Woke up this morning – a bit later than I had expected, and I was immediately accosted by a bunch of roving Canadians. As horrific as that sounds, at least they came bearing gifts… they were holding the one pasted up copy of Brugge in the building. Filosofia will release it as Bruges. Jason Robillard had just learned the game last night, and he was more than willing to play it again and teach us the rules in the process. While the cards are pasted up, the rules are still only in their native German. (PS – big thanks to Jeff Gagne for the original translation!)
This, of course, brings to one of the great Gathering traditions – learning games from a guy who just played the game last night who in turn learned the game verbally himself from a French guy who has been up too long and translated the game on the fly from German to French and then had to teach the game in English. The great thing is, there are plenty of people available to teach new games. The bad thing is that sometimes I don’t know if I’ve played the actual game for a few months until the real English version comes out! There are probably three or four games that I ended up liking better with the Gathering rules over the years than the “real” ones.
In any event, Brugge is a nicely designed game with mechanics that are easy to teach and easy to grok. Jason had us going in about 10 minutes, and we had very few questions while we were playing the game. It’s a game with many different areas to compete in (semi-Feldian, if I may coin a term), each of which scores victory points. Dice rolled at the start of each round add in enough randomness to give the game a tactical feel. Bonuses are given for being in the lead in the different tracks or for finishing particular tasks first – so in good Euro-game fashion, you always want to do more things than you have actions to do. There is definitely some luck in the cards that you draw and how well they work together, but I like that sort of interaction, and it will increase the re-playability for me. The first game we played took about 75 minutes, with the obligatory distractions of saying hi to people, helping Alan take care of minor emergencies in the ballroom, and the somewhat annoying distraction of having one of the players typing out his blog post in the extremely short breaks between turns. More details on the game once I play it again, but I’m definitely looking forward to my second play – possibly later today! But first – some pics…
Brugge early on – the board really marks the scores and stuff, nothing much is placed on the board in play other than canals
Surrounded by Canadians, eh?
And now, a few pictures from the morning action here:
Erstwhile OG contributor Rick Thornquist playing Bora Bora.
Suburbia with the prototype of the expansion. If only someone knew more info about the expansion! (Actually, I’m just waiting for Ted to give me permssion to talk a little about it OR better yet, get him off his lazy duff to promote his own game)
Some of the Czech guys working on a bedsheet sized puzzle. Or maybe they’re just homesick…
The reaction from Alan and his gorgeous wife after I asked them if they’d play a game with me.
No miniature tape measures were hurt in the picture taking of Dust – there are definitely games of all types on play here
Monsterfalle – another OG writer, Joe Huber, enjoying this children’s game
In the afternoon, I had a chance to play the soon-to-come release from Ystari and William Attia – Spyrium. Some pictures of the prototype are here – please note that it’s all prototype components.
It’s played in 6 rounds, and you want to score the most points. Each round there is a grid of 3×3 cards set out, and you can place meeples around these cards. Building cards can be purchased and added to your tableau – you use them in later turns. Most buildings are also worth VPs at end of game. Character cards can be used immediately to do something awesome. Technique cards are also added to your tableau, they give you a special ability for the rest of the game as well as an endgame bonus scoring opportunity.
from left to right: technique, base card, building, building
The grid early in a round
close up on a building card
In each round, all players start in the placing meeples phase. Players decide when they want to transition into the removing meeples phase. When you remove a meeple, you can activate one of the cards which it is adjacent to OR you can collect money. The neat thing about the grid is that the number of other meeples around the card affects the cost of whatever you are doing. If you are collecting money, you collect a number of coins equal to the remaining meeples surrounding the card you activated. If you are buying or activating the designated card, the remaining meeples instead INCREASE the cost of the card you want to buy or activate.
There is also a special event card (7 different in the game) of which all players have the opportunity to each use once during the turn.
The game moves along quickly, with the whole 3p game with rules taking just under 80 minutes. Lots of decisions to be made, and the constantly changing situation of costs with the meeples in the grid. I am definitely interested in getting this one when printed. Unfortunately, William was not entirely sure when the release is, but he says US release should be by GenCon via Asmodee.
Another game that is being played a lot this week is Alan R. Moon’s Black Spy – just recently re-released by Z-man Games. Five reasons for this. 1) It’s an awesome game that had been forgotten by the sands of time. 2) It’s new, looks awesome, and we’re a bunch of parakeets. 3) It’s an Alan game, and there’s lots of brown-nosing going on. 4) Filosofia/Z-man gave every attendee of the Gathering a new copy of the game in the Welcome bag. 5) Filosofia/Z-man has sponsored a weeklong tournament with some kick-ass prizes.
The short version of the rules – play the game, record your scores and turn your scoresheet into a box. You’ll get tournament points based on your finish in that game. No limit to the number of games you play. At the end of the tournament time period – somepoint later in the Gathering – the results will be tallied, and the highest finishers will get prizes. A very generous contest indeed!
Three views of the prize table offered for the Black Spy Tournament
Finally, make sure you play with all the rules! For a few rounds, I played Frank J. DiLorenzo’s Alan R. Moon’s Black Spy. Funny how missing one little rule totally changes the game! Lucky for me, I remember the rules from the original AH version – which are unchanged in the new version…