Gameday First Play – Bärenpark
“Always respect Mother Nature. Especially when she weighs 400 pounds and is guarding her baby.”
~ James Rollins
Bärenpark takes you into the world of bears, challenging you to build your own bear park. Would you like another polar bear enclosure or rather a koala* house? The park visitors are sure to get hungry on their tour through the park, so build them places to eat! Whatever your choices are, make sure you get the next building permit and use your land wisely!
In more detail, each player in Bärenpark builds their own bear park, attempting to make it as beautiful as they can, while also using every square metre possible.
(* No, koalas aren’t bears but they’re so cute, we couldn’t leave them out of this game!)
So you start with a “bare” park that you’ll turn into a “bear park”. (boom!)Depending on your place in turn order, you’ll get a basic tile to get this started.
Depending on your place in turn order, you’ll get a basic tile to get this started.
On your turn, you place the tile on your board covering any of the spaces and more importantly, those symbols.
The covered symbols determine what you do this turn.
The fenced off hole can’t be covered.
The builders stood around let you take a new park tile and add it next to the one you have to expand the building area.
The Wheelbarrow, Cement Mixer and (unpictured) Digger allow you to take an enclosure tile from those available in the supply. The symbols, in the order listed, give you access to enclosure tiles of increasing size and point value.
New enclosure tiles are placed in front of you and will be added to your board at the start of your NEXT turn.
As you can see, the available enclosure tiles not only get bigger and are worth more points, they are also fewer in number. The tiles that can only be claimed by covering the Digger symbol only have 1 each of the 9 types.
So you put a tile on your board, cover symbols and take actions based on what you covered. But why?
Well points… But there are bonus tiles. These are random and come in stacks of 3 in decreasing value. If you meet their criteria you claim a tile, the quicker you claim it, the more points they are worth.
There are also 16 Bear Statues…
As you fill every space on a park board you’re left with that fenced off hole you can’t build on. When you fill the other 15 spaces, you add the highest value Bear Statute token to that space and it’s worth that many points.
When one person finishes 4 boards, every other player takes one more turn. You count points from Bear Statues, Bonus Tiles and Enclosure tiles in your park, most points wins.
I like these polyomino style games like Patchwork and Cottage Garden, but this one is my favourite of all 3. Well, if I had to play one with 2 players it would be Patchwork but with 3-4 players, it’s this one.
The way you get the enclosure tiles plays in well with how you place them to take actions and fill spaces. Also, on top of that, you have those bonus tiles that effect which enclosure tiles you need and how you’ll place them.
The bonus tiles add a tonne of variety, giving you something different to think about each game.
The theme is a Bear Park… Could have been literally anything else.
A very fun game I played twice back to back and look forward to playing more in the future.