Having not started my foray into the hobby of modern board gaming as long ago as some, there are quite often gaps in my collection. Some of these are shameful. Although I try to guard against it by alternating between something old and something new when shopping, the lure of the shiny latest release and the fear of missing out is sometimes too hard to resist.
January’s game of the month is a prime example of something that has often winked at me from afar trying to beckon me over to add it into my basket. I’ve often diverted my eyes in an awkward way like a millionaire walking past a beggar. This month however, courtesy of the excellent board game rental service Lazy Horse Games, I had the pleasure of being custodian of Castles of Burgundy for a month.
I’d partly avoided Castles of Burgundy because deep down in my subconscious I am a little scared of anything that bills itself as a Euro game. The phrase daunts me and I imagine sitting at a beige game for an entire day with only a grunt towards my fellow players. This is wildly stereotypical, and I know that. I also know I have played other Euro games that have not had this feeling. Yet still there is a deep-routed nervousness around the phrase. I am equally fearful of anything with a difficulty rating above 2.75 on Board Game Geek because of who I get to play with.
I rented the earlier edition, rather than the newer more colourful iteration, and we have thoroughly enjoyed it. Don’t get me wrong, the first edition is beige, and there is very little interaction between players other than the occasional grunt and it took around 90-120 minutes to play each time. But oh my, did I enjoy Castles of Burgundy. I admired the cleverness of mitigating the luck of the dice. I enjoyed the battle of trying to gain first player and the tactical nature of picking and choosing which regions to take. Just generally the thinky, crunchy strategy that never tipped my brain over the edge but certainly got it working was a wonderful gaming experience. I got to play with my 11 year old son and wife and we all understood it and were competitive with each other. Those new to the hobby should definitely not start here, but when you are ready to take on a heavier game this has to be a contender for the perfect gateway to Euro games.
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