New York

Designed by Sid Sackson and Sven Kübler.
Published by Piatnik.
Reviewed by Stuart Dagger.

2-5 players
Playing Time: approx 45 minutes

One of the games in Sid Sackson's classic book A Gamut of Games is Property. It uses pencil and paper, a deck of playing cards and some poker chips. New York is the same game, but after some worthwhile development work, presumably by Sven Kübler. The board is a seven by seven grid, with the columns carrying the names of streets and the rows those of avenues. The 49 intersections are sites for buildings. So, for example, the New York Public Library is at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. Not that this actually matters: in this game a site is just a place where you put a marker. The rest of the equipment consists of sets of coloured markers, cards (named streets, named avenues and wild cards of both types) and some money tokens. There is also a small set of cards for a variant that comes with the game.

Each player has a hand of cards. The number is variable but is guaranteed to contain at least two street cards and at least two avenue cards. On your turn you play one of each, thereby choosing a site. If the site chosen is empty, you place one of your markers on it; if it contains a marker belonging to one of your opponents, you replace their marker with your own and pay them compensation for the takeover; if (and this one is not going to happen very often) the site contains one of your own markers, you remove it. The primary objective is to obtain as large a group of contiguous buildings as you can and at the end of the game you score two points for each building in this group, one point for each building that you own outside this group and one for each money token. As with other games of this type (including Sackson's most famous game, Acquire), you are dependent on the cards you draw, but the rules governing the makeup of your hand, together with the fact that about one card in six is a joker, mean that it is a very unfortunate turn when there is nothing that you can do to improve your position and the game bowls along enjoyably with the various groups on the board growing and being cut back. I don't think that the game has the potential to join Acquire on the list of classics, but it is fun to play and a significantly better game than its pencil and paper parent. Whether or not it is sufficiently better than its parent to justify what you will have to pay for it is difficult to answer. I bought it at Essen where considerations of that nature would be enough to get you thrown out on to the street.

The Game Cabinet - - Ken Tidwell