Thursday, June 20, 2024

Board Game Top 100 (2024) Part 47 (4-3)

#4 Meadow

In Meadow players draft cards from a grid in order to add them to their personal tableau to score points. The cards represent the beautiful elements of nature that one might find in a meadow in the country. This is another one of those games where the art on every card is unique. This time it's lavish watercolor paintings.


The "offer" is arranged in a four by four grid of 16 cards. All players have four little signpost tokens with numbers 1-4 on them, and a fifth signpost token, with a question mark, that can stand in for any number. On your turn you point the signpost at a row or column and count the number of cards into the offer as shown on the token.

Each turn players are able to use their signposts to take a card from the offer, and then play a card from their hand. You don't have to play the same card that you just selected with your sign post. Cards have requirements before they can be played. An insect card may want a flower. A bird card may require an insect. A cat card may require a bird.

The card requirements are thematically tied back to the way the animals would behave in nature, and that's cool. Each card shows what it requires in order to be paid, and what it gives you in return that you are going to be able to use on other cards. 

Meadow is very similar to Forest Shuffle in how it "feels" while you play it and in what you are trying to accomplish at the table. But Meadow is a bigger, fuller experience. It's beautiful to look at, and game play is a kind of calm experience. I really like it.


#3 Hamlet: The Village Building Game

In Hamlet, players are working together to build a village. While the village is a shared space on the table, Hamlet is not a cooperative game. Instead, it's a competitive game full of positive player interaction. Players gather resources and create networks to move those resources in order to construct buildings that add utility to the village.


You might build a sawmill that adds more wood to the village. Any player can use the wood that you create in the sawmill, but you get victory points if they do. That's positive interaction, and it's what Hamlet is all about. While you were busy building a sawmill, your opponent was busy building a quarry. They need your wood, but you need their stone. The whole game is a push and pull of resources.

The tiles that form the different buildings in Hamlet come in all manner of shapes and sizes. This makes for a very irregular but organic feeling experience as the village grows. You also need to make sure that there are roads connecting the new areas or you won't be able to transport the goods produced there.

At the center of the town is a foundation for what will be the church. It seems that "Hamlet" is what a town is called when it doesn't have a church, and "Village" is after the church is built. And this, then is the ultimate goal and end game trigger for Hamlet. Resources are being produced and collected to contribute to the construction of the church.

I have said before how much I love games that have me building things, and Hamlet is my favorite.


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