I've been off from my mighty quest to pick up the entire run of the Spiel Des Jahres, mainly due to slim pickings in the bring and buys I've been across and having cleaned out all charity shops within a hundred miles radius. But I was running a stall at UK Games Expo and the big boy didn't let me down offering up both Kingdom Builder and Railway Rivals.
So, first impressions, Kingdom Builder looks pretty slick, I’ve not played it and just from reading the rules I’m struggling to see how tactical it can really be but I know it’s got a solid reputation and trust the award plus I know how rules look on paper and how they play on the table can be a long way distant. I picked up a copy from the bring and buy for £20 which I was pretty happy with until I noticed that the stall directly behind mine was selling a brand new copy for £15, so I’m taking two lessons from that, one to check your immediate area when shopping for bargains and two to try to be happy with what you get if you thought it was a deal when you got it. I call it Zen boardgame hunting.
As far as Railway Rivals goes, I was kind of fearing picking this one up for a while because I’ve long heard prices quoted in the £100 mark for this long out of print game, though I understand this is more for the roll-up version. I found the hard board GW version in the UKGE bring and buy for £10 so was super happy with that. It was missing the average dice but I’d not be much of a gamer if I didn’t have a blank dice around (or at least a spare flat faced dice and a set of stickers). Mostly I was amazed that the pens still work on a game over 35 years old. It still lists the SDJ as the West German game award. The rules look pretty complex, particularly the scoring feels all of its three decades old but I’m interested to see how it plays. But for £10 I’ll be happy however it actually turns out.
After that it was my birthday, I’ll skip over which one, but within the haul was Fair Means or Foul. Just scanning through it looks a little complex and as a rule I’m not a super huge fan of auction style bidding games but I’m keeping an open mind. On the upside, I really like the look of the building meeples and it looks like the end game should be both interesting and have a nice short final scoring step so we’ll see.
For those bothering to keep score that’s all the SDJs from launch up until 1985 covered (and a bunch more after, but a nice solid run is so much more satisfying). Heimlich and Co. shouldn’t be too hard to track down but I’m assuming I’ll have to pay well over the odds for Auf Achse (mainly because I don’t think too many people wanted it even when it was in print).