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Subject: De Poorters van Nieuwstad, English review of a Dutch game rss

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Ralf Van Kempen
Netherlands
Geldrop
Noord Brabant
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De Poorters van Nieuwstad

Please forgive all mistakes made in English grammar!

Introduction

This game is developed from a cooperation between 3000 players and 999 games in the Netherlands. This cooperation was introduced with the name “the perfect game”. This name is stated on the box, so my expectations are high. Does it meet my expectations?

Theme of the game is building a city. Using a introduction the manual describes the way a man and women (Aleida & Egbert) together with their son join with Falko and Reini to build a settlement which will grow to a city. The son Geldalf wants to become the magistrate of the city of Nieuwstad (Which means New City).

First impression

The Box contains quite some material. A large double-sided game board and a reference sheet on which you can place the buildings you’re going to build later on. Each player receives a summary of the steps in a round on one side and the revenue of sold goods on the other side and also receives some signets in his color. Beside this you’ll find victory points, money, goods, forrest tiles, boat- and markettiles, all from nice cardboard.
A small white and brown wooden meeple are used to track the number of inhabitants of the town and the starting player (which could have been a little larger!). Last there are the action and character cards and offcoarse, the rules.

Preparation

The board is placed on the table and is covered with forrest tiles. Only the market stays empty. Every player receives it’s signets, summary chart and 2 florins.
The action cards are shuffled according to the number of players and all the material is sorted and ready.
The character cards are laid out and the oldest person may start the game by removing one forest tile according the rules. Everybody follows clockwise and receives the income on the backside of this tile. Thereafter the last player who did is is the first to build one of the dedicated starting buildings (house, grain field or boat) and the rest does the same counterclockwise (like Catan).

Gameplay

The player who’s turn it is chooses a character card and performs the action first. The rest of the players follow clockwise and may perform the same action. At the start of the game there are 5 different types of characters:
Lumberjack which clears the forest(tiles) and provides wood and wildlife;
Masterbuilder allows you to construct a building;
Trader who allows you to enhance your goods and let you sell them;
Farmer; which produces goods and
Sheriff with which you can buy action cards.

Every character has it own unique capability which only the player who choose the card can use. After performing all the proceedings of this character for all players, it’s the next players turn. When all players have chosen a character, the round ends, characters become available again and the new starting player can start again. This part of the gameplay is a 100% Puerto Rico / San Juan rip-off. Even the special action af the farmer, master builder and trader are the same.
The buildings provide an extra character when build.

During the game forrest tiles are removed and empty spots occur where the buildings can be build. The buildings have to be build by special rules. At the edge of a building tile there a sandy road and a cobblestone road. You can only place those sides to other buildings sides of the same kind (like Alhambra).

Building gives you victory points and makes the city grow larger. Because of the growth of the city empty spots become available in the specialist tiles (Bakery, Butcher, Fishing stall and Taverna). You can earn florins and victory points by delivering goods and you can change the produced goods (Cattle, Grain, wildlife nd fish) into refined goods (meat, bread, wild meat and smoked fish). “you mean like in Le Havre?”. Indeed.

The Sheriff lets you buy cards. This can either be events which occur immediately or wishing cards which you can use later on in the game. Those cards give you a bonus of annoy your opponent.

The game ends when somebody reaches 30 victory points.

Is “de Poorters van Nieuwstad” a nice game? Yes it is.
Why. The most important fact is there is a lot player interaction because of the cards. For the last buildings it’s obligated to build them together and negotiate about the price (not clear in the rules BTW) and you can trade everything. There isn’t really a way of slowing down the number one player. At last I like the theme although to introduction story sounds fetched and naughty. How do five people build a city in a few decades, well sounds very incestuous or cozy… There’s a small portion of luck but that doesn’t change the gameplay.

Is “de Poorters van Nieuwstad” the perfect game? No


There are a few cons with this game.

1. The rules are not written well. During our first game with 4 experienced boardgamegeeks we found a lot of indistinctness. IE, the rules state the blue buildings MAY be build together. This should have been MUST be build together. My BGG friens Syroit already posted 5 important questions.

2. The endgame doesn’t feel right. Suddenly everything goes really fast. After getting an answer on one of the questions I believe it should go even fast. I’m going to play again tomorrow night so I might give you an update on the new rules.

3. The producting management doesn’t feel complete. You can meke bread out of grain at the bakery and meat from cattle. But you can only use that for point in the same building or in the tavern. You can’t even sell it on the market. This should have been developed better IMHO.

4. The illustration. I know, that's very personal but I dislike the illustration. They’re between serious and animation. The colors that are used. Blue coins? I’ve googled it and I could not find one place in the world where they use blue coins.

5. If you pretend to produce the perfect game, please come up with a new game mechanism (IE Tzolkin) en do not steal the mechanisms from other games. And if you do so, admit it, like Friedemann Frieses Copycat)

Edit: fixed some typo's
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