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

Traveling Merchant Games

Blockade Runner
Patrick Stevens; Numbskull Games; 2-6; 90 minutes
During the American Civil War players try to make money by shipping cargo through the Union blockade and into and out of the South. At issue are access to commodities, the best prices on the market and new ships and decisions about how much risk to take. The more that contraband goods are brought in the more the blockade increases, something managed in common by all players. [more]

Giancarlo Fioretti; Fantasy Flight/Edge Entertainment/Heidelberger; 2-5; 90
Players are merchants during the reign of Justinian. Mechanisms include auctions, pick-up-and-deliver, simultaneous action selection and commodity speculation. There are several historical public offices, each conferring a different special ability. Each turn a player may buy one building of each of the four types: production, commercial, utility and pubilc. One office permits buying sections of the city wall. Commercial buildings are needed to close sales. Utility buildings provide special advantages. Public buildings confer points. City walls give both advantages and points. There is a market in which players buys and sell. There are contracts which are granted based on one's production level. Players can also buy trading posts which can be used to hold extra cards, i.e. those which could not be satisfied by a shipful of goods on the current turn. [more]

Expedition Sumatra
Britta Stöckmann & Jens Jahnke; Igramoon; 2-4; 30-45
Hunters visit the Sumatran jungle trying to capture extinct species. The paths through jungle are gradually revealed as tiles are flipped and rotated. Possible actions include flipping (which may reveal an animal and place a matching cube), driving along the path, loading an animal (an elephant requires both bays), steal an animal from another player's truck or move your ship. Tiles whose animals have been loaded are replaced by new face down tiles; because of this and because of rotations, the jungle changes constantly. Each player is trying to fulfil a slightly different contract of desired animals. A few special tiles permit things like lookahead into hidden tiles, create storms that affect paths and ship positions or cause leading players to lose animals due to Sumatran hostility. [more]

Johannes Halbig; Mücke Spiele; 2-4; 40
The topic is oil exploration, drilling and shipping from the world's biggest oil field (in Saudi Arabia). The board is 13x13 with 36 oil platforms laid out in a square, an empty space between each pair. Each one gets an "oil stones" in one of four colors. At the start players roll dice to place their five oil wells on unoccupied platforms. From there a turn is either rolling a die to move the truck, train or both or to move an oil rig to capture an exposed "oil stone". An empty truck can buy oil from an adjacent rig. The train is used to pick up empty platforms. The goal is to collect at least one of each color to qualify to win. After that, they score points for each "stone" they have and for related achievements, not least having earned the most money. [more]

Brian Robson; Mücke Spiele; 3-4; 90
Players are merchants in the African nation, competing for gold/silver/copper/diamonds, selling them and converting the proceeds to prestige. Each player is assigned 3 of the 4 commodities and a single mine. Turn order is bid for with the minimum bid being equal to the round number and all players paying, even if they drop out early. The top two bidders also lose victory points. Then players complete mines, start new ones and prospect by placing two cubes adjacent to the previous mine (which may block out other types of mines). As mining cubes run out the older mines are replaced by black cubes which means they no longer produce. They also extend railroad tracks, which are otherwise used by all. There are also trucks which carry ore from the mines. Rails extend to ports and players decide which single commodity each port will handle. Eventually ore reaches these ports where it is sold at an initial price and at half price if too much of it is sold. On the other hand, if the demand has not been reached, the price will be increased the next round (though demand decreases). Finally players can convert money to prestige points, but as turns go by it gets more and more expensive. Uses the same pieces as Giganten. [more]

Uwe Rosenberg; Lookout Games; 1-4; 120
Players are merchants based in Hamburg after the Thirty Years War (1648) in this pick-up-and-deliver vehicle. Fulfil an order and receive a new and more difficult one; you may also choose to fulfil the original one again as well, though there is a maximum limit of orders that can be held. These orders are worth points, but may be exchanged in order for special cards that provide extra goods at some cities or more points if a special condition is satisfied. Certain cities provide a resource called "time" while others require spending it. "Time" can also be used to go along with another player on a trip fulfil orders. [more]

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