Tuesday, May 16, 2017

An American on Paris Paris

Paris Paris is a fairly simple game that took me a strangely long time to wrap my brain around. I'm going to use the excuse that learning it online at BSW and being colorblind made it harder. On the other hand, once I got my own copy, it made a lot more sense. (I bought it during my compulsive game buying phase but it has stayed in my collection)

Michael Schacht seems to have a knack for themes (Seriously, running your own zoo would seem a lot more unusual if Zooleretto and its family wasn't such a staple. And, yes, I know O Zoo Le Mio did it first) Paris Paris is up there, being all about setting up tourist shops along tour bus routes.

Which is kind of funny since that's a pretty reasonable idea. Just not one that you think of with board games.

The board shows a map of Paris with different colored bus routes, each one with several stops along it. Through out the game, there will be small tours, where one stop will be scored, and grand tour's where every stop on the route will be scored. At the start of the game, everyone gets a secret color. That route will get a grand tour at the end of the game.

Each round, tiles with stops on them are set out, one more than the number of players. You take turns taking tiles and placing shops at that stop. There's a small tour at the leftover stop and the tile gets put to one side. When you get two tiles of the same color, you discard them and that route has a grand tour.

You can kick someone off of a spot and put your own shop up but whoever loses the most shops will get points for them at the end.

When you score a stop in either kind of tour, the shops at the stop or, if there aren't any, at the closest stop get a point. When you run out of tiles, you have those secret grand tours. Most points wins.

While Paris Paris is not a complex game, I think I had to really play it face to face to see how the process really worked. Moving the physical pieces let me understand the flow of the game. Playing it live made everything click. The game has a natural cadence that playing it live really brings out.

And while the game is simple, there is some nuances to the decisions. While you will always take a stop that is on the intersection of two routes, you also have to consider blocking your opponent's from getting stops. And what you don't take influences what will end up getting scored and that's a big deal.

That said, Paris Paris is not a game for everyone. It is definitely a game for families, not for serious gamers. (Of course, serious gamers are allowed to have families too :P) If you are looking for complex systems and point salads, Paris Paris will not fit that bill. It's an old school German Family Game. It will play out in an under an hour with plenty of interaction and light decisions. Great for family play.

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