Wednesday, November 29, 2017

London: Second Edition (Osprey Games)

The Great Fire of London in 1666 is still fresh in our minds, and the city needs to be rebuilt. As one of the master architects, you are competing with other architects to make the city shine like it used to. This will involve using the right people, acquiring the best land, and building the most prestigious buildings. This is London: Second EditionLondon: Second Edition is the masterful republication of a classic Martin Wallace game. It is suited for ages 14+, takes about 60-90 minutes to play, and retails for $55.00.
Setup
1. Put the board in the middle of the table.
2. Give each player a score marker, placing it on the 0 space of the board.
3. Give each player 5 pounds.
4. Separate the city cards into an A, B, and C deck. Shuffle each deck separately. Then, place the A deck on top of the B deck on top of the C deck.
5. Deal each player six cards from the newly formed deck.
6. Find the three starter boroughs of City, Westminster, and Southwark & Bermondsey, placing them next to the board. Shuffle the rest of the boroughs, placing them face-down to form a borough deck.
Game Play - The goal is to have the most prestige when the city cards run out. On your first action, you must draw a city card. After that turn, you may perform one of four actions:
1. Develop your city - Play one or more of the city cards from your hand to the table one at a time.
2. Buy land - Choose a borough card from the three face-up on the table, pay its cost, and add it to your building area.
3. Running your city - Activate city cards in your building display one at a time in any order. Doing this requires you to pay the activation cost, carrying out the effect, and flipping the card face-down if necessary. After activation, you will receive poverty tokens for each stack in your building display, each 10 pound of loans, and card in your hand.
4. Draw three more city cards - Draw exactly three cards from any combination of the deck or the development board.

If the city deck is empty at the end of a player's turn, every other player gets one more turn. The player with the most prestige is the winner!
Review
Martin Wallace is a name that is famous in the gaming world. He is known for making games that are strategic, deep, and thinky. London, however, was one of his most accessible games that was published 7 years ago, and was a game I sadly never got to play. Therefore, when I heard Osprey Games was making a second edition of the game, I knew I wanted to play it! The game play in this is game is clever and unique in that you use the cards in your hand to play other cards in your hand. Then, there is the mechanic of running your city. This is where your points and other benefits come from. However, you have to be careful when running your city, and make sure you lay out your city efficiently and don't have too many cards in your hand as well. If you are inefficient, then you will get paupers which are bad for your city and clog up your hand.

What I liked best about this game was the new artwork. I have looked up images of the old artwork, and it really is night and day! This new game art enriches the theme (which my wife loved, because 1. she is an architect and 2. she loves London) and makes it stand out from other Euro games. The only thing I didn't like about the game was the box component. I know it's Osprey Games m.o. to put their games in a fold-open box that resembles a book, but this game deserved a normal game box in my opinion. That complaint aside, I am thrilled that I finally got a chance to try this game. It crunched my brain and made me think, plan, and manage carefully in order to make the best city possible. I still lost to my wife multiple times (shocker!), but I didn't mind because it was like a fun puzzle trying to figure out each game. If you are a fan of history, London, Euro games, or have just ever wanted to try a Martin Wallace game, this is the game for you!

This game was provided to me for free by Osprey Games in exchange for an honest review.