Friday, February 10, 2023

Explorers of the North Sea

This is it! We have entered my Top 10 Board Games of all time!!

... and at number 10, we have:

Explorers of the North Sea

Explorers has a lot in common with my number 11 game: Terra Prime. Both are pick-up and deliver / exploration games. Both assume players are part of a shared community and are therefore exploring for the common good. This means no direct player versus player conflict. Players are each exploring a shared world and trying to gather wealth and resources better than the other. In Terra Prime, players are space ship pilots of the far future. In Explorers of the North Sea, players are Viking travelers on sailing ships.

I'm amused that two games that produce some very similar game experiences have landed right next to each other in my rankings. I suppose that speaks to just how similar an experience the two games produce. There are some key differences. With Terra Prime, the world (galaxy) is randomly generated. In Explorers you have control over the world that you are creating. 

As you draw and place tiles, you get to decide where they go and what the world looks like. You select a tile from a few available to you and find someplace to fit it into the world like putting together the pieces of a puzzle. Then you sail your ship, or walk your vikings overland to capture livestock or conquer settlements.

Some tiles have enemy ships that you have to fight, but you can always choose to avoid these if you wish. The viking meeples and the little live stock meeples (sheeps, pigs, cows and chickens) actually sit inside your little viking boat, and once the boat is full it's time to go back to the mainland to unload.

Everything that I said about Terra Prime being, "board game comfort food" applies here. In fact I think I may get even a bit more "zen" about my experience in Explorers of the North Sea. I love placing the tiles to create the waters and the lands of the North Sea, and then sailing my little boat around.

I get so involved in discovering and experiencing the world of Explorers of the North Sea that I often forget that I am playing a competitive game with scoring objectives. In fact I don't think that I have ever actually won a game. I think it speaks pretty highly of the game play experience, that Explorers of the North Sea, a game that I have never won, makes my Top 10.

For its enjoyable puzzle piece world creation and tactile toy like little men and animals in boats, Explorers of the North Sea claims the honor of being my 10th Favorite Board Game of All Time!

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