Date: 28th March 2003
Game played: New England ( Goldsieber ) BGG Id: 5406

No John this week, so we got the chance to try out the latest Alan Moon / Aaron Weissblum release by Goldsieber. The game is set in the time of the Pilgrim Fathers and the players are attempting to settle and develop the area where they first landed more effectively than their opponents. Each game turn is played in three phases: firstly, plots of new land and development rights for existing land become available on the market; players then bid for the order in which they can choose to buy/develop land; and finally they actually purchase/develop the land and draw income. Only 9 items are available for purchase in each round (although this can be increased by the player who has the most ships on the board). Going first, therefore, gives a player greater choice over what he can purchase but he has to pay more for it – and money is pretty tight, particularly in the early rounds of the game. Each player has three types of land: settlements, fields for crops and pastures for grazing livestock. The board and the plots of other players restrict how tou can expand your land and you can only develop areas of a land type in certain configurations. The more land spaces you develop in one go, the more victory points you gain. Developing land is the main way of gaining victory points but you can also get points by spending money on pilgrims, barns and ships – which give the player other advantages. At the end of the game, there are also bonuses for whoever has the most of each of these, so you have to balance developing land with acquiring other items.

In our game, it was difficult to see who was doing better than their opponents. We all seemed to be able to progress our causes quite well initially. A couple of 10 point developments came out and these are obviously very valuable. However, these only occur in the one land type, which none of us knew in advance. So although I set myself up for a potential 10 pointer in a different land type, this never appeared leaving this area undeveloped and costing me dear. The final turn came down to Mark K and I both having choices which could have deprived Nige of 6 vital points but would have handed the win instead to someone else. So we both played to give ourselves the most points but this allowed Nige to claim his extra 6 points and the win. This was a very nice, solid game, with some difficult choices. The board and bits were nicely produced as usual from Goldsieber. We used the standard set-up for this first game, but it will be interesting to see whether the initial placement round adds an extra dimension.

Mark K
Mark G

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