My copy of Wallenstein finally arrived today. This game has been on my list of “dream” games but I never thought I’d ever own a copy. Copies routinely list for $100 USD or more and I just couldn’t bring myself to pay that much. However, a couple of weeks ago I received a trade offer for my new copy of After the Flood for his copy of Wallenstein. I couldn’t pass that up. AtF is a game I received free due to an error at TreeFrog, it most likely wouldn’t get played since it’s a longer game for exactly three players, and it lists for $60 new.
Wallenstein is an area control game for 3-5 players that lasts 2-3 hours. It’s a bit long for my group but it has been compared to El Grande which my group does like. The game is printed strictly in German but there are a lot of player aids and translations freely available on BGG. The game was also recently rethemed and reprinted with some rules modifications as Shogun. Ranked 7.78/10 and the 38th highest game on BGG means you’re looking at pure gaming pleasure in that huge box. Listed at 3.38 on the weight scale, Wallenstein sits somewhere north of El Grande and La Citta but slightly south of Reef Encounter and Tigris & Euphrates. Nice.
A few things I like about the game are its variable phase order (turn order is different every round) and the simultaneous action selection (players simultaneously choose actions and then play out the season with those choices). Somewhat akin to Himalaya and Maharaja, part of the game is planning your strategy but taking into account what your opponents are programming into their set of moves. But most of all, you have to love the cheesy cube tower.
The “battle tower” is a gizmo that accepts cubes (your armies) and spits out the results of the battle. Internal to the tower are small ledges that trap some of the cubes so if you lose a battle this turn, you may win later when other cubes knock more of your cubes out of the little nooks and crannies.
I’m looking forward to jumping into the rules and enjoying my “trophy” game even if it never gets played. Now if I can only find a spot on the shelf the gigantic box!
Bruno Faidutti has a nice write up on Wallenstein for his Ideal Game Library. Check it out if you get a chance.