Con of the North 2013, part II: Hansa Teutonica

Cover of Hansa TeutonicaQuite soon after Ace of Aces ended, I got into a game of Hansa Teutonica. I’d actually just played my first game of it a week before, and liked it. Hansa Teutonica is a game of building trade routes in late medieval Germany. Like a lot of German games, it has a fair amount of fiddly bits and some very interesting mechanics. Unlike a lot of German games, the mechanics have a good amount to do with the flavor. There are barely any random elements, and the amount of player interaction varies interestingly depending on how much interaction the players want — it can be really placid, or it can be really cutthroat. The production values are wonderful; the board, in particular, reminds me of Eric Hotz‘ work on the poetic maps for Hârn.

The person explaining the rules did perhaps a better job than the person who explained the rules to me the first time; among other things, the Con of the North teacher preserved something of the flavor of the game, which is important to my enjoyment. The two people varied a fair bit on their interpretations of the rules, and in particular of the scoring. Having looked at the rules myself, it looks like they weren’t translated all that well from German, and that they were fairly complex to begin with.

Nonetheless, it was a good amount of fun. The other players seemed pretty into it, and I certainly had a good time. We ended up with a wide split in scores; two players were separated by only a point in the lead, two players were very close for last place and I was in the middle, with a dozen or so points on either side.

This was my only boardgame of the weekend, and nearly my only non-RPG. There were a lot of good RPGs on offer this year.


Con of the North 2013, part II: Hansa Teutonica — 2 Comments

  1. I can’t tell from your description boardgamegeek whether it is what I would consider a resource management game. Obviously it has some resources to manage, but it also sounds like it has a fair bit to do with controlling territory. (What I’m really asking is: does it have water?)

    • The first time I played it, P. was playing Ticket to Ride simultaneously, and I was struck by the similarities between the two games: essentially, you’re trying to complete routes between cities. With Hansa Teutonica, however, once a route is finished, the pieces are removed and someone else can complete the route, ad infinitum. (So why would you finish a route? When you do so, you can either place a piece in a town to establish control, or you can gain a special ability as designated by the town, or you can do other things. Completing routes is key to gaining abilities.)

      It’s definitely a resource management game, at least by my definition; there are bunches of different meters to keep track of, such as actions, traders you can refill from your stock, free on-board movement, score multiplier, etc. And I frequently find myself thinking “If I want a higher score multiplier, I need to complete that route, but to complete that route, I need another merchant, which requires getting another on-board movement first” or similarly complex chains of actions. There isn’t really territory control, per se; you try to gain control of towns, though, which I suppose could mean the same thing. And there can be competition over finishing routes.

      I think there are a couple rivers implied on the map. They have no mechanical effect, but I forget how thorough your hydrophobia is.

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