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pReview: Coldwater Crown

What's going on everyone!? For the past week or so I've had the pleasure to play a new game coming to kickstarter July 18th called Coldwater Crown by Bellwether Games! It's a great fishing themed worker placement that is SURE to have you hooked! ;) (See what I did there, I'm a comedian!)

So sit back, grab your favorite beverage out of the cooler and make sure you're fishing like is new because we're going to take a look at Coldwater Crown!







As always, here's an excerpt:



"It's a cold and misty morning on the Irish coast. The salt-water spray is stinging your eyes and your sleep-deprived, but there is nowhere else you'd rather be. You've secured your spot as a competitor in the world-renowned Coldwater Crown fishing tournament, and you're convinced you taste victory in the salty air. You were raised on these waters. You know how and when the fish like to bite, you know which bait to use, and, most importantly, you know how to strategically balance your catch of fish to reel in the most trophies. But nothing is certain on these frigid waters. Your competitors could beat you to the best fishing spots and the fish you want could disappear just before you get there. Will you be able to bring home the Coldwater Crown or will you get left-behind in your competitors' wake?"

Let's take a closer look at this game now that we know what the premise is.






In Coldwater Crown you start by setting up the board with the various tokens and cards that go in specific spots. On the board itself is a nice guide in each tokens place that tells you WHICH tokens to use depending on the amount of players that will be playing.

Once you're done with the tokens and cards you place an angler token with the "1" side facing up on each of the Red, Yellow and Green spaces. This is simply to make sure there are enough options as well as blocking as the game starts and continues. You don't want the game TOO easy do you!?

You will also be setting out the tackle tokens next to the board and shuffling them up as well as setting out the Master Angler cards next to the board as described in the rules.


Don't fret though, there are also solo rules for those of you who like to fish quietly in your secret spot. ;)

Once players get the board set up it's time to give each player an angler token with the "1" facing up as well as a player dashboard which resembles an awesome tackle box and each player picks one of the tackle tokens making sure to keep it hidden from the other players.


Then, drawing from the bait bag, players draw out enough bait for each zone on their board, making sure to take one at a time. When all players have done this it's time to start playing!



To take a turn it's very simple in the beginning but requires some strategy to win as the game goes on. You simply take your angler token and place it on one of the open spaces which at the start and for the first player will be either the Blue, Black, Purple or the Port space.

Each colored space is straight forward. When you place a token that you had on the "1" side facing up, it allows you to remove 1 bait of that color from each of your zones on your player board. If you happened to have a token on the "2" side facing up and placed it down on one of the colors it allows you to remove ALL of that colored bait from each of your zones on the board.

The Port space is a little different than the rest and with great reason. As you're doing all of this fishing and losing your bait, you'll need to fill up on your bait if you want to keep catching fish! This is what this space is for. It allows you two different options should you place a token on this space.




Should you place your token with the "1" side facing up on this space it let's you choose between two different options. Fill one of your zones on your player board with bait OR choose one of the Master Angler fish cards and place it by you.

If you place it with the "2" side facing up then you can do TWO things on this space. You can fill up two different zones on your player board, take two Master Angler cards or do one of each if you should choose.

Now, I've been talking a lot about the "1" and "2" side facing up on your token, I guess I should clarify how this happens, lol.





After you place your token on the board, you have to pick up another token freeing another space but it can NOT be the token you just put down. If the token you pick up has it's "1" side showing, you flip it to the "2" side and set it by your player board. Now you will have a token with the "2" side showing to place on your next turn.

If you should pick up a token on the board with the "2" side showing, you flip it to the "1" side and set it next to your player board so that you will have a token with the "1" side showing to place on your next turn.




And that's just a quick run down on how to play the game for you. I know I've left out a little bit but it's things that are covered in the rulebook and relate more to scoring than the gameplay itself with the exception of how to catch the Master Angler fish.



On to my opinion:



Game Art: Ok, I can NOT express this one enough... The art is AMAZING! The fish are simply realistic looking. They look like they were taken right out of the water and placed onto the cards using some sort of sorcery. The board, well, to put it simply... You could get LOST in it! The art on the board shows the various areas for the fishing locations and it's more than just that, there are WONDERFUL details on the board that make you want to think about the people that live there.





Gameplay: The worker placement mechanic in this game is VERY unique to me. I've played plenty of worker placement games but the putting the token down while freeing another place as well as clearing from your player board are great fun. This allows for some REALLY in depth strategy as you play the game. Do you want to screw over the player after you? Do you want to accidentally screw yourself over in the process? These and a host of other things are what you will consider as the game goes on. I LOVE it!

Not to mention, this game is easy to learn while keeping that bit of complexity at the same time. They mastered the balance in this game. Our daughter REALLY took to this game and even kicked our butts at it! That's saying a lot really, she's not much for worker placement games. Now she asks WHEN we're going to play this one!





Game Quality: Now, I've had the privilege to check out OTHER Bellwether Games' products and all I can say is I can't wait to see this game funded! The demo/prototype/review copy that I received is WONDERFUL as it is but I can only imagine how much better it will look when funded!


So should you buy/back this game? If you like worker placement games, fishing, great art or a great time trying to strategize your way to victory then YES, by all means YES!!! If worker placement games aren't something you're into then you may way to pass. However I urge you to try this one out if you get a chance because it may be one you end up loving, like my daughter does.


CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT MORE BELLWETHER GAMES PRODUCTS!

(Link to Kickstarter Campaign will go here once launched. Check back on July 18th!)

As always, thank you for reading and don't forget to stop and smell the meeples! :)
-Tim

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