Spiel 2014 Preview: La Isla

Posted by James (admin) on 15th October 2014

La Isla game close-upIn addition to Aquasphere, Stefan Feld is releasing La Isla which looks to be a light eurogame with an interesting card game mechanic.

Players get 3 cards each round, and they secretly allocate one card to each of the 1st, 2nd and 4th action phases before they start resolving them.  Each card shows 3 different elements which relate to each of the different phases during the round.

The card in the 1st phase is used for the special ability shown on it – these abilities can be used for the rest of the game, although there’s only room for 3 so these cards start to cover-up existing ones.  The card in the 2nd phase is used to gain the specific resource shown on the card.

The 3rd phase is where the players perform the main action of the round (which doesn’t use a card).  Players spend resources to place/move one of your explorer figures to a region in the jungle (and taking an animal tile and scoring victory points (VPs) if a region is completed surrounded by explorers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Games, Essen Spiel 14, La Isla, Preview, Spiel 2014 | No Comments »

Spiel 2014 Preview: Aquasphere

Posted by James (admin) on 19th August 2014

Aquasphere game close-upThose of you that have read my blog for a while will know I’m always interested in Stefan Feld’s games as I like how he uses interesting game mechanics.  One of his releases this year is Aquasphere which is on the complex end of the scale.

If you see a picture of it, the game looks incredibly complicated but it’s actually relatively simple as far as the mechanics go – it will be working out how to make best use of your actions (as well as doing so whilst other players get in the way) that will be the trickiest part.

The game is set in an underwater base comprised of 6 sectors which each have 7 coloured sections (1 for each type of action).  Each player has an engineer who programs their bots, bots that carry out pre-programmed actions, a scientist who determines where the bots carry out their actions, and some submarines.  Each player has a player board where their bots and subs are placed, as well as a lab which is where their items are stored (with strict limits).  On your turn, you either program one of your bots, carry out an action with a programmed bot, or pass. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Aquasphere, Board Games, Essen Spiel 14, Preview, Spiel 2014 | No Comments »

Review: Amerigo

Posted by James (admin) on 18th December 2013

Amerigo Game - BoardAmerigo is a game by Stefan Feld – a designer who has created some great game such as Bora BoraRialto, TrajanStrasbourg, Die Speicherstadt to name just some that I’ve reviewed.

Like two other Queen Games (Shogun and Wallenstein), Amerigo uses a cube tower – a card tower with couple of card sections inside (like floors in a building) which have various holes in them.  When cubes are dropped into the tower, some come out at the bottom and some are retained inside the tower on the card layers (which may fall out when more cubes are dropped  into the tower later).

Made up of multiple tile sections, the board show grids of land and water spaces and, together, form islands.  During the game, players explore and colonise islands by moving their ships, setting up trading posts and building villages.  Players score Victory Points (VPs) for building villages, gathering goods (and increasing the value of their goods), developments, etc.  The game lasts 5 rounds (each divided into 7 phases) and the player with most VPs at the end of the game wins.

So far, it sounds fairly standard but the core game mechanic – the action system – driving Amerigo is nicely different.  There are 7 different actions that a player can take and each corresponds to a specific colour of cubes: Sail and place trading posts (Blue), Gain cannon (Black), Buy building tiles (Red), Development (Brown), Place building tiles (Green), Improve trade good values (Yellow), and Special (White). Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Amerigo, Board Game Review, Board Games, Essen Spiel 13, Spiel 2013 | 2 Comments »

Review: Rialto

Posted by James (admin) on 14th May 2013

Rialto gameRialto is yet another of this year’s game by Stefan Feld (which is a good thing as I like most of his games).

Set in Venice, Rialto is played over 6 rounds – one for each of the Venetian islands on the board.  Players are aiming to score the most victory points (VPs) which are  primarily earned by having councilors on the islands at the end of the game.  Players each have a marker on the Doge track and this splits all ties and determines some order of play.

Each island has 1 connection to each of its 4 neighbouring  islands.  During the game, these 12 connections each get filled with either a bridge or a gondola token.  Each bridge and gondola token has two values on it (one on each end) – bridges have values between 3-6 VPs; whereas, both values on gondolas are always value 1.  This is important because the final VPs gained by players with councilmen on each island are based on the total of each island’s 4 connections’ values.

At the start of each round, several (number of players + 1) rows of cards are laid out each consisting of 6 face-up and 2 face-down cards.  In Doge track order, players select one row of cards, add any extra cards they may have (such as from the previous round), and discard down to 7 cards.  The player may own some buildings which allow them to have more cards to select from, or keep more than 7 cards) but players must pay 1 gold for each building used.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Bora Bora

Posted by James (admin) on 15th March 2013

Bora Bora Main BoardStefan Feld’s games are known for having an interesting mechanic at their heart, which is one of the reasons I look forwards to his games.  Bora Bora is no different and has a dice-placement-action system in the centre of a game that isn’t complicated but it does have a lot of other game mechanics and bits surrounding it.  No specific aspect is complicated, but there is a lot going on, so I’m going to try to discuss each main part one-by-one.

The game is set on a Pacific island and players place huts, gain tribe members, build buildings, make offerings to the gods, and so on.  The game lasts 6 rounds and the winner is the player who finishes with the most  victory points (VPs).  Many VPs are earned during the game, but there are also lots of bonus VPs that can be awarded at the end of the game (although, as you’ll read later, these are quite tough to achieve).

Each round players first roll their 3 dice and then take turns placing one at a time on one of the action tiles allowing them to perform the appropriate action.  Next, players use the ability of one of their man tiles and the ability of one of their woman tiles.  Then, the status track (scoring VPs and determining  turn order), temple track (scoring VPs and a bonus for one player) and jewelry purchases are all resolved.  Finally, players must complete or discard one of their 3 objective tiles before taking a new one.  (All unclaimed man and woman tiles, objectives and jewelry are cleared from the board and new ones added for the next round.) 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: bga.me/libertalia

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: bga.me/tokaido

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: bga.me/lyssan

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: bga.me/milestones

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: bga.me/expedition

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: bga.me/maharani


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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Posted in Board Games, Expedition, Lyssan, Maharani, Milestones, On the Radar, Tokaido | No Comments »

Review: Trajan

Posted by James (admin) on 1st November 2011

Initially, Trajan looks like a complicated game but it isn’t really – it just offers choices all built around a clever, but not over-powering, central mechanic.

Players are trying to score victory points (VPs) by fulfilling the people’s demands and furthering Roman power.  Each turn, a player gets to perform one of the 6 actions: building, shipping, forum, senate, military, and Trajan.  So, the overview is simple, but the mechanics and choices are what really deliver a great game.

Determining the Action to Take
On their turn, players can not simply choose any action they wish.  Instead, each player’s player board shows 6 pots each relating to one specific action.  In these pots are 12 coloured pieces (6 coloured pairs).  On their turn, a player takes all of the pieces from any one pot and distributes them one at a time into the next pots going clockwise from where they took the pieces from.  (This distribution game mechanic is widely known from the game Mancala – a traditional game in Africa and some parts of Asia dating back as far as 600 AD). Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Game Review, Board Games, Essen Spiel 11, Trajan | 2 Comments »

WIN a copy of SdJ-nominated Strasbourg

Posted by James (admin) on 20th June 2011

To celebrate reaching 500 Twitter followers, Metagames is giving away a copy of Pegasus Spiele’s SdJ-nominated Strasbourg this week.  I reviewed the game a few week ago and really enjoyed it.  You can read the Strasbourg rules here.

The winner will be randomly selected from one of 4 finalists.  Each finalist will be selected by a different method giving you 4 ways to earn a chance to win:

Anyone who is following @Metagames twitter account and has re-tweeted the competition phrase that I tweeted (which says I would like to win a copy of Pegasus Spiele’s SdJ-nominated Strasbourg).

– It’s important you re-tweet the @Metagames tweet so that I can see your entry.

Anyone who shortens a board gaming link using bdg.ms from Monday 20th June to Midnight PST Sunday 26th June 2011 (you will need to register which is free and takes 20 seconds – simply click on ‘Register’)

– What’s bdg.ms?  It’s like bit.ly and tinyurl.com but just for boardgames with a list of all the latest links
– Only board game related links will be allowed
– Shorten a link to your site, a recent article you saw or your favourite board game (please don’t just shorten the link to Strasbourg on BGG)

Anyone who posts a comment on the Metagames review of Strasbourg saying, “I want to win a copy of Stefan Feld’s Strasbourg”.

Anyone who has entered the competition using the competition page on BGG (being made live in the next 30 minutes)

To maximise your chances of winning, you can enter using all 4 methods described above.  The finalists will be announced on Monday 27th June and the winner selected at random on the same day.  Note that multiple entries using the same method (i.e. re-tweeting multiple times, adding multiple comments) will not count.

My thanks to Pegasus Spiele for providing the prize for this competition.

Good luck,


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Posted in Board Games, Strasbourg | 2 Comments »