Author: Alan R. Moon &
Aaron Weisblum

Publisher: Goldsieber 2003

Awards: none



The game New England leads the players back to the time of 1620 A.D., where the first of the Pilgrim Fathers reached the New World and started settling it. The region they settled first was named "New England", and it still bears that name today. In this game, the players each take lead of a family of settlers, and they try to collect victory points by choosing land and making it usable for settlements or for fields.

At the beginning, the playing materials are prepared by placing the gameboard (with 98 spaces for landscape tiles) on a table and arranging the other playing materials around it. The playing materials consist of 10 bidding markers (numbered from "1" to "10"), landscape tiles, development cards and figures of Pilgrim fathers, Ships and Granaries. As a final preparation for play, each player receives 12 Shillings as starting capital, and furthermore each player is allowed to place 3 starting landscape tiles onto the gameboard. These starting tiles are doubles, meaning that they cover two landscape boxes on the mapboard. Furthermore, the starting tiles each player receives are one of each kind: plain land (can be used for settlements), grasslands (can be used for farmland) and fertile grounds (can be used for fields). Once all players have placed there starting tiles, the game will start.

The game now is divided in turns, and each turn consists of the following phases: revealing the new landscape tiles and development cards for that turn, taking a bidding marker and buying, settling and collecting income.

When the new landscape tiles and development cards are revealed, the starting player for that turn may chose how many cards of each kind he wants to turn around. He has to reveal 3 landscape tiles and 3 development cards, but the remaining three objects may be either landscape tiles or development cards. Once all 9 objects are revealed, these will for the objects which are available for purchase during that turn.

Next, the players each have to take one of the bidding markers numbered from "1" to "10". These bidding markers will establish the order of the players for the following phase for purchases and settling, and the player with the highest bidding marker is allowed to act first during that phase.

However, the number on the bidding marker not only determines the order of the players, it also prescribes the number of shillings that player must pay for each landscape tile or development card he takes. In total, a player may make up to two purchases - provided he has enough money to do so. By making purchases and using the cards and tiles, the offer of available cards and tiles becomes more limited for subsequent players.

If a player has purchased a landscape tile he must place it onto the gameboard instantly. The tile must reveal its unused side, since only be the use of development card the tile can become settled. When placing a tile, a player must observe the rule that the tile must be placed next to a tile of the same kind which the player already has on the gameboard, but it may not border a tile of the same kind which is owned by an opposing player.

Once a player has placed the landscape tile(s) he may have purchased, he may now act upon the development card(s) which he may have purchased. In general, two different kinds of development cards exist. the first kind are settlement cards, and these allow the player to turn over a number of his landscapes from their unsettled to their settled sides. However, the landscape tiles must be arranged in a certain shape as indicated on the card, and only if this shape is matched on the gameboard the card may be acted upon. If the player can use the card for settling, he may put the card aside, knowing that he will get the number of victory points indicated on the card on the end of the game.

The other type of development cards shows a figure of a Pilgrim farther, a Ship or a Granary. This kind of card allows the player to place a matching figure onto the gameboard, and it will count for one victory point at the end of the game.

The Pilgrim fathers create additional income. They may be placed on any unsettled type of landscape tile, and the generate an income of 1 additional Shilling at the end of the turn. A Granary can be placed on unsettled landscapes as well, but it is the special ability of this type of figure that a development card may be stored in a Granary. Thus, if a player who owns a Granary purchases a development card, he may chose to store it in the Granary to use it sometime later in the game. Finally, a Ship may be placed on any landscape bordering the Ocean (as indicated on the gameboard). The player who has most ships is allowed to add 1 landscape tile or 1 development card to the choice of objects available for purchase at the beginning of his turn.

Once all landscapes have been placed and all development cards were acted upon, the turn ends with each player collecting a basic income of 4 shillings (may be increased by Pilgrim Fathers). The next turn will start and go through, unless there are not enough landscape tiles or development cards left to get a total of 9 objects for purchase. If that should be the case, the game ends and the final evaluation takes place. Each player now receives victory points according to the cards he has collected, and furthermore each player counts his figures on the gameboard. The player with most Pilgrim fathers gets 4 additional victory points, the player with most Granaries 3 additional points and the player with most Ships 2 additional points. The player with most victory points has won the game.

Although the topic of settling an unknown stretch of land is not new in the field of boardgames, Neu England comes with a set of unusual rules which make the game interesting and worthwhile. Once the players have mastered the rules for placing tiles and using development cards, they will soon discover the strategic options offered by the game, and they will try to exploit these possibilities for their own fortune. A bit of luck is added since the 9 purchase objects are randomly revealed at the beginning of the turn, but overall Goldsieber as succeeded in adding a nice and interesting game to their product range. However, from my point of view the graphical design of the game may be a slight flaw. It is quite visible that most graphics were designed on a computer, and that was not done to the very best standard. I have an initial dislike for computer designed parts, but even if I apply fair standards I must confess that the game still is a bit "plain" to look at.

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany