Rococo: Jewelry Box Expansion Review

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I acquired two new games last week, Broom Service the card game and the Rococo Jewelry Box expansion. I decided to write about Rococo and make a little video on Broom Service (coming later this week). As I mentioned in my post a few weeks back I absolutely love Rococo, its a beautiful Euro and up there in my top ten.

So what does Jewelry Box add to the game and is it worth purchasing? Well you get 28 additional employees, an exam card, jewellery box board and jewellery tokens, and yes I believe it’s worth purchasing (for a vey reasonable £12.50 RRP.)
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So what does it do? Well first off there’s the personal ‘exam’ cards. You take the exam using your apprentice and journeyman cards to meet the three set requirements (same for every player and easily achievable e.g- use an action with your apprentice to buy a yellow or red material) Once you’ve completed the exam you spend an action trading in your standard journeyman/apprentice card and pay the hiring cost to choose one of the special guys. These let you add on a cool free action e.g. – make a dress for free and sell only (instead of placing it in a hall, and hey that extra money is always welcome!) you can take the exams as many times as you like. The jewellery itself is displayed on a separate little board and consists of coloured ring and necklace tokens. You can only purchase these when you make a dress and as the game progresses and they are purchased you can move them along the board and lower their cost. When you buy a piece of jewellery this gives you income every round. If the one that you buy matches the colour of the dress you made then you can pick up a free material. I find this comes in handy because personally I dislike spending too many actions purchasing! Some of the expansion cards are shuffled into the regular deck too so you can snap one of those up as a hiring action.
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In my opinion if you like Rococo you’ll welcome this expansion and probably enjoy it as much as I did. I love that it adds more to an already tough game and makes choosing what to do next even more challenging. I only wish it added on an extra round because this game seems to end so quickly as it is, and you feel like there’s so much more you could achieve if you had just a bit more time. There’s the inevitable ‘check the rule book 500 times to remember what the symbols mean’ but that’s to be expected when you first start playing a language independent game. The jewellery box and the exams seem to give you quite a bit more income to play around with too and can earn you some valuable extra prestige points early on, so it definitely feels like you are gaining more which is always nice.
It’s an all round good review from me, a must have if you own the game and an incentive to give Rococo a try if you haven’t already!
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Empty packet of Revels optional! 

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Coming Soon! Rococo: Jewellery Box

I recently discovered that there is an expansion on the way for the Euro gamers favourite Rococo. So stoked for this!  Jewellery Box will add 28 cards with new bonuses to change up the game without changing the rules. As the title  suggests it also attaches a jewellery option accompanied with lovely new tiles and you can receive a master craftsman’s diploma. All for the RRP of £12.95 (in the UK) not bad hey?

Despite its release in 2013 I only bought and played Roccoco this year after a bit of umming and ahhhing. I’m glad I did and could immediately see why it’s a firm favourite. Some games you find just work. The Castles of Burgundy, Suburbia, 7 Wonders, Twilight Struggle, Puerto Rico and Concordia to name a few. They seem to play out smoothly, make sense, are challenging without being horrible excruciating and are just…fun. I find that it’s usually games that aren’t overly complicated, that don’t have 10 million rules that you have to check up every five seconds, then go online to double check and triple check. They cultivate healthy competition without you wanting to reach across the table and strangle another player. They make you think, you strategise, but you don’t have steam coming out of your ears in sheer frustration. You definitely care if you win but won’t be too pissed if you don’t, because you had fun in the process. These games allow the player to gain as they go and feel a sense of achievement. Lastly the theme and mechanics in ‘games that just work’ all meld together nicely.

Roccoco is one of those games. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and on the surface I guess that making dresses for a lavish ball may seem a little feminine, although all the characters (except for the queen) are male. But none of that kind of stuff matters when the game itself is one that works. Everyone can get down with a bit of frivolity and 17th century fashion if the game’s a good one!

Roccoco is a clever take on deck building, there are some tough choices to be made, you are constantly in close competition to your opponents for area control, hiring employees first, nabbing the best monument spots on the board and obtaining the correct requirements in time to make your garments. At the end you are able to reap lots of rewards in the form of prestige points which is always nice (aka not an abrupt ‘is that it then?’ ending) Also, let’s face it the game itself is hella pretty and biiiiiig.

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Having said all this I never win it, ever! My partner clearly has more fashion prowess than me.  I am most definitely looking forward to playing it with the Jewellery Box expansion next month! If you have yet to play Roccoco I suggest you do, it’s a real gem. I’m so corny in my posts sometimes *blush*! More info

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Concordia, Mac Gerdts

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I love the fast pace of Concordia! I must say that this is the first game for a while that has made me genuinely excited to be playing, and really engaged. Concordia actually works great with only two players, and i’m so anxious to beat my highest score each time it’s ludicrous. I definitely find the challenge of playing games, and bettering myself each time the best part of playing. I like winning when i’ve continuously lost a certain game, but in general the ‘winning’ aspect i’m not too fussed with. So I really love Concordia and I look forward to buying the expansion Salsa, hopefully very soon! More Info

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Puerto Rico, Andreas Seyfarth

Bit late to the party with this one but we bought Puerto Rico a couple of weeks ago and have thoroughly enjoyed it.

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I’ve heard about it for a long time but never  considered it, I think I judged the game by its cover and thought it looks very similar to alot of other eurogames, it looks a bit dry etc but now I’m happy to say I was wrong! So Jon informed me it was a economy engine builder and we don’t have many of them in our collection. You spend your turns building your errr economy by settling plantations for corn, coffee, sugar, indigo and tobacco. You set up buildings and trade and ship your goods. And it works incredibly smoothly, once you get the hang of it you can have lightening fast rounds with no messing about or replenishing components in between, so you can just keep on going. You make money and score victory points and get bonus VP’s for the more expensive buildings and the game ends when your VP’s or colonists run out.

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Custom made wooden ships by Jon really added something to the game!

Yes the colonists, this brings me on to the slightly problematic part of the concept….are the colonists representing slaves? Is this game about slavery? There are some mixed thoughts out there, with one camp being like yeah maybe but it’s just a game, but if that was the case I wouldn’t be comfortable with it because I mean you can’t just play anything for entertainment and say ah well it’s just a game, for example I wouldn’t want to play a game about little kids in a sweatshop or the kkk so errrrm NO, but I’m in the camp of it’s probably not representing slavery because the colonists aren’t just working on the plantations, they’re working in the markets and going to the university and the hospice and yeah I’m just not convinced, but it irritates me that this is even a thing, because it takes away from an otherwise really good game, so I wish Mr Seyfarth had made it very obvious that it’s not the case.

I’m pleased to discover that there are two expansions because my only concern is that if you play Puerto Rico too much it becomes a bit too straightforward and not very challenging. Recently we’ve been playing our new purchases a hell of a lot. When we had more money we’d but several games and rotate them but now we can’t buy as many we often play the same one lots and really enjoy it but become pro’s at it far too quickly! So there you go, Puerto Rico, in my opinion not about slavery, a really good game but expansions needed if you want to bulk it up a bit! More Info

 

 

Castles of Mad King Ludwig, Ted Alspach

 

Castles of Mad King Ludwig is a good game. It’s good. But it’s not great. We’ve played it a few times since we got it last year and I still couldn’t put my finger on why it just isn’t as good as Suburbia, until I spoke to Jon tonight and came to a conclusion…

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I thought I’d like the theme a lot more than I actually do, building the crazy castle, the cute little rooms…the box and the components are lovely and aesthetically it’s a gorgeous game to have in your collection. But nothing about the playing and scoring particularly excites me and that’s probably because, as Jon pointed out, you only get points for joining your tile up to doorways and receive bonus points for connecting to one room, and yeah you get some bonuses for completing rooms, but in my opinion only one of them is worth having, and the end of game extras are just a bit random. Whereas in Suburbia the theme works well for me, it’s a lot smoother and for every turn you get more opportunities to score points because of the hexagonal layout so there’s more to be gained or lost depending on where you place them, so Suburbia is basically more challenging and rewarding. I liked that with Suburbia your town has to make sense and work to win the game and didn’t like the randomness of the mad King’s castle as much.

BUT having said all that Castles isn’t BAD, and maybe if I hadn’t played Suburbia first and loved it I would of liked this more. So yeah, Castles, I wouldn’t dismiss it, and I’d probably play it again, but if you’re going to go for a Ted Alspach this game is definitely the lesser of the two. More Info

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Village, Inka & Markus Brand

Post from 2014….

Check out the beautiful art work on Village!

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I really enjoyed this game, I like the fact that there’s no time limit on the game and it can last for half hour on 90 minutes depending on what you choose to do. I thought it was a bit morbid at first that your family have to die every time that you use up too much time (hour glasses) on your score board but it makes sense within the game….the only bad thing is how you invest in your little family members…I was gutted when one of mine went to the paupers grave yard rather than ‘the book’. But to me that’s a mark of a good game because I actually care. It’s really clever, play it. More Info

The Castles of Burgundy, Stefan Feld

Post from Autumn 2014:

I played Castles of Burgundy for the first time and loved it. Just enough time to do everything you want/need without it going on for crazy long. Love the dice rolling element. This is a fairly low priced game and shows in the light weight board and components but it’s nice enough quality to not disappoint. Would recommend, definitely a new favourite. More Info

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