07.03.2005: Bei Hans im Glück (in English)

Der Turmbau zu Babel
We played the nearly finished version yesterday (March 7, 2005)at “Hans im Glück”:
This is is an incredibly solid offering bei Reiner Knizia, with all the good and bad things that come with it. It certainly is a flawless and elegant design, with an interesting mechanic at it's core (completing wonders by collecting cards offered by other players) and the game play is fast and keeps your interest. But one should also note that this is yet another “majority-in-an-area/VP track” game. Perhaps we have become a bit jaded- 5 years ago this would have been considered an exceptional design, but one slightly wonders if something apart from this basic game idea wouldn't be something that could be explored by the highly talented Knizia in the future. At least one would hope so.
Still, another winning entry for the high-quality line of games that “Hans-im-Glück” produces.

Edel, Stein & Reich
Unusually random and light fare from Alea, plays more like a family game than a real challenge for geeks. The basic mechanics are perhaps more fully realized in other games, and the draw of event cards introduces a high luck element that can either lead to incredible gains or totally useless cards. The trading phase is the most interesting aspect of the game (when two players have played the same action, they have to negotiate who is actually going to do it). Not a bad game at all, but not a GREAT one, as one has come to expect of Alea.

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.