New Acquisitions November 2015 + Packet Row, strange name, great game but sadly no fame

Packet Row was published by Pegasus Spiele in 2013. The game is set in New York in the mid-1850’s. At this time there were so many steam-packets arriving from all parts of the globe, they would be lined up along the docks and thus the area became known as ‘Packet Row’ (Michael Menzel’s superb graphics capture the era perfectly). Players represent owners involved in this trade any must compete to become the most successful merchant.

The game sounds fairly standard for these games. You gain contracts, make profits, bank your money and so on, but what makes this game stand out from the crowd is the mechanic for acquiring cards needed on the path to victory.

The board is made up of four boards, each board representing a different area of trade in the busy port. They are the Guildhall, the Docks, the Market or the Bank. At the start of a round cards are placed in all these areas along with cards which can be seen but are not available until the next turn. This allows for some future planning. One player is the Harbour Master each round. He chooses one of the four areas and he asks the players in clockwise order if they would like to acquire a card from that area. Only one card can be taken each round so players must decide if they really want a card or would it be better to wait for a future offering in the round. But there can be a sting in the tail because if nobody wants a card on the current board, the Harbour Master can take one of the cards and end the round immediately. This is a very neat mechanic. In effect, the Harbour Master has decisions to make. Does he choose a game area where he thinks nobody will be very keen to take a card, but an area where he really wants a certain card (and he hopes nobody else will take a card from that board because, if they do, he cannot take the card he wanted). Or does he choose an area where he has no interest but one that might interest the others (thus leaving less players to choose from a later board on which he does want a card). The fact that if the Harbour Master takes a card (thus ending the round early) creates enjoyable tension every round. I should mention also that all the current cards available are removed from play when the round ends which might mean that a juicy contract you wanted may go out of the game before you had a chance to get it. So, tension that way as well.

The designers (Ase & Henrik Berg) say that the game should take around 45 minutes. That means it is a super game to play if the main game leaves players with an hour to kill. It is my opinion that it was overlooked amongst the sheer number of games at Essen 2013 and that is such a shame. See if you can track down a copy, it will be worth the effort.

Not my busiest month for getting new or used games. The few I did get came courtesy of Jürgen, a friend who never fails me in that regard. Not expecting too many next month either (Christmas of course). Many have told me that there was not a great frontrunner from the 600 or so new games unveiled in Essen this year. If you have played something rather wonderful from those new releases, please let me know.

HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ONE AND ALL !!!

Takamatsu

Mücke Spiele

2014

C

Chiari Reproduction Playing Cards

Heraclio Fournier

1980

Domino

FX Schmid

1990

2 x Domino

Ravensburger

1975

After Dinner Trivia

Paul Lamond

2000

Bridge Keno

Chad Valley

1950

Cluedo

Parker

1982

Alles Relativ

Berliner

1974

The Faraway Tree

Pepys

1950

Cir-Q-Lar Playing Cards

John Waddington

1950

Countries of Empire

Jaques

1930

The Game of Snakes & Ladders

Roberts Brothers

1920

Abalone Mini

Parker

1997

51st State

Portal Games

2010

Blast!

Waddingtons

1988

Strange New Worlds

Gametime

1978

Revolution Reproduction Playing Cards

Heraclio Fournier

1984

4-Tell Fortune Telling Cards

Merrywoods

1960

Wer's weiß gewinnt

FX Schmid

1990

'Denkste'

ASS

1985

Delta Vee

SPI

1981

Fischers Fritz

Amigo

1997

Uncle Tom's Cabin (Reproduction)

Heraclio Fournier

1980

Schwarzer Peter Tierfamilien

FX Schmid

1970

Murmelschwein und Krövian

Berliner

1974

Bob the Builder Domino

Ravensburger

2000

Mad Kartenspiel

Parker

1979

Flight Leader

Avalon Hill

1986

The Famous Monarchs of England

Heritage

1993

Sociability

Gordon's Gin

2005

Olympos: Oikoumene Expansion

Ystari

2011

French Imperial Reproduction Playing Cards

Heraclio Fournier

1980

Nursery Rhyme Snap!

Clifford Series

1940

Happy Families

Jaques

1910

Hyakunin Reproduction Playing Cards

Heraclio Fournier

1980

Kleider machen Leute

Berliner

1974

Snap

Jaques

1910

Heiterkeits-Cocktail

Berliner

1974

Kraut und Rüben

Ravensburger

1985

Das Pisenkröki

Berliner

1974

Winnie the Pooh Schnipp Schnapp

Ravensburger

2003

Utterly Outrageous Drinking Games

Lagoon

2000

 

Wagner-Quartett

Jos. Scholz

1910

 

 

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