Spotlight on Games > Ludographies > Essen 2010
Essen 2010 Game by Game

Civilization Games

Fraser & Gordon Lamont; Fragor Games; 3-4; 60
Players represent ant colonies, building up their own mounds in a way reminiscent of Rat Hot. In addition they send out ants to the central board to retrieve leaves. To keep it from becoming too much of an n-way solitaire there is also the possibility of stealing leaves from other players before they can bring it back. An interesting design idea is that there are a number of different types of actions and the number of times that one of these actions can be done is equal to the height of the mound. [more]

Die Burgen von Burgund
Stefan Feld; alea; 2-4; 90
Alea big box game of small nobles attempting to build up their holdings in medieval Burgundy. The method is placing tiles which trigger some benefit when placed. In addition dice determine what sorts of actions the players are allowed to perform, e.g. rolling a "2" and a "5" permits buying a watch tower and placing it on a "5" tile (shades of Roma). Activities include building settlements and castles, mining, trading along the river and gleaning information from travelers. Includes beginner and advanced versions. [more]

Guillaume Besançon; Le Joueur; 3-4; 60 minutes
Players are building up a city. Each has a monopoly over a certain type of resource (wood, stone, metal or cloth) and their own district, in which only they may build. Each turn they collect resources, trade with others and build. Buildings have special effects on their neighborhoods as printed on the tiles. Building tends to need a bit of everything,; hence trading is vital. Intends to illustrate the workings and limits of mainstream economic theory like the Hecksche-Ohlin model (but then you probably already guessed that). Includes metal nuggets, pieces of fabric and stones. [more]

Andreas Steding; Pegasus; 2-4; 60
Renaissance-era architects build towers in six different colors and five different heights, each being buildable only once. Players draft cards to get four or more tower pieces and then build towers paying yet further tower pieces depending on how much is built (following the Fibonacci scheme). Each turn towers which do not receive at least one addition fall to rubble. Cards either give some special advantage or trigger a negative event that often applies to all. Unpurchased cards slide down a space, thus becoming cheaper for the next player.

The Great Fire of London 1666
Richard Denning; Prime Games; 3-6; 75-90
A firefighting game in which players represent the largest property owners in the city. They field their own forces and realizing they cannot save everything must decide where to focus their efforts. It's not just a matter of saving their own holdings, but also one of making money from those willing to pay for the service and of getting the most glory which in the next election might just vault them into the office of Lord Mayor. Besides putting the fire out, it's also possible to explode blocks to stop the fire (better to explode someone else's block than your own, of course). Players also have hidden objectives which might include helping a particular other player or saving a particular district.

Martin Wallace; Treefrog; 2-4; 90
Having made a point of creating many games with no cards whatsoever, Martin Wallace has now made an about face as this one has no fewer than 110, divided into three eras of 25, 50 and 35 each. The topic is the history of London since the Great Fire (ironically the topic of another game by another publisher at this year's Essen) and right up to rather modern developments like the creation of the Underground. The game is about taking over various sections of the city and playing permanent cards that offer significant advantages. A great many cards are obtained by drafting them for which other cards must be discarded. The cards appear to be quite closely attached to historical events and try to have effects that make sense with the them. Some of the cards are unique. There are also rules for loans (what a surprise) and an interesting rule is that each card played generates more poverty which the player must deal with using other cards. [more]

Christophe Boelinger & Andrea Mainini; Sirius; 2-4; 30-45
Players build rather tall constructions in cardboard decorated to look like a skyscraper. There are also construction workers that can apparently be placed in order to block other players. [more]

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