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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Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Welcome, to the world of Tomorrow!:- World's Fair 1893

GameWorld's Fair 1893

Publisher: Renegade Games & Foxtrot Games

DesignerJ. Alex Kevern

World’s Fair 1893 is a 2-4 player area control game in which you seek to secure the many impressive technological exhibits to be displayed at the 1893 World’s Fair. You’ll need to collect exhibits of 5 types, and then secure control over the area they are to be exhibited in to get them put on display. To do that you’ll need to use your supporters, but also the support of influential figures of the time who can help spread your influence or manipulate your opponents.

World’s Fair 1893 features a very well designed board, made modular in order to fit into a small box, but also to swap the central part over to quickly swap player numbers, which is kind of ruined by the fact that you need to change the number of cards in the deck for differing player counts. The game board features a central ferris wheel, which acts as a timer for each round, and 5 main exhibit areas. Whenever someone collects midway ticket cards the counter moves around the ferris wheel, once a complete rotation has been achieved the round ends and scoring begins.
A two player game during the first scoring round, the yellow player has had more luck getting thier exhibits hosted
The exhibition tiles are where the meat of the game lies, each exhibition can hold between 3 and 4 cards, and as many supporters as you can place there. Each turn you are able to place one new supporter in one of the 5 zones, and then take all the cards there. After this you add 3 cards to the game board, 1 on the area you took from and 1 each on the next 2 areas clockwise. This results in a good level of fluidity in the game board; the area you want to take control of may not be the area that gives you the most cards, or the cards you need, so you have to carefully balance area control with the rewards you get. Cards come in 3 types: Midway tickets, which advance the game’s clock, and also score a point each in the scoring round (with an additional bonus for having the most). Exhibit cards, which can be traded in for approved exhibits in their respective colour, with final scoring being set collection of approved exhibits. Finally Influential people allow you to... influence people, letting you place extra supporters or move supporters around.

World’s Fair plays incredibly quickly and has a theme which I personally really approved of, however during the game I barely notice it. Each card has a different technology of the time, which a small paragraph of text about what it was and why that was relevant. Unfortunately during the game, due to the fast gameplay, you generally just see a “green card” and completely ignore the actual content. Similarly the supporters just become your cubes and the influential people’s names and history get ignored, because all you care about is the power they give you. It’s a real shame because it’s obvious that a lot of love was put into the theming. I also think that the balance of cards seems a little off, particularly in a two-player game. You only remove one of the midway tickets from the deck for 2 players (in a 4 player you remove 5), combined with the smaller 2-player ferris wheel this makes the game far shorter that it should be, you don’t have the time to really feel like you achieved anything!
Each different card has a description of ground breaking new technology, artisan goods or other examples of human endeavor.

World’s Fair is a clever little game, the board layout is clever, the way the cards are taken and replaced create a flowing pattern of boom and bust is very clever. Unfortunately sometimes clever doesn’t make for good. Most of the time the place you want to put your supporter/take cards from is made blindingly obvious, each turn you choose one of 5 places, but probably 3 or 4 of them are useless to you. In the end you don’t actually play the game that much, there isn’t enough player choice and it feels like the game could happily play itself without you. It’s not a bad game, it can actually be quite enjoyable, but it’s not meaty enough, and at the end of the day World’s Fair simply doesn’t stand out against the wealth of choice the modern gamer has.


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