Saturday, June 11, 2016

Systems Saturday - Grand Austria Hotel (2015)

Our friend Wendy picked up a copy of Grand Austria Hotel (2015) and busted it out for a Friday gaming session recently.  It has some interesting mechanics, so I thought I would feature it on a Systems Saturday blog post.

The description on Board Game Geek is as follows:
In the thick of the Viennese modern age, exquisite cafés are competing for customers. Inspiring artists, important politicians, and tourists from all over the world are populating Vienna and in need of a hotel room. This is your opportunity to turn your little café into a world famous hotel. Hire staff, fulfill the wishes of your guests, and gain the emperor's favor. Only then will your café become the Grand Austria Hotel.
The start player rolls the dice, sorting them by the rolled number and placing them on the corresponding action spaces. On a turn, a player chooses one of the six actions and carries it out. The number of the available dice in the corresponding action spaces determines how much the player gets from the action. They then remove one of the dice and can carry out additional actions. With the different actions, a player can get the necessary drinks and dishes, prepare the rooms, or hire staff.
But no hotel can grow without guests. To choose wisely which guests to attract and to complete their orders brings some important bonus actions. The staff cards also have different advantages, but the game ends after seven rounds and no player can do everything they want, so whoever makes the right decisions and finds the best way to create bonus actions will win.
With 116 different cards and a new set-up in each game, Grand Austria Hotel provides a huge replay value. Each game stands on its own and demands new tactics and strategies.

Getting extra actions in this game it a high priority since no one will ever get everything done they might like to do.  This isn't a game where you complete a puzzle but more so a game that gauges how you do in the time you have to work on a puzzle.  The dice-as-available-actions mechanic is an interesting one, particularly how it dictates the strength of each action and diminishes as those actions are claimed.  The fail safe of having sixes represent a wild card for any action lessens the chance that any player will get frozen out during a chosen strategy, though being nimble is important.  I both want and need to play this game again.

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