SR: 28 August 2009 – Neuland

There were only three of us this week so I decided to try Neuland, produced by eggert spiele and Z-Man games as it was reported to be best with three players. That’s probably true because a four player game would have ended up even more tedious than this session turned out. It’s not that the game was bad; it just seemed like too much work and very little fun. Someone hinted that the lack of fun made it the perfect game for ‘no-fun’ Nige (can’t remember who said it) but I think Nige would actually have hated it with a vengeance.

The game involves working down a production tree, using basic resources to produce something that is then used for something else which can then be used in combination with another resource to produce something else. Once you get far enough down the production tree, you get to produce something for victory points and once someone has claimed 12 VPs, they win. Unfortunately, there is little you can do between turns and although you try to set yourself up for your next turn, things can change and you need to work through your various actions from scratch. That said, there is quite a bit of planning you can do but there seems very little that can be put down to clever play. You pick a branch of the production tree to go down and then optimise your actions accordingly. And the branches are too long in my view. The game works but it is just too dry for me. The one aspect that I did quite like was the turn order track in that, like Thebes, the player furthest behind takes the next turn. Hence it is possible to engineer that you take two turns together or before your main rival.

In our game, it was pretty close between Mark K and me but once it became obvious that I was bound to win (this being after two and a half hours), we decided to stop with possibly another 10 or 15 minutes still to play. Basically, we found it too long overall, player turns were too long so plenty of downtime even with three players and no real spark to make it fun. One for the Ebay pile, I think.

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