Review: Ogonek (Line)

Posted by James (admin) on October 18th, 2013

Kolejka OgonekOgonek (which means ‘Line’) is the expansion for one of my favourite games Kolejka (meaning ‘Queue).  Kolejka is a game where players are queuing for goods at shops in 1980’s Poland.  As crazy as it sounds, it’s a superb game and a very historical theme.  For more details on Kolejka see my full review.

Ogonek adds a few new elements to the game.  One item is that it adds the potential for a 6th player (as Kolejka is 2-5 players) which is a welcome addition.  Having 6 players adds a bit more chaos into proceedings than with fewer players as more things can happen to your plans between your turns.

Ogonek adds alcohol as a new item.  Rather than having to queue at shops for this, players can place one of their queuers on one of the available alcohol goods cards at the side of the board.  At the end of the round, the player receives the alcohol (so it’s not usable in the round they obtain it).  Alcohol can be used to bribe the speculators (the neutral queuers that get in the way) which allows the player to swap places with them in the same queue.  Alcohol can also be used as a substitute item when swapping goods at the market.  So, alcohol is useful but too powerful.

Another addition are the People’s Tribune newspaper headline cards which are events that make a difference to the round’s gameplay such as sending all speculators to the back of each queue, allowing players to draw 4th card, etc.

Finally, there are 4 new queue cards for each player too (the cards that let you manipulate where your queuers are in the queues) which add some extra variety into the game.  You still only use a deck of 10 cards during a week (5 rounds).  The official rules say you use a random 10 cards first week and include the 4 that weren’t used in the next week’s cards (with 6 other random cards).

Ogonek card

“This lady was behind me” lets you move one of your queuers from one queue to stand behind another of yours already in a different queue.

Overall, I like what Ogonek adds to the original game.  Did Kolejka need an expansion?  Probably not as it’s great just on its own; however, Ogonek adds some extra variety if you want some more choices.  The sixth player is a welcome addition (so long as you remember more players means less control) and the addition of alcohol works well as it broadens your options (which especially useful if you are holding cards that aren’t very useful to you at the current time).

The new queue cards are entertaining.  When we played, we decided we would prefer to pick 10 cards out of the 14 and use those for the whole game as this made it more evenly balanced.  Out of the 14 cards, there are definitely some that work better in combination with others so you can create mixtures of 10 cards that give different approaches (sort of like how the specific cards you use in Dominion set the feel of the game).  The headline/event cards had some nice effects although these do add a bit more chaos.

Ogonek is a modular expansion so you can use the different elements it provides in whatever mixture you would like.  I think I would always play with alcohol and the new queue cards (but using identical sets of 10 out of the 14 queue cards for each player) in future.  Personally, I would probably not use the headline cards when playing in the future as I prefer less randomness (although they may work in a 3-player game where there is less movement due to fewer cards being played).

So, Ogonek is a great addition to Kolejka.  I am now looking forwards to buying a copy of the designer’s new game Strajk (Strike) at Spiel in Essen and will review that soon afterwards.  (I would never have predicted my games collection would have enough games to create a historical reference section, especially not one with enough games in it for a Polish sub-section.)

[Played with 6 players]

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