Some board games try to be totally unique. Instead, a game like Belfort merges all the best aspects of your favourite tabletop experiences, blending them together, to create the perfect board game marriage. Belfort manages to use a variety of game mechanics like worker placement, area control, and card/resource management. Mix in the exceptional art of Josh Cappel, and you have created one of my favourite games.
In Belfort, you are responsible to put your elves, dwarves, and gnomes to work in the village and guilds of Belfort, with the purpose of collecting resources to build up the city. As you construct the walled city, in your quest to be the best architect of Belfort, you gain special abilities, more workers, an increase of income, and more influence in the different districts. However, resources are tight, your taxes increase, and your opponents compete with you for space on the ever shrinking map. Do you have what it takes to be the best fantastical civil engineer?
“My absolute favourite part of the game play in Belfort is watching players realize, for the first time, that play order changes mid-round. Some very sneaky plays can be made with a tactical change in play order!” – Sen Foong Lim, co-designer of Belfort.
Both Sen and his co-design partner Jay Cormier, are members of the Game Artisans of Canada (GAC), a network of game designers from across the country. Sen & Jay met at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Even with both designers now living on opposite sides of the Canadian map, they keep inventing incredible games.
With the help of GAC and thorough play testing, with the developing help of Tasty Ministry Games, Belfort has evolved into a very polished and successful game. Listen to some of the changes the game has experienced, “Belfort originally had warrior units, an attacking Orc horde, and a Dragon that would destroy unguarded buildings.”
However, all the changes have been worth it. The first print run of the game sold out in a flash. They managed to sneak on the second edition box cover a 2011 Dice Hate Me Game of the Year badge. And the accolades for the game don’t stop there. Many reviewers are raving about this game. At the 2011 BGGcon Belfort was named the top game. Recently the game received a 2012 Golden Geek Nomination. Aditionally, Belfort was picked up by Pegasus Spiel (a popular board game publisher in Germany), as they plan to release a German language version of the game (stay tuned for more news about a release in Japan & Poland).
Some of you may not worry about a Yeti attack; however, the elves, dwarves, and gnomes that live in the board game world of Belfort, are worried. As Sen Foong Lim tells me, “My 8-year old son is holding me to the promise of Yetis attacking Belfort, so stock up on fire wood and rocks for the catapults because, as they say in the North, winter is coming…”
Recently a mini guild expansion for Belfort was released on BoardGameGeek.com You can find an image of the mini guild: HERE. I’m proud to say I got to help contribute to the mini expansion. And because of my ongoing friendship with the designers, and being a big fan of the game (its actually one of my favourite games), Im happy to say that is not the only expansion for the game.
And now for some breaking news…
Sen explained to me, he “was originally unhappy that we were using stickers for the elves/dwarves/gnomes, but they are so much easier to work with than the figures I had originally hoped for. They also leave us room to design different types of Elf and Dwarf (and even Gnome) “upgrades” for future expansions. That, and the counters take up a lot less space in a box that is chock full of stuff already!”
After some poking and prodding, Sen revealed that Josh Cappel, the artist of Belfort, “is currently working on the first full expansion, available sometime in 2013. This expansion will introduce new units into the game: Assistants. It will also add the element of renovating buildings to the game, giving players another pathway to victory.”
If you don’t have this game already, and want to get one great game that manages to merger the best aspects of the top strategy board games in the world, you need to buy Belfort! I wouldn’t be surprised if it became your new favourite game.
- For a game of its depth I found it very easy to learn
- The rules are some of the best I have ever read. A great mix of humour and clarity
- Phenomenal art and exceptional components
- Everything in the game is intuitive and well balanced
- Not for those prone to Analysis Paralysis (AP)
- The 2-player rules have a mixed response (personally I am a fan)
- Some guilds do not “play well” with others
- Suboptimal decisions by some players may lead to runaway scoring by another player.
- FUN FACTOR: 9.5/10
- PRODUCTION QUALITY: 9.5/10
- ARTWORK: 9.5/10
- RULEBOOK: 9.5/10
- STRATEGY ELEMENT: 9/10
- LUCK ELEMENT: 3/10
- PLAYER INTERACTION: 6/10
- REPLAY VALUE: 8/10