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Ulm Board Game
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- For 2-4 players
- 60 minute playing time
- Includes 3-D Cathedral
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CHOKING HAZARD -- Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.
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The construction of the cathedral is well underway, trade blossoms, and the townspeople are bustling about. Who will become the most influential citizen and leave his mark on the city and its history? the cathedral square serves as the central piece of the game with its innovative action mechanism. Each round you push one random tile into the cathedral square to activate three actions you may then perform. They give you money, tiles, cards, allow you to move your boat along the River and place your family seals into the city quarters adjacent to the River Danube. Who uses their opportunities best and makes the most of the current situation on the cathedral square is on a good way to become an honored and remembered citizen of ulm.
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|Sold By||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Lucky Lou's Game Emporium||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Amazon.com|
|Are Batteries Required||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Item Dimensions||2.75 x 12 x 12 in||3.9 x 8.9 x 12.4 in||2.5 x 9 x 11.5 in||1 x 1 x 1 in||11.5 x 11.5 x 2.75 in||2.8 x 8.98 x 12.4 in|
|Item Weight||2 lbs||3 lbs||4 lbs||2.63 lbs||3 lbs||4 lbs|
Top customer reviews
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Ulm has a very clever token/action selection mechanism using a 3x3 checkerboard. At the beginning of your turn, you will pull an action tile out of a bag (with individual actions symbols on the tiles themselves) and then you push a tile into 3x3 square (by column), pushing out one to the edge. The three tiles left form the three actions you are allowed to do for the turn. There are ways to change the tile you push in and hence try to 'plan out' your actions, but that still leaves the player with a lot of hard choices!
The action tiles allow you to draw money (needed to place control/action tokens on the game board), or draw cards (which give you special powers or ways to get VPs through set collection), move your boats along the Danube River (which can give you positive or negative VPs at the end of the game depending on how far down the river you are), pull tiles off the edge of the 3x3 grid (which are a form of currency to buy cards), or interact with the game board itself. The game board is divided into several quarters that players can either place tokens on to give themselves (one time) special powers, or actually take control for VPs at the end of the game.
The game cards also have a clever mechanic. Each card is divided into two possible powers. The top power gives an instant ability and/or way to score a small amount of instant VPs, but the card MUST be discarded to get this power. The lower power gives the player away to score more VPs at endgame (usually through 'set collection'), but many of these cards only give VPs as part of a set or special condition. Such cards MUST be played in front of player, committing the card and it's VPs to a set or condition (of the lower half of the card) you may or may not get!! You also will forever lose the upper power! Cards are kept hidden in a hand, but cards that are still in your hand at the end of the game are WORTHLESS. Only those card played for instant VPs/abilities and or committed to endgame scoring count.
For such a 'small game,' there is ALOT to do in Ulm.
The 3x3 action selection mechanic and double card powers obviously can create ALOT of AP, and makes Ulm feel VERY tight, as you will only get 30 actions the entire game! Some players will love the hard and tough choices your forced to make, others will feel constricted and even stressed out.
I will say that I have read other reviews that claim this game is yet another dry, boring theme-less euro, but I found that was not the case! Don't let naysayers steer you away from this game, because it does have a truly unique mechanism for taking actions that make the game really fun to play, and it also has a good amount of variability for replay value. It feels like Bruges and Hansa Teutonica had a baby. If I had to compare cathedral euro games, I would say this one is far better than Pillars of the Earth, which actually does feel like you're playing the same game over and over.
The gameplay is not overly complex, I would consider it a middle weight game, easy to learn, but strategy is constantly evolving as the board changes. It is played in 9 turns, each turn 1 action tile is chosen randomly from a blind pick, but it is then played to a shared pool that gives you 2 additional actions. There is a mechanic to change your tile if a specific action is needed, but keeping your strategy flexible is rewarding. This works out very well and has a great feel to it. The game has a wide variety of ways to accrue victory points, and the cards have some immediate effect or end of game points, you have to choose between the quick gain or the long points.
Each game will be different, while it is possible to be screwed by the random elements, I found it very balanced, and always had some good play to make, even if it wasn't my first choice. Easy to learn, fun to play. What else can you really as for? For the price I like it, and my group enjoys it. It isn't an all time favorite, but it is good and well played.