original German edition
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'Entdecker' or 'Discoverer'. This is one of those games I was certain I would like but with everyone else so quiet about it, I wondered if it was a bomb. Well, I have found out that just because you don't hear much about a game doesn't mean it's not great. Big City and Entdecker were both lost in the hype of a lot of other games, but both are excellent games that are easily playable by people new to German games, or non-gamers.
The board is a grid of squares done up to look like a map circa 1400 AD. On your turn, you decide how far your ships will explore (read: how many tiles you flip over and add to the board), then you travel along trying to place the tiles in such a way that you can create lots of scoring opportunities for yourself. You score by building Forts, Settlements, and Explorers on the island. The person with the most valuable units on the island gets more points in the form of tropical fruit and veggies.
The game is beautiful to look at, has a good theme, is fun to play, plays very quickly with 2-4 players (60 minutes max), and makes an excellent game for families and a good addition for gamers who need a few shorter, lighter games. Every time I play, the scores are neck and neck, which makes for a tense finish. This game is one of my all time favorites and I believe it has been seriously overlooked.
The old edition is hard to find now because it never sold well and was never published in English. (Note to Jay Tummelson: how did you miss this one?) But it is now available in a new edition in Germany called Die Neuen Entdecker ('the New Discoverer'). Hopefully, the second time around this game will be better received. Although I still think the first edition was the better of the two, from what I've heard, I'd guess the new one is still a great game. But if what I've heard is true, that Mayfair is going to publish it in English, then probably they will ruin it with ugly graphics and poor production, so I suggest you try and find a copy published by Kosmos or Gold Sieber. Usually it's worth paying a few more bucks to get the better quality. Mayfair makes very poor quality components.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! One of my Top 5 games.
Entdecker is a game of exploration and colonization in which you 'create' islands by discovering their borders and then settle them by building outposts. After having played it for about 10 times I can say this game is very fun and very easy to learn, too.
I liked: You actually create the map, never the same game twice. Fast games.
I didn't like: The random element can be decisive on the outcome of the game.