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Subject: Biblios...or as my friend says, "Let's play it again!" rss

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Todd Kauk
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Game: Biblios
Designer: Steve Finn
Player Count: 2-4
Ages: 10+
Game Duration: 30 minutes

First off, I have played this game 6 times (3 4-player, and 3 2-players). I own many fillers, my favourites are 6 Nimmit!, Coloretto, and Parade.

I picked this game up last Friday and was very impressed with the (actual) box - it's neat! It box looks and opens like a book to a neally cool effect. That's the good, the bad is the dice. I received two dice that the pips were damaged. It's not a huge deal and the designer Steve Finn is already sending me replacement ones .

Components: 5.5/10

I love the box and the insert is more than serviceable. The card quality is decent but, cards with black borders tend to show wear quickly. The artwork oo the cards is good. The scriptorium game board is tiny but sturdy enough. My main issue is the dice, in which two of the five needed to replaced out of the box!

Rules: 9/10

The rulebook is well laid out and the rules themselves are easy to learn and teach (about 5 minutes).

Objective:

The objective of the game is to gain the most victory points by winning coloured dice based on sets of books that you collect. All dice start showing three pips, thus having a value of 3 VP each.

Card Types:

The are three card types in Biblios:

Book Cards - These come in 5 different colours (Brown, Blue, Green, Orange, Red). The brown and blue have values of 2,3, and 4. The remaining colours have values of 1, and 2 only.

Coin Cards - Coin cards come in values 1,2, and 3.

Church Cards - These are allow you to change the value (VP) of the die faces. They will allow you to either increase/decrease the value of one or more dice. Ex. If you select a church card that shows +1 and 1 die in the top right, then you can change the value of Blue from 3 to 4.

Gameplay: 9/10

The deck of shuffled a number of cards is removed based on the player count.

On a player's turn, they draw one more card then the # of players (5 cards in a four player game) one at a time. After they draw the first card, they must decide to place it in one of three places:

A) Their hand
B) The Public Space
C) The Auction Pile

They may only add one card to their hand and one to the auction. Once a decision is made for where to put a card, it cannot be moved. If a church card is selected by the active player - it must be played immediately. After all cards are placed, then the gift phase commences. During the gift phase all the other players (starting left of the active player) select a card from the public space. The next player becomes the active player and this continues until the deck is exhausted.

The Auction Phase:

Once the deck is exhausted the action phase begins. Their are two types of auctions that can occur:

Auctions for Book Cards and/or Church Cards - These are won by bidding the value of the coin cards in your hand. The bid goes around until all other players pass. Once a player passes they are out.

Auctions for Coin Cards - These are won based on the number of cards bid. The winner of this type of auction discards the cards bid and adds the coin card won to their hand.

Scoring:

Scoring (which is manipulated by the Church Cards) is based on the pip value after the end of the auction phase.
Ex.

Brown = 5 VP
Blue = 2 VP
Green = 3 VP
Orange = 3 VP
Red = 4 VP

The dice are won based on the value of the sets players have collected for each colour. The winner of the game is the player who win the most VP as indicated by the pip value of the dice won. The tie-breaker is most gold.

Feel:

Biblios feels a little bit like For Sale as it plays in two distinct halves. I personally don't care for For Sale, but I think that will give people a half-decent idea of how the game plays out. The decisions are very tense and it reminds me of another brilliant action game -"Spiecherstadt". The turns are quick and it is rare that you play just one game of it. It has an addictive quality to it, as seen in Dominion.

My thoughts/Verdict: 8.5/10

This is my new favourite filler. I love it. Biblios plays under 30 minutes, normally closer to 20. The last time we pulled it out, we played 3 games in a row! I find the auction phase incredibly tense and exciting as you try to determine how much gold or cards to bid. Each game plays out differently and I cannot wait until my next 2,3, 10 plays. Biblios is an elegant auction filler and one that would fit nicely in any collection.

I highly recommend this game, especially if you like Fizzt!, For Sale, or any light auction games. Check it out!



Todd
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Great review of a great game!

Our dice were fine out of the box , but after 30+ plays, the borders of the cards are horribly chipped with white showing through. At least the damage is so extensive across all cards that you can't remember which cards is which.

I would buy this game again in a heartbeat if Dr. Finn would put out an edition with good cards.

PS. Don't forget that the first tie-breaker is the letter of the alphabet on the cards. So if two or more people tie for one die, the person with the letter closest to the beginning of the alphabet wins the die. (B beats D, for example).
If points are even at the end, then gold becomes the tie-breaker.

Edits: PS and spelling.
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Jerome Nivet
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industrial strength wrote:


I would buy this game agin in a heartbeat if Dr. Finn would put out an edition with good cards.


Sleeves.
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The Diamond Geezer wrote:
industrial strength wrote:


I would buy this game agin in a heartbeat if Dr. Finn would put out an edition with good cards.


Sleeves.


Good suggestion but never tried them before. Curious how the cards would "feel" in the hand.
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Todd Kauk
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Thanks, I didn't forget the Letter A, B, C, etc tie-breaker on the cards - but instead, choose not to mention it as I didn't want to list every single rule, etc. The rules are very clear and concise for this game, which makes getting it to the table for the first time a breeze!

That tie-breaker does make a difference though, as I won my last 2-player game due to having a "B" on one of my green cards (as we had tied in green values 4-4). I mainly affects the gift phase where players would choose a 1 value card showing a "C" over a 1 value card showing an "E", with all things being equal.


Thanks for the kind words!


Todd
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You're right about the rules. It's easy to get up and running in this game.

My wife and I have probably tied around 6-8 times for a group, but she's always had the card closer to A though! I need to pay more attention...

Looking forward to more of your reviews. thumbsup
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Jerome Nivet
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industrial strength wrote:
The Diamond Geezer wrote:
industrial strength wrote:


I would buy this game agin in a heartbeat if Dr. Finn would put out an edition with good cards.


Sleeves.


Good suggestion but never tried them before. Curious how the cards would "feel" in the hand.


Well, smooth, plasticky...Sleevy

For me protection & hygiene precede touch & feel, YMMV.

Are we still talking about games here?
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Todd Kauk
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I'm 9 games in now...and this game is just plain FUN!!! Everyone I have introduced it to has really enjoyed it and I can't wait to bring it to the table again. Hopefully tonight!
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