Monday, October 24, 2005

The Bridges of Shangri-La

The Bridges of Shangri-La



This was one of those games that when it was first brought out, I just knew I'd like it. Don't know why specifically, but something grabbed me right from the start. So we were setting up and listening to the rules, and it still seemed interesting enough, but I started to feel that something was missing. By the end of the game I just wanted it to be over.

I would try to talk about the theme some, but we pretty much skipped that part. There are several towns on the board, and there are paths connecting them. Each path has a wooden bridge placed over the gap that is on the board. Each town has seven spaces depicting the seven different types of tiles each person has. You have a limited amount of each of the seven symbols. The game starts with a few towns populated with different symbols from different players. On your turn you can add a "master" (which is a new tile in an empty spot) in a town in which you already have a master, or you can add a "student" (a tile that already has a presence in that same town) to a master of your color, but only one student per master. So the towns slowly build up with masters filling empty spots and then students on top of the masters.

When someone feels that the town is ready to send out their students, they pick a city that is connect by a bridge, and all students then travel to that town together. The bridge they crossed is removed from the game, and any empty slots are filled with the new students and now become masters. If there is already a master present in that town of a type where a new student is trying to enter, then whichever town has more masters wins.

That's pretty much it. The game ends when almost all of the towns are isolated (all bridges on paths connected to it have been used), and the winner is the player with the most masters. It does have some interesting decisions, and it can be quite tense as setting up a power move takes several turns. But in the end, I just didn't enjoy myself.

Final Comments:
This is not a bad game. And I can't really put my finger on what bored me about it. I mean, I like a lot of abstract strategy games, so the dryness shouldn't have been a problem. Whatever the reason, it just wasn't fun. *shrug*