The Opinionated Gamers Report on the First Morning at SPIEL.digital

So, SPIEL.digital has started… A number of us are poking around and seeing what there is to experience.

So far, I’ve watched a video from Hans im Gluck about Paleo

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8ceDaR1jTFowHFTV0VUNVQ

We’ve reading the rules and we’re going to play it soon….

But before we do, Mark really wanted to play Lost Ruins of Arnak. And since he read the rules and set it up on the table, who am I to argue?

According to Luke, who has been looking around for demos, the demo tables for Arnak look to be packed at the CGE site…

Finally, Simmy and the Simons met up this morning (much earlier than us as they are closer to the time zone in Europe) for a demo of Renature


We were there waiting at 9.59 for the ‘fair’ to open; myself, Simon Neale and Simon Weinberg. And then…nothing! For quite a while we were not able to get in to the site. Kept getting bad gateway and other error messages. I can only imagine how the tech support at Spiel HQ must have been sweating. But we persevered and finally we were in and being taught the game RENATURE by the charming Nina, using Tabletopia and Discord.

It’s not easy or intuitive to set up the game and the server and we were fiddling around so much that I can’t honestly say how we did it. But once underway everything went smoothly…and then I won! (Added that to tease Simon W who thought he had it in the bag!).
A long explanation of the game is probably not necessary as anyone can see all the promotional material available. It’s a sophisticated take on dominoes with area control and some ‘take that’ elements disguised as a pretty family game. The domino tiles are beautifully illustrated and the wooden trees and bushes are functional. The board, showing areas where one can lay tiles and the areas where the trees and bushes are planted is cleverly designed to create many intriguing placement decisions. The joker mechanism, whereby one uses a limited number of clouds to change the joker so that tiles can be played in optimal places, is wonderful and the multiple uses of these clouds – for joker change or to remove trees from already scored areas –  makes for some agonising choices. There are many other subtle choices to be made – like using your own vegetation which can count for area majority scoring or plant neutral trees which can neutralise other player’s plants. Or like playing a tile such that the next player has a chance of closing the area and getting the hidden bonus score tile. I think there is much strategy to discover and I am looking forward to it.
In some ways it reminds me of Azul, which I love, but for me this is better in that it seems to have more layers of subtle complexity
I highly recommend this game and for me it’s a definite buy.
Simmy

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About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
This entry was posted in Convention Report, Essen 2020, Reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

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