If you are a board game enthusiast, chances are you are familiar with the name Uwe Rosenberg. He is the man behind many well-known board games, such as Boonanza, Agricultural in Patchwork. So then White Goblin Games wanted to send us a game from him, we were certainly interested. We have New Moon played for you guys, and here’s our review.
In New Moon players must collect tiles and place them on their playing field. Laying is as simple as placing it next to one or more other tiles in your playing field. In this way, everyone is slowly creating a substantial structure. The goal is to place tiles of the correct color next to each other. If you do that well, you fulfill assignments. The first person to complete twenty tasks wins the game. The rules are quite simple, but the game contains quite a bit of strategy. We would therefore say that it is suitable for everyone, provided that all participants are more or less equals. An experienced player will easily make short work of a beginner, but beginners will have a lot of fun competing against each other. And for four veterans who pull out all the stops, it really feels fantastic.
Nova Luna has the theme of the moon. Or, to be more precise, the positions of the moon. Players walk through months and that is tracked with moon phases. With that everything about the theme has already been. Besides the time track it is nowhere to be found. Instead, Rosenberg has chosen to keep everything abstract and not distract from the game. Players can focus on the game without any fuss. That sometimes works out well, but sometimes it doesn’t.
People who Patchwork played or read our review will recognize the time track. It is a somewhat simplified version of the track in that game. Turns don’t go with the clock me. Instead, players keep paying for actions with time. If you pay more time, you probably have a better promotion. But then there is a good chance that your opponent will have a longer turn. The time track was an ironclad part of it Patchwork, and in New Moon is no different. It requires critical thinking and planning ahead. It also allows to thwart your opponents considerably.
The purchase of tiles also works in a similar way. From the Moon, a player must purchase one of the next three tiles in a clockwise direction. The moon then takes the place of the tile. So players have control over what is available to buy the next turn. Is the perfect tile for your opponent up for grabs, but you can’t do much with it? Then it might be wise to step over it. Is your perfect tile four steps away from you? You may want to buy a cheap one first to get within range.
Here the abstract nature bites New Moon a bit in the moon buttocks. There is no thematic guide to giving players an idea of what makes a good move. There are only tiles, tiles and more tiles. In the first game, therefore, players often do not really have an idea of what they are doing. Compare it with, for example Carcasonne, where you are building roads, meadows or castles. You know why you are doing it, which gives you a slightly better feeling and more direction.
Instead, players get a little lost in it New Moon. But beyond the first game that has something beautiful. The game drags you along and demands all your attention for a specific tile or a specific place in your building. Meanwhile, there is a much better move that you are overlooking. Not because it is a complicated move, but simply because the game is distracting. In addition, players feel inclined to make a neat rectangle, while it is actually much more sensible to make an asymmetrical structure with many corners. You have to counter your own nature a bit to win. And that is wonderful.
Yet it remains difficult to New Moon not comparable with Patchwork. The two games are very similar. Rosenberg has simplified some concepts from his earlier masterpiece to make it playable for a larger group. Feels like a consequence New Moon next Patchwork a little weak when playing in pairs. With every move we made we got nostalgic nostalgia for that masterpiece. If you are locked up with your partner, we therefore recommend that you go for the pastor. If, on the other hand, you are locked up with your family, children or housemates, then New Moon a lot more attractive.
Indeed, it has removed some concepts that Patchwork so mercilessly. Players now only pay with time, so they never have to pass. That always felt very annoying, especially if your opponent managed to avoid passing completely. Nor is there the threat of the end of the time track. Instead, play continues until someone wins. Now you are racing to victory, instead of trying to slow down your progress. These changes are great for more players as it feels a bit friendlier. New Moon is actually Patchwork, but without the meanness of a two-player game.
We would also like to briefly say that the White Goblin Games rulebook is a bit on the bad side. It takes a while for the lines to click in your head. Concepts are also unnecessarily repeated. Sometimes even word for word. We do not know whether this is something specific for the translation, or whether it is also a problem in the original or English. For a better experience, we recommend that someone learns the rules and explains them to the rest.
New Moon is simple, but strategic. Anyone can play it and as long as the participants are more or less of the same level, it works great. The abstract nature feels a bit unfortunate at first, but later it is even nice. The game is quite similar Patchwork, but for three or four players. We believe that with those player numbers New Moon excellent!