Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Belfort

Game-Belfort

Producer-Tasty Minstrel Games

Price-$50

Set-up/Play/Pick-up-Two hours

TL;DR-Not a perfect game, but damn fun and well designed! 82.5%

Basics-Time for some urban planning mixed with worker placement, and area control!  In Belfort, you and your friends all play city planners in a fantasy setting that is more Pratchett then Tolken.  The city has hired way too many planners, and you now have to compete to see who is the best.  Each turn you take turns placing workers on the board.  However, at any point you can say DONE and then place your remaining workers on the resource gathering board.  After placing workers is over, every player can then build buildings and use building powers.  After a few of these rounds, all players count to see who has the most of each worker type (elf, dwarf, gnome) and the most buildings in each city section for points.  Most points at the end of the game wins.

Mechanics: Honestly, this game covers a bunch of game ground (worker placement, terrain control, resource management), but it does it really well.  The different types of workers and the fact that these are also points makes getting the workers that much more important.  That sentence is an understatement to seasoned worker placement fans, but now that they are worth points hammers home that fact much more.  Much like most eurogames, the buildings you build give you extra actions that anyone can use, but where you place them gives you more points.  Thus, in addition to thinking through what building you need to win, you now have to think where the building must go so you can win! The addition of a third worker type that makes building better also makes your choices that much more important in this game. This is a great game that plays fairly quick for a heavy euro. 5/5

Theme: You are an urban planner.  That is about as dry a subject as trains, but the game is pretty fun.  The instruction book is full of theme for this fantasy setting.  I love to read instruction books that are full of great theme.  It makes the game that much more fun to play.  However, the game by itself doesn’t have much theme.  You do feel like you’re building stuff, but not a city planner since what I built was just what I could when I could.  Also, the great fantasy setting was just left to the wayside when you play through.  A little flavor test on the cards might have made a world of difference to drag me back into the funny fantasy Tasty Minstrel created. 3/5

Instructions: This book is very awesome.  Any book that makes me laugh out loud is awesome!  Also, this book had a tough task of teaching me the rules to this complex game, and it’s a pulled it off quite nicely.  I had a few questions that my play ground just decided a way the rules would go and we moved on, but all said and done, this is a well done book.  4/5

Construction: This game has some nice components.  Lots of nice wood pieces are in the box.  This game was kickstarter project and the stretch goals really helped pull this thing off.  The different resources really look like the different resources!  Nice sparkly iron!  I love this.  The box is well put together.  The only problem I had was the stickers!  You will spend at minimum an hour putting stickers on wood.  That’s a pain, but for all the worker types, you need it.  Maybe on the exclusive 10 year edition, use some different meeples?  4.5/5

Summary: This game is awesome.  Its lots of fun and has lots of replay.  Tasty Minstrel Games kind of came out of nowhere for me, and after this game, when I see a kickstarter from these guys I give just to see what going to shake out of it.  Give this game a try.  You may have to find your own theme for the game, but if you love mechanics of a well designed eurogame, there is no question.  You must buy this game. 82.5%

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