New Bedford as you may have guessed deals with the highly emotive and controversial subject of whaling.
But does it glorify whaling? I don't think it does. In fact I would say that although its a major source of scoring points. The majority of the game is all about worker placement, building up the town of New Bedford, and gathering resources. With the whaling itself an end product, an ends to a means. In fact and I'd love to test this theory, you could almost remove the whaling phase and not miss it from the game. I certainly don't feel that the game glorifies whaling in anyway. Especially when it is set in the mid 1800s.
Overall this is a nice game as worker placement games go. There are some nice things about the game. The components themselves are lovely. I love the Meeple whale used to track the rounds. The Meeple ships look nice, although the publisher could have used easier colours to distinguish between for the base of the boats. The large ships wheel as the first player marker is lovely.
It's just a shame that from what Jonathan described Dice Hate Me didn't put as much effort into quality control on the expansion, oh and missing out a tile from the main game for solo play!
Having played New Bedford I can now see what Dice Hate Me were trying to do with the game Nantucket. New Bedford feels like a game, is a pleasurable experience. Whilst Nantucket isn't. I particularly think that this is evident in the whaling phases of the two games. Within New Bedford, it comes across as thematic, part of the game. Pulling cardboard chits out of a bag, felt like you were whaling (minus harpoon). If you drew out a sea tile, it felt like your nets were coming up empty. Whilst the cardboard coin tossing of Nantucket just felt horrid.
A bit like Harbour if you use another players building on their side of town. Then you have to pay them a dollar to use it. In out game that wasn't a bad exchange for the gain five dollars tile that Jonathan had. Pay one, get four back. However I did manage to build up a nice engine that allowed me to send out ships using half the resources needed. So to go the max distance out that usually would require six food, I only needed three. Plus I had a powerful tile that allowed me to land three right whales for free.
I think for replayability this game will need the expansion with the extra tiles. Plus the rule book could be clearer in some parts.
This isn't a great worker placement game, but an average one. You'll have a nice time playing it. I'd definitely play again if someone said “hey lets play…”. Would I go out of my way and ask to? Nope.
Jonathan ended up winning our first play of the game. But only by three points. Which was basically the extra points he earnt from a couple of bonus tiles that he had on his side of the town.
We finished off our evenings gaming with me teaching Jonathan 7 Wonders Duel. Jonathan had wanted to try the game. I guess after reading me harping on about it so much since getting it.
We used the wonders as suggested by the rule book for a first time playing the game. It seemed the right thing to do considering this was Jonathan's first game.
While I was going for the science win, Jonathan was going for the military. Neither one of us was able to complete our chosen path to victory so it ended up going to a points victory. But who would win that? Luckily for me, it was me!
But still for a first game Jonathan did get a respectable fifty points.
Overall I think Johathan was pleasantly surprised he enjoyed the game. Especially considering he's not. Fan of 7 Wonders.
After some gaming related chatter, we said our farewells.