This week, we tried one of this year’s Essen releases from Hans im Gluck. Ming Dynastie, designed by RobertWatson, is about Chinese royal families attempting to acquire wealth and influence in the mid-14th century.
This is an area influence game played over six rounds with scoring taking place after the second, fourth and final rounds. The board is divided into six coloured provinces, each of which is subdivided into three districts. The borders between districts show a mode of transport by which a player’s prince can cross the border using the matching movement card. Each round, the players receive five relatives. In the first phase they take turns in placing their relatives on one of the six coloured fields, matching the six province colours, until all relatives has been placed. Then, the players draw cards from the open display adjacent to a field where they have placed at least one relative. This phase continues until all players have five cards. Then the princes move through the country, by playing the appropriate transport cards. If the player has relatives in the field with the same colour as the district where the prince ended his movement, he may place up to three relatives in this district. Once all the players have moved and placed relatives as much as they want, the round ends. After rounds 2, 4 and 6, majorities for each district are determined and the majority players receive province tiles, a complete set of which can be exchanged for VPs. Players then get to decide whether to cash in their relatives for more VPs or keep them in the districts for subsequent rounds. Whoever has the most Vps after the final round wins.
There were several interesting ideas in this game. Only being able to draw cards from places where you had placed relatives gives you a dilemma because you would like to place lots of relatives in the same field so that they can be transported to a district to claim a majority. However, placing in fewer fields means your choice of movement cards is restricted and you may not obtain the right cards to move your price to where you want to get. Mark K and Nige were having a nice sub-game of blocking each other’s movement, although Nige still managed to score well after each second round. However, he and I made opposite tactical decisions after the second scoring with him cashing in his relatives for immediate points, while I held onto mine. This enabled me to score loads of points for majorities in the final round and these were just enough for me to overtake Nige’s total. An interesting game with some resemblance in the programmed movement to Elfenland. Good stuff.