Spirits of Niagara
English language edition of Flussgeister am Niagara
List Price: $24.95
Your Price: $19.95
(Worth 1,995 Funagain Points!)
from 2 customer reviews
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The hunt for the gems continues! Malicious rapids challenge the skills of the canoeists who want to get a good haul. The only hope for a desperado is to call the river spirits. People say that Bathing Beaver and Hurried Elk have already helped many adventurers to become rich and saved them from falling over the waterfall during a storm. But this also encourages pilferers who can now make a lot more profit...
This is a good expansion to an excellent game.
The double canoe makes for even more unpleasantness than usual, as the extra capacity gives you much more opportunity to raid unsuspecting opponents' boats. Meanwhile the lassoo card gives you the chance to jump out of the river and foil the predators downstream just when they think they've got you nailed. Ha!
As for the weird creatures - we've never actually used the beaver as the weather's never got that bad - but it looks great loafing around on the bank. Meanwhile the elk's been used a number of times to snatch last-ditch victory in the final race back up-river to the victory line.
The whirlpool adds an extra dimension when you're second guessing where the other boats are going to end up, which is good. Less good after a third beer though. You need your wits about you.
The only part I don't like is adding a "7" paddle card. Half the fun of Niagara is getting yourself out of a mess once you've picked up a blue or pink gem down by the waterfall - having a "7" up your sleeve makes your escape disappointingly easy. Leave it out!
If you haven't played Niagara yet, just go for the basic game, as there's plenty of fun to be had as it is. But if you get hooked after a while, grab the expansion, it's definitely worth it.
Niagara has been a personal favorite and continues to be a popular choice for our game sessions, so I was very happy that I finally got the chance to try out the Spirits of Niagara expansion to the 2005 SdJ-winning game by Thomas Liesching. This expansion accommodates up to 6 players, and the basic rules of Niagara apply without any changes--however, the following items/rules are added:
The rules for the expansion state that for a 3-player game, only 6 gems are placed in the discovery places; for a group of 6, 8 gems are placed in the discovery places (the original game came with an extra gem of each color).
A player gets a regular canoe AND a double canoe that can carry up to 2 gems at a time. A double canoe can also steal up to 2 gems at a time, even from different canoes.
A canoe cannot rest on the whirlpool space. When a canoe is moving down-river and crosses the whirlpool tile, it is counted as a normal movement. If a canoe ends its movement on the whirlpool space, it automatically moves down one space further down-river. When a canoe is going up-river, that canoe needs an additional paddle point to move past it. If the canoe lands on the whirlpool while going up-river, then it is automatically moved one space down-river. This canoe CANNOT steal at that point.
Three New Paddle Cards
There's a new "7" paddle card; a "Lasso" card, which allows a player to remove canoes from the river onto the nearest riverbank until after the river movement is complete; and a "1/2/3" card, which creates a situation where a player can move one and ONLY one of his/her canoes, and that player may choose to use 1, 2, or 3 paddle points for that canoe's movement. Like the cloud card in the basic game, the "Lasso" and "1/2/3" cards do not influence the speed of the river.
This is placed on the first river space if and when the cloud marker moves to +2. Once the Beaver goes over the falls, the cloud marker is automatically moved back to the "0" space. I suspect that this was added largely because it was difficult at times in the original game to get the cloud marker back to "0" when it was on +2.
The "Hurried Elk"
This gives players an incentive to risk going for the pink gems near the falls. If a player has a canoe next to the pink gem discovery place at the beginning of his/her turn, that player may take the Hurried Elk if it's available. The canoe goes on the Elk's "back", and gives the owner of that canoe 2 More Paddle Points than what is indicated on his/her paddle card. When a player plays a "1/2/3" card while possessing the Elk, it 'boosts' that card to "3/4/5." While a player has the Elk, it cannot be taken away from that player. That player keeps the Elk/canoe until it either goes over the falls or reaches the landing space (past the rope). When either one of these events occurs, the Hurried Elk returns to its original space AFTER the next river movement.
I am pleased with these additions, and think they allow for more tactics and mischievious fun. Gamers who didn't like the original Niagara probably won't enjoy playing with this expansion, but I think that fans of the original SdJ-winning game would really enjoy this. So, I highly recommend The Spirits of Niagara for all gamers who have enjoyed the basic game.