Match Report 13th September 2010

Our numbers were lower than usual this week, with only Crispin, Malcolm and Daniella being available. With our house still being the subject of major decorating work Daniella kindly offered to her house as our venue for the evening.

When we arrived we spent some time hearing about a school project Daniella and her family have been involved with that had involved a trip to London the previous day and driving the electric car the school had built up and down the mall. This sounded a really interesting project and a tangible way of schools putting the theory their students learn in the class room to a practical and competitive use.Check out these two links for more information and the school site

Once we sat down to play we considered a number of games we had not yet played, including San Juan, Citadels and Tikal before finally selecting “Seeland”, the game I first played at the UK Games Expo 2010.

With memory failing me and having not prepared myself to explain the game, the initial explanation was slower than I would have wished, although my fellow players patiently bore with me as we felt our way into the game.

The game itself is based on a board representing wetlands in 17th Century Holland. The players acquire seeds and windmill designs from the market place and gradually use these to reclaim the marshlands. As players obtain
the windmill design so they are able to build/place one of their four windmill tokens on the board and claim the surrounding land for farming with the agriculture of the time, being cabbages, rapeseed and tulips. The game mechanism rewards a diversified farming system i.e. a windmill that is surrounded by all three crop types, whilst penalising windmills surrounded by only one crop type (monoculture). As a windmill token is surrounded on the board by the various crop types so players can harvest their crops and advance along the scoring track around the outside of the board.

The acquisition of the crops and windmill designs is controlled using what is called a “roundel”. This mechanism presents players with a number of alternative choices from the workshops in the market place, that the Guildmaster (a large wooden figure) will visit on the players behalf whilst simultaneously linking it to a monetary mechanism that limits the players choices, in a frustratingly realistic fashion, by only ever allowing the players merchants to spend a limited amount of guilders in the said market place.

The game is visually beautiful, from the art work of the board itself through to the wooden tokens and tiles representing the windmills, crops and farms (when you find one of these on the landscape you gain a token that allows you to have an extra go - well worth having). It plays nicely and we all felt that if we had had the time the second game would have been completed in the suggested playing time of an hour. With more tactical choices than the likes of Carcassonne it offers more challenge but in a fun, very gentle and non combative fashion. The interaction between the players is largely that of commenting on what other players are doing as there is no trading between players of their crops or windmill designs.

In spite of both my poor explanation and the fact that I won the game by a healthy margin (although up to the last round we were all pretty much neck and neck on the scoring track) all agreed they wanted to play it again.

With the late start and lively conversation about electric cars at the beginning of the evening that was it for the evening, although we did manage to take a break during the game for coffees and munchies.

1 comment:

  1. Mr. Sullivan - your blog has been added to our little aggregator :)