Saturday, September 04, 2010

#98: Tannhauser

  • designer: Didier Polli & William Grosselin (revised rules by Daniel Lovat Clark, William Grosselin, JR Godwin & Jeff Tidball)
  • publisher: Fantasy Flight
  • date: 2007
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: 979/6.41
  • position on my top 100 in 2005: did not appear
  • age: 10+
  • # of players: 2-10
  • print status: in print
  • cost: $42.95 (Cardhaus)... but you'll also want the Revised rulebook - $7.95 (Cardhaus)
When it was released back in 2007, this shoot-em-up game of alternative history was gorgeous to look & filled with some neat ideas, but it just didn't come together into a cohesive & playable whole. (It probably didn't help that my first game was with 8 players... all of us newbies.) But it proved popular enough to warrant multiple expansions (one large box & 4 single figure boxes) even with the rules ambiguities & balance issues.

And then, Fantasy Flight did something pretty amazing - they decided to revise the rules in major ways to make the game better... and they succeeded. Even more incredible - they managed to do it without requiring players to buy any new pieces - all you need is the revised rulebook (or the PDF of the same, available for $5 from their website.)

What we have now is a combat game that plays quickly & cleanly (thanks to the "Pathfinder" system that deals with LOS) set in an alternate history where WWI is still going in 1949 and the Reich is attempting to open portals to allow ultimate evil to enter our dimension... of course, it's the job of the Union (and the Matriarchy - the Russians) to stop them. It's like Hellboy, Harry Turtledove & Halo rolled into one. And, thanks to the revised rulebook, there are 6 different game "modes" - meaning you have a lot of variety stuffed into the system.

Four final thoughts:
  • They've recently published two more Troop expansions... these are "native" to the revised rules.
  • Not sure why the authors of the color text in the rulebook found it necessary to take God's name in vain...
  • I would love for Fantasy Flight to publish a deck of "pack" cards for the various characters to make set-up faster & easier... currently, I'm using some nice homebrews that were posted on BGG.
  • While the game works with multiple players (each person taking one or more characters), I think the best way to learn and/or play the game is one-on-one.

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