Nibelungen & Shipyard

I was given Nibelungen by a friend.  He told me the game had come back to him in a turkey swap, but I was still glad to get it.  Beautiful big box game from Amigo, authored by Wolfgang Kramer, tied to a theme that I find attractive…

Well, I had basically translated the game during the commercials of the Olympics, and last night I finally finished translating the cards.  I turned in the translation to BGG, in case anyone else ever cares about this game.  But I fear I’ve already found the fun inside the box.

The game features random movement and direct player confrontation.  It would seem there is not too much room for clever play, and I am not too excited to get it on the table after all.

Oh, and I have somehow mislaid the German rules, so any questions about my translation will be unresolvable unless I find them again.

And then there is Shipyard.  I’ve now played 3 times.  The first play was wrong and as a result rather tedious.  The second play was better.  But the third play felt very similar to the second play.  Sadly, I’m not convinced by this game.

Shipyard’s theme is attractive.  But the over burden of rules makes this a demanding game to teach and to learn.  Fortunately the actual play is pretty good.  Turns tend to be short and sweet – unless your opponent is prone to analysis paralysis.  In the 3 or 4 player games you have one worker pawn.

Worker Placement:  After the first turn there are always some actions you can never take, due to other pawns residing on those actions.  Somehow this feature of the game is annoying to me.  In another game that features worker placement, Agricola, at the end of a turn all of the workers go home – clearing the board and giving you a fresh slate to work upon for the next turn.  I like this design decision in Agricola – it’s like a palette-clensing taste of ginger.  But in Shipyard, you are always going to be restricted by 2 or 3 previously taken actions.  Bothersome.

Fortunately the design does allow you to spend 6 coins and take another action – any action – which lessens the restrictive situation just described.  But this creates a different dynamic, especially in a 3-player game it may prove especially difficult to earn the 6 coins.  In my 3-player game I was constantly short of cash because the other players were carefully selecting cash-awarding actions in the rear of the queue.  I could force an opportunity to get cash, but that was frequently a two turn effort.

Building ships is a fun theme, and quite different from anything else in my collection.  So Shipyard does have some allure.  But the game is not destined to become one of my all-time favorites.


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