I know that we are all in the Essen frenzy, trying to read rules, previews, reviews, press-release in the desperate need to understand how to best spend our time and money in Essen with the (sadly) absolute certainty to not be able to go back with everything we want, the (sadly) awareness will be back home with much more inutility than needed and with the fear to miss the game all other gamers will have and talk about in the next weeks.
People not attending Essen can live this day with a big amount of ill-concealed envy and much less stress.
Here my quick impressions, just reading the rules, of some games: hoping it could help other gamers in their choices.
To optimize the time here the list of the games I’m talking about in this article: so you can just go beyond if not interested:
Tahiti from Minion Games
War of the Ring: Lord of Middle Earth from Ares Games
Designer: Davide E. Witcher
Publisher: Minion Games
Times: 60 minutes
Rules preview by Andrea “Liga” Ligabue
It looks a nice and quick german style game with a nice graphics and some interesting idea. You will move your canoe on the islands around the home island collecting goods and fishing. In the end you will score both for the variety and quantity of goods collected.
The main mechanic of the game is that your canoa can load a maximum of 5 goods but carrying more than 2 will reduce your actions from the starting 4 back until 1. The second concept is that you can carry as many goods as you want of a single kind or just one good of each kind. It looks like the main decision in the game will be how and when load your canoa and which goods pick-up.
The map is made of hex tiles with waters or islands: islands will have 2 goods each. There are also reefs on two sided of each hex: crossing a reef could make you loose a good. Finally there is a special good type, fish, that is not taken from the island but spending an action fishing.
The turn sequence is easy and quick: add a new hex to the mapboard, add new goods to the table, take your actions and deplete an island (only when all the hex are been put in play).
In the action phase you can pick-up goods, move your canoe, go fishing or deliver goods in home island.
There are 5 kind of goods: 4 standard goods and fish. You get 1 point for each standard good, bonus point for each set (one of each of the 5 goods), You losse point if you have less than 3 fishes and finally you get bonus point if you have the most of two kinds of goods determined by a secret favourite crop tile drawn in the beginning.
Simple rules, some new ideas, graphics nice, quick set-up: if the game works fine it looks a real interesting title with a playing time that could be really below the 60 minutes.
Designer: Marco Maggi, Francesco Nepitello e Roberto di Meglio
Publisher: Ares Games
Time: 130 minutes
The first big expansion of War of the Ring 2nd edition, bringing alive again some of the characters of the first edition expansion and introducing some totally new, real interesting, options and mechanics.
First of all the pack will include almost 30 cards, 8 figures (6 new characters and 2 special figures) and 5 new dices.
The main idea behind this expansion is to make the presence of the keepers of the three elven rings much more evident in the game. Instead of just using the ring as in the standard rules you will roll also an extra die for each keeper in play: two faces on each die (apart for the one of Gandalf) involve the removement of the die and one of this actually adds an eye to the haunt. The impression is that using the rings now is much more powerful but also more risky, introducing a new random effect. The rings are also used like in the normal game and with special effect if the keeper is in play.
Also the two new lesser minion, The Balrog of Moria and Gothmog carry a special die each with the same characteristic: more power but also the possibility to be removed.
There are 8 new characters (the three keepers of the ring, smeagol, The Balrog, Gothmog, The Mouth of Sauron and the Witch King that seems a nice add in variety and effect to make your play more varied.
The Council of Rivendell rules make use of different character cards and let some of the companion start not in the Fellowship. This things, that can really speed up the activation of some faction, will also provide the shadow player with extra actions tokens. It could introduce some different tactics and, of course, I need to play to say if it is a great option or just an OK.