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Hamlet

Hamlet, or to give it its full title and avoid anyone thinking this is a game about Shakespeare's Prince of Denmark, Hamlet: The Village Building Game, is a competitive game from Mighty Boards for 2-4 players where you are using resources to grow a shared hamlet so that it eventually has its own church and so qualifies as a village. Designed by David Chircop, with art by Yusuf Artun, it's a game that was hotly anticipated by the Board's Eye View team but it's a title that's attracted quite mixed reviews.



Players use their workers to activate locations and produce resources but they don't own those resources, and that means that you can spend your actions generating resources only for an opponent to snatch them up and make use of them before you get a chance to. It makes for a game with 'take that' interactions that you may find jars with the game's underlying notion of resources as community property for the common good. You use donkeys to transport goods and you add tiles that grow the hamlet and add more buildings that let the workers achieve more for their action, giving an arc to the game and a sense of progress over time. They also enable you to earn milestone awards.


If you're not frustrated by other players snatching 'your' resources, Hamlet can be a satisfying game but what some will see as its charm may be annoying to others. For example, the tiles that players add to the hamlet are of various irregular shapes. That gives distinct character to the growing hamlet but it can make it difficult to optimise subsequent tile placements. You decide how you want your tiles to connect; maybe you'll line up the tiles' pre-printed roads or maybe instead you'll construct a road/bridge to connect tiles where the pre-printed roads don't line up. It's a euro game so, as you might expect, whatever you do will be seen as a way of accumulating points. The complaint we had about the tiles wasn't their quaint shapes but the fact that there are a lot of icons on them that can be hard to make out when you're viewing them from across the table. Some of the resource components too can be quite fiddly to see and handle. This is not a game to play by thematically appropriate Medieval candlelight!



In addition to the multiplayer rules, Hamlet comes with solitaire game rules by Nick Shaw and David Turczi where you are competing with an AI. But watch out: even the AI isn't averse to helping himself to the resources you've been carefully shepherding! And a new Hamlet: By the Lake expansion is due to hit retail shelves next year.






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