Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Glen More could have been Glen Less

In the past, I've gotten fed up with the constant pursuit for victory points. After playing quite a few games of Glen More, my mind now travels to some of the same places.

Glen More starts out simple enough. You and your fellow clan members are trying to amass territory and produce resources. Every time you play a tile, you get to activate all the surrounding tiles. This generates more resources, or victory points or whatever.

The tiles are pulled from an every-changed rondel. Grab a tile and a new one shows up at the end of the line. You want to have the fewest number of tiles at the end of the game, so there is a push/pull between sucking up the less valuable tiles your pals didn't want and zooming ahead to grab the really juicy tiles everyone is eyeing.

To stir the tile rondel up a little, there is a little gremlin who steals tiles randomly in the 2/3 player game. This is the fastest and most streamlined "dummy player" I've seen in any game yet and I like the extra chaos it adds.

Finally, there is a cool little market where you can buy and sell your resources. When people buy a certain resource, the price of that resource in the market goes up. When people sell that resource, its price automatically goes down. I like that too!

To get even cooler…one of the tiles you can pick up is a Refinery, and you can activate it to produce whiskey.

How can you not like a game where you spend some of the time trying to out-race your opponents in whiskey production?

The answer is, you can't. I love activating tiles in Glen More. I like making the market go up and down. And I love distilling whiskey. I even like raising cattle and sheep. But the shine is definitely starting to wear off. A lot of the subsequent dullness has to do with the many, many victory point calculations you have to do during the game.

In each of the 3 scoring rounds (yep seen that one before), victory points are awarded by comparing

1) number of chieftains (meeple you reserve off the board)
2) number of tam o' shanties (these are magic hats that also count as chieftains)* 
3) number of whiskey barrels
4) number of unique location cards
5) number of tiles in your tableau (you get negative points for having more tiles than the lowest player)
6) and probably other ones I've forgotten about

You also get victory points during the round by activating buildings like taverns, butchers, markets and such.

And you get victory points AT THE END of the game thanks to special unique location cards.

The end result: Glen More makes you really think in order to figure out who is actually winning this game. And much like 7 Wonders, you probably want to download some kind of "App" to calculate your score so you don't have to.

Sometimes I really miss Settlers of Catan. Roads, Soldiers, Villages, Cities, (does he possibly have a victory point card?), and you are DONE!

Glen More also suffers from another disease epidemic in eurogame circles…the individual player board. Other than competing for tiles, there is nothing you can ever do to affect your fellow players. Each person builds a Alahabra-style kingdom in from of themselves, and just tries to figure out the optimal moves from there.

There really needs to be a game where your tableau has to fight other players tableaus. Then you'd really build them to last! 7 Wonders had wars, so you at least had to watch army build up from your 2 neighbors. Galaxy Trucker is probably the closest, because your tableau is under constant attacks from meteors, slavers, space pirates and the occasional random explosion.

So you can definitely enjoy Glen More, but it could have been so much more without all these victory point conditions hanging out everywhere. It doesn't make the game any more "fun" and it kinda makes my head hurt.

Glen More could have been Glen Less. And even better, it could have been Glen Ross.

Check it out online and see for yourself at!

*ok the tams go into the same pile as the chieftains, but its still confusing!

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