A fan of new Knizia games
Glenn, Janet, Debbie
This old Reiner Knizia game is reminiscent of a few of his later ones. It has a closed-fist bidding system, and each tile won gives its owner a quandary about whether to place it face-up or face-down, both of which carry different advantages.
Imagine a square island, with 16 spots in a 4 by 4 grid. Each corner of four squares forms a different resort on the island. Additionally, the central four squares also form a resort and are the only places that hotels may exist.
There is one tile for each location, three villas per resort and one hotel, which belongs to both the corner resort and the central one. Each tile is bid for, and the owner gets to place it in its spot. It can go face down (as a nature preserve, declining to build on it) in its spot, which gives the other villas and hotels in the resort a bonus (because hotel guests like having nature on their doorstep); it can also go face up (as a hotel or villa) which will only earn the owner anything if there are already existing nature preserves in the resort. There are additional bonuses for being in all resorts, for monopolizing a resort, and for being the most environmentally conscientious in constructing nature preserves.
We all bid too high for tiles early on so that I eventually was almost entirely out of cash and was essentially out of the game. The final scores reflect the more cautious play of the other two players.
Final scores: Glenn 127, Janet 71, Debbie 45
My rating: There's a lot of fluff on this game that covers an otherwise simple concept - the underlying concept is interesting and I'd like to try it again. I give it a 5.