Board game club: Fjorde, Neuland, Havoc

The olympic ice hockey final didn’t affect the participants in the board game club yesterday, we had good attendance. I got to play everything I had planned to, which was nice.

While waiting for others to arrive, I played a round of Fjorde with Ilari. It was my first game, but it was a breeze to learn. It’s a very simple game that’s divided in two phases. First phase is simple tile-laying, where you try to match fields, mountains and sea on hexagonal tiles. You can also place farms on the tiles.

On the second phase, you lay down markers starting from your farms. There’s some blocking involved, as you’re competing with your opponent for the space. Turned out my farm placement and field blocking was better than Ilari’s, as I won. Fjorde is a nice little game, which I’m happy to play but won’t rush to buy.

There was six of us, but fortunately Havoc: The Hundred Years War takes six. I wanted to try the game, as I should really get it reviewed. Havoc turned out to be a pretty good six-player game, it’s quite as fun as with three.

We fought through the nine battles pretty fast, our game took about 60 minutes. It was faster than I expected and definitely cleared my suspicions of the game being a bit too long. It isn’t. Instead we had an interesting series of battles, where I unfortunately got left without good cards in the end. I had a good early game, but failed to do well in the end. Still, it was fun.

Neuland box frontI was eager to play my copy of Neuland, which had just arrived on Friday. Robert and Olli joined me for a ride on the brain rollercoaster. It got pretty ugly… I won, but with little satisfaction: it was obvious my experience with the game brought me the victory and nothing else.

Still, it was a pleasure to play. The decisions are tricky and manipulating the board to your advantage isn’t simple. Robert thought the game was too confusing and didn’t enjoy it much, I think, while Olli is probably easier to convince to try the game again.

That’s hardly a surprise, though — Neuland is definitely a game where you don’t know anything when you play it for the first time and maybe have a clue after you finish the first game. I don’t expect many people to love it, but if it clicks, it should click pretty hard. I know I love the game.

Tigris & Euphrates is one of those classics I haven’t played nearly enough recently. Robert and Olli gladly joined me for a refresher match. Robert dominated, thanks to two monuments (which I built, but he used).

Time for one more game: Die Sieben Siegel. Robert was willing to try the game again, after somewhat weak first impressions. As it was a three-player game, saboteur was a popular choice (I’ll probably try the bidding variant next time I play). I sucked, while Robert and Olli had some competition for the first place.

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