Second Season – Our Second Impressions of Board Games (Week of 6/2/2019)

Too often we find that the first play of a game is centered on learning the rules and mechanics of the game, so it is hard to give coherent thoughts on what we like or dislike about that game. We are going to give our second impressions, a “Second Season” if you will, to those games we have just played for the second time. Bear in mind that the majority of our games are played 2-player only. First up:

Coal Baron

Coal Baron Cover

Coal Baron was published in 2013 by eggertspiele and later in the United States by R&R Games. The game was designed by one of our favorite design duos, Michael Kiesling and Wolfgang Kramer. The artwork for the game was done by Dennis Lohausen.

Coal Baron is loosely a worker placement game in which the players send their workers into the mines, to the bank, and to fulfill orders. The game is not long – it lasts only 3 rounds – but there is a lot for the players to try to do in those rounds. The twist in this worker placement game is that none of the worker spaces is blocked – the players do, however, have to increase the number of workers required at each spot in order to use the spot, so if a spot already has 2 workers on it, the next player must place at least 3 workers to use it.

Pros:

  • The rule book is well-written and easy to follow;
  • The length of the game. There is little to no downtime in this game;
  • The ease of play;
  • Fairly high replayability; and,
  • The game scales well for 2 players by tightening up the board.

Cons:

  • The artwork is nothing to write home about, but it is set in a mine, so I am not sure how it could be brightened up;
  • Paper money – we hate it!;
  • The player boards are warping. In a game like this one where the mine elevator has to go up and down the mine shaft, this is problematic.

Bottom Line: This game is quick to play at about an hour, is easy to follow, and is designed by Kramer & Kiesling. It is not going anywhere.

New York 1901

New York 1901 Cover

New York 1901 was published in 2015 by Blue Orange Games. The game was designed by Chenier La Salle and the game’s artist was Vincent Dutrait.

New York 1901 is an area control, card drafting game which will appeal to people just getting in to the hobby and families, while still offering something to those who have been in the hobby for a while. The player’s each have their own set of buildings that they are trying to build along the streets of New York. At the beginning of the game, three of the five “Streets of New York” Bonus cards are placed. These cards give bonus points to the player who has the most buildings on those streets at the end of the game.

Pros:

  • Artwork by Vincent Dutrait is always a plus;
  • The components are great as is the game insert. We especially love the skyscraper player tokens;
  • The rule book is well-written and well-illustrated;
  • There is some variability in the game set up as only 3 of the bonus cards are used, but that variability is limited and may not last depending on how often the game is played;
  • The game is not overly long for what it is;
  • This is a good introductory area control game;
  • The game scales well for 2 as the board is tightened up;
  • There are expert rules for increasing the difficulty of the game.

Cons:

  • This game may be too light for some gamers. This really is an introductory area control game. Although the difficulty of the game can be upped by Bonus Challenge cards or using the expert rules, these changes may not be enough for some gamers.

Bottom Line: Right now, the game is staying in our collection, but I am not sure how much longer it will remain there. This is a game that Beth likes more than Stasia does.

Pulsar 2849

Pulsar 2849 Cover

Pulsar 2849 was published in 2017 by Czech Games Edition. The game was designed by Vladimir Suchy. The artwork for the game was provided by Soren Meding.

Pulsar 2849 is a dice drafting game with a science fiction theme set in the distant future. The players have 8 rounds in which to fly their survey ships around, develop technologies, and claim pulsars.

Pros:

  • We really like the look of the board with the almost fluorescent colors on it;
  • The components are very nice;
  • The rule book is extremely well-written with great explanations of the iconography;
  • There is a great deal of variability to the game as there are multiple technology boards and goal tiles;
  • The game scales well for 2;
  • The difficulty can be increased by adding the Headquarters boards;
  • There are several paths to victory in this game.

Cons:

  • There is quite a bit of iconography in the game and some players may struggle with it;
  • Some players may be overwhelmed by the amount of stuff in the box;
  • Set up length may be a detriment to getting the game to the table.

Bottom Line: This is a game that both Beth and I will happily play any time. We really like that you can follow your own strategies when playing the game or you can both play the same strategy and see who played that particular strategy best. The game will be in our collection for a long time to come, I think.

Second Season Continues. . .

We are hoping that publishing this Second Season as we are calling it will encourage us to get our once-played games to the table and determine whether they have a place in our collection. See you next week with more Second Season games!

As always, please be sure to check out Board Game Geek here for information on these and thousands of other games.

Stasia and Beth

 

6 Replies to “Second Season – Our Second Impressions of Board Games (Week of 6/2/2019)”

  1. GARY COLLINS

    Thanks Stasia! I’ve had Coal Baron on my shelf for a year probably afraid of my wife’s reaction to the theme (and maybe the game) never played. Sounds like it might fly on a good day. Note: she wins about 50% of our two player games but I’m ‘the gamer’ so I can’t waste opportunities with lame games. Likewise, I think I’ll pass on NY’01, which I’ve seen cheap, for the same reasons. Got to balance variety with quality and not buy everything! Love your BGG posts, too.

    Reply
    1. I hope you the post encourages you to get Coal Baron to the table soon, Gary. It really is a smooth, quick playing game despite the theme. We really like the game design duo of Kramer and Kiesling here, so we might be slightly prejudiced!

      Thanks for enjoying the posts both here and BGG. I hope we continue to provide quality content for you and other readers.

      Stasia

      Reply
  2. Charlotte

    I wish they would reprint Coal Baron! I played it once at a meet-up and really liked it.
    Or maybe I just need to track down a 2nd-hand copy.

    (Otoh, we have a lot of underplayed eurogames. My husband is unfortunately much less of a fan of dry-ish euros than me… But I still want this one!)

    Reply
    1. I know what you mean by underplayed euros, Charlotte. We have a few hanging around our house too.

      Coal Baron deserves a reprint, IMHO. It is a very good game with 2 very good designers which makes me wonder why it has not been reprinted. Maybe Vasel’s Law will kick in one of these days? In the meantime, I hope you can track down a secondhand copy!

      Stasia

      Reply
      1. Charlotte

        I mean, if I can’t find it it’s not a catastrophe, but I’m going to be keeping an eye out.

        I guess since they now have the card game version, there’s maybe less appetite for a reprint of the original game? I’m not really interested in the cardgame, though.

        Reply
        1. We have the card game too, but have yet to play it. I imagine we will get to it one of these days. I will let you know how we find it after we get it played. It may be better than the board game, who knows?

          Stasia

          Reply

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