English language edition
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New England 1621. As you and your family step off the Mayflower, you tingle with excitement at the prospect of freedom. With this new land brings the challenge of survival. To succeed, you must build shelter, raise animals and grow crops for food. The winner of this game will be the one that achieves the greatest prosperity in ... New England.
I have alway felt that Acquire was the best multi-player strategy game. I must admit that games such as Tigris & Euphrates and Settlers of Catan have given me some good gaming hours, but Mr. Sackson's boardgame I always saw as a standard to be reached. New England is a simple yet skillful game that is playable, colorful and well produced. Alan Moon has come a long way since the Avalon Hill days. When he teams up with Aaron W. the end results are some of the best in the genre at this time. I was worried that when this game received Games Magazines 'Game of the Year' it would be the kiss of death. Remember Pipeline and Trumpet? This game deserves it's kudos. It will be a mandatory play on the holidays right after a round of Acquire. (Sorry Alan and Aaron, but Sid's masterpiece came first).
Terrific design and nice mechanics in this abstract tile-laying game. I bought it in June 2003 without knowing much about it. Man, was I surprised! This has been my 'game of choice' ever since. Very balanced and very little luck involved. Plenty of strategy to go around. This one is well worth the investment.
Other have already done a fine job a describing this game, but I would just like to point out what perfect balance the game has. There are few obvious choices, and all your choices have consequences, that directly affect you and the other players. There is almost no down time when it's not your turn, although as with any game with this much open info, there can be some lag for thinking. Great game, tons of replay value. Definitely a fine choice for Game of the Year.
New England is a fine game that's not getting the recognition it deserves. I've now taught the game to 6 people, and everyone has enjoyed the game. It's a meaty game with excellent components that can be played in 1 1/2 hours. However the big plus is that the rules are very simple. The sequence of play contains just 3 simple steps. The game can be explained in just 5 minutes, and newcomers will understand the game by the 2nd turn.
Despite the simplicity of the rules, the game has interesting play and strategy. After 3 plays, I have no idea what the best strategy is. I need a lot more experimenting. For example, I was explaining the game and telling people that that I didn't think the ship development card was a good buy. Naturally, on the very 1st turn, it turned out that buying a ship development card was an excellent play.
I won't go into a detailed description of the game. The basic idea is this. You need to buy land tiles which you hope to develop. To develop the land, you must also buy development tiles. There is a very simple bidding system which determines the order of selection of the 9 tiles (land and development) offered for sale each turn. What you bid is also the amount that you pay per tile. You can buy up to 2 tiles per turn. For example, if you bid 6 and you buy 2 tiles, it will cost you 12. Therefore if you want the 1st selection you will have to bid a higher amount and therefore pay more per tile. So money management is important. In my 3 games, half the time I bid low to save money, and half the time I bid a higher amount to get 1st or 2nd choice. If you are last, the pickings will usually be slim.
It's important to see what development cards an opponent needs. This is one reason why having a barn is useful. Normally, when you buy a development card, you must have the correct configuration of undeveloped land and develop it immediately. If you can't use a card, you can't buy it- that is unless you have a barn. Having a barn enables you to buy and store one development card even if you can't use it on the turn it is purchased. Therefore, if it's the last turn, you can be nasty, buy a development card that an opponent needs (maybe a 10 point development card), and store it in your barn.
I think this game fills an important niche; certainly it does in my gaming library. I have over a hundred games, but when I went to a gaming session, I was at a loss as to what games to bring. I would bring a simple, quick game like Carcassonne where most people know the game or could learn it quickly. Now I can bring New England which is a longer game, is a true board game, and is even easier to learn.
Played this game several times and enjoyed it each time. Some reviewers have given the game a lower rating and I can see their point. If you don't care for these abstract, tile laying, bidding type games, fine. But if you have enjoyed Aladdins Dragons, Carolus Magnus, Settlers, Amun-Ri, Tigris & Eur., and other similar types of games, you would most likely enjoy this game too. The various options to score points, to develop you lands, to plan for future moves, makes this fun and challenging. A bit dry perahps with the somewhat abstract board and tiles, but not boring at all. There is interaction, there is tough choices, the quality components, a fine package altogether.
Is it so good as to be Game Of The Year? No. But that is not to say it is a bad game at all. I certainly would play again. Fine game if this type is your cup of tea...
This game is perfect for Thanksgiving. It captures the feeling of settling in the new world, and building a settlement, while offering a unique bidding mechanism, and fairly easy gameplay. The only downside is that it leads up to 4 people.
I would put this game in the same class as Puerto Rico, although odds are people would rank Puerto Rico as being better.
NO NO anything but Barry M. Actually got my first real 'kiss' *wink* from a girl named 'Jandee' because of a Manilow song, so Barry's ok with me. So is this Moon / Weisblum game.
New England follows four families in the year 1621 as they develop unsettled lands into crops, grazing fields, and settlements. By adding barns, pilgrims and ships to their holdings, they increase their development as well. When there is no more land to develop, the game ends with the most prosperous family winning. Players bid on three distinct lands; crops (dark brown tiles), livestock (green tiles), and settlements (reddish brown tiles). These are placed on the board orthogonal to each player's starting properties. At the SAME time, players bid on development cards (the actual VP in the game) that allow them to cultivate their lands, erect barns, house pilgrims and build ships. Add to the fact you may only buy two things at the time add to the excruciating decision making process. The bidding process is perfect Alan Moon balance. Bid high? Go first and get the best, but at a price. Bid low? Save money for later, but get less pickings now. There will always be 3 - 6 lands tiles along with 3 - 6 development cards to bid on. The starting player establishes the tile/card ratio and makes the first bid. Whatever you buy, you immediately put it to use. Adding pilgrims to your undeveloped lands add to your base income of 4 coins; Barns allow you to hold a development card for later use; ships an extra tile or card to look at. They also provide VP's for having them and extra if you have the majority.
New England shares a lot of its 'feel' to Moon/Wiesblum's Capitol. Both involve deciding the right time to build your holdings (buy tiles) vs. advancing your VP's (buying development cards). In Capitol, do you erect higher buildings vs. get them on the board or save your cards for the auction?. In NE, do you go for the pilgrims to increase your cash flow or turn your undeveloped land into developed one. Barns give you more development options but 'lock' up undeveloped land. Ships give you more purchasing options, but could aid your opposing families. All of these choices are presented to you every turn. There is very little interaction per se between players other than the bidding process, but the quickness of each turn limits AP. The board, tiles, cards and wooden pieces are nice, but whats with the tiddlely wink money ( think Clippers). Surely rustic looking paper money would have cost the same as plastic chits and looked better, but its a minor point.
All in all, New England is just another tile-laying game, but has some fun, challenging aspects to it. Couple that with the simplest set of rules for a game this size I've seen in a while, New England is a fine addition for your 'Yankee' dollar. BGoR rate it a 'buy'.
New England is an OK game that doesn't live up to the hype. Forget about the theme, the game is an abstract tile-laying game, with a little extra flavor added by the barns, ships and pilgrims. The auction doesn't lend much to the game, as the group that I played it with found that there isn't much that is make-or-break coming out. Hence, most of the bids selected were straightforward 4-3-2-1, with maybe occasionally the five being chosen. There are some tough decisions that need to be made about when to develop tiles for victory points - do it now for a few points, or hold off for more later but with the possibility of being boxed in, but the most critical phase seems to be the initial tile placement.
Many people seem to either love the game or hate it. To me, it's an OK game, but there are many other games that I'd rather play. I'd say try before you buy.
but an ok game none the less.
I didn't think there was anything there to really hold the players' attention. The game mechanics work very well, but the game has a pasted on theme. It doesn't really feel like I'm settling New England, but rather placing tiles on a grid. May be good for a play or two, but gets stale quickly.
If you really want to play, I'd advise playing a friend's copy rather than buying your own.
I pondered for several hours whether to give 2 or 3 stars. It seemed sacrilegious to give the 'Game of the Year' 2 stars. Three stars, to my way of thinking, is an average game that is fun, and has replay value, but I would be content to play my friend's copy instead of buying my own. Two stars is somewhat less than that and one star is a complete dud. In my heart I want to like this game but there is a problem.
I bought this game several months before it was named 'Game of the Year' by Games Magazine. There was an internet buzz about New England and I had anticipated the arrival of this game more than any other in recent history. It arrived, I had the rules down in just one or two readings, and we played it twice the next game night. I found New England to be very dry (read: not fun), with a pasted on theme (which is not necessarilly bad, but in this instance it doesn't work at all). I can see how it could appeal to certain hard-core gamers but.....'Game of the Year'?
I was disappointed to say the least, but thought I would like it better on subsequent plays.
Therein lies the problem. There have been no subsequent plays. Nobody in the group will play it again. There is a collective rolling of the eyes and groaning whenever I suggest playing New England. People are unmoved when I point out that the critics love it. To be fair, I didn't think it was a bad game, it was dry with some potential, but not a complete dud. I would love to have the opportunity to revise my rating upward but no one else seems the least bit willing to play. Truth be told, there is a chance my rating would go lower given the chance to play again.
Definitely play before buying.
Accessible and fast-paced enough for the casual gamer, yet offering as deep a challenge as any fanatical gamer will find, New England had no serious competitors for our top award, even in a year of many strong releases.
You begin with 12 coins and two spaces of uncultivated land in three different terrains. The land will be expanded with tiles and rendered productive by Development Cards, which are sold at auction. Start each round by drawing nine items (tiles and cards) for sale. Players in turn choose a number between 1 and 10. Chosen numbers determine both the order in which players purchase two of the available items (highest goes first) and the price they pay for each item.
Tiles are added to the initial holdings, but must not touch opposing tiles at edges. Expect lively battles for the limited space! Cards let you cultivate vacant tiles connected in the shape shown, to earn Victory Points or to place Pilgrims, Ships, or Barns on uncultivated tiles. Pilgrims increase your income. Having the most Ships (coastal spaces only) lets you add an item for sale just before you purchase. Ships and Pilgrims may move elsewhere to permit cultivation. Barns, which are immobile, provide the only way to "store" purchased cards for future cultivation. End turns by getting four coins, plus one for each Pilgrim. Play ends when all the cards or tiles are depleted. After you tally up the Victory Points of your cards, add bonuses for having the most Pilgrims, Ships, and Barns. The player with the most Victory Points wins; outcomes are often very close.
Two great American design partners have shown us a new world of tense yet entertaining gaming.
Every so often a game is released that contains a mechanism that is so unique that it elicits a collective "Wow!" from most folks in the gaming community. I'm always a bit skeptical to authoritatively declare such mechanisms as original creations since they might have been utilized in some obscure game released in the past of which I am completely unaware. Be that as it may, I do feel that designers Alan Moon and Aaron Weissblum have invented such an original and thoroughly brilliant mechanism in their new release, New England.The new invention that I am referring to is the bidding mechanism, wherein each player takes a token numbered from 1-10. Not only does this token determine the order in which players will execute their action, with higher numbers going first, but it also determines how much money the player must pay to execute each of his two actions. Thus, grabbing a higher number in order to go first comes with a cost in the form of being forced to pay a higher amount for each of your actions. Deciding which number to take can be excruciating and is a central mechanism - and skill - to the game. It is nothing short of brilliant. Fortunately, this stroke of game design genius is not all that the game has going for it. Indeed, the entire game is a tightly woven tapestry of delight, filled with important choices, clever placement opportunities and tight money management. Each and every one of my half-dozen playings has resulted in a closely fought contest and left me completely satisfied and pining for more. Although completely different games, for me this is the best design from the Moon/Weissblum team since San Marco. New England is set on the shores of the New World in 1621 with the arrival of the pilgrims to the north Atlantic coastline. Four families (multi-cultural families judging from the politically correct photo that adorns the family cards!) seek to expand their land holdings and improve their financial coffers and their lot in life. This process involves developing their land into precise geometric plots, attracting the most pilgrims, building the largest fleet and erecting the most barns. Life as a pilgrim was obviously very demanding. The game is part of the Goldsieber "big box" series, although much of the box is filled with air. Still, the large box was probably needed in order to fit the sizeable board, which depicts a section of the New England coastline bordered on two sides by the Atlantic Ocean. Superimposed on the board is a 9x11 grid, with one corner space omitted and replaced by the legendary Plymouth Rock. The board also provides space for two tracks, one which houses the ten bidding tokens and the other for the nine tiles and cards that will be purchased by the players each turn. In addition to the ten bidding tokens, the game is stocked with an assortment of wooden bits (pilgrims, ships and barns), land tiles, development cards and money chips. There are also four black wood tokens that are included so players can mark their completed plots, but in reality these are totally unnecessary. Several of us have already been scheming of potential variants wherein these tokens could be put to better use! The game begins with each player (a.k.a., family) possessing three plots of land on the board. The tiles representing the plots are color-coded to represent farm land, pastures and settlements and the initial tiles for each family are large ones that cover two squares on the board. All other tiles cover only one board space. These initial plots can either be set as per a suggested set-up chart, or each player can take turns placing their plots in a fashion similar to the now-familiar initial set-up procedure present in [page scan/se=1084/sf=category/fi=stockin.asc/ml=10]Settlers of Catan. Each player is then given 12 shillings as their starting capital, which is likely more than most pilgrims possessed when they first set foot in the New World! The actual mechanics of the game play are quite straight-forward and easy - it is the decisions that are tough! The start player announces how many land tiles and development cards he will reveal to begin the round. A total of nine tiles/cards must be revealed, with a minimum of three each. The remaining three can be in any combination the start player desires. There are some important considerations to be made here. Revealing more tiles will allow players to expand their plots more rapidly, while revealing more cards may give the opportunity to acquire more pilgrims, barns and ships and give the opportunity to secure development tiles in which to convert undeveloped land into developed parcels. A player must not only consider how this potential mix will benefit him personally, but must also be wary to not provide too much of a benefit to his opponents. Beginning with the start player, which rotates each round, each player selects one of the ten bidding tokens. As mentioned earlier, the value of the token selected will not only determine the player order for that round, but also is the amount that the player is required to pay for each of the two actions he has at his disposal. By far, this is the most agonizingly rich aspect of the game. If you see two tiles and/or cards you covet, choosing a high number will insure that you get to select them first. Unfortunately, this also means that you will pay dearly for this privilege and will have significantly less financial resources available for you on the next turn. Further, just how bold are you? Players can execute zero, one or two actions per turn. The temptation is to select a bidding token that, coupled with your financial coffers, will allow you to execute two actions. However, an opponent may select a higher token and only execute one action. Thus, he is able to spend more money on that one action than the player who is angling to take two actions and must split his money amongst those two actions. Each player's money is kept visible, so players can perform the mental financial gymnastics needed to determine their wisest bid. Experience has proven that although this decision making process is often excruciatingly tough, it doesn't take an inordinate amount of time. After all players have selected a bidding token, each player then purchases zero, one or two tiles and/or cards, executing them immediately. Tiles: These are land tiles and must be placed adjacent (orthogonal, not diagonal) to that player's existing plot of the same type. Thus, pasture land tiles must be placed adjacent to the player's existing pasture land; farmland adjacent to farmland, etc. Plots are placed with their undeveloped side face-up and a tile may not be placed in a space if it would join the same type of plots of two different players. This is an important rule as not only does it avoid confusion on the board, but it also makes jostling for key positions on the board very important. Often, it is possible to block your opponents' expansion path and thereby limit the size of their plots. Development Cards: There are two main types of development cards: 1) Pilgrim, Barn and Ship. These cards allow the player to take the appropriate token and place it onto one of their undeveloped tiles. Each tile, however, may only contain one token. Each category conveys certain benefits to the player: a) Pilgrim: Each pilgrim a player possesses increases his income by one per turn. b) Barn: Each barn a player possesses allows the player to store a land development card and use it at a later point in the game. c) Ship: If the player possesses the most ships at the beginning of his turn (or is tied for the most ships), he may, at his discretion, reveal another tile or card before taking his turn. Ships must be placed on undeveloped tiles adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean. 2) Land Development. These cards depict a specific type of land and a specific geometric pattern. If the player has land tiles matching that type laid out in the pattern depicted on the card, he may purchase that card and develop those tiles, flipping them over to their developed side. Any pilgrims located on those tiles must be re-located to other undeveloped tiles the player possesses. The land development card is then retained and will be worth the indicated number of victory points (3, 6 or 10) at the end of the game. Developing plots of land is a vital aspect of the game. Since there are a limited number of each type of geometric pattern for each type of land, it is important that players know in advance which types of patterns, as well as their quantity, are available for each type of land. For example, there are only three cards depicting the four-block pattern and these are only available for settlement tiles. This knowledge is essential in order to plan one's course of action properly. When developing plots of land, these plots must be free of any pilgrims, barns or ships. Ships and pilgrims may be freely located to other undeveloped tiles the player owns (with the requirement that ships must remain adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean), but barns, once erected, can never be moved. Thus, it is wise to place barns on tiles that you have no intention of developing. After a player has paid for and executed his actions, he returns his bidding token to the board and collects an income of four shillings, plus one additional shilling for each pilgrim he possesses. The next player then executes his actions. Once all players have performed their actions, the start player token moves to the left and the entire procedure is repeated. The game ends when the start player calls for a certain number of tiles or cards to be revealed and there are not enough to meet his request. At that point, players earn victory points as follows: Land Development Cards: 3, 6 or 10 points, as indicated on the card. Pilgrim, Barn and Ship: 1 point for each card possessed. Most Pilgrims: 4 points