d like and they have to be carefully assigned between the jobs you think you can finish the fastest and the jobs the librarian is more likely to land on first. Spending money to influence the librarian’s movement or waiting for a better price on a book may seem tempting, but you have to weigh the cost of doing that with the cost of having less time and resources to build more books in the future.

The game in play. The three types of books on the Prestige Collection card (Poetry, History, and Bestiary) are the three types of books I've focused on building in the game.

Is this game worth the time to print, assemble, and play? Unless you are completely turned off by the theme of book making, I think this game is definitely worth the effort. It’s challenging, beautiful to look at, and a lot of fun. I'm giving it a rating of 8.
42 
 Thumb up
4.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
todd sanders
United States
pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
thanks for the review. much appreciated
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andy Andersen
United States
Michigan
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I may have to take the plunge into P&P after this review. Thanks.
3 
 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
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Chris. I still haven't cut out my Shadows Upon Lassadar, sorry Todd.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jonathan Warren
United Kingdom
Wisbech
CAMBRIDGESHIRE
flag msg tools
designer
badge
"Elves are very good at board games, and I'm NOT an elf!"
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great review of a good game. This is one of my personal favourites from the contest.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stasia Doster
United States
Sherman
Texas
flag msg tools
If I am not gaming, I am reading!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the review of this game. I have not played any Print and Play games to this point, but I stumbled across this one on a solitaire game recommendation Geeklist and because of the theme, it immediately caught my eye. I am now going to venture into the world of P'nP games!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Hansen
United States
Riverton
UT
flag msg tools
designer
If given the option, I would prefer to play with the green pieces, please.
badge
I have two new 9 Card Games: 300 Spartans and Franky's 1st Christmas
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
scdoster wrote:
Thanks for the review of this game. I have not played any Print and Play games to this point, but I stumbled across this one on a solitaire game recommendation Geeklist and because of the theme, it immediately caught my eye. I am now going to venture into the world of P'nP games!
I'm glad to hear it! This is a fun one to start out with.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Igor Mascarenhas
Brazil
Teixeira de Freitas
Bahia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for review and this is my favorite game from that contest and one of the most games that i used to play nowadays. Is easy, quickly and pretty fun.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
todd sanders
United States
pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
really happy that people are enjoying playing the game.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Halaska
United States
Eugene
Oregon
flag msg tools
Avatar

Since no one else has mentioned it, Todd has made an Artscow deck of the Bibliogamo cards to reduce the effort of preparing the game. (Wait for one of the many Artscow deals to come along to get a good price.)

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls