Game of the month

Westpark Gamers 'Game Of The Month'

We, the Westpark Gamers, found that we increasingly play brand-new games shortly after they have been published, with the goal of quickly bringing competent reviews/session reports/strategy tips to the web-surfing public. By-and-by we realized that there were always "faves" among these new games, games that are worth to be raised above the increasing number of reviews on our site. Therefore it seemed logical to create this monthly award, which should be seen as a personal and subjective recommendation by the "Westpark Gamers". With this award we would like to make the friends of our website aware of games that we think stood out in our monthly menu of games.

Gaming is a matter of taste - we can only give our personal opinion as gaming gourmets. Have fun with it!

Monat Spiel Beschreibung Links
September 2016
Krazy Wordz cover
Krazy Wordz
Fishtank
2016


BGG Link
June 2016
German Railroads cover
German Railroads
Hans im Glück Verlag
2015


BGG Link
May 2016
Karuba cover
Karuba
HABA
2015


BGG Link
December 2015
Qwixx - Big Points cover
Qwixx - Big Points
Nürnberger Spielkarten
2015

Luding Link
BGG Link
November 2015
Isle of Skye cover
Isle of Skye
Lookout Games
2015


BGG Link
October 2015
Qwinto cover
Qwinto
Nürnberger Spielkarten
2015


BGG Link
July 2015
Viticulture cover
Viticulture
Stonemaier Games
2013


BGG Link
June 2015
Witches cover
Witches
Amigo Spiele
2014


BGG Link
May 2015
Auf den Spuren von Marco Polo cover
Auf den Spuren von Marco Polo
Hans im Glück Verlag
2015

In this highly anticipated game from Hans im Glück we travel through Asia following the footsteps of Marco Polo and on our arrival build trading posts. From now on, we are able to trade gold, pepper and silk there. If these locations coincide with our personal goal cards we receive additional victory points at end of the game. The supply of goods is handled by a very nice dice-worker-placement mechanism and these goods can into victory points using contracts or our trading posts. But the icing on the cake and a real highlight are the characters. Each player at the beginning of the game takes in a different role card with specific game advantages. Adjusting one’s tactics to those characters is the key to victory! Even if this has not worked so properly in the first few games, this and the variable game setup provide many challenges for ongoing fun in many more plays.


BGG Link
March 2015
Die Staufer cover
Die Staufer
Hans im Glück Verlag
2014

'The Staufer Dynasty' is, after 'Hansa Teutonica', the second game by Andreas Steding, which is awarded our Game of the Month title. This time, he has come up with a roundel as a new mechanism, where our workers move and try to win majorities. Workers and movement points are scarce and thus it is important to keep a close eye on the other players. Hence interaction is guaranteed. The amazingly simple but remarkable mechanism for determining the order of play as well as the secret end game goals add the extra something to the game. Although some might have preferred a little less of that something.


BGG Link
February 2015
Sankt Petersburg (2. Auflage) cover
Sankt Petersburg (2. Auflage)
Hans im Glück Verlag
2014

This game has been one of our most-discussed and played games in the past, and of course there is the computer conversion by our Westpark member Günther Rosenbaum. So everybody was happy to get this game back on the table, in its shiny new version with added expansions and new tactical possibilities. St. Petersburg is still an excellent game and has lost nothing of its original appeal. It merges an accessible and easy rules system (which is – despite the theme – a completely abstract empire building style card game) with a fast playing style that gives many options for the players. The main new addition is the “market”, which is a new victory path that players can either concentrate on or that can be combined with other victory paths. The new rules integrate seamlessly into the system and really add something to the game, so it can probably be forgiven that the mini-expansion that was only available for Kickstarter supporters of the new addition is a bit lame. St. Petersburg is still alive and kicking and can be wholly recommended!


BGG Link
October 2014
Euphoria cover
Euphoria
Stonemaier Games
2014

If someone had told George Orwell in the year 1948 that humanity would deliberately try to create the perfect dystopia in the future, he would have thought they are mad. And I don’t mean the excellent board game “Euphoria” which exactly uses this scenario as a thematic base – because in contrast to our increasingly surveyed and manipulated world “Euphoria” is quite a lot of fun, even though it is a “Kickstarter”-game (which are looked at especially critically in our group). “Euphoria” uses many new mechanics that make worker-placement (or rather “clone-placement”) fresh and new. Even random dice play an important role (without making the game random). And although the rules seem complex at first the game plays extremely fluidly and keeps one’s interest. It is probably impossible to experience a real dystopia that fast and beautiful – therefore we give this game quite unanimously the laurel of our “game of the month”!


BGG Link
September 2014
La Granja cover
La Granja
Spielworxx
2014

'La Granja' offers interaction and competition, constructive and progressive development, optimization in selection and sequence as well as an abundance of possibilities to bypass bottlenecks in supply and demand. Everything has effects and side effects. Despite its countless dependencies, the complexity is easily manageable. The game’s elements and mechanics are superbly supported by the graphics design and the superbly structured rules. With 'La Granja”, Odendahl/Keller developed a beautiful, new and functional machine out of familiar elements. This alone is a commendable feat of engineering.


BGG Link
July 2014
Istanbul cover
Istanbul
Pegasus Spiele
2014

With his vast experience as a game designer, Rüdiger Dorn has created a solid game, which provides smooth, well-rounded gameplay without creating aggression or frustration. It offers easily detectable solutions or alternative solutions for each situation, and conveys pure, constructive fun. The game material supports this excellently and even a five-player game is pleasing and playful. A worthy winner of the 'Kennerspiel' award.


BGG Link
June 2014
Helios cover
Helios
Hans im Glück Verlag
2014

“Helios” many tactical options create a high replay value and provide a well-rounded, fast yet relaxed, constructive gameplay. And its concise rules, its great freedom of action and the many different winning strategies make 'Helios' without any doubt a 'gamer’s game' and a worthy recipient of our 'Game of the Month' title.


BGG Link
April 2014
AbluXXen cover
AbluXXen
Ravensburger Spieleverlag
2014

This little card game by the Kramer/Kiesling team offers a thrilling battle for the highest and thickest card multi-tuple. On each turn, even those of your fellow gamers, everyone is involved. This interactivity is highly complex and the goddess of fortune is also given a nice spot. But according to the law of large numbers, the influence of luck is balanced out sooner or later.  You have options; you actually have a lot of options. And throughout the game you can hope to have made the right choices in each of your turns. Well, what more can you expect from a card game?


BGG Link
February 2014
Glück Auf cover
Glück Auf
Eggert-Spiele
2013

The theme of coal mining apparently has us in its black grip – this month we give our award to yet another game about the mining business, this time created by one of the most reliable game author duos ever: Michael Kiesling and Wolfgang Kramer. Up and down goes the elevator, probing deep into the nether regions of a coal mine (small reductions here for the accident-prone game material), left and right we dig into the mountain, trying to preserve the balance. Of course there are also missions to fulfill, which means planning ahead and maximizing one’s moves. The nice trait of “Coal Baron” is its low complexity – the game mechanics are logical and easy to grasp, therefore it is an ideal introduction game that also keeps professionals happy.


BGG Link
January 2014
Kohle & Kolonie cover
Kohle & Kolonie
Spielworxx
2013

Never was a game of the month more discussed than this game. 50% of us hated it, 50% loved it to bits. As you can see the latter 50% have prevailed. What speaks for K&K in the view of its admirers: - Innovative and thematically consistent design - Fast flow with growing tension towards the end - Enough interaction without kingmaking or “take that” – shenanigans - Many strategies lead to victory, also flexible ones What speaks against K&K in the view of its detractors: - Too complex and long - Too few actions - Too much waiting for your move (sic! Apparently this is very subjective….) - Too many details and unnecessary chrome If you like the game or not will therefore definitely be a matter of taste. But it should be noted that the ones of us that liked this game not only loved K&K….but loved it to bits. And that is quite revealing.


BGG Link
December 2013
Russian Railroads cover
Russian Railroads
Hans im Glück Verlag
2013

Helmut Ohley and Leonhard Orgler are well known names to the connoisseurs of railroad games: so is 'Russian Railroads' just a new offspring of the 18xx series? No, even though we are building railroad lines, upgrading tracks and buy better engines: this is a pedigree worker placement game of the more complex kind. Each player is a railroad mogul developing lines and industries into a possible lucrative empire, competing for resources, engineers and industry developments with his team-mates. At the end of each round, victory points are granted for the current status of each empire - in the first round most likely less than five, in the seventh, and last, often more than one hundred! We haven't seen such a dynamic since a long time! So jump on-board before your fellow players may leave you behind!


BGG Link
November 2013
Spyrium cover
Spyrium
Ystari
2013

The „worker placement“ genre is dominant as never before at the moment. Which is ok, if the mechanics – like in the usually reliable games of publisher Ystari – become more and more refined. “Spyrium” is a cyberpunk game in which mining for the rare mineral “Spyrium” is the main theme. We build a little industry empire made up of cards and use worker actions to maximize our income. A nice idea is the beginning of the “Action Phase” which can be announced individually by each player. Certainly not a fast game for in between, but enough food for thought for action maximizing specialists.


BGG Link
October 2013
Yunnan cover
Yunnan
Argentum Verlag
2013

Of course „Yunnan“ had to receive our „Game of the Month“ award, eventually. After all, it had to pass our quality gates already several times during its years of development. And even without our partiality the game’s values are all too obvious: few but very well interleaved game elements, straight and predictable gameplay without being solitaire, tension-filled competition and interaction combined with an overall playful feel. And the theme doesn’t appear as being pasted on, either. For a game of this genre it is surprisingly short: it doesn’t last for a whole night, instead it tempts players for weeks to accept the challenge and delve into its secrets.


BGG Link
September 2013
Nieuw Amsterdam cover
Nieuw Amsterdam
White Goblin Games
2012

Few know that New York nearly became Dutch and that the cigarette name Stuyvesant does not come from nowhere. In the game we trade (historically correct) in furs, build up fields and try to control the growing city politically. All this plays in a logical and fluid manner, is balanced, only mildly competitive and offers a lot of material for the testing of various winning strategies. That the game is also optically convincing is an additional reason to visit Nieuw Amsterdam, the game! But now I have to wear my klokjes and deal with the natives….


BGG Link
June 2013
Brügge cover
Brügge
Hans im Glück Verlag
2013

This year’s Feld round-up displays a bonanza of victory point generators similar to what we have seen in former years. While “Brügge” is no exception, it is lighter than many of Feld’s former creations. A lucky draw of just the right (or wrong) card combined this a relatively short playing time adds good replay value. And the extra pinch of ‘Gotcha!’ seasoning creates an entertaining and overall fun game.


BGG Link
January 2013
Die Paläste von Carrara cover
Die Paläste von Carrara
Hans im Glück Verlag
2012

This is the first game containing a sealed surprise bag. This alone makes it a candidate for our “Game of the Month” title. But there is more to this game: buying stone from the ingenious dial, using these to erect buildings, and scoring these for money to buy more stone and victory points. At the same keeping an eye on what the other players are doing as the game ends sooner than one expects! And the surprise bag? Have a look for yourself…


BGG Link
December 2012
Tzolk
Tzolk'in - Der Maya Kalender
Czech Games Edition
2012

Just in time for the apocalypse Czech Games Edition last year release their new game about the Mayan calendar „Tzolk’in”. What first looked as a clever marketing ploy because of its theme and the central time-wheels immediately demonstrated its potential as a strategic gamers’ game. Several, not really innovative but proven game mechanics have been mixed into an excellent new brew. There is plenty of food for planners and strategists alike with sufficient levels of freedom for constructive optimization. Players are permanently involved, even during the other players’ turns. All in all a well-designed, excellent game.


BGG Link
November 2012
Noblemen cover
Noblemen
Pegasus Spiele
2012

Dwight Sullivan is one of us: a hobby gamer who has worked intensively on a game design without ever believing it would be published (read about it here: http://noblemenboardgame.blogspot.de/). The he entered the Hippodice game design contest and was noticed by up-and-coming boardgame publisher “Pegasus”-Games, and now it’s finished, his first published game! And it’s a swell game, that’s for sure…. We are Noblemen who try to get noticed by the king, building castles and churches and expanding our own personal realm. At the constantly happening costume balls we try to convince the kind to promote us in the noble ranking, of course with the goal to accumulate victory points. “Noblemen” has been developed into a well-rounded game – the geographical placement of the land tiles is as interesting as the careful planning of the fluidly playing actions. A new hit for “Pegasus”-Games!


BGG Link
October 2012
Santa Cruz cover
Santa Cruz
Hans im Glück Verlag
2012

'Discovery'-Games have always been one of the holy grails of game design – how can one design such a game without putting through much stress on luck (when one doesn’t turn over the 'right' discovery tiles)? The new game by Marcel-André Casasola Merkle tries an interesting path here by making the victory conditions variable through cards, but also makes these same cards available for drafting, which can turn the luck of one player against him/herself in the next round. Through this there is more interaction and competition than in other 'discovery' games, and also the game length hits a good and comfortable mark. For us this is one of the real 'discoveries' of the current games on offer!


BGG Link
June 2012
Pictomania cover
Pictomania
Pegasus Spiele
2011

It’s no secret that Vlaada Chvatil is one of our favorite designers – nobody has created so much innovation in the gaming scene of recent years, and he is always trying new things in each of his games. When “Pictomania” hit our table we were skeptical at first, as usually we don’t really like party and family games from a hardcore gamer perspective. But what is so convincing in this game is the scoring system, which refines the simple basic idea of the game (draw something that the others can recognize) in such a way that it makes it different from similar games of this genre. This system results in something that has been unseen before and which only can be described as “tactical drawing”. This alone makes the acquisition of this game a must!


BGG Link
May 2012
Village cover
Village
Eggert-Spiele
2011

At first glance, „Village“ appears to be just another worker placement game. Far from it! We are faced with new and surprising possibilities to gain victory points. Be it be aiming for a quick demise of one’s family members thereby entering the village chronicle and speeding up the game or by a more careful time management slowing down the game by travelling. Whatever strategy we choose, each game turn is short with little downtime for the other players. Despite its many options “Village” is a light and fun game - a highlight of the current gaming year!


BGG Link
April 2012
Stone Age - Mit Stil zum Ziel cover
Stone Age - Mit Stil zum Ziel
Hans im Glück Verlag
2011

Once more an expansion receives our Game of the Month recommendation. Its base game “Stone Age” has already been a winner of this title. Expanding “Stone Age” to a 5-player game by adding the required components and rules was a compulsory requirement. However, introducing jewelry and merchants to the game system is a welcomed addition (not only for female gamers) as they create a completely new dynamic to the gameplay. The resulting strategic possibilities need to be explored while jewelry as the new “wildcard” resource can to be used cleverly for the acquisition of huts and cards. This is the kind of expansion we long for. Keep up the good work!


BGG Link
March 2012
Seeland cover
Seeland
Ravensburger Spieleverlag
2010

Günter Burkhardt is the author of 54 games; Wolfgang Kramer developed more than 200 (plus variants). “Seeland” is their first joint effort. No surprise that with such potent fathers their offspring is immaculate. A single elegantly constructed roundel is used to keep track of our moves, their changing costs and our remaining capital. We buy seed and mills to cultivate a plot in Zeeland, gaining points if we manage to create a healthy biotope in the vicinity of our mills. Being Simple, interactive and fun, “Seeland” is an excellent family game.


BGG Link
January 2012
Rapa Nui cover
Rapa Nui
Kosmos
2011

There are probably more games about Easter Island than people living there, but it seems that this isolated little island is an endless resource for ideas for game authors. With Rapa Nui we have a very welcome addition to the genre “Easter Island Game”, because the mechanics and the theme go well hand in hand here in this little empire building/action maximizing game. Especially the “sacrifice” mechanic is worth a second look: on one hand I want to keep the most valuable resource cards in my hand for points, but I have to sacrifice the same cards as well to actually make them valuable. Out of this dichotomy the game draws a lot of flair. It is also a very fast game, and is fun in repeated play (especially with 3-players – ideal and less random than the 4-player version).


BGG Link
November 2011
Québec cover
Québec
Ystari
2011

Québec convinces as a fast-paced strategy game, which thanks to its introductory rules is also family-friendly. The competition for majority in the zones of power coupled with a win-win based participation in building construction creates a game feeling free of aggression that is little known in a worker placement game like this. The continuous expansion of building sites over four rounds providing plenty of strategic options and the chance to gain victory points in each round by placing workers in the zones of power are a source of multiple strategies.


BGG Link
August 2011
Airlines Europe cover
Airlines Europe
Abacus Spiele
2011

As also new editions of old games can become „Game of the Month“, “Airlines Europe” is the worthy new winner of this title. Alan R. Moon’s game can easily be called a “classic”, and also in the new version the mechanics – which served as a model for other great games like “Ticket to Ride” or “Union Pacific” – can still convince. The new version also plays more fluidly and the sabotage (deemed unfair by hardcore Eurogamers) is gone. Very recommended!


BGG Link
July 2011
Strasbourg cover
Strasbourg
Pegasus Spiele
2011

If you know the other games by Pegasus you might be in for a double surprise – 'Strasbourg' is neither a fantasy game nor a historical roleplaying game (which could have been expected) but a real Euro with an ingenious bidding mechanic. Because all players decide for themselves how many bidding cards they draw and use each round each bidding round turns into an exciting battle for key acquisitions. As it is already fiendishly difficult to earn money in the game one could even call it a “dearth game”, because one has to use the limited resources (bidding cards, money) to utmost effect. A challenge for pro gamers and lots of fun! If Pegasus has intended to reach a completely new market for their games – the critical Euro gamer – they have been very successful indeed!


BGG Link
May 2011
Die Burgen von Burgund cover
Die Burgen von Burgund
Alea
2011

'The Castles of Burgundy' is this year’s highlight from Alea. Players develop their princedom and try to be faster and better than their fellow gamers. Because new supply and possible actions are controlled by dice, players’ plans need to be constantly adjusted according to their respective capabilities. Originally, Stefan Feld’s much more complex design has been streamlined in cooperation with Alea’s Stfan Brück resulting in a challenging territory building game that lets us discover new development possibilities with every new play.


BGG Link
April 2011
Pantheon cover
Pantheon
Hans im Glück Verlag
2011

Many prude American gamers are put off by the cover of the game (I can only say: honi soit qui mal y pense), but they are missing out on a great new Tummelhofer game that really rocks! “Pantheon” is a game that is easy to get into. Like in all good games there are several ways to victory, and through the effects of various people and the gods there is also a slight flair of “History of the World” involved (even though there are no battles). A bit of luck is also needed, but skillful play is rewarded, in so far the game has to be viewed as an advanced family game more than a game for hardcore eurogamers and VP counters. But as a whole the feeling is fresh, not entirely the usual fare, and most important: fun to play!


BGG Link
March 2011
London cover
London
Treefrog Games
2010

At first glance this is a small card game in a big box. But the built-in mechanics pose a real challenge for everyone, even more so against one’s own desires. Frivolously, we may be tempted to create a mighty card display as a source for victory points, but in consequence poverty increases in our district and threatens to suffocate us with its burden of negative points at game end. Modesty rules and we need to apply economic reasoning when using our cards. Everyone for himself, yet logical, varied and creative. A real Martin Wallace hit.


BGG Link
February 2011
Luna cover
Luna
Hall Games
2010

Already three of Stefan Feld’s games have received our „Game of the Month“ title: all were well constructed economic games, satisfying our zest for planning without being neither too solitaire nor prone to analysis paralysis. Luna belongs to the same category, too. We send our heads of the Orders to various action fields, allowing them to recruit novices, build shrines and eventually move sanctified novices into temples. Many of these actions have positive effects on later actions; hence we need to find an efficient sequence for them. Some of the actions yield victory points resulting in direct player competition. We may rowdily supplant an opponent when entering a temple while protecting us from the same fate. Interaction is hence provided for. Overall “Luna” delivers a constructive and gamey experience.


BGG Link
November 2010
Poseidon cover
Poseidon
Lookout Games
2010

The 18xx craze never ends, and after seeing railway empire building games taking place in Cyprus or even the asteroid belt we now have a game that doesn't even have trains but is - all things considered - a fully-fledged 1830 variant. 'Poseidon''s design goal was to reduce complexity and playing time in contrast to the original game, and also reduce some of the cutthroat tactics that turns off so many inexperienced players once they have been dumped the worst and unprofitable line through stock market  machinations. In fact the stock market part of the game has been reduced to it's bare bones because - let's face it - there really was no stock market in Ancient Greece. Players try to create trading routes instead of railway lines, with the added bonus that it is possible to travel through a blocked tile. Technological competition comes in the guise of better galleys and triremes. All in all Poseidon manages to make the 18xx system relatively accessible to newcomers, but it is still not a completely easy nor quick game. As a good entry game into the 18xx universe it is highly recommended, though.


BGG Link
October 2010
7 Wonders cover
7 Wonders
Repos Production
2010

Games for 7 players that play fast and are not boring are pretty rare: but '7 Wonders' manages this beautifully. Using an attractive card drafting mechanic (lent from the game 'Fairy Tale') every player is always active and has to make decisions, the cards themselves are then played simultaneously while conflicts and trades are resolved with your direct neighbors only (which can happen simultaneously in larger rounds as well) without slowing down the action. The Empire-Building aspect is also excellent - the game manages to convey the feeling of leading different ancient civilizations with unique abilities quite well. Apart from the high cost this game can be heartily recommended and is definitely one of the highlights of Spiel 2010.


BGG Link
July 2010
Fresko cover
Fresko
Queen Games
2010

Games with artists as protagonists have a good tradition in European gaming, if one thinks of classics like 'Princes of Florence' or 'Leonardo da Vinci'. There are also many games, in which artists (or at least artistically ambitious craftsmen) play an important role, like in 'Pillars of the Earth'. It's a well-liked theme, which perhaps can be explained by the special role of art itself in European history. In 'Fresco' players emulate Michelangelo and mix their colour pots to create a huge ceiling painting. Important for this is not only good action management but also to keep one's artist happy and inspired (that one cannot be happy and inspired with too little sleep should be common knowledge). 'Fresco' is one of those rare games in which theme and mechanics blend well. In fact the game is explained very easily because everything is logical and clear. In a wonderful way it is equally good as a family game (buying and mixing colours is fun) but also as a freak game (action optimizing) - therefore it can be wholeheartedly recommend to all kinds of gamers.


BGG Link
June 2010
Die Speicherstadt cover
Die Speicherstadt
Eggert-Spiele
2010

A nice family game about trading in Hamburg harbor. By using a cleverly designed auction system players try to acquire goods, contracts and other victory point sources: First come, first served, but first served pays most. With only a small amount of money in circulation, players are always in a cash squeeze. Clobbering once in big style means taking half-measures for the rest of the game. With “Die Speicherstadt” Stefan Feld and Eggert-Spiele managed to release an impeccable game.

Luding Link
BGG Link
May 2010
Hansa Teutonica cover
Hansa Teutonica
Argentum Verlag
2009

Increasing our scope of actions in order to progressively increase the effectiveness of our future turns is one of the goals of this game. But winning the game needs more than looking only at our development, we need to hinder the other players’ progress or use it to our advantage. Progress alone is not enough; we need to establish profitable victory point sources right from the start. This multitude of strategic alternatives is one of the many qualities of the game.


BGG Link
February 2010
Magister Navis cover
Magister Navis
Lookout Games
2009

Not completely undisputed: the game of the month candidate for the month of February. The first published game by Carl de Visser and Jarratt Gray is an interesting mix of empire building games like 'Puerto Rico' (also in Endeavor the right selection of buildings with special abilities is paramount to winning the game) and exploration games like 'Entdecker'. Even combat plays a role, but if it is costly and not always tactically viable. The sum of decisions each turn is always interesting. Even though the game has a rather abstract feel, the game board and graphic design evoke at least a little atmosphere. Not a game for everyone, but one that fascinates also in replays.


BGG Link
January 2010
Macht$piele cover
Macht$piele
Eggert-Spiele
2009

First of all: Our Moritz is neither related with Peter Eggert nor does he cooperate in any form with 'Eggert-Spiele'. But accidentally he is also called 'Peter', in fact his full name is 'Peter Moritz Benjamin Eggert', but that only as a side info. Whatever: The new 'Eggert' game by Bauldric & Friends is anything but lacking. First of all it makes thematic sense - even though the mechanics are Euroish it really feels like power-struggling in a company - which is a plus in our book. But at the same time the game doesn't take itself too seriously - even though it is most certainly 'deep' the bribing mechanics bring a fresh 'human' element to a game that is neither artificially over-complicated nor too simple, very interactive and with an almost perfect game length. Because of this the game gets our bureaucratic stamp of full approval!


BGG Link
November 2009
Peloponnes cover
Peloponnes
Irongames
2009

Development games that do not use dice pose an extra challenge with respect to game balance: in order to create tension for the players the rules need to impose an element of asymmetry that does not favor starting conditions or player positions. Our task is to develop a civilization in ancient Greece and expand its territory in direct completion with our fellow players. Every now and then disaster strikes and decimates our people or devastates our land. Defying these and to escape unscathed is a key to winning the game.

Luding Link
BGG Link
October 2009
Egizia cover
Egizia
Hans im Glück Verlag
2009

It is unusual to select a 'game of the month' that has not been published yet, but in this case 2 of the Westpark Gamers had extensive experience with the prototype during test sessions at 'Hans-im-Glueck', so that it can safely be said that there is another winner in the works here. 'Egizia' is an excellent game built around a selection mechanic that uses the river Nile as a thematic base that works very well. The game is an exciting race for victory points and the survival of one's people - both in equal measure. A game that will hold the attention of crafty tacticians for some time to come - beginning late October, when it will be published in Essen!


BGG Link
August 2009
Poison cover
Poison
Amigo Spiele
2005

'Poison' is a nice little cardgame by grandmaster Knizia. Like in other trick taking games each player plays a card with the goal to either not take any tricks or to get the majority of tricks of a single colour. Luck and tactics dominate the “all or nothing” atmosphere when playing out cards. A single game lasts only a few minutes even with players tending to tactical analysis. Light, fast and enjoyable: these are the attributes of the game, which is a perfect appetizer or even a light main course.


BGG Link
July 2009
Automobile cover
Automobile
Treefrog Games
2009

It's not the first time that we have a Martin Wallace game as 'game of the month' - Wallace belongs to most prolific designers already rivaling Reiner Knizia in output. Wallace considers 'Automobile' to be his best game yet (he says that every time he publishes a new game) and there are some differences to earlier games of his. In comparison to more complex games like 'Brass' 'Automobile' is relatively simple, but has a high density of actions - each move counts and 'min/maxing' is necessary to make the most of them, as it is impossible to do everything at once. A fascinating game, and a relatively untrodden theme (car production) - exciting and recommended!

Luding Link
BGG Link
June 2009
Wind River cover
Wind River
Argentum Verlag
2008

This game has created something we call the 'Saint Petersburg' effect. The first reaction was not negative, but a little 'doh?'... but in a strange way we became addicted to try out this game again and again to work out new tactics. Because of this 'Wind River' quickly belonged to our most currently played games, and that can't be bad! 'Wind River' is a perfect merge of fitting theme and functioning mechanics. It is quickly explained and not too long. Good planning and second-guessing the other players moves are crucial to winning this game, with a bit of group dynamics added into the mix. We have not been so taken with Argentum games so far, but this game is fully convincing and can be enjoyed as a 'gamer's game' as well as a family game with friends. Bravo!

Luding Link
BGG Link
May 2009
Space Alert cover
Space Alert
Czech Games Edition
2008

This game has been quite controversial in our group, but even those who would never play it again (Walter, Guenther) had to admire its innovative design. Similarly to 'Battlestar Galactica' the right mindset is crucial to enjoying the game - like in a role playing game the identification with the theme is the most important factor in the enjoyment. But even if you are not a coop-freak you will have to love the elegant rules and the many nice ideas inherent in the design. If you are attracted by this kind of game you will find endless enjoyment, so we can give an absolute recommendation here. You should have played it at least once!

Luding Link
April 2009
Small World cover
Small World
Days of Wonder
2009

A couple of years ago 'Vinci' was already a steady hit at the Westpark Gamers, now Philippe Keyaerts has created a completely new version of the game that manages to outshine its predecessor in all departments while also solving some of the problems the game had. This is especially true of the new secret victory point rule that eliminates the unwieldy point counting and kingmaking in the last rounds, and also of the new fantasy theme that somehow makes the game more relaxed and less frustrating. Among many other small improvements the new limited game length is a very good idea and has to be mentioned especially. In short: A good game has become much better, so 'Small World' deserves a game of the month award in its new stand-alone incarnation.


BGG Link
March 2009
Steel Driver cover
Steel Driver
Treefrog Games
2008

Martin Wallace remains a powerhouse of game design. His more recent games have nearly all been economically themed, 'Steel Driver' belongs to this series of games. If the task would have been 'Create a game that includes all the principles of 1830 but plays fluidly and under 1 1/2 hours with lots of depth' then Wallace would have reached this goal with flying colours. It is rare that a relatively simple game creates so much content with relatively little rules - a thoroughly recommendeable game - not only for train fans! 'It is impossible not to be thrilled by (Edgar) Wallace'...

Luding Link
February 2009
Uptown cover
Uptown
Funagain
2007

Not all abstract games have to be boring or tedious (we have to admit that many aren't). 'Uptown' by Kory Heath is a shining example here, as it combines elegance of rules with a good gameplay, depth and a friendly (short) game length. W. Eric Martin from 'boardgamenews.com' originally introduced us to this game during his visit in Munich, and it was a quick hit with the group back then. Now the German version is out, and there is a reason to crown this game our 'GAME OF THE MONTH'. As a quick tile-laying game with satisfying decisions and high fun-factor it is definitely recommended!


BGG Link
December 2008
Sankt Petersburg: In bester Gesellschaft - Das Bankett cover
Sankt Petersburg: In bester Gesellschaft - Das Bankett
Hans im Glück Verlag
2008

A simple expansion of a game does normally not qualify as our 'Game of the Month'. But this expansion of 'Sankt Petersburg' is an ingenious combination of new game elements and adapted rules, which does not only preserves the excellent mechanisms of the basic version, but improves the overall gaming quality, suspense and players' interaction. We can now play this game of all games from the year 2004 also in rounds of five. For us this is as good as a new game.


BGG Link
November 2008
Wabash Cannonball cover
Wabash Cannonball
Winsome Games
2007

A railroad game of the '1830 light' kind! We buy shares of railroad companies, build track between cities and pocket dividends for the operation. We practice in peaceful co-operation, aim at the best income, and try to furnish our lines with a maximum of liquidity and minimal expenditure. A beautiful game for investors and engineers that can be played within 90 minutes, which is a third of the time required for a 'normal' 18xx game. A game however, which is in its surprises and refinement by no means inferior to its big brothers.


BGG Link
August 2008
Tinners
Tinners' Trail
Treefrog Games
2008

Martin Wallace is one of the most renowned game authors of today - his new game 'Tinners' Trail' has an unusual theme that doesn't hint at an exciting game (or does anybody dream of being a tin surveyor who sells home-made pastries on the side?), but this couldn't be farther from the truth. The mechanics are much simpler than in Wallace`s other games (like 'Brass' or 'Pericles'), but this actually helps to make the game instantly accessible while players always have interesting decisions to make. Especially interesting is the innovative turn order mechanic that hasn't been seen in games yet. A great game!

Luding Link
July 2008
Brass cover
Brass
Warfrog
2007

Brass is no easy game to get into - some of the mechanics are quite unique and the first game might be full of mistakes. But after a while a new dimension in Wallace's work can be discovered. His recent games give the players more control over their actions but also are more of a challenge even for experienced gamers. Like a clockwork the various mechanics interlock to create a rather abstract but highly satisfying gaming experience. One of the most interesting games of recent months, but you should have your brain equipped to play it!

Luding Link
April 2008
Stone Age cover
Stone Age
Hans im Glück Verlag
2008

It seemed only right to elect 'Stone Age' as our game of the month after our good Walter has created an extensive analysis of the game's statistical pitfalls. Again 'Michael Tummelhofer' has managed to create a fascinating game with lasting appeal, in which each decision must be well contemplated. In contrast to 'St. Petersburg' this game has an easier learning curve because of the self-explanatory theme, and it is also more forgiving. The resource dice bring a relaxed moment to the game, which is also beautifully produced.

Luding Link
March 2008
Metropolys cover
Metropolys
Ystari
2008

Ystari Games continues to amaze with their new abstract placing game with twists. Metropolys might have the least attractive map of all Ystari Games, but its clever 'bidding' mechanic works very well and creates many brainteasing situations for the players. A rather silent 'Thinking Man's' game, but not outstaying, it is welcome with a 30-60 minute game length. This can be especially recommended for anyone who liked the mood of Ystari's first game, 'Ys'.

Luding Link
January 2008
Agricola cover
Agricola
Lookout Games
2007

In 'Agricola' the players are farmers and try to create a florishing enterprise. They have to keep their farming, expansion of farmhouses and fiels, their cattle-breeding and family extension in balance to secure nutrition for all. Each player tries to select the best development move in a constantly changing game situation. They have to take into account a large variety of constraints, which make every game a new challenge. Agricultural engineers discover an inexhaustible realm of activities in which they can endulge for a whole gamer’s life.

Luding Link
December 2007
Im Jahr des Drachen cover
Im Jahr des Drachen
Alea
2007

'In The Year Of The Dragon' is a new resource management type game that falls into the category 'shortage games'. From the beginning on players are under pressure to fulfill various demands that become increasingly difficult. The event track (which is randomly assigned) is the heart of the game, the players know already, what hardships they have to endure, but even the best plans can be laid to wreck by the other players. A great game that easily fascinates!

Luding Link
November 2007
Galaxy Trucker cover
Galaxy Trucker
Czech Games Edition
2007

Czech Games Edition has had a strong international line-up in the last year. With 'Galaxy Trucker' they have created their most original game so far - innovative to the core it has players build their own spaceships and then send them on a dangerous journey through the galaxy. When comets slowly tear the ships to pieces and pirates lurk behind the next planetoid fun is to be had galore. A thoroughly recommendable game and one of the most interesting games of 2007.

Luding Link
October 2007
Filou: Die Katze im Sack cover
Filou: Die Katze im Sack
2F Spiele
2007

In the category 'quick closer game' this new Friedemann Friese opus can garner many points. It is a 'cat in the sack' that we like to play again and again, as it is fast, furious and still very simple to explain.

Luding Link
BGG Link
August 2007
Zooloretto cover
Zooloretto
Abacus Spiele
2007

Quite belatedly we chose 'Zooloretto' - now 'Spiel des Jahres' - as our 'Game of the Month'. 'Zooloretto' is a typical candidate for the award, as it is thematically broad enough to appeal to a wide audience of all ages, but still giving enough food for thought for the more serious gamer. The boardgame elements enhance its predecessor 'Coloretto' (already a successful game in its own right). We would probably chose the new version over the old one now, though. A good new entry into the honourable list of 'Spiel des Jahres' games list has been selected.

Luding Link
June 2007
Caylus Magna Carta cover
Caylus Magna Carta
Ystari
2007

Successful boardgame-to-cardgame conversions have been surprisingly common these days, and Caylus - Magna Carta is no exception. It could even be stated that this game is actually better than its already fantastic predecessor. Caylus - Magna Carta plays faster and more streamlined than the original game, but offers the same tactical and meaningful decisions while being gripping to the end. Very recommended!

Luding Link
May 2007
Wikinger cover
Wikinger
Hans im Glück Verlag
2007

Players compete in building a Viking empire. Piece by piece they expand their insular scenery and populate their islands with warriors, scouts, nobles, peers, goldsmiths and fishermen. They earn money and victory points, they defend against Viking attacks and they supply the population with the necessary food. Most amazing is the novel mechanism how to buy the island tiles: easy to understand but difficult to describe. In each round twelve tiles are laid out in a certain order. Their prices rise from 0 to 11 units, and on start the higher places are almost prohibitively expensive. But according to well-defined rules they get cheaper and cheaper and every player has a remarkable influence on this decline. Everything matches very well. Every player waits with eagerness for his next move. The brilliant game idea has been conceived by Michael Kiesling and Hans-im-Glück has proven with it his reputation as an excellent games publisher.

Luding Link
April 2007
Notre Dame cover
Notre Dame
Alea
2007

Notre Dame puts players - as our Guenther has put it - immediately under high 'starving' pressure when managing their pawns. No matter what you do, one has always 'too little' to do it: too few actions, too little money, too few pawns and usually way too many rats. It is rare that a game puts such high pressure on the players right from the first round, without being mean or unjust at the same time. Of course this is a typical German abstract Euro game, but its designer has devised so many clever playing mechanics that we were immediately taken by it. High marks by the Westpark Gamers!

Luding Link
February 2007
Space Dealer cover
Space Dealer
Eggert-Spiele
2006

It is very rare that innovations appear in boardgaming, so Space Dealer has to be applauded simply for trying something really new and making a good job out of it. A 'real time' game in which all players act simultaneously has been attempted often and often it hasn't worked (memories of the atrocious 'Time Agent' anyone?). But here a good solid Eurogame design, which takes heavy influence from computer resource management games, really does the job very well, and Eggert Spiele has to be applauded for the constant rise in quality that they have kept up in the last years. This game is absolutely unlike any other game you've played, so give it a try!

Luding Link
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December 2006
24/7 The Game cover
24/7 The Game
Sunriver Games
2006

24/7 the Game is a great light game of number tile scoring, a bit reminiscent of but much better than Zatre (which plays much slower). Sunriver Games has again managed to produce a winner! Very recommended for all kinds of gaming groups. Rules: bilingual (German and English), can be explained in 2 minutes Game material: impeccably good Game length: 20 minutes, and you want to play again immediately

Luding Link
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November 2006
Yspahan cover
Yspahan
Ystari
2006

It's not often that the Westpark Gamers vote a game of the month in complete unison, but here it was like this. Yspahan is a game that has us all in its grasp: Günther and Walter immediately started to construct complicated probability tables, the others simply want to play it again and again. Even though it's a dice game its die mechanic itself is a blast, and the various decision trees make life difficult for the player. Several roads lead to victory, but none of them is completely calculable. Luck is the spice of the game, not its dominating factor. In short: a fantastic game, that easily outmatches the already classic Ystari games of late in the fun department.

Luding Link
October 2006
Die Säulen der Erde cover
Die Säulen der Erde
Kosmos
2006

An excellent offering that comes as a surprise when looks at the very few succesful book/film tie-ins that are out there (and especially Kosmos' speckled history in that respect). In fact the game mostly avoids a close representation of the book, which mostly is some flair text on the cards (and there is very little flair text). This is simply a very delightful and challenging game for gamers, with more than a passing resemblance to Caylus but with some aspects that make the game actually more accessible and even more forgiving. The different phases work very beautifully together, there is no downtime as all phases are interactive and the game also doesn't overstay it's welcome but is engrossing up to the end. The fancy turn counter (the cathedral IS the turn-counter, in case you wondered) made Richard Borg laugh so hard that he nearly fell out of the chair, when he watched our game. And it was a hearty laugh if there ever was one! But seriously - if you like involved but not too heavy games with lots of beautiful bits and pieces you should clearly consider purchasing this wonderful game. It was one of the very rare cases that a German company produced game was actually completely sold out at Essen, even though it was available in great numbers originally. Very recommended!

Luding Link
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September 2006
Maestro Leonardo cover
Maestro Leonardo
Abacus Spiele
2006

The title sounds like art, but the content is pure commerce, however of the finest kind. The players develop crafts shops, acquire raw materials for their production, recruit employees, and complete orders to gain profit and victory points. The topic is resource management and development optimization, which must be accomplished using a nifty auction mechanism. Sharp calculation is demanded, just as tactics, logistics, psychology and ability of self assertion. Four Italians developed the game and achieved an excellent balance between thinking and working. For friends of calculable business games it is a pure pleasure, for game geeks it marks a peak of the current game season.

Luding Link
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June 2006
Thurn und Taxis cover
Thurn und Taxis
Hans im Glück Verlag
2006

Hans im Glueck always delights us with great games, and their new “Thurn und Taxis” is no exception. With 2, 3 or 4 players, the search for the best stage coach track is always fascinating. Elements of “China” and “Transamerica” fuse together to create a game of regional domination and fast connections. A game that is short but fun but also a tactical highlight is a rare thing, but here it has been accomplished.

Luding Link
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May 2006
Sole Mio cover
Sole Mio
Abacus Spiele
2004

This fine card game has been revived by the expansion/independent game 'Sole Mio' and advanced rules. In it’s original form this was a kind of inverse Bohnanza. Players play ingredients and recipe cards on a pile, hoping that the cards below their recipe (after all card plays the tile is reversed) will be enough to fulfill the pizza recipe. Some recipes work, some don’t, and one can never be sure as remembering the actual ingredients in the pile is very difficult. The expansion adds some very odd recipes with partly complicated rules, and the possibility to “help” other players with finishing their recipe – for the price of finishing one of your own recipes for free. The odd recipes make the game more chaotic and unforeseeable, the “helping” options make the game more tactical. All in all this is a good and fun mix of ingredients, and the game was very well received in our group and has been on the table often recently.

Luding Link
April 2006
Funkenschlag cover
Funkenschlag
2F Spiele
2004

In German all game titles by Friedeman Friese start with the letter 'f', and very often his games are really 'fantastic', either through very unique themes, crazy ideas or very thoughtful game designs. 'Power Grid' is an absolute 'gamer's game', because it will impress the most in a round with expert gamers who explore the system to its fullest potential. All players have to keep up with the technological energy development, but very much unlike similar games like 'Outpost' the last ones suddenly can become the leaders in the endgame. The winner is mostly only clear in the final round, but is not created by randomness. This is a rare design achievement, and not only because of this Friedemann Friese can proudly wear the designer crown this month.

Luding Link
BGG Link
March 2006
Elasund cover
Elasund
Kosmos
2005

The Catan games series has literally been done to death with countless expansions, scenarios and variants readily available, some less, some more succesful. So it comes as a total surprise that quite out of nowhere this new excellent game comes along, that introduces many new elements and in fact is a very challenging and fun game in it's own right, reminiscent in some mechanics of the classic 'McMulti'. 'Elasund' is a tense and nailbiting affair that really enriches the Catan game world without giving the feeling that they were only in it 'for the money'. No, it is a game with heart, from gamers for gamers, and this is greatly appreciated by us!

Luding Link
BGG Link
February 2006
Caylus cover
Caylus
Ystari
2005

At long last a game that is worth the hype. 'Caylus' is a great game by the young publisher 'Ystari' and it is a convincing successor to games like Puerto Rico, in which the ramifications of the many actions available to each player form a complicated whole that can be enjoyed by anyone who loves great game mechanics. 'Caylus' is elegant and very streamlined, but anything but a 'light' game. In fact it is very unforgiving to first time players! Still, gamers will ponder over this game for years to come, so it fully deserves our title 'game of the month'.

Luding Link
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January 2006
Big Kini cover
Big Kini
Edition PlayMe
2005

The lightly handled theme creates a fun atmosphere – the island setting is artificial but somehow fresh, and the humoristic drawings are actually quite cute and funny. We like this game – it plays fast, and can be taught quickly as well. It is certainly not above Settlers in its level of complexity, and so could be a good game to introduce new gamers to the finer arts of boardgaming while giving seasoned players a lot of food for thought without them feeling undernourished… PlayMe - originally a mail-order store for games - can be congratulated on giving Guido Eckhof a chance to develop this great new game and risking to publish it in an already crowded market. It certainly has made a good splash at Essen, and we are sure it will continue so in the future.

Luding Link
BGG Link
December 2005
Hazienda cover
Hazienda
Hans im Glück Verlag
2005

This is not a reinvention of the wheel, but a very solid game design by veteran Wolfgang Kramer that has players fight for control of herds, waterplaces and land. The beauty of the system lies in the many possibilities that players have each turn, and the several roads one can follow to achieve victory. Each strategy is equally worthwhile and one has to watch the game closely to see what strategy will be the most successful in a certain context. The Hans-im-Glueck edition looks beautiful and even gives the players a variant board in addition, as well as the possibility to create new boards with a software available at our website, so replayability is very high.

Luding Link
BGG Link
November 2005
Havoc - The Hundred Years War cover
Havoc - The Hundred Years War
Sunriver Games
2005

One of the import discoveries of Essen 2005. In our opinion this should immediately replace poker as a game, as HAVOC is much more colourful and fun. In fact knowing poker helps a lot to get into this game, but the hundred years battles add a nice flavour to it, and card management is of the essence. The card pictures are beautifully captured from original art, and the game may appeal to geeks and non gamers alike. What doth one wanteth more? A cool 'starting player finding device'? Check!

Luding Link
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October 2005
Friedrich cover
Friedrich
histogame
2004

Richard Stubenvoll/Sivel has created a game that is a rarity among most new designs - something that is utterly new. Friedrich is a wargame, but there are no, as often in wargames, dice, and it also doesn't last 8 or more hours. An interesting period of european history is the basis for an engrossing boardgame that uses simple playing cards as it's mechanic for battles, without ever being foreseeable or dry. The basic principles can be explained very quickly, but the game possesses immense depth. Friedrich can be recommended to anyone who is on the lookout for new gaming experiences.

Luding Link
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August 2005
Oltre Mare cover
Oltre Mare
Mind the Move
2004

Emanuela Ornella has created an unusual trading game, that finds room in a tiny box. In fact it's a lot of game for little money, because even though the game board and the pawns are tiny, the game immediately evokes the feeling of classical mediterranean trade. Especially interesting is the use of a special 'ordered cards' mechanic, that reminds of Bohnanza, and is very difficult to master. Moving on the board is also tricky, as your ship gets isolated and deprived of bonus markers very easily. A very interesting game that demands communicative skills as well as grey matter. Recommended!

Luding Link
BGG Link
July 2005
Raja cover
Raja
Phalanx Games
2004

A wonderful offering of Kramer and Kiesling, that has many things going for it. The rules are logical and concise, and the use of the different characters and the order of victory point scoring is handled very cleverly. The visual design is simply stunning, rarely has their been a game of equally flawless designwork. And it is an interesting game full of nail-biting decisions, with even an element of travel planning thrown in for good measure. Beneath it all it is another German abstract majority-in-an-area scoring game, but it rarely gets better than this.

Luding Link
BGG Link
May 2005
Louis XIV cover
Louis XIV
Alea
2005

An excellent new offering by Ruediger Dorn, an almost perfect game of considerable decision making trees. Where should I place my influence pawns? Should I try to fulfill missions or go for the insignia? Is has the same potential for continuous replay as 'Puerto Rico' with its 'let's play again because I want to try something different' value. And it even uses very little physical space in your collection! But don't expect a strong theme here (although the selected nobles and their portraits show great historical research), this is a very abstract game that creates little historic atmosphere... The only slight problem is with the final additional VP's for insignia majority, which seems to jar with the perfect rest of the game (as it is pure luck of the draw, with no way to influence it), but it is possible to leave that rule away and just treat the insignia as simple VP's.

Luding Link
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April 2005
Der Turmbau zu Babel cover
Der Turmbau zu Babel
Hans im Glück Verlag
2005

This month 'Tower of Babel' did not win our 'Game of the Month' award undisputed; didn't we build houses and auctioned for majorities in many a game so far? But 'Tower of Babel' undoubtedly provides a felicitous combination of well-known game elements to form a new coherent entity. The bidding principles create new situations, new considerations and new solutions, when both the acceptance and the refusal of an offer has sufficient potential for both joy and harm on both sides of the deal. A neat idea, whose effects will take a while to fathom out.

Luding Link
BGG Link
March 2005
Manila cover
Manila
Zoch Verlag
2005

After seeing nearly every place on earth transformed into a German game (Slough is still waiting for a good game bearing it's name, though) 'Manila' comes along - and surprises the jaded gamer with an interesting and relaxed mixture of elements that remains fresh throughout. 'Manila' is a racing game, but there are also chosen roles with special abilities and even something like shares. The relaxed aspect is the most important though, but the gamer geek gets enough interesting mechanics and options to be entertained throughout without ever feeling forced. In addition it is, as always with Zoch, a very beautiful looking game, so we applaud one of the best new games of the season.

Luding Link
BGG Link
February 2005
Betrayal at House on the Hill cover
Betrayal at House on the Hill
Avalon Hill
2004

This game works relatively well as a traditional exploration/character advancement game, but really kicks into gear when it comes to the second part, where one player will be the evil traitor and the other players fight together to overcome one of 50 totally different evil scenarios. Some of them play like little wargames, others demand deduction and skill. Great fun for everybody involved, as the game really depicts the theme well, and the scenarios have been lovingly crafted to represent every imagineable haunted house story/cliché.The replay value is high, as the endgame is always different, but the exploration stays a bit samey. The game would profit from expansions, which could easily be integrated. Great design with wonderful atmosphere, easy to pick up, relatively short playing time - what doth the geek wanteth more?

Luding Link
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January 2005
Im Schatten des Kaisers cover
Im Schatten des Kaisers
Hans im Glück Verlag
2004

'Hans im Glueck' keep their high standard with 'Im Schatten des Kaisers', an interesting medieval game of power and intrigue. Memories of 'Kremlin' arise when one is trying to keep his important nobles from ageing and dying away. There are several opportunities to act, and especially to annoy your fellow players. Several nifty mechanics prevent the game from becoming a kingmaker fest. The actions of the players are tied to the occupation of certain spaces on the gaming board, another interesting aspect. Without doubt, this is a game that stands above the rest through its originality!

Luding Link
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December 2004
Reef Encounter cover
Reef Encounter
R&D Games
2004

Reef Encounter, the new fascinating tile conquering game by Richard Breese, is strangely reminiscent of 'Euphrates and Tigris', but interesting in it's own right. The rules and options are VERY confusing at first, so it might turn some first time players off. But it comes together in the game, which plays very tense - every action counts! Kudos also to an unusual and well handled theme, that holds together the abstract design without feeling forced on. Another winner by the prolific Breese!

Luding Link
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November 2004
Niagara cover
Niagara
Zoch Verlag
2004

The coolest things are the Petri dishes. The Petri dishes constitute the 'river': Each dish is one area where players' canoes can be. At the end of each turn, the 'river' advances: New dishes arrive upstream and push the old dishes (and the canoes on them) towards the fall. Due to an ingenious mechanism the dishes fall alternating from the left and the right fall. This game offers fun and some challenge for seasoned players, and it can still be explained to beginners with no trouble. Gameplay is very quick since you cannot forfeit your moving allowance. And the haptic/optic impression of Niagara is excellent. Niagara can be recommended wholeheartedly to anyone.

Luding Link
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July 2004
Zug um Zug cover
Zug um Zug
Days of Wonder
2004

Our expectations were not really high when we first played this game which looks like a bigger cousin of TRANSAMERICA. But then the game quickly got us into it's grip with addictive qualities. Is it the game material, with it's beautiful plastic trains, is it the intelligent card management, is it the ongoing race with the other players, which is always in the open? This is a nervewracking game, especially when your winning route is about to be destroyed by another player. TICKET TO RIDE is a good example for a game that does not break new ground but that becames a greater whole through the sum of it's parts.

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June 2004
Sankt Petersburg cover
Sankt Petersburg
Hans im Glück Verlag
2004

Following so many discussions we had about the game it didn't come as a surprise that 'Sankt Petersburg' has been selected as game of the month June with large lead. Even if luck plays a considerable role it is quite a tactical game with its own fascination for mathematically oriented players. In the beginning you try to achieve the optimum payout with your selection of cards, then you discover the immense variety of cybernetics that happen on the market. Should I buy another card or better not? The effects on the next cards to be exposed cannot be predicted easily. These factors are a continuous challenge to understand the mechanisms of the game and to play it better than your competitors.

Luding Link
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April 2004
Goa cover
Goa
Hans im Glück Verlag
2004

You might have noticed that this game has gotten a lot of talk on our website recently - Walter's excelllent strategy article actually created a run on our website! So it comes as no surprise that this game is also our 'game of the month', because everybody of our group who played it liked it instantly. 'Empire Building' games belong to our favourites - 'Goa' uses mechanics which allow interaction (through the bidding rounds), but also leave the fate of each player in their own hands in the long run. It is certainly necessary to 'have a plan' and to do the most with your limited resources. Positively received was also the fact that the game is devoid of any 'kingmakering' and the usual unfair event cards a la 'With this card you destroy/steal XXXX from any fellow player'. Although it should be mentioned that this game will mostly be liked by gaming 'geeks' (others might find it a bit dry), it will certainly satisfy anyone who likes well designed games.

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April 2004
Maya cover
Maya
Abacus Spiele
2003

The race between „Maya“ and „Goa“ was already very close last month, so it is not surprising that „Maya” easily claimed the title this month. “Maya” seems unspectacular at first glance, its mechanics seem well known, but on closer inspection the game develops its own peculiar charme, which is mostly due to its carefully balanced mechanics. Each phase is exciting – the players are always in competition for dominance while building pyramids and managing resources. Typical “German” game elements like in “El Grande” (i.e. the acquisition of “action tiles”) have been intelligently developed. The theme might be a little stale, but it would be a shame if “Maya” is overlooked because of superficially similar games like “Tikal” or “Mexica”.

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March 2004
San Juan cover
San Juan
Alea
2004

For some reason there are several succesful card game versions of german board games, more than the other way round. It worked with “Settlers of Catan” and even “Starfarers of Catan” (most people even argue that the card game versions are much better), why not “Puerto Rico” as well? “San Juan” is easy to pick up for all who know “Puerto Rico”, but it plays quicker and in a more relaxed way, like a card game. There is less decision as the game is somewhat dependent on card draw, but it’s easier to develop a stategy based on buildings, which sometimes can depend on the actions of the other players in the original. There are also enough new ideas and mechanisms in there to make this game an interesting one. That’s why we recommend it!

Luding Link
BGG Link
February 2004
Rumis cover
Rumis
Murmel Verlag
2003

This game reminds one of 'Pueblo' at first glance, but the big difference is that the players attempt to build their 3D blocks in a way that makes them as visible as possible. 'Rumis' also doesn't have an interim VP count like 'Pueblo' (which in the latter game sometimes works unfairly), which speeds up the game considerably (one game should take no longer than 1/2 hour). Through the use of variable boards, each demanding a totally different strategy, Rumis develops a unique charm that elevates it from the flood of recent games. It's very simple rules make it a very good 'closer' of a games evening. The game rewards clever imagination, and this is something we like!

Luding Link
BGG Link
January 2004
Attika cover
Attika
Hans im Glück Verlag
2003

Our first 'Game of the month' - no surprise here, this addictive tile-laying game has already found many friends internationally, although it has just recently been published. The players represent Greek city states which conquer a modular hex board. Who is the first to connect two temples? Who has built all his buildings first? To win one has to use actions most efficiently and foil the building plans of other players. The rules are simple, tactics complicated. Surely a game that will keep freaks busy for a while, because one always strives to 'do it better next time'. And another success for 'Hans im Glueck', one of Germany's best boardgame companies.

Luding Link
BGG Link