Gold West Boardgame Review

By empirebgl | April 21, 2024 |

In Gold West, you and your fellow players are competing gold prospectors circa 1849. You’ll extract resources from the land, build camps, claim stakes, and ship out your precious metals – or use them to complete contracts. Resources are controlled via a Mancala-style track where more points are awarded for down-track placement but those resources take longer to become available. At the end of the game, points are awarded for each building in a player’s largest contiguous grouping and for controlling the most (and 2nd most) of each of the four terrain types. The actions a player takes during Gold West – building camps, claiming tiles, and spending precious metals – all revolve around and are subject to the Mancala resource track system which determines what resources are available and when. Understanding the resource system and how to best plan and take advantage is the key to victory. Players want to strike a balance between making sure that building materials are available every turn and that metals arrive in large groups in order to score big points. Sure, players need to pay attention to and strive for area control, but that’s all moot if the resources aren’t available at the right times. Gold West is an easy-to-learn game with an interesting depth of strategy that requires attentive planning while keeping an eye on opponents’ goals.…

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Arborea Boardgame Review

By empirebgl | April 6, 2024 |

In the world of Arborea, the lands have been decimated, and it is up to you and the other Patron Spirits (players) to heal the land and bring new creatures to the healed lands. Each Patron Spirit will be trying to use the resources from the regenerated lands to build their own personal ecosystem, creating the perfect habitat for these creatures to live out their lives. Send your Villagers on pilgrimages through the blighted lands to tend to them, regenerate each biome, and draw the creatures back to the forests, meadows, rivers, and other biomes. Gameplay In Arborea, each turn you will send your villagers on a pilgrimage, or advance a pilgrimage forward through a biome. When you advance a pilgrimage track, all villagers on that track move forward, no matter which player they belong to. After moving a track forward, all villagers have the choice to hop off of the track into the biome if they would like, or continue on their journey. After you have placed a villager or advanced a track, you may activate up to two of your villagers that have moved off of a track, sending them through the biome to collect resources and activate effects, and possibly receive the boons of the Sage in that biome (if you have given them gifts already.) After activating workers, you may have…

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Shipyard Boardgame Review

By empirebgl | March 26, 2024 |

It’s the late 19th Century, and steam engines are replacing sails on ships. This is the state of shipbuilding in Vladiír Suchý’s Shipyard; in which players control a shipyard in 1870. They’ll hire employees and build ships – then outfit them with crew and equipment, and take them on a shakedown cruise. Players earn points during a ship’s shakedown cruise and at the end of the game when government contracts (private goals) are scored – whoever ends with the most points wins. The two primary mechanics around which the game revolves are the action selection system and rondels-controlled markets. If you’ve played other Vladiír Suchý games such as Praga Kaput Regni or Woodcraft you’ll recognize the action selection system that limits a player’s choices to those actions not chosen on other players’ most recent turns, although here the actions are in a linear series rather then a rondel (worry not – there are plenty of rondels here.) In fact, four different markets – each activated by a dedicated action tile – are manipulated via rondels that are nesting on the board, but are not linked in any mechanical way. Because of these mechanisms, knowing which actions and market offerings will be available to a player and the best time to take advantage of them requires that players pay attention not only to their own needs…

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