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Conclusion:


This is a bad game. Rarely do I ever say this, but I felt like the game was playing me. Perhaps, I just didn't see the strategy and the "greatness" about this game. Likely, most will agree with me that this game is not very good.

I see they are trying to force the theme into this abstract, but the reality is you are just bidding and bluffing to get VP. The components are not very good and the artwork is laughable (almost as laughable as the "monster" on the front of the rule book. I realize I am being light with someones work, but I felt this was a very boring game. To be fair, this is not a monopoly clone or a roll and move game, but it didn't really bring much to the table.

To me, this is the definition of a game to purge. The theme is trying but not there, artwork is horrid, the components are not good, and most of all it is not fun. While not the worst game ever and it can be found very cheap, this is not a game for me.



Components:

The components are good and it is tough for me to have to say that. The plastic mini is good, the chits are of good cardboard, and the board is well made. The artwork is very bad and the cards just have a clip art picture of a fist or a horn (or whatever). While everything is good for a game of this weight, this is not Beowulf if you ask me.



Rule Book:

The rule book is horrible. Everything is out of order and very difficult to understand. I found myself constantly searching through it, normally in frustration. While this is not a complicated game, the rule book does make it more difficult and frustrating than it needs to be. There are conflicting rules in the rule book and some of the icons I still do not know what they do. And no, I don't care to know at this point. The rule book makes it so hard to play what is an average game.



Flow of the Game:

I am going to be sparse here as to not relive this game too much. Beowulf moves from space to space and you bid differently on each space. Some are a bluffing bid where you bid as many cards as you want (the ones that don't match the icons go back in your hand) and others allow you to increase your bids as the bidding goes up. The top bidder gets first pick of the possible treasures and the second goes second and so on.

You get cards that you use to bid. There are 5 possible cards to collect (and one wild card). What you are trying to get is fame and fortune. Fame and fortune works the same as Victory Points. You can also get wounds points that cause you to lose points at the end of the game.

Everything is convoluted and more complicated than necessary.



Should I buy this game?:

I am going to go with a big no. If you own this game and have not played it, then purge it. This is not a game that you will enjoy playing unless you are a huge Beowulf fan (do those exist?). There are much better bidding games and better games that do more. There is not much about this game I liked.

Purge.

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Miguel (working on TENNISmind...)
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Did you like "the other Beowulf game" (I didn't see the answer to that part of the title)? How many times have you played this one?

I have not played the game yet, but from reading the rules I thought they were very clear, specially with the examples. Sure I'll need to go through some dummy turns to be sure I understood everything before I take this out with friends (as I do with any game), but I could not find these: "There are conflicting rules in the rule book and some of the icons I still do not know what they do". Could you tell us which ones?

Before playing, I see this as a bidding game in which the things you bid for change value during the game, somehow like in Medici (which I love), though in Beowulf you seem to know how they will change, so it adds a bit of planning. Plus the risk mechanic, that can eventually bring someone left behind back to the race (good thing in my group).

I'll comment back once I play it, first I'm looking for some Viking miniatures to make the game a bit more thematic...
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Darren Thornton
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BJ you seem to be contradicting yourself, stating that the components aren't good in the first paragraph on to saying that they are good in the second. For myself I believe they are adequate and do the job.

As for the theme I believe it works quite well with the encounters using a nice, seemingly appropriate use of fight, friendship and bravery cards during encounters on the travel accompanying Beowulf.

Have you only played this game once? I found my first game to be a learning experience but games after that have gone quite smoothly. I don't think it works that well with 2/3 players but the 4/5 player games I have had have been tense and quite fun.

All in all your review sems quite harsh. I wouldn't recommend anyone buy this at full price but if you see it at a good discount I'd certainly recommend giving it a try.
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mark coomey
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Well, I guess I'm at the other end of the spectrum when I say that I absolutely love this game. While itmsy not be up there with some of Knizia's classic games like T&E, Ra, Taj Mahal etc. Beowulf came out more around the time that Knizia was in decline. He hadn't brought out any gamer games for quite some time, and I guess he was heading towards putting his games out there in other media devices (such as phone/ipad apps, or at least in prepaperation for this) Indeed, after Amun Re, Most Knizia games were often either medium weight games or filler/kids games.
But I still consider both Beowulf and Blue Moon city to be some his late gold. While I agree, some may consider the game to be lacking theme. In my opinion, he did well projecting Beowulf's lifes journey within the game. I also feel there is a Huge amount of tension trying to beat your opponents card play. The risks are a really nice mechanic. There's quite a bit of looking ahead to decide what you need to go for as well, which results in clever hand management.
Also the game plays out in 45-60 minutes so doesn't outstay it's welcome.

I do agree though the rulebook sucks and when I don't get to play this game often, it is hard to quickly find how to play out certain chapters.
This is just my opinion though, and if the game doesn't agree with you, it doesn't agree with you. I feel that to me though, it's a keeper.
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Mike Malley
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It won't help William since he disliked more than just the theme, but for those running across this and agreeing with that part of the review, there's an expanded Legend of Beowulf in the files section that might help. (I removed the link since i apparently failed Inserting Links class.)

I'll freely admit that i don't read a ton of reviews, but this is the first i can think of where someone recommended that other people ditch it.
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You are just so wrong. The game is excellent, the theming is very good, and the art is superb (John Howe, no less). I only read the conclusion.

Is your gimmick to keep or to purge? I did on sell my copy, as this shared several elements with Knizia's Taj Mahal, which is a better game. Still, this is a great game.
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Miguel
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Count me in as someone who really likes this game. Other games have come and gone but this one we keep going back to.

Yes, the rule book is pretty bad, and the theme is maybe not great, but the game is a lot of fun. I could see if you are luck averse not liking it, but otherwise try it again... It's really good and definitely benefits from repeat play (so that you get a better sense of what to go for and what to skip, based on your strategy)
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Andrew MacLeod
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william4192 wrote:
Likely, most will agree with me that this game is not very good.


I couldn't disagree with you more!

william4192 wrote:
I see they are trying to force the theme into this abstract, but the reality is you are just bidding and bluffing to get VP.


For a Reiner Knizia game, the theme-ing is stellar! It fits the poem perfectly (if one has read it). Bear in mind that I am a person who will quickly dismiss a game that has a fantasy theme when its theme-ing is forced.

william4192 wrote:
The components are not very good and the artwork is laughable (almost as laughable as the "monster" on the front of the rule book.


The components are very good and the artwork is praiseworthy.



william4192 wrote:
Everything is convoluted and more complicated than necessary.


Strange: I found the rules fairly simple and uncomplicated....but admittedly, the rulebook itself leaves a lot to be desired!

william4192 wrote:
This is not a game that you will enjoy playing unless you are a huge Beowulf fan (do those exist?).


I guess the fact that I'm a huge Beowulf fan (probably my second favourite poem) contributes to my love for the game. So. yes: we DO exist!ninja

william4192 wrote:
There are much better bidding games and better games that do more.



On that point, we most certainly agree, William. But the fact that there are better games out there doesn't prevent Beowulf from still being a very good game.
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I think this is one of the best games I've ever played, but I always play it with 5, never less. I believe that until you try it with 5, you won't experience the full game.
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For me, I thought the game was a stinker on my first play, even though I'm a huge Knizia fan. A complete luck fest. But then for some reason I played again, and I started changing my mind. By my third game, I was hooked. This is a brilliant game. And the components and art are fine; I don't understand any complaints there. Of course like most games, it's imperative that you play with the full rules, not in the intro rules. I think this is one of the most misunderstood games out there. Yes, there's a lot of bidding, but I don't even like all Knizia bidding games (yes, including Modern Art). I guess I really like games where there is plenty of luck, but also plenty of opportunities to deal with it. As for the claim of not "fun", I'm not even normally looking for "fun" in games, but I can't think of many examples of moments in games that are more "fun" than drawing for "risks" during episodes. It never fails to result in hoots and hollers (and groans) from the whole table.
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Sorry, I posted the reviews at the same time (for both games). I did like the other game much better (they are very different).

It was just worded odd and it was all over the place (the rules). I understand that some may read it and it click right away, but it seemed it was so different and so many exceptions (for such a simple game).

One example about the icons was the ones that included two. I wasn't sure if it was an either or both.

I just found other better bidding games. It was odd we were bidding on this heroic journey.


franchi wrote:
Did you like "the other Beowulf game" (I didn't see the answer to that part of the title)? How many times have you played this one?

I have not played the game yet, but from reading the rules I thought they were very clear, specially with the examples. Sure I'll need to go through some dummy turns to be sure I understood everything before I take this out with friends (as I do with any game), but I could not find these: "There are conflicting rules in the rule book and some of the icons I still do not know what they do". Could you tell us which ones?

Before playing, I see this as a bidding game in which the things you bid for change value during the game, somehow like in Medici (which I love), though in Beowulf you seem to know how they will change, so it adds a bit of planning. Plus the risk mechanic, that can eventually bring someone left behind back to the race (good thing in my group).

I'll comment back once I play it, first I'm looking for some Viking miniatures to make the game a bit more thematic...
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Overall, I didn't find the production value great. When I broke it down by each segment of the components some were better than others. For example, the artwork was horrid (and this means a lot to me in a game). The Beowulf mini was of good quality, yet it really served very little purpose. So, my weighted average was the things that mattered most were not very good, even though some of the bits were nice.

The problem for me is the fighting cards were a picture of a fist. They were all the same. The trading was a picture of a fox head. Just odd for my taste.

I was hoping for a Beowulf game that was more thematic. The Movie Game is abstract, but I did enjoy it (the theme meant nothing in that game).

We really thought this game was dumb to be honest.

ProfToff wrote:
BJ you seem to be contradicting yourself, stating that the components aren't good in the first paragraph on to saying that they are good in the second. For myself I believe they are adequate and do the job.

As for the theme I believe it works quite well with the encounters using a nice, seemingly appropriate use of fight, friendship and bravery cards during encounters on the travel accompanying Beowulf.

Have you only played this game once? I found my first game to be a learning experience but games after that have gone quite smoothly. I don't think it works that well with 2/3 players but the 4/5 player games I have had have been tense and quite fun.

All in all your review sems quite harsh. I wouldn't recommend anyone buy this at full price but if you see it at a good discount I'd certainly recommend giving it a try.
 
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william4192 wrote:
One example about the icons was the ones that included two. I wasn't sure if it was an either or both.

What does "ones" here mean, exactly? A card? A space on the board? Which one exactly?
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Eduard Navratil
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I, for one, agree with you - though not in regards to production values, and I didn't find the rules too hard to read - the game itself was so unconvincing that I got rid of it despite its great theme.
 
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When this game went out of print I actually bought four extra copies to keep on hand, just in case. I still have them, in shrink, except for one that I gave to my brother's family. And no, they're not for sale. laugh.
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Chris Bailey
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I've always liked this game quite a bit!
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This is one of those games I find amusing when someone refers to forcing a theme onto an abstract game, as that's just factually wrong.

The game started with the theme. There was a theme before there was a game. Incidentally you can take that to the bank, I'm not guessing about that.

In common with more Knizia games than people realise, but by no means all, people who complain about pasted on themes or similar terms are in fact making the wrong conplaint. What they are complaining about is over-abstraction. Here you may (or may not, and to be clear, I'm not discussing my opinion) complain that conflict has become over-abstracted to the modified auction mechanism. But the conflicts in the story of Beowulf came first (in the design - not just by over a millennium).

This is also a game that early in its life received bad reviews. Not bad reviews of the "I didn't like this game" sort. Those are (usually) fair enough, but factually inaccurate bad reviews. The sort that go "Risks usually succeed, therefore take all risks, therefore luckiest person wins". Spotting the fallacy is left as an exercise (or look in other posta). I see one person above had an aha moment when he did.

OK, that wasn't my opinion. Mine actually is that it's not Knizia's best, but it's one of the too many to count Knizia games I'm glad we have. Top ten of his? That would take more work than I choose to put in to make even a today's decision (tomorrow's list may be slightly different) but I guess just outside it.
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Dearlove wrote:
...it's one of the too many to count Knizia games I'm glad we have. Top ten of his? That would take more work than I choose to put in to make even a today's decision...

Don't worry, I gotcha covered. And I figure others might want to know too, so here ya go:
d10-1 Stephenson's Rocket
d10-2 Ra
d10-3 Dream Factory / Traumfabrik
d10-4 Rheinländer
d10-5 Taj Mahal
d10-6 Tigris & Euphrates
d10-7 Blue Moon City
d10-8 Beowulf: The Legend
d10-9 Samurai
d10-1d10-0 Amun-Re
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curtc wrote:
Dearlove wrote:
...it's one of the too many to count Knizia games I'm glad we have. Top ten of his? That would take more work than I choose to put in to make even a today's decision...

Don't worry, I gotcha covered. And I figure others might want to know too, so here ya go:
d10-1 Stephenson's Rocket
d10-2 Ra
d10-3 Dream Factory / Traumfabrik
d10-4 Rheinländer
d10-5 Taj Mahal
d10-6 Tigris & Euphrates
d10-7 Blue Moon City
d10-8 Beowulf: The Legend
d10-9 Samurai
d10-1d10-0 Amun-Re
No "Through the Desert"? No "Tower of Babel"? shake I would put both of those in my top 10, probably drop Dream Factory and Beowulf. Otherwise your list looks pretty good. I don't think Beowulf is a bad game, but it isn't in my Knizia top 10.
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wmshub wrote:
No "Through the Desert"? No "Tower of Babel"?

TTD is glaring omission, to be sure, but I left it off the list because it's a little simple. Same with like Ingenious, etc.

Tower of Babel? Um, no. Everyone getting a card on each player's turn is a bit tedious. Although to be fair, I should play this more. It got shut down by the group pretty quickly.

How anyone could cut Dream factory is beyond me. That's probably my 4th or 5th most-played Knizia.

What was really hard to see not make the cut was Merchants of Amsterdam and especially Municipium. But sadly 10 is a very inflexible number.
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curtc wrote:
Tower of Babel? Um, no. Everyone getting a card on each player's turn is a bit tedious. Although to be fair, I should play this more. It got shut down by the group pretty quickly.
What I like about ToB is that there are three ways to get points, and the harder you work to squeeze somebody out of one source of points, the easier it is for them to get points in another way. I also think it plays best with 3.

And, much like you and ToB, I'm taking Dream Factory out of my top 10, but I've only played it once so I can't really judge it. Municipium I liked a lot but have only played a few times, and MoA I have never played at all.
 
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This wouldn't make my top 10 Knizia, but it's a decent game. I've played nine times now, and it's always entertaining. My friends love it. Moreover, the sweeping statement that there's no theme seems silly; no, it's not a tabletop comic book, but that doesn't mean there's no theme. It actually does get across the dramatic rhythm of the book reasonably well, I think.

I don't know that it's a great game, but I've played bad games, and this isn't one of them.
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I can't participate as I can't get a top 10 Knizia list cut down below 25.
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I like Blue Moon City a lot, this game not so much. We risked everything and it usually paid off. We normally had more than enough cards.



wizardless wrote:
Well, I guess I'm at the other end of the spectrum when I say that I absolutely love this game. While itmsy not be up there with some of Knizia's classic games like T&E, Ra, Taj Mahal etc. Beowulf came out more around the time that Knizia was in decline. He hadn't brought out any gamer games for quite some time, and I guess he was heading towards putting his games out there in other media devices (such as phone/ipad apps, or at least in prepaperation for this) Indeed, after Amun Re, Most Knizia games were often either medium weight games or filler/kids games.
But I still consider both Beowulf and Blue Moon city to be some his late gold. While I agree, some may consider the game to be lacking theme. In my opinion, he did well projecting Beowulf's lifes journey within the game. I also feel there is a Huge amount of tension trying to beat your opponents card play. The risks are a really nice mechanic. There's quite a bit of looking ahead to decide what you need to go for as well, which results in clever hand management.
Also the game plays out in 45-60 minutes so doesn't outstay it's welcome.

I do agree though the rulebook sucks and when I don't get to play this game often, it is hard to quickly find how to play out certain chapters.
This is just my opinion though, and if the game doesn't agree with you, it doesn't agree with you. I feel that to me though, it's a keeper.
 
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Even though it might not come across, my reviews are about purging the game or keeping it. It is the main reason I review games.


caffeinehead wrote:
It won't help William since he disliked more than just the theme, but for those running across this and agreeing with that part of the review, there's an expanded Legend of Beowulf in the files section that might help. (I removed the link since i apparently failed Inserting Links class.)

I'll freely admit that i don't read a ton of reviews, but this is the first i can think of where someone recommended that other people ditch it.
 
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