Friday, July 1, 2011

HOT BOX - 'Navegador' (What's in the Box?)

Hello! Glad you could stop by again today! I want to show you one of my new games that I'm really excited about!

I had the opportunity to try Navegador on my last day @ Gamestorm 2011 earlier this year. I really enjoyed it. There seemed to be many different paths to victory and the score came out very close in the end (I squeaked out a victory although I think the experience players let me backtrack on one turn where I bought a spice factory a little too early on and they suggested I shouldn't).

I love the rondel! I love the achievement multipliers! I love the exploration aspect! I love how the market works!

I loved it enough to pick up my own copy of the game. Last weekend I finally got around to getting it punched and then played (well, we didn't quite finish the game but we 'saved' it with pictures so we can finish the next gaming session).

Anyhow, I took some pics while opening it. Here's the process of opening and punching it:

Box cover - Henry the Navigator, um, navigating...
Back of the box (there he is again!)
Why Henry the Navigator? Well, according to the booklet inside the box: "The explorations along the African coast guided by Henry heralded the Age of Discovery."

You know the drill - 2 cuts at the corner, then peel the plastic!

The moment of truth.... (alas, no box fart :( )

There's something weird that I pay attention to that not everyone does. No, not box farts! Everyone loves those! It's how well the box top and bottom fit together. Some fit really tightly. Some come off easily. Some are JUST tight enough to cause a box fart. But, it seems to require a certain box HEIGHT to actually cause a box fart. The right combination of tightness and height brings you the joy. And, sometimes you don't get a fart when pulling it OPEN but when you go to CLOSE it....fttttt....ahhhhh. :laugh:

First look inside

I love the smell of fresh, clean cardboard and ink when first opening a box. I've always loved the smell of fresh paint and this is akin to that. I remember having a scratch-and-sniff book that actually had paint smell on one page and it was one of my favorites. I also enjoyed the gasoline and oil scratch-and-sniff stickers I found one time and had those all over my school folder one year.

But I digress...that smell of a fresh, new game is something pleasurable for me. That is why I take joy in getting a new game, not only for the excitement of something new to play, but also opening it and seeing what's inside, smelling the new smells, punching the pieces and sorting it all out.

So, let's see what we've got here:
The quick reference sheet, and the unpunched chits

Really fantastic looking board - love the old style map look
The board is well laid out with the market on one side, the buildings on the other side, the workers and privileges at the top, and the rondel in the middle near the bottom. Plus, the spaces you travel through to explore the Mediterranean Sea are cleverly laid out such that as you progress different goods come into the game plus it also works as the game 'timer' at the same time.

The bag of bits, plus the rule book and an historical booklet

The booklet titled "Navegador: Historical Figures of Portugal" is interesting as it's just informational and not specifically relevant to the gameplay. It's nice to see effort like this put into a game - it definitely adds to the 'feel' of it.

Here are the figures discussed in the booklet (which is in English and German):
* Henry the Navigator
* King Manuel I
* Bartolomeu Dias
* Vasco da Gama
* Pedro Alvares Cabral
* Afonso de Albuquerque
* Francisco Xavier

Everything punched and ready to play!
And finally, here's the near end-game position of the game I played with my friend Bob last Sunday:

Near end-game position in a 2-player game
If you haven't played Navegador yet, I would suggest you give it a go if you have the opportunity. It is thematic, rewards long-term planning, has several different ways to play (and that changes, it seems, with different numbers of  players) and yet, the choices on any given turn aren't overwhelming due to the rondel!

I've really enjoyed playing this game and look forward to more plays in the near future (hopefully).

And, if you can't play this game, I hope you get to explore some other new or interesting game soon instead.

BTW, if you thumb this post on BGG - and come back to thumb ANY post of mine this month on BGG I will be giving away something special/game related at the end of July (I'm trying something new to see if I can encourage readers to let me know if they read my posts here on BGG or not since 'hits' are not actually available on BGG) - it will either be a copy of the Ticket to Ride map (in Northern Africa) + cards that my wife and I created and submitted to the TtR design contest OR it will be a really nice hand-made copy of Bongo! (made by me!)

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