Second Season – Our Second Impressions of Board Games (Week of 8/4/19)

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. First up:

Endeavor: Age of Sail

Endeavor Cover

 

Endeavor: Age of Sail was published in 2018 by Burnt Island Games and the Grand Gamers Guild. It is an updated version of an earlier game, Endeavor, which was originally published in 2008 and which we have never played. The game was designed by Carl de Visser and Jarratt Gray. The artwork was provided by Josh Cappel and Noah Adelman.

Endeavor: Age of Sail is set in the golden age of exploration. The players are building sailing routes and establishing outposts in distant lands. They are given the option of using slavery to help expand their businesses faster, but using slaves comes at a price. If played with the Exploits, the game steeps itself even more in history by introducing actual historical events to the game play.

Pros:

  • The components for the game are excellent as is the custom insert and game trays;
  • The rule book is easy to understand. The game has a separate book for the Exploits, explaining them in detail and how they change the game;
  • We like the look of the board and the game in general;
  • The game board is two-sided. One side is for 2/3/4 players and the other side is for 4 players who prefer more conflict in their game and 5 players;
  • The game features three ways to play for 2-players: the standard game, the game incorporating the “Silent Fleet” variant, and the game using the “Silent Fleet” variant and the Exploits;
  • The game is both easy to teach and learn;
  • The game has a nice length to it – not too short and not too long.

Cons:

  • To play with the Exploits as a 2-player game, you have to use the “Silent Fleet” variant, which may be a problem for some players. It isn’t for me, but to some people it might be. Beth, for example, prefers to play without the variant;
  • The game works best at 2 with the “Silent Fleet” variant. Again, not a problem for me, but Beth prefers the “live and let live” game play of the standard game better.

Bottom Line: Beth loves this game, so it definitely stays in the collection. She prefers playing without the “Silent Fleet” variant and I prefer playing with it, but that is a small quibble for an excellent game. I rated this one a solid 8/10 and that may go up with further play, especially using the Exploits, a touch I really like.

The Princes of Florence

Princes of Florence Cover

 

The Princes of Florence was originally published in 2000 by alea. The game was designed by Wolfgang Kramer and Richard Ulrich. The artwork was provided by Arnaud Demaegd, Eckhard Freitag, Wolfgang Kramer, Mirco Paganessi, Richard Ulrich, and Franz Vohwinkel. The game either won or was nominated for multiple awards.

The Princes of Florence is an auction game in which the players bid on items needed to build up their palazzo in hopes of attracting artisans and professionals of multiple types to their palazzo and its environs. Each round, the players try to build up the work value of their professions in order to score more prestige points. The players get two actions each round in order to do this.

Pros:

  • Considering that the game is on the verge of being 20 years old, the components for the game are good and the insert is decent;
  • Beth and I both like the look of the game. Somehow the beige palette helps reflect that the game is supposed to take place in the Renaissance;
  • There are a lot of ways to win this game, something that I really like in games.

Cons:

  • The font on the cards may be difficult for some players to read;
  • Scoring may be difficult to understand;
  • I think that the auction mechanic is weak in a 2-player game. The game was originally designed for 3-5 players and the 2-player variant came along later. I think that the game would be better with more players.

Bottom Line: This game will be leaving our collection. Since it would primarily be played with two players and I think that it would be better with more players, I do not see a reason to hold onto it any longer.  Too bad as it used to be one of my favorite games.

Steam Donkey

Steam Donkey

 

Steam Donkey was published in 2014 by the Ragnar Brothers. The game was designed by Gary Dicken, Steve Kendall and Phil Kendall. The artwork was provided by Marco Primo.

Steam Donkey is an engine building game in card game form. It combines set collection, hand management, and card drafting, all game mechanisms that we enjoy. The game has a steampunk look to it – appropriate since it is set in 1897 and the players are trying to build up their respective resorts in order to draw more visitors to them.

Pros:

  • Beth and I both like the art on the cards;
  • Set collection, hand management and card drafting are all featured in the game;
  • The two-sided cards are a great mechanic in the game;
  • There is quite a bit of strategy in the box for such a small game.

Cons:

  • Transportation cards may be overpowered, especially if a player is stalled;
  • A player can get stalled if none of the cards in the station flop is helpful;
  • This was a Kickstarter game so there are limited copies out in the wild.

Bottom Line: This game remains in the collection. I really like the game, as does Beth. Despite the cons, we feel the pros outweigh them.

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

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