Recap: Haspelknecht First Impressions


The theme is a little … mundane. It’s about digging coal in the Ruhr Valley in Germany just as that resource began to be important. But the gameplay looked pretty good. After I read the rules, and saw the significant component content, I was prepared for a two hour meaty euro game. But, instead, I got a meaty game that completed in about 75 minutes.

Haspelknecht. According to google translate, it means “reel servant.” It’s the title of the guy that pulls the coal up from the mine shaft below. Players start with a small pinge – a place where coal is close to the surface and can basically be dug up by a guy with a shovel. But, after that coal is exhausted, it is necessary to delve into a mine shaft to get at it.

In this three player game, we used the suggested startup for developments. Those developments really made the game interesting. In essence, it’s a sort of randomized tech-tree that allows you to get goodies during the game or end-game points. One of the popular ones was the bucket – which eliminated your spring and autumn pit water. I was the only player to forgo it. I figured, at most that saves you five pit water, and I’d rather use those actions for something else.

Getting money is so important because you need it to pay your rent each year. And there is no way to earn it normally. In fact, the only way to get coins, at least in our game, was to take developments that gave you one-time coin disbursements. It seems that this will be a challenge in most games.

At game end, I sneaked through with just a few more points. My strategy of building developments ended up being a good one. I wonder if I should have taken the upgraded farmhand at the beginning in order to get more of them. Perhaps I’ll try that in my next play.

Also Played. One Night Ultimate Werewolf (x4), Merchants and Marauders, and Forbidden Island.

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