Date: 28th November 2003
Game played: Anno 1503 ( Kosmos ) BGG Id: 8166

Four of us again this week so I decided we should try one of Kosmos’ new Essen releases. Anno 1503 is by Klaus Teuber and is supposedly based on the computer game of the same name. As a board game, it is very much a cross between Settlers and Entdecker, but it is very well implemented. Players are competing to develop their own islands faster and more efficiently than their opponents. They aim to develop the inhabitants of their islands from initial pioneers through to merchants, establish links with other resource yielding islands, negotiate trade agreements to reduce the cost of their purchased resources, build impressive buildings in their settlements and accumulate gold. Each of these goals has a set target and the player who reaches three of these targets first is the winner.

Resources are limited and unlike Settlers there is no trading between the players, only buying and selling with the bank. Player interaction is pretty low as you are basically just manipulating your own resources to best effect. However, some of the goals enforce competition so there is some element of trying to beat your opponent to the goal. In our game, I built a fire station early on to protect against one of the hazardous events that can come up on the roll of a 6 on the die (other numbers yield resources). Unfortunately for Nige, he was running his operation on a shoestring budget of gold and fire decimated his settlement three or four times in quick succession. The chances of this happening were very remote but lady luck doesn’t listen to the laws of probability. The end of the game was extremely close, with me failing to get the resources needed to gain my third VP because of another 6 on the die (4 other numbers would have seen me achieve my goal). This left Mark K to sell off sufficient resources to rake in 30 gold and claim his third VP and the win. Very good game that we all thoroughly enjoyed, even Nige despite getting stuffed by the fire damage.

Mark K
Mark G

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