In about four weeks the time has come again to travel to Essen, Germany and hopefully play a lot of cool new games. Here’s a list of thirty-three games that are on my radar, divided up into seven bite-sized pieces. Today we discuss Porta Nigra, Asterix & Obelix: Das große Abenteuer, Antarctica, Mombasa and Lignum.
Porta Nigra – Michael Kiesling, Wolfgang Kramer
In this game you are building the Porta Nigra, a Roman gate located in the city of Trier. You are an architect and you play personal action cards to make things happen. You have to buy bricks in certain colours, build elements of the Porta or other buildings to get points or other rewards, take influence tokens to do extra actions in later turns, take money or take torch tokens to perform extra card actions. Lots of stuff to do. Your Master Builder will assist you, in exchange for money, and will run from site to site to execute these actions.
Porta Nigra seems like cool Euro where you have to manage a lot of things to do well. And it looks nice too, with all those tower pieces on the board.
Asterix & Obelix: Das große Abenteuer- Michael Rieneck
I know nothing about this game, nothing, except that it’s a Michael Rieneck design and it has an Asterix theme. I’m particularly interested in the latter, because I read and enjoyed the comic books when I was a kid. The BGG page states that it features a sly dice mechanism, but I have no clue what that means. So, we’ll have to wait and see.
Antarctica – Charles Chevallier
In a distant future there’s a need for more Antarctic research and more Antarctic resources. Every player has ships and ships need the sun to do stuff or other wise there stuck in the ice. So, you can only perform actions if the you have ships in the same area as the sun is, but there are only three ships spots in one area. When the sun, which moves around, shines on your ship, you can build more ships, build buildings, recruit scientists to gain majorities in different areas, or advance on the science track to gain extra actions and points. At the end it’s very important to be the best or have the most in different areas, then you will get the most points.
Argentum Verlag only publishes one game, plus maybe an expansion, per year at Spiel. Their games always look interesting when I look at pictures or read about them, but once I play them I almost always find them just OK. Let’s see if this one is the exception. It, again, looks fun. Let’s hope it’s fun to play too.
Mombasa – Alexander Pfister
Lately I’m really enjoying Broom Service and Isle of Skye, games Alexander Pfister designed with Andreas Pelikan. Mombasa looks like it’s a lot heavier than does two games. It’s a stock market game where you explore Africa to expand different companies and make them worth more, plus you can take shares in these companies to gain points. However, you can also get points by exploiting the African diamond mines. You can do actions on the board and you can perform actions with your actions cards. The fun thing is that you will acquire more cards throughout the game, so there’s a deckbuilding element in there too. The action selection mechanism where you assign action cards to certain stacks of your own action cards in front of you is also interesting. At the end of a round you can take one of these stacks back into your hand, which means that you constantly have to pay attention to which cards you assign to which stack, because those will be added to the cards for the next round. Mombasa looks like a very cool, heavier Euro and I’m looking forward to play it.
Lignum – Alexander Huemer
A game about logging. OK, that’s actually not a theme I’m particularly interested in, but the game seems to offer a nice bit of strategy. There’s a worker placement element, where you can assign workers to a cutting area and get food and, later on, wood. If you decide to share a cutting area with another player however, you have to share the food with that player and the wood is taken according to the forest clearing order, a location at the end of the supply path. This is another nice element of the game. Players can move their Foreman along the supply path to get resources, to trade, or to hire more men. Some areas have one spot, others have room for more players. You can move as far as you want, but you can’t go back. I like this mechanism, it’s also in Francis Drake for instance. The game has more to offer, but I can’t discuss it all here.