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Die Siedler von Nürnberg
from 4 customer reviews
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Not an expansion to the Settlers of Catan, but an entirely new game which only uses some of the ideas of the original Siedler von Catan.
Klaus Teuber has been inspired by the forthcoming celebration of Nuremberg, which received its City Charter 950 years ago.
The game takes place on two game boards at the same time. On the right half of the board you see the familiar Siedler hexes with five different types of landscape (forest, field, pasture, loam and ore).
On one of these hexes sits the old free city of Nrnberg. From here trade routes lead to Frankfurt, Prague and Venice. Players build their new Settlements along established routes. The player's road pieces are used as proof of who has established safe routes along these roads, which naturally will be an advantage in the game.
Ok, so far it sounds more or less like the game we know.... The real innovation comes from the way you score the Victory Points. You will still score in the usual way of building Settlements and Cities, but that is no longer sufficient to secure your victory.
Which brings us to the other half of the game board: Here we see a close-up of the old city behind its 15th Century city walls. Here may you build Handicraft houses where the raw materials produced in the countryside can be converted into high-quality products (e.g. Paper or Arms). These valuable products may then be sold for profit in the cities at the end of the trade routes. The sale brings you Gold, which in turn is used by the Nuremberg settlers to build the towers and walls that with time will encircle the town. The building of these will yield the crucial Victory Points.
Average Rating: 4.5 in 4 reviews
I won't repeat the outstanding details and comments of Deborah, Randall, and a gamer below; I concur with them.
Die Siedler von Nurnberg is a wonderful advanced strategy game, and particularly welcome for Settlers players who are ready to expand their horizons. Klaus Teuber has interwoven several scoring mechanisms in much the way that Reiner Knizia did in games like Taj Mahal and Merchants of Amsterdam. The result is a tense trading/building strategy game that reduces much of the chance element found in the original Settlers.
I will not belabor the mechanics of this fine game, but just want to chime in with my take on it. The Settlers of Nurnberg is a banquet compared to the normal fast-food fare of regular Settlers. The standard game is a fine introduction to German-style gaming, and is probably adequate for 80% of the gamers out there, but for the connoisseurs of the game world, Settlers of Nurnberg is a richer and more satisfying experience.
There is a great deal more subtlety to strategies, since there are so many ways of gaining victory points, and yet so few points available. Placement of workshops in the city becomes important, as an example, as a player must decide whether to go for trading advantage (like the original game's ports) or place a workshop in order to gain the right to place city towers, which is only granted in one half the locations.
The rights of way outside of the city remain important, as a player concentrating on them as a strategy can earn a lot of gold in tolls levied on players producing goods in the city. While regular Settlers sees an emphasis on the need for Ore late in the game, all commodities in this game remain viable and important throughout the game.
The attention to detail here makes this game truly special. Beautiful presentation, with quality components, well-structured gameplay, and a more demanding game than its predecessor. Highly recommended for those who want a deeper, richer Settlers experience.
Released to celebrate 950 years of the existence of the German city of Nrnberg (Nuremberg for English-speakers), this game draws on the original game of the Settlers of Catan as well as a number of new elements. It is the latest of a long line of Settlers games from Klaus Teuber, a complete game rather than an expansion, and has a limited distribution, normally only available in department stores in the Nrnberg area (which explains the price of this difficult-to-obtain import).
For those familiar with the basic game of Settlers, this game should not present any challenge, though it should be understood that the game carries quite a bit more complexity. Those who have not played the original game should probably start there instead. My review will thus focus on the differences in game play from the original game, as well as the consequences that these differences have in the feel of the game.
The first major difference is that there is a game board, with all of the land hexes printed on it. This is similar in nature to the Alexander the Great and Cheops expansions, which also come with a preset board. One of the hexes represents the city of Nrnberg; the five roads are already shown on the map. The wooden pieces that look like roads instead represent toll booths, collecting gold throughout the game for the player with a majority of them on any given road. Additionally, each road carries a victory point for the player with the most toll booths on it. Three of the roads earn additional tolls when commodities are sold (explained later). Settlements are built on the intersections of three hexes as before, but since the roads are already built and don't belong to any particular player, there is much greater freedom in where to build.
This map of the surrounding countryside takes up half of the game board. The other half is a close-up of the city of Nrnberg itself. Here you can use resources to construct one of five commodities, to be sold to neighbouring cities off-map (Frankfurt, Prague and Venice) for gold. If you sell these commodities and don't have the majority of toll booths on the road that leads to the commodities' destination, you must pay a toll to the player who does have the majority. You can improve your income by making better-quality commodities, by constructing a workshop in Nrnberg. These cost exactly the same to build as a city would in basic Settlers. Workshops double your income for a commodity without doubling the toll you have to pay. Workshops also allow you to trade resources with the bank at a better rate (like ports in the original game) or give you the right to construct towers, explained shortly. What you can do with your workshop depends on where you place it in the city of Nrnberg. You can build up to four workshops in a game.
With the gold you earn from selling commodities, you can buy a piece of city wall to build around Nrnberg. City walls are important to the people of Nrnberg, and building a segment gains you a point of prestige. Once you have gained three prestige points you earn the right to sit on one of the three city councils, worth from two to a whopping four victory points. (This game element is pretty much straight from the Alexander the Great expansion.) You can accelerate your prestige by building towers on the convex corners of the Nrnberg map. These cost a little more to build, but they are worth two prestige points, and may only be built if you have a workshop in the appropriate area of the city. Because these council seats are worth so many victory points, there is fierce competition for them, up until a player reaches twelve prestige points, after which the seat the player holds (and its victory points) are safe from further attack.
Perhaps the biggest surprise with Die Siedler von Nrnberg is the absence of dice. One complaint that many players have about other versions of Settlers is that it is too random, depending on the outcome of dice rolls, which are just too random in the short term and can make or break a game depending on if a player's numbers are rolled. Many players have suggested ways of reducing this randomness so that it more resembles long-term outcomes by creating a deck of cards with the same distribution as a pair of dice, and drawing one card per turn instead of rolling the dice. Klaus Teuber has taken this idea for Die Siedler von Nrnberg and elaborated on it. As well as each card having a number on it indicating production for the turn, cards have a secondary feature such as moving the robber, permitting cheap building of city walls, paying tolls on one of the five roads, advancing the game towards its conclusion, or reshuffling the deck.
The game ends when one player has reached 13 victory points, or when the ninth advance-time card has been drawn (about three times through the deck). With only 46 victory points available in the game (or fewer, depending on the spacing of settlements), there is a lot of vying for every last point. It isn't possible to win the game without taking the extra possibilities Nrnberg offers into account. The long chain, from settlements to resources to commodities to gold to city walls to prestige to victory points, is certainly more convoluted than the simple settlements-or-cities of basic Settlers, but it hangs together quite well. Every part of the game seems to be balanced. This is probably what helps to ensure close games.
On the down side, this game is expensive for what it is; nevertheless, it should be seriously considered by any Settlers fan, even by some who are not fond of the original as it removes or changes many of the elements that players have disliked. Those who consider themselves Gamers should definitely give this game serious thought. Like most versions of Settlers, I suspect that it plays better with four than three, where the extra congestion creates tighter contests. I would also regard the estimated playing time of 90 minutes as extremely optimistic. The increased play options slow the game down significantly.
In my opinion, Die Siedler von Nrnberg is the best of the large Settlers dynasty, addressing flaws of previous editions while introducing several new elements. Do try it if you can.
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The latest Siedler in the series is a special edition designed to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the city of Nuremberg. In doing so, the game breaks new ground and several Siedler traditions.
The game features two maps on the same game board. The first represents the trade routes out of the city of Nuremberg, which are roads pre-drawn on the map and leading out of the hex that represents the city. The map has the traditional terrain (hills, grassland, field, forest and mountain which will produce the (by now) well-known resources -- brick, wool, grain, wood and stone respectively -- when a random number matches the number in the hex. The second map represents the 12 city sections (hexes) of the old city of Nuremberg in close-up mode. The quality of the board, resources and event cards, as well as the range of wooden pieces, is up to the excellent Kosmos standard.
As in many Siedlers, the game is won by reaching a number of victory points. These can be earned in a variety of ways, from both boards. Settlements are built in the same way as other games in the series, but the roads in this game are called tolls and placed on the trade routes out of Nuremberg. This is where the first rule break comes in -- tolls (and later settlements) do not have to join up with a player's existing tolls and settlements.
The `longest road' victory points in other Siedlers are replaced by control of the trade routes -- giving a `Right of Way' to the player who has the most tolls on that route. Perhaps the major change appears to be the lack of dice! (No more complaints about an 8 not being rolled for 15 turns?) What would a Siedler game be without such a mechanism? Fortunately, the complaints are now aimed at a set of event cards that are used to determine the resources that are added each turn, so the complainers can re-direct their thoughts to the person who shuffled the cards (always an issue that gets aimed at me in my group). The events themselves represent mild changes in fortune, which is about the level of impact I think they should have.
Victory points can also be earned by building workshops on the city board. These are like the city upgrades of normal Siedler games in cost. Besides gaining victory points, the workshops produce commodities that can be sold via the trade routes to various cities that are represented at the end of these routes. These cities cause the demand and have specific requirements, so it is important to prepare your master plan to incorporate control of the right trade routes and the location where each workshop is placed in the city. Control of the trade routes is important as the owner can extract a toll from each sale, so players tend to sell via the routes that they control.
The placement of the toll stations is always on the trade routes and directly next to the next available space leading away from Nuremberg. This has a double consequence -- increasing the number of tolls on that route so as to gain or extend control of that trade route and the chance to place a settlement on that route, which of course will provide the opportunity to increase resources.
The unusual combination of options makes the resource board intriguing in how, when and where to place toll stations and settlements. This freedom of choice is, in my view, a major and pleasant shift from other Siedlers and makes the game more enjoyable.
The final way to earn victory points is to perform some civic duty and this is achieved by building city walls on the edge of the city sections of Nuremberg. Each wall built gains a prestige point and the players who earn 3 of these get voted onto Councils, which are worth between 2 and 4 victory points. There is a cost to building the walls, so at this stage you need bricks and gold (earned from the sale of commodities or as toll-money from the use of the trade routes you control). Just when you think you have conquered the game systems -- tolls, settlements, resources, rights of way, workshops, commodities and city walls -- the designer entered another obstacle: city towers. These must be placed after 2 city walls. The reason it is an obstacle is that a player can only build one if a workshop is built in a section of the city that allows their production.
As there is competition for the placement of workshops, players will not find it easy to place thenm in areas that satisfy all requirements for producing commodities of their choice and towers and walls. However, this is part of the decision making process that the design forces and while adding complexity to the Siedler system, satisfies a person like me who loves such additional systems.
How does the game compare to other Siedlers? Basic (classic) Siedler is much simpler to play of course as it has a much lighter set of systems. There are no sea hexes and so Settlers who want to discover new islands should steer clear of this design. I would say that Siedler Nuremberg is most similar to the Stadt and Ritter version, but demands less co-operation and has slightly more complexity. The game allows for more planning though, because there are several phases to the game. [Resource gathering leads to tolls and settlement expansion; players pause to collect more resources before building workshops. These open the game to an expansion of trade and earning gold. The building of walls and towers accelerates the game, as more victory points become available.]
Overall this linear approach allows for a high degree of planning. If like me, you enjoy this aspect of gaming, then Siedler Nuremberg is a satisfying mix of decision making where good play outweighs the small blips of fortune. I can pay the design no higher compliment than that the game system's balance of decisions reminded me of a complex game from Knizia, as players are constantly forced into choosing between options when ideally you would like to take more actions. Highly recommended.