Met Olli today. The dish of the day was Elasund, the latest Settlers spin-off. The Settlers element is pretty much resource production roll to start the turn, 10 victory points to gather and… well, that’s about it.
The game is about building a city. Smaller buildings produce influence and money, both of which are needed during the game. There are few way to produce victory points, but mostly it’s buildings. One catch is in the building: you can build bigger buildings over smaller buildings and with influence you can replace buildings of the same size. Also, to build, you need building permits, which have to be laid down on earlier turns.
There’s some clever stuff in there. You only need X amount of permits (one to three, depending on building size), but they don’t have to be yours. You can use permits from other people, if you just have the best permits and you compensate your buddies with gold. Shrewd moves are possible, but having to telegraph your moves one turn ahead takes some of the bite away. The game is still quite confrontational.
The game worked surprisingly well with just two players. 30 minute play time was a definite plus. The playing area is smaller with two, which made sure the competition was pretty fierce. We got the impression that building the church (a huge 9-point extravaganza, which is built piece by piece; each piece costs 7 gold, which is a lot) was a bad move with two players, because the one who tried that lost…
We had time for three rounds. I won the first easily, when Olli wasted his money to church early on (church is one victory point, but no production). The second game was better for Olli, and he won it fairly easily — surprised me completely. Teaches me to check the VP situation constantly… The last game was a tougher match, a really good game. I won it in the end, but it could’ve been different. Olli made a little mistake, which cost him lot of gold during the game, so that was probably the reason I won.
I’m curious to see how this all works with more players. I suppose it’s just as good. I’d rate it about seven… Good, I would play if someone suggests it, I might even suggest it myself, but I don’t think I need to own it after I get the review done.