Monday, 11 March 2013

Euros and beer - not a winning combination

Played Friedeman Friese's Fürstenfeld last Friday. This game is a true euro: it is about selling resources to breweries so you can build a palace. It has deckbuilding, optimisation and is essentially multiplayer solo, the only interaction is through the market.

Beer, an inspired choice of theme!
Not that it matters much in a euro

The basic challenge is that you need all the space on your player board to build the six parts of your palace. It is also all the room you have during the game for fields and buildings. So by the end of the game income can become really tight.

Crappy pic of the player board. Note that there are six spaces on it.

The amount of  hops, barley and water  you gain each turn depends on the fields on your player board. You then sell them all to one of the breweries on the central board. Each brewery has its own beer recipe, and so a different demand for ingredients. The mechanism to represent supply and demand is pretty straight forward but works well.

Not such an inspiring board, but it hides a good market mechanism
On the far left you can see the coloured discs which indicate player order. Players with the lowest income go first.

Each turn you draw three cards. You can build a maximum of two on your player board on your turn and hold on to one af the end. This means that on a normal turn you'll have a choice from four cards, although you can use buildings to increase your draw (and thus go through your deck faster) and the number of cards you can retain.

The deck contains the six parts of your palace, improved fields and all kinds of buildings that will give you cash, or allow you to draw more cards, have discounts on other buildings etc. The choice of buildings allows you to pursue different strategies.

We saw Rob building parts of the palace as soon as he could, which limited his income. Andries got a building that allowed him to keep more cards in hand so he could save palace parts until he was able to build them.

I tried to go through my deck as quickly as possible, discarding stuff and increasing my number of cards drawn. This allowed me to build up a large war chest, but meant that I was too late getting to my last three palace parts in hand.

I think Andries was first to build all six parts, but since others built there six part in the same turn and I'm not sure who had most money left (the tie breaker) I'm not sure he actually won.

[edit: in fact it was Jeroen who first built all six parts, but both Rob and Andries also did on the same turn. Andries had the most money (tiebreaker) but had misplaced one of his palace tiles earlier in the game. Rob and Jeroen had the same amount of money so both finished first.]

The game is good fun, not too long or too mathsy. It is easily explained and picked up while the deckbuilding strategies will help replayability. Its appearance is traditional euro design. All this makes it an okay game to play but not one I would feel the need to own given the dozens of alternatives.


  1. Replies
    1. As I said, it's not a bad game. And some people actually like multiplayer solo. It doesn't mean they are lesser as human beings, just ... different.


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