A couple of months back we took a look at some games by established designers that fly under the radar a bit. It’s always great to find new games by a talented designer you love, that you had either never heard of, or didn’t know too much about. We’re back with three more games by famous designers that you should totally check out…if you haven’t already.
If you held a gun to my head and asked me to name my favourite designer, I’d first wonder why you took such a drastic measure to learn information I’d readily give up, but then I’d tell you Antoine Bauza. He has so many titles that I love from 7 Wonders, to Takenoko, to Hanabi, and so many more. He is known for many of his award-winning games, but one that I think flies under the radar is The Little Prince Build Me a Planet.
Players build planets with different tiles trying to construct the one worth the most amount of points. One player chooses tiles from one of the piles, picks a tile, and then selects which player will go next. Getting to go earlier means you’ll have more tiles to choose from and might just be able to avoid getting screwed over.
The real hook of the game are the scoring tiles. They make up the corners of the planets and they determine what your planet is going to be worth. If you get the Gardener, you want to collect Bilboa Trees, the Astronomer drives you to collect stars, the King wants you to get a single rose to maximize your points. The different scoring tiles have a huge effect on the value of your planet.
The Little Prince is both exceedingly simple, while having the potential to be incredibly mean. I definitely think it needs more attention from the gaming world!
In the first week I worked at Snakes and Lattes, Rich Sommer just happened to be in town filming a movie, and he ended up coming by the café a couple nights to play games. I got to sit down and try out Der Speicherstadt with him. It was the first Stefan Feld title I had tried at that time and I really loved it. Feld has gone on to design classics like Castles of Burgundy, Oracle of Delphi, and Trajan, but I think Speicherstadt is still a great, super tight auction game.
Players take on the role of merchants in the suspiciously flammable city of Hamburg. They bid on various cards each round, like Contracts (worth points once filled), Ships carrying different goods, Workers, Special Cards, and Firemen. The interest in each card determines its value.
The more players want it, the more it’s going to cost to acquire it. A fire signals the end of each of the four rounds, with the strongest fire department winning pints and the weakest losing them.
Der Speicherstadt is fun and fast, and has a flow that sometimes gets lost in all the mechanics of Feld’s later offerings. Definitely one of my favourite titles from this designer that deserves more love.
Uwe Rosenberg seems to design in cycles. He finds a mechanic he likes and refines it again and again, until he stumbles upon his next inspiration and he’s off on another run. Over the years, he’s received praise for titles like Bohnanza, Agricola, Caverna, Le Havre, and many more. Recently he’s found a lot of success with games like A Feast for Odin, Patchwork, Cottage Garden, and Indian Summer.
I find that I’m one of the few gamers out there that don’t love Rosenberg’s titles. I respect him as a designer, but for one reason or another, not too many of them click with me. It’s not that I’ll never play them, but they are rarely my first choice.
However, one game of his that I will play ANYTIME, is Wurfel Bohnanza. It’s a dice rolling game in the Bohnanza family, where players are rolling and collecting dice to complete orders. Of course the faces of the dice are various beans, and the more orders you complete on each card, the more coins you’re going to earn. One of the best parts of the game, is that when it’s not your turn, you can steal complete orders with the results of the active player’s rolls. Once they lock a die, it’s no longer available, but any dice they roll can help you complete your orders.
It is another simple entry by Rosenberg, but one of the funnest games I think he’s designed.
We’ll be back with more under appreciated games from famous designers. Stay tuned.