23-Oct-2004All month
 
Oltremare

We figured we didn't have time for another game of anything at the show, and to be honest I'm not sure what game we would have tried to get in anyway. We had, however, purchased a few games with English rules so we decided to do a bit of end-of-day shopping and then head back to the hotel. We wanted to hit the brew pub in the evening, as this would be our last chance to do so this year, and decided we'd better get down early to get a table. This gave us less than an hour, which proved to be just enough time to go through the rules of Oltremare and play a few sample rounds to learn the game. It also gave enough time to realise that the aroma from the cards would give everybody in the hotel a high if a few copies were opened at the same time.

Back to the hotel for a full game of Oltremere, and we managed to rope Chris Kovac in too. He was 1-0 up in the series, but this time we were fortified with that most secret and special of magic potions - beer. What chance did the poor lad have? The game has some similarities with Bohnanza, as the primary method of point scoring is achieved by collecting sets of cards. This is normally done by trading your junk for another mans treasure. The game comes in a small box with a jigsaw board, two packs of cards and various tokens and wooden cubes. The cards are very cleverly designed to dictate your hand size, the number of cards you may play in a round, the number of cards you draw back to, the actions you take and, and a type of good. Phew, that's a lot of detail on one card but it is laid out logically and works well. In your turn, you may purchase and trade for cards and then move your ship on the board. You will hopefully be able to move your ship into a port with an action token, as these grant special abilities. Thats the basics of the game. There are quite a few more details and subtleties, but there's not much point going into them. Why? Because it's a limited edition game and it's already sold out.

I hope another print run is forthcoming, because this is a little gem of a game. Everybody thoroughly enjoyed it. The only downside is that the port tokens are very small, but that's a factor of the small board size. The box is a bit flimsy but as it's going to live on a shelf and, hopefully, not have enything stacked on top of it that should not be a problem. I think Chris was a little suprised to see the magic potions we had fortified ourselves with convert us into trading gods.
 
Scores: Paul 52, Oggie 51, Andy 48, Tel 48, Chris Kovac 33
Ratings: Paul 8, Oggie 8, Andy 8, Tel 8, Chris Kovac 8
Winner(s): Paul