Hamburg Strategy Game Overview

Queen Games Stefan Feld City Collection Hamburg strategy game

Unless you’re really paying attention (or are an avid gamer), you probably haven’t noticed that some of your favorite games have been produced by different companies over the years. Companies like Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers were household names when I was a kid. They were absorbed by a larger company as is common in this industry. In some cases, the new company takes over the publishing. In other cases, it goes into the abyss. What you may not realize is game designers often license their work under contract. Terms vary and the contract can end for an assortment of reasons causing a game to no longer produced. Hamburg, a strategy game designed by Stephan Feld is a great example. Previously published by Z-Man Games as Bruges, Hamburg was given a refresh and released by Queen Games as the first issue in their City Collection.

Setup of Hamburg strategy game from Queen Games -

Like many newly released strategy games, Hamburg can be played solo or up to five people. As is true of many titles from Queen Games, you can play the base game or incorporate any number of expansions that come in the box. So before you start, figure out how much umph you want to add to your game then follow the setup based on those various components. In all cases, there’s a main board and each player has their own as well.

The main board offers a few additional scoring options in Hamburg strategy game from Queen Games -

As with most games designed by Stefan Feld, there are multiple paths to score points. The main board is broken down into various sections, each with their own potential scoring benefits. The premise of the game is to earn enough influence and status to become the new mayor. This is achieved through activities such as the construction of buildings, parks and zoos.

Buildings are a key scoring component in Hamburg strategy game from Queen Games -

Hamburg consists of eight seasons, each with four phases. (1) Replenish your hand. (2) Dice actions. (3) Perform four rounds of actions. (4) End of season. The basis of Hamburg involves the cards drawn in the first phase, drawn into players’ hands and spent in a variety of ways. Each of the different colors of cards correlates to the dice that are rolled in phase two. In addition, they represent 22 different types of buildings once constructed.

But it isn’t as simple as paying the cost to build it. First, you must create a foundation, done by utilizing a card from your hand and placing it face-down. And those same cards are used to acquire money, construct walls, collect workers and mitigate potential damage caused by disasters.

Building walls is a scoring option in Hamburg strategy games from Queen Games -

As an example, you can discard a card matching the color and pay the fee noted on that wall segment. At any given time, you’ll have a maximum of two options as you can only build on the open-most section on either side of your tower.

Mitigating disasters is crucial in Hamburg strategy game from Queen Games -

However, just because you build or accomplish something doesn’t mean it’s locked in. When the dice are rolled in phase two, they trigger a number of things. As mentioned above, you may discard cards to collect money. The amount you receive is determined by the pip value on the die matching the card you shed. As awesome as it is to cash in cards when fives or sixes come up, those values also trigger a disaster. You need to watch the damage being done, too. Once the last piece slides to the side, you incur a massive penalty depending on which disaster track. It could mean you lose all your money or workers, one building or building foundation, or a city wall segment. Luck of the roll plays a part. But an awareness of whether you can afford to lose whatever disaster track is most vulnerable is helpful.

I barely touched on the depth of this game and the assortment of other ways to earn points. This type of strategy game is my favorite because each player can work on different things without getting in the way of one another.

When you consider the many expansions available in the box, Hamburg has a great deal of replay value with no two games feeling the same. It’s probably a bit complex for younger players, but is approachable with assistance when only using the base components of the game. I encourage you to check with your local game store about availability or pick up a copy from Amazon. The price may seem high, but it’s the first in the City Collection series which is shaping up to be filled with stellar games. Many people will be working to collect the growing set so if that sounds like something you would do then no better place to start than now with the first one. Keep tabs on other releases and news by following Queen Games on Facebook or the other channels available on their Linktree.

When you find a series you enjoy, do you try to collect the whole set?

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