Recent Vintage Review: Liberté

   Posted by: Jim   in Board games, Reviews

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of participating in That Board Gaming Thing, an invitational board game convention that takes place right here in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. While I didn’t manage to play any (except one) of the hot games, I did play a number of fairly recent games, many of which were new to me. Over the next few days, I’ll be posting some short reviews of these games, and perhaps some others throughout October. The ranking system I’ll be using is based on the Sound Opinions system of Buy It/Burn It/Trash It, but instead: Buy It/Borrow It/Trash It.

(Image courtesy of moonblogger@BoardGameGeek)

The first game I played at the con was Liberté. It’s an older game (2001) by Martin Wallace, and recently republished by Valley Games. It covers the period from the start of the French Revolution to Napoleon’s rise to power. At its heart it’s an election game, played over four rounds. You collect cards which either allow you to place markers in regions on the board and hence build influence in one of three factions, or allow you to perform special actions, such as remove other players’ markers from the board. You may also reserve some of the cards, which allow you to push more influence to break ties.

At the end of each round, you determine which player has the most influence in each space (if possible, breaking ties by using the cards mentioned above). The faction that wins that space gets one vote in the election, and that player gets a marker indicating their influence in that faction. Note that factions are not tied to an individual players. So you, as a player, could be pushing for the royalist faction (white) in one space, while pushing for the moderates (blue) in another space, or the extremists (red) in a third.

Your main goal is to score points by having the most influence in the faction that wins the election (i.e. has the most overall influence) each round. There are also subgoals that score points such as having majority control of the minority party, or majority control of the army, or majority control in certain regions. In general, the player with the most points wins.

I could see the draw of the game, and maybe with a few more plays I might be able to grok it. But in general it felt like there was too much going on — too many spaces to keep track of, and in a way, too many options to consider. So while I suspect once I get to know it a little better I might enjoy it more, for a pick-up game it didn’t work for me. On the other hand, Stefan Feld fans would probably enjoy it a lot.

Final verdict: Borrow It.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 1st, 2013 at 6:49 pm and is filed under Board games, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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