On The Radar: La Loire

Posted by James (admin) on October 15th, 2012

Emanuele Ornella has designed some great games over the last few years (Il PrincipeCharon IncAssyria).  La Loire is his new game this year which looks like a solid euro game.   The game is set along the River Loire and players aim to earn as many VPs as possible.  Each player has a merchant and a messenger which they move along the roads on both sides of the river – once they start in a direction, they can not go back in the other direction until they reach one of the two cities.

On each turn, the players move their merchant and messenger (in either order) and can take an action at the location each lands on.  Players move the number of spaces equal to the number of horses that the piece being moved is on top of (plus 1).  The number of horses can change as a player can leave behind any horses they want (any players can use them) or can add one if there are any horses on the space they start from.  This sounds like a very interesting game mechanic as you’ll want to help yourself but also hinder others in the taking and leaving of horses.

The core of the game is that the merchant earns the money so that the player can buy messages for the messenger to deliver (or buy boat movement).  The merchant’s actions are primarily about buying goods (wood, grain, cheese, wine, beer) and buying buildings.  The village location determines what good is available to buy there.  Some villages will have farms, monasteries, or castles on them – these are built by the players during the game – and these give discounts (plus beer is only available from monasteries).

The prices of goods are set by a price board.  At the start of the game, each town has a random shield placed on it (7 different types) and one of each shield is placed next to each of the different prices.  So, the goods in a town with a red shield cost the price next to the red shield on the price board.  However, when a good is bought, the corresponding shield is moved to the most expensive price and all the others are moved along to fill in the gap (so goods that were more expensive than the one purchased become slightly cheaper).  As there are multiple shields of each colour on the villages, a player buying a cheese in one town may affect the price of wood in another village if they have the same colour shield.  I like the potential for some humorous screwage here.

Whilst goods are bought in villages, they are sold in the two cities, and there are limits on how much the players can carry.   The sales price is fixed (and shown on the goods cards).  The cities are also where players can buy buildings for empty villages.  Players can only leave a city when they have between 5 and 10 cash – if they don’t have enough, they get 1 per turn nut can do nothing else.

The shields on the price board all have the circus icon on their reverse side and one of these is always showing.  If the shield showing the circus icon moves to the middle of the price board, the player who caused that decides where to move the circus on the board to.  They can pick any location that has the same shield as the cheapest price.   The circus is where players can buy characters which give special abilities to the owning players.

Each player also has a boat on the river.  Players can spend money to move their boat, plus getting a discount using another player’s building earns the building’s owner 1 advance along the river too.  Movement along the river determines when the game ends pus it is worth VPs too.

The player’s messenger can buy messages to deliver and the card they draw says where it must be delivered.  With the right characters, a player can deliver more important messages which are worth more but also need more stops to deliver them.

The game ends when one player’s boat has moved far enough, or one player has delivered enough messages.  VPs are awarded for messages delivered, boat movement, and characters allow players to earn points in extra ways too.   There is a lighter version of the rules, and a solo play option too.

La Loire sounds like a solid euro game with lots of decisions, movement/buying/selling and interaction.  It sounds like there is a lot of variety in replay because of the random shield locations, changing prices, circus location, different buildings in different locations, and so on.  You can read the rules on Ornella’s web site: bga.me/loire




Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>