We’re not introducing just one game this week, or even two, but three at once. But be careful not to put it in everyone’s hands, as they are reserved for experienced players.
There are board games for everyone. Very accessible, for the little ones; exercise in the family, with their children; atmosphere, to laugh with friends; abstract, with simple rules, but which put reflection first.
And then there is a final category of games. Of those whose explanation time happily exceeds the duration of a full game of most other boxes. Of those whose table we don’t leave before several hours of intense meditations. One of those most reluctant to compare the fun provided to managing an Excel table. In short, games reserved for experts.
Beginner players, you have been warned, “run away, you fools! “. For the others, the most daring, hours of hard fun in perspective. But don’t worry, we’re still a long way from the most complicated game of all time …
Ark Nova, Our favorite
In Ark Nova, each player is in charge of their own zoo, represented by their personal board. There you build enclosures to house animals from all continents, but also support, in parallel, conservation projects to ensure the conservation of different species.
The game revolves around 250 unique cards and offers you, at each turn, to perform one of five possible actions. Starting small, your zoo grows in size as the game progresses. Thanks to the cards you have acquired, you attract the public on the one hand, increasing your scientific reputation on the other. Each of these two criteria has its own score track, and when the two intersect, the game is over, its final score being the difference between the two.
Ark Nova it’s THE expert game of the moment, and it’s no coincidence. Its rules, taken individually, are ultimately not that complex. But it is their accumulation that makes access difficult. Count at least thirty minutes of explanations, and a first part much longer than the duration indicated on the box. But despite its many points of rules, the spins are fluid and the iconography is sufficiently well done to, once mastered, no longer having to constantly delve into the libretto.
The game gets its mechanics here and there in other titles, and manages to marry them harmoniously. Even more surprising, for a game of this magnitude, the theme is very well transcribed and respected. The games are intense, the possibilities numerous. Even though we each prefer to play in our corner, we end up having to pay attention to what others are doing when the end of the game approaches, so as not to be surprised.
Ark Nova it is a rich game, very rich too, with numerous possibilities, guaranteed renewal, and above all a great favorite of the editorial staff.
- Ark Nova is a game by Mathias Wigge
- Illustrated by Loïc Billau and Dennis Lohausen
- Curated by Super Meeple
- For 1 to 4 players from 14 years old
- For games of approximately 45 minutes per player
- Priced at € 62.90 at Philibert
Maracaiboa complex but intense game
In the 17th century, three great European nations vied to establish their power in the new Caribbean territories. It is in this context that players embody the corsairs, in search of riches, adventures and glory.
A game lasts for four rounds, during which the players’ ships stop in different towns or villages around the game board. Cities allow you to deliver goods and upgrade your ship, then perform a specific action (fight for a nation to increase your influence, explore, etc.). Villages allow you to achieve goals that give you access to new possibilities. Everything is managed by cards that are used differently depending on the chosen action.
When all boats have completed the round, an intermediate score is counted, then it is moved to the next round.
Maracaibo it is perhaps the game of this selection that seemed to us the most complex to grasp. The rules are numerous, as are the possibilities. The booklet, dense and dense, does not help. There is a lot of information to watch out for: on the board, his ship, his cards, etc. But once you understand the dynamics, it’s pure management pleasure, incredibly rich and deep. The very weak influence of chance leaves a lot to the planning of his turns … if your opponents don’t give you sticks
The icing on the cake, which makes all the originality Maracaiboin addition to its classic game mode, it can also be played in campaign mode. The narrative cards therefore offer you choices to make, with direct consequences on the board and the next games. If you play regularly with the same group of players, this is obviously the preferred mode. The narrative certainly does not reach the heights of literature, but the mechanical aspect of the changes is very pleasant to follow.
Maracaibo it’s a complex game, not really easy to understand, but rich and deep, with tense and intense parts. The campaign mode game, where your decisions impact subsequent games, brings a real edge and is quite original for a game of this caliber.
- Maracaibo is a game by Alexander Pfister
- Illustrated by Fiore GmbH and Aline Kirrmann
- Curated by Super Meeple
- For 1 to 4 players from 14 years old
- For games of approximately 30 minutes per player
- Priced at € 58.50 at Philibert
The latest railwaysfor exciting games
In 1835, Tsar Nicholas I ordered the first Russian railway line. And that’s good, it’s you and the other players who’s in charge of managing the construction of three lines connecting the main cities of the empire.
A game lasts a predefined number of turns and, in each of them, the players take turns taking actions. To do this, you place one or more of your workers on an empty space on the common board, then apply their effects. You can thus build lines by laying rails, buy increasingly powerful locomotives, industrialize your railway network with factories, hire train drivers, etc. And in the end, oh surprise, the highest score wins.
This is Russian Railwaysreleased in 2013, and quickly fell out of favor. The latest railways adds two previously published extensions (German Railways et American Railways), a brand new (Asian Railways), and two small add-on modules. It is therefore a complete box that allows you to choose which region of the world to play in, based on your experience, each with its own elements and mechanics.
The latest railways it is a pure worker placement game, with almost no possibility. Unlike other train games, there is no map on which to position your cars. Each player, on the other hand, has his own board, and tries to go as far as possible in the construction of the three lines.
The regulation is substantial, but the shifts remain fluid: choose a location, put your worker there and resolve the action. The challenge is to combine them in an optimal order, blocking opponents if possible, to make them waste time.
If it does not shine for the originality of its mechanics, The latest railways on the other hand it is a rich, compelling game with fascinating parts, which hasn’t aged a bit. And with this big box and its rich contents, you’ll need to lay out some rails before you get bored.
- The latest railways is a game by Helmut Ohley and Leonhard Orgler
- Illustrated by Martin Hoffmann and Claus Stephan
- Published by Z-Man Games
- From 1 to 4 players from 12 years old
- For games of approximately 40 minutes per player
- Priced at € 79.95 at Philibert
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