“What the ….?” The lumber yard is bustling more than ever as you look upon scores of elves picking up wood for whatever project they are working on. “What is going on?” you ask the yard foreman. “Seems that the King has requested a lot of building to be done.” he replies. “What? I was given the license to build for the city. I won that job!” Hastily making your purchase you take your load to the job site where currently underway, you have a tower going up.
As you walk towards the site, a dwarf runs up to you handing you a letter. Reading the apology sent by the Assistant Deputy of the Assistant Deputy, it states the King has decided that because of a clerical error, many master architects have been hired to build for the city. When building season ends, the King will hand the Key to the City to the one master architect who truly deserves it. “I can’t believe this!” you scream. “Grunt! Get over here!” A dwarf red of hair, stout of build and covered in dust and dirt from the morning work ambles up to you. “Yes sir, what do you need?” he grumbles as if he is to busy to be bothered. “Hire, all the help you can, elves and dwarves alike! Get as many gnomes as we can muster and get to building as many building as we planning all at once. Make sure you are first to the quarries, lumber yards and gold mine. We need to be ahead and better than everyone else. Well don’t just stand there! Move!” you shout. “Yes sir!” Grunt starts yelling at workers, giving them orders and point in directions for them to go. Then he scurries off to attend to his mission.
Shaking your head, you mind reals from all the work, long nights and personalities that will create issues you will now have to deal with. “It’s always something” you mutter to yourself. You set your mouth in grim determination and your mind to make sure that you will have that Key to the City at the end of building season and no one is going to stop you.
Publisher: Tasty Minstrel Games
Game Designer: Jay Cormier, Sen-Foong Lim
Artwork: Joshua Cappel
Players: 2 – 5
Ages: 13 to adult
Playing Time: 90 – 120 Minutes
Game Mechanics: Worker placement, Area Control/Influence, Card Drafting, Hand Management
Contents: 5 Game board districts, key to the city, calendar board, collection board, 50 property cards, 5 turn order crests, 1 calendar marker, 5 player boards, 12 guild tiles, 30 wood logs, 30 stone blocks, 20 metal bricks, 46 gold coins, 6 multiplier chips, 35 dwarves, 35 elves, 22 gnomes, 60 property markers and 5 scoring markers.
Suggested Retail Price: $59.99
Parental Advisory: Safe for kids
In Belfort, each player is sending their loyal crew of Elves and Dwarves to the tasks of gathering resources, gold and constructing various buildings that have unique abilities for increasing influence in the city. Hiring Gnomes as staff for the building thereby, activating many of the special abilities and helping the player achieve success. Likewise, players can hire guilds to help along the way.
As each player is building in the five districts, their influence grows and knowing what and when to build can be critical to their success. According to the calendar, the scoring will be done three times throughout the building season. This will based on each players influence in each of the five districts as well as the size of their workforce of Elves, Dwarves and Gnomes. By the end of the seven rounds, the player who has earned the most points wins the Key to the City!
First let me state that Belfort is an amazing worker placement game. It is very well thought out and offers plenty of strategy while it is still simple to learn and understand. With all the worker placement games out there (and there are tons of them,) this one to me stands hands above most of them. With the popularity of gateway games of the genre like Lords of Waterdeep, Belfort brings much more to the table. The theme stands out to me immensely. I am not sure why exactly but it probably is a combination of many things such as the artwork, story and feel of the game. Many games of this style have themes that are just pasted on such as Lords of Waterdeep and have really no effect on the game. The mechanics of cube pushing are really all that matter in providing the character of the game at this point.
Belfort somehow manages to incorporate their theme into the overall experience and make it absolutely critical to the experience. The strategy of the game is quite deep and yet only feels like a medium weight game. If the players are familiar with euro style games, they will pick this up very easily and a great game will be born every time you play it. Yet as stated before, it is a good game for new gamers to learn and pick up quickly. This also serves very well as a family game as there is nothing for adults to have to worry about theme wise.
The artwork of Belfort is top notch and really, really adds a lot of flavor to the gaming experience. The components are some of the best yet for a euro game. The boards, guilds and other pieces are thick and colorful. There was no warping whatsoever in my copy. Everything is easy to read and understand. The cards are of good stock, weight and good artwork. A little assembly is required as you need to put stickers on the different colored playing pieces when breaking open the game.
My only complaint may be that player boards might have been a bit better as you need a lot of room to play this game. The building costs are on the player board and on the cards again. I have yet to see anyone use the board to determine the cost of building. Some space may have been saved here and there, with the calendar board, resource board and player boards and a little better planning, but this is a very minor complaint. As over all this game is awesome.
Belfort has become my go to game in worker placement genre. I have to play anything of this weight that is this fun, deep and easy to learn. While there are many great games out there, Belfort should be a table favorite for a long time to come. You don’t shelve great games and Belfort is a GREAT game.
I am giving Belfort 8.5 out 10 stars.
This game is Club Fantasci Certified!
Note: A review copy of this game was provided to me.
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