We started with Fealty, a sharp, nasty, tactical game that is remarkably short. 8 turns and you finish and score. It was an interesting experience and a relatively simple game but figuring out the right play seems nearly impossible. I think it'll require a few games to get a handle of but I imagine it'll be just excellent with 2 players.
|Final layout with scoring tokens. Colourful. I lost horribly.|
The clever turn-order mechanism made this one feel a bit like Power Grid, you know, all about the timing, and the winning condition (most money overall, stocks worth nothing) made correct bidding paramount much like a great game of Modern Art. In fact, in our game the top 2 players at the end ended up owning the least amount of stock. This is a very, very interesting game - quite devious and very much open to table-talk and coercion. Definitely a favourite of the new year and in my mind an even better game than Chicago Express.
One caveat, though: Queen really messed up this design by leaving one thing out. There are 8 different railroads each with a unique power and in the original Winsome title these powers were clearly laid out ON THE BOARD! In this reprint, Queen stupidly removed that and just left it on the back page of the rulebook. This was a horrendous oversight and something we kept screwing up over and over. We had to continuously check the rulebook throughout the game every time we went to make an action. I'm really not sure what the hell they were thinking and I'm actually considering taking a Sharpie to the board and writing them on myself. Painful.