Tuesday, October 22, 2002


I played Cannes, the new Splotter release. It's been characterized as
"Roads and Boats"-lite, and while it certainly shares several
qualities with R&B, it stands nicely on its own without supplanting
R&B or feeling less interesting than R&B.

The theme is about making movies, which require a variety of resources
(computers, people, and beer, which produce special effects, scripts
and stars, in various combinations) in multiple stages. There are
multiple types of movies (sci-fi movies, action movies, and the
amusingly translated "girlie movies" aka chick flicks) which require
different resources. This part of the game is interesting, but not
especially novel.

The really clever part of the game is how you access the resources and
production mechanisms. There are hexagonal tiles, which players
control the layout of, and then each player has five rods which they
use to form a "network" of connections between tiles. Only those
tiles connected to one's network are usable. This means you have to
carefully layout tiles and gradually change your network as your
resource and production needs change, all while other players are
impinging on the same space. Further, only a limited number of
resources can be retained between turns.

The play is very tense, and the timing of the endgame is interesting.
Like in Roads & Boats, the key to doing well seems to be to set up a
production "machine" as quickly as possible, and then run it longer
and better than the other players. Of course, other players may
attempt to interfere with your machine. Overall, the tension and
interaction was very nice, and the theme was engaging and fun, though
one player found the production hierarchy a little non-intuitive.

The components are also worth mentioning, as they are somewhat nicer
than many Splotter games in the past. They aren't quite up to the
major German publishing standards, but they are very nice all the
same, particularly more so than Roads & Boats.

I look forward to playing this one more, and if this sort of
production game is interesting to you, I highly recommend it. The
network mechanism is very new feeling, so I can't quite compare it to
anything else I've played, which alone makes this game worth trying.

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