Review: Libertalia

Posted by James (admin) on 17th May 2013

Libertalia game boatLibertalia is by Paolo Mori who designed one of my favourite games Vasco de Gama.  Libertalia is a very different game to Vasco de Gama as it is a simple and relatively quick, card-playing game.

Players are pirate crews who are trying to earn the most doubloons buy collecting booty.  Each player has a set of 30 cards each representing a crew member with a value (1-30), a special ability and a tie-break number.  Each player’s set of cards is the same except the tie-break numbers are different so that no two cards are exactly the same.  Each card’s special ability states if it will be used in the day, at dusk, at night, or at the end of the campaign.  To start the 1st campaign, one player randomly draws 9 cards from their deck, then all the other players draw the same cards.

The game is played over 3 campaigns, each consisting of 6 days when players will play one card each.  At the start of each campaign, booty tiles are drawn at random and placed on each of the 6 days on the board (one token per player).  Most booty tokens are simply worth 1, 3 or 5 doubloons, although treasure maps are only worth 12 doubloons combined if you have at least 3 of them.  There are also cursed booty tokens worth -3 doubloons, as well as saber and Spanish officer tokens which are worth no doubloons but have special effects (see below). Read the rest of this entry »

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On the Radar: New Games at Essen 2012: Part 2

Posted by James (admin) on 31st August 2012

Here are some more games for Essen that have caught my attention:

Libertalia (Paolo Mori / Marabunta)
Vasco de Gama is an excellent game so I was intrigued to see what Libertalia was like as it’s by the same designer.  Players blind bid cards to win tokens which determine victory points.  Each player has the same deck of cards to bid with but a random set is drawn for each round by one player and the other players use the same mix of cards – so the players’ hands are the same each round.
Check out more info here:

Tokaido (Bazua / FunForge)
It looks clean and simple, and sounds like it will play the same too.  Players move along a straight road and can rush ahead to secure places before other do, but at the expense of missing out other locations where points could be earned.  Reminds me a bit of the worker placement in Egizia (which was really good).  Also, I’ve always been impressed with FunForge’s production quality.
Check out more info here:

Lyssan (Thornhenge)
This game got my attention when it was on Kickstarter last year.  Sadly, I never managed to get to play the print-and-play version, but the game sounds simple but with meat to it.  Players place knights, nobles, priests, etc. to try and achieve their objectives.
Check out more info here:

Milestones (Stefan Dorra / Eggertspiele)
Intriguing game mechanic of rondel-style play mixed with building and resources.  The rondels are the players’ boards and these change during the game as the player builds locations and others disappear as the player completes circuits.  So, a little element of the excellent Village in there too.
Check out more info here:

Expedition (White Goblin)
Intriguing mixture of game mechanics combining area control, bidding, and card combination as players travel from stop-to-stop along the Congo River in 1884.  Seems to be all about using the right character at the right location with the right additional support cards.
Check out more info here:

Maharani (Wolfgang Panning / Queen Games)
A game by the designer of Fresco which looks to combine area control, but with some other mechanisms too.  Looks clean and simple – hopefully has some good decisions although I’m not sure how deep it is yet.  Nice friendly theme of tiling the floor of the Taj Mahal.
Check out more info here:


More new releases for Essen to come.  I’ve combined all the games on my radar for Spiel on the Essen 2012 page.

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