FTW Staff Picks - The Speicherstadt September 06 2016

For The Win Board Game Cafe's Staff Picks is a weekly series where we take a quick look at some of the staff's favourite games, old and new.

 

The Speicherstadt

Designer: Stefan Feld

Genre: Economic / Bidding

Player Size: 2 to 5 Players

Game Length: 45 minutes

For fans of: 

The Speicherstadt is the one game that even after years, I will never learn how to correctly spell on the first try. So please excuse any instances in this article where I accidentally misspell the name of the game. Sorry Stefan Feld. 

The Speicherstadt is one of the most boring looking games you'll ever find. From its name, to its art, to its theme. The cool metallic coin that comes with it is the one redeeming aesthetic factor. It makes the game such a tough sell when recommending it to people. But just like Splendor, the mechanics and gameplay of the game shine brightly and will quickly make you forget about the uglier physical aspects of the game. Don't judge a book by its cover.

The coolest aspect of The Speicherstadt is definitely the bidding mechanic. Players take turns placing their workers in front of a trade card, lining up behind one another. The player who first places their worker gets first dibs on purchasing the card. The cost is based on the total number of workers in the line. If a player passes, they remove their worker which reduces the cost for the next player in line. Trade cards are resolved from left to right, meaning its possible that you can use later cards as bargaining chips or strategic manoeuvres. 

Don't be fooled by the term worker, and the fact that you place them. This is not a "worker placement" in any traditional sense. The level of interactivity is a major part of this game. Every turn draws tension and conflict among players. There is never enough for everyone, so players will often have to take turns of losses. 

The Speicherstadt is the most surprising game I've played. I had every intention to dislike this game. But I'm rarely as happy to be wrong as I was with this one. Not all games have to be flashy and bright. Give every game a shot, you might be surprised at the ones you fall in love with.

 

Earl