Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Thursday 29 October 2015

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Furstenfeld

Game: Fürstenfeld

Manufacturer: Rio Grande

Designer: Friedemann Friese

Year: 2010

Furstenfeld was one of the first Euro Games we owned. At the time, I wasn't into board games at all, but I knew Amy liked games so bought her it as a present. Although, realistically, I bought Furstenfeld because it combined Amy's like of games and my love of beer. With hindsight, I actually bought a game from a pretty well renowned designer - Friedemann Friese, of Power Grid and now 504 fame.

Furstenfeld is primarily a market manipulation game, however it is themed around the idea of selling three core ingredients to breweries. Each brewery requires different quantities of each ingredient to brew their specific recipe, but also will pay a varying amount for each ingredient type, depending on the economics of supply and demand.
Each player starts with a farm of 6 squares. It generates one water, one hop and one grain at the start of the game. Throughout the game players will pay to make upgrades to their land, with the ultimate aim of building the 6 palace tiles from their hand. The first player to build all 6 palace tiles wins. The goods generated on the land can be sold to the breweries for either 0,1,2 or 3 gold. There are many types of upgrade; some generate money, some generate more goods of a given type. Other upgrades reduce the price of building further upgrade cards or allow you stockpile goods.
A player board. This player has chosen to heavily invest in growing hops, but also has the Building Crane, which reduces the cost of building upgrades by 2 gold. The Laboratory allows you to draw extra cards into your hand each turn and the Market allows you to trade in one goods type for another.

On your turn, you will draw 3 cards from your face down draw pile. Your farm will grow its crops and you can sell them to the breweries. Generally it will be best to sell for the highest price, but it can also be useful to oversell in order to manipulate the market price so that your opponents cannot sell at the high price. Turn order is also decided based on how much gold you earn in a turn - the person who earns the most goes last, so this can play a part in how you choose to sell your goods.

At the end of your turn you can only keep one card in your hand, so you must decide whether to build a card on your farm, by paying your gold or whether to stockpile money for later turns when you might draw better cards. When you discard your hand, these cards to to the bottom of your draw pile and you won't see them for a long time, so it's often a bad idea to discard your palace cards unless you really need to!

The game setup for two players. In the 2-player game only two breweries are active. Each good starts at a value of 1 gold. The cost of building a palace card is indicates by the cards in the top right. The cost starts at 8 gold, which is the cost for 2 purchases,m then it increases to 10 gold and so on, so it can be important to try and keep up with your opponent's buying habits so you don't pay more for palaces over all.
There is a far amount of depth in Furstenfeld. From time to time you turn will be obvious, but on most turns your timing is key and your ability to manipulate the market can make the difference between winning or losing. There are so many different strategies depending on what you decide to build on your farm, which means that there is plenty of replayability in the game.

Obviously the theme of this game draws me in, but although we got this game before we really got into hobby gaming it really stands the test of time when we bring this to the table. We should really introduce this one to more people in our gaming groups. The Yellow Meeple gives Furstenfeld a 7/10.

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