“In remote times, King Gradlon had the magnificent city of Ys erected for his daughter Dahut. Gargantuan sea-walls protected the city from the violent waves. Dahut decided to make Ys the most powerful place in Brittany; thus, she dispatched dragons to seize merchant ships loaded with jewels which sailed on the open sea…”
In the first installment of my Revisiting the Classics series I wanted to start with a game I have loved for many years but most don’t seem to know about instead of what you would normally expect. I am hoping that I will be able to revive some interest and show some of the newer people to board gaming some of the greats they may have missed due to time and lack of visibility.
Game Designer: Cyril Demaegd
Ages: 10 to adult
Playing Time: 45 – 90 minutes
Contents: 1 rulebook, 1 board, 56 cylinders/brokers (14 of each color), 5 marker (1 for each color) +1 turn marker, 110 gems, 1 board of 56 stickers (14 of each color), 4 screens, 24 character cards, 24 ship cards, 6 “order” cards.
Suggested Retail Price: $45.95
Parental Advisory: Safe for kids
Today we will look at Ys from Ystari Games and Rio Grande Games. Ys is a euro style game of area control, blind bluffing and commodity speculation. This is not a complete overview like I usually do but a basically a teaser for the game.
“In remote times, King Gradlon had the magnificent city of Ys erected for his daughter Dahut. Gargantuan sea-walls protected the city from the violent waves. Dahut decided to make Ys the most powerful place in Brittany; thus, she dispatched dragons to seize merchant ships loaded with jewels which sailed on the open sea…
Each turn, ships filled with gems land in the city’s ports. The players, embodying merchant-princes of Ys, set their team to work, two at a time, in the 4 neighborhoods of the city; deciding which area of each neighborhood to focus on. Controlling the port to claim special black jewels, the commercial area to gain a financial advantage or the palace to influence characters of influence. However it is the player who dominates the neighborhood as a whole who has the first choice of the precious stones carried in the hold of the ship docked there. Don’t overlook the gem market as other players may send their brokers to influence the value of the different types of jewels, making your collection less valuable.
Each player has a team of 11 brokers of varying skill levels. These brokers are placed on the players turn, one face up and one face down. Bluff your opponents on where your intentions lie, misdirection is the key to victory.
At the end of the game, the winner is the player who has accumulated the most gold (represented by victory points).” – Ystari Games
Ys has been reprinted is available for purchase and there is also a new expansion called YS+ available now as well.
This is a game that I feel is very underrated and I never hear anyone talking about even among us who love the old euro games. There are many different fun mechanics and bluffing involved which always makes for an interesting turn. You are never sitting out in this game so to speak as you have to be paying attention the whole time and try to figure out what your opponents strategy is every turn.
As each player places their broker in the city quadrants trying to win the cards and collect the gems, you are completely engaged in the play and it is a great social game as well as strategy game. This game is much deeper than one expects and there are lots of varying strategies to pull you in and make this experience a memorable one. Due to the bluffing mechanic the game never really plays the same so the replay value is high.
Unfortunately there are only a couple people I know that play this game and this a sad thing as this game is very well done and euro lovers should seriously think about adding this to their collection.
I am giving this game 8 out 10 stars. This game is fun!