Review – Mombasa
An action programming, hand management game.
Year Published: 2015
Designer: Alexander Pfister
Publisher: Pegasus Spiele
Game Time: ~150 minutes
Set-up Time: ~5 minutes
Theme: 1800’s Africa
Mechanisms: Action Movement Programming, Area Influence, Hand Management, Stock Holding
How to win: Make the most money
In Mombasa, players acquire shares of chartered companies based in Mombasa, Cape Town, Saint-Louis, and Cairo and propagate trading posts of these companies throughout the African continent in order to earn the most money.
Set Up, Game Play & Game End
So… One thing I missed in the ‘How to play’ video is that when you play a Bookkeeper (and via some other methods) you get ‘Book Points’ that allows you to add a book token from the main board to your personal board…
But the game itself is great.
The main mechanism of these active decks and resting decks where you’re planning for several moves ahead is fantastic. Not only do you have to play cards you need this turn, but you need to think about the resting deck pile and how the card you play this turn will affect it.
It means you have can have one very good, specialised turn. Maybe you play your 3 best ‘Exploration’ cards in one turn. Those cards are then split into 3 different decks so it’ll take at least 3 rounds just to get them back in your hand. The game is only 7 rounds long so don’t mess about!
You also have to plan to try and get a majority bonus as well as play cards that you can spend to get more cards… It’s a delicate system, don’t mess up 🙂
We’ve not even covered the shares yet.
You get shares from certain cards and moving around the company tracks. But the number of shares you have is only dependant on the value of these shares, this is where the area influence part comes in.
As players gain shares, and therefore interest in a company, the fight to expand it and reduce the value of other companies begins. Later in the game, the 4 companies expand out and a 4-way tug of war with players increasing the value of some while reducing the value of others.
It’s tricky, but everything just works very well together.
An excellent Euro with a great mix of mechanisms that still leaves the game clear and easy to understand.
I give it 7/10