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Antwerpen is a sequel of sorts to Hans van Tol's Rotterdam, released in cooperation with a Belgian publisher, and if you've played the latter game, then you'll have some familiarity with the former. If you haven't played Rotterdam – as I haven't – then the following game description might feel like you're circling a target without actually seeing it:
The reliable basics game mechanisms of the first harbour game in the series Ports of Europe, Rotterdam, are still in place. On top of that Antwerpen has a few interesting new game elements. We gladly introduce the special locks which form a barrier between the outer and the inner harbour. Getting into the inner docks will be possible when the players collect the cards to open or switch the locks. Bring Cocoa, Potatoes, Toys and Barley to the right harbours and there is a wide variety in bonuses to be gained. The players will enjoy all elements of a harbour: loading cargo, navigating your ships, transfering goods in the harbours, and processing the goods into products for the European market. Also trading is part of the game fun!
The game play of Antwerpen is even more compact than Rotterdam. It gives players more control and variance. Therefore introducing more tactical decision in the game. In your turn, you may choose to place one of your ships on the game board or you may choose to move the ships. The third option in a turn is to exchange one of your assignments. Special action cards contribute to more dynamics of the game, without sacrificing control.
In comparison with the first harbour game Rotterdam, Antwerpen is easier to learn and on top of that it gives the players more control. More control is gained through special cards which allow you to accumulate actions in a turn. Also a ship which arrives in a harbour immediately brings you the product. The players can see what products are being produced in each harbour, which brings them a clear goal to reach. The excitement will still hold since you are not the only transport tycoon on the river Schelde.
That's true. I'm always complaining about being only one of many transport tycoons on the river Schelde. My therapist says that I have to learn to accept such things. "Better one of many transport tycoons on the river Schelde than not being a transport tycoon at all," she says, but the situation still irks me.
Description written by W. Eric Martin and used with permission of BoardgameNews.com