Date: 14th March 2003
Game played: Paris Paris ( Abacus ) BGG Id: 5825

Three of us this week and, as Mark K was one of the absentees, we met at my house rather than the shop as usual. I had also had a delivery from Germany of some of the new Nurnberg releases so we had plenty of games to choose from. First up was Paris Paris by Michael Schacht, a designer who has released a number of good games over recent years. The game is set in (surprise surprise) Paris, with the players trying to set up tourist shops in the most popular locations around the city. The more that the city tour buses stop at your locations, the more that you will earn from the tourists. The game play is very simple but there is a lot to think about. Each turn, a number of locations tiles are revealed to the players for setting up their tourist shops (one more location than the number of players). Each player in turn picks a location and establishes a business there. At the remaining location, a tour bus arrives and players with businesses there receive money from the tourists on the bus. This location tile is then set aside and, if it matches the colour of another set aside tile, a grand tour takes place. Each colour represents one tour bus company, which travel certain routes across the city visiting various locations. On a grand tour, the bus company visits all the major locations on its route and the tourists spend money at each of those locations AND any directly adjacent locations. This is where the big points come in and where the key decisions need to be made. In choosing a location, not only do you set up your business there but you can affect where the tours and grand tours take place. There is also a restriction on the number of businesses that can be at each location and earlier businesses set up at a location can be replaced by someone wishing to set up a shop there later in the game. The game lasts a set number of rounds depending on the number of players, following which a final series of grand tours take place for the bus companies held by each player (At the start of the game, each player is secretly given one company in which it has an interest). The player who has then accumulated the most money (points) is the winner.

In our game, Mark G and I set out to an early lead over Nige and none of us thought the game too interesting. However, once the grand tours started to take place, the game immediately jumped to another level and we realised how important choosing the right location tile on our turns was becoming. It wasn’t brain-busting stuff, but the decision-making requirement was quite involving. Nige and I were having a very close battle throughout the second half of the game with Mark G just a bit off the pace. In the end, Nige took the win by just a single point. After a lacklustre start, I really enjoyed this. It has lots of interesting choices packed into 45 minutes of play. Definitely a contender for the Spiel des Jahres.

Mark G

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