My Next Purchase – Belfort

While not reviews, I thought it might be a worthwhile exercise to write out some of the reasons I plan to buy new games. These posts are not meant as reviews, but rather a brief description of the game, what appeals to me about it and where I believe it will fit into my collection. My hope is that if I’m unable to complete one of these posts, the game I’m considering doesn’t belong in my collection anyway.

What is Belfort?

Belfort is a primarily an Area Control game that also uses Worker Placement as a way of accumulating resources as well as scoring points. Unlike some other games like Caylus or Agricola, the Worker Placement in Belfort is rather straightforward and closer to Stone Age (minus the dice) than any other game. Rounds are divided into 2 parts, first they place workers on the various Buildings or Guilds that have been constructed in the city, then afterwards placing their remaining workers onto a separate board to accumulate Wood, Stone, Steel and Gold, as well as hire additional workers or re-arrange the turn order.

belfort_box
Image originally by BGG user DrMayhem – https://boardgamegeek.com/image/2227294/belfort

Workers come in 2 main types; Dwarves (who are used to accumulate Stone) and Elves (who are used to accumulate Wood), however there are also Gnomes which are a special type of worker who can only be hired when there is an available space for them to be placed. Additionally, Dwarves and Elves can also be upgraded to stronger versions of themselves, which are able to harvest additional resources when used.

The Area Control aspect of the game is handled by the cleverly-designed pentagonal board which is divided up into 5 different, symmetrical sections. As players accumulate resources, they will be able to construct various types of buildings in the various sections of the city, with points being awarded per section for majority owners. As the board becomes more populated with buildings, players will have more choices of where to place their workers during worker placement, granting them new abilities such as changing Dwarves or Elves into their more powerful versions or taking additional actions at the Trading Post. These buildings are also where the above-mentioned Gnomes come into play, as they can be acquired to unlock additional abilities on certain buildings.

Why Belfort?

There are two main reasons that I’m interested in Belfort; it’s a Worker Placement game that I know that I like and it’s an Area Control game that I’m reasonably sure I like, but don’t have well represented in my collection at this time.

For whatever reason, Worker Placement is the style of board game that appeals to me far-and-away the most. There is just something about the mechanic of selecting the best move available to you conflicting with the frequent need to balance both short- and long-term strategic planning that just speaks to me and that I enjoy tremendously. That all being said, I already have several Worker Placement games, so additional “straight” Worker Placement games will need to either have an additional mechanic built-in or will need to be exceptional, stand-out games (such as the next one featured – link coming shortly).

At the present time, the only Area Control game I have in my collection is Eight Minute Empire: Legends and while it is a good game, I am interested in something a little bit heavier and longer-lasting. Belfort comes off as a game that is not only going to be comfortable and familiar, but also one that’s going to make me work for victories and think more about the board as a whole as I play.

Header image by BGG user parax – https://boardgamegeek.com/image/2083778/belfort

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4 thoughts on “My Next Purchase – Belfort

  1. Some good news here – while there are worker placement elements, this really is an area majority game. The worker placement is a bit different than other games in that there are three different types of workers: Elves, dwarves and gnomes. Each one has a specific purpose. Most of the time you can use either an elf or a dwarf to do what you want but only elves collect wood and only dwarves collect stone – and you need one of each to collect metal (elves and dwarves working together?!?!). Gnomes are hired and placed only once onto buildings that you’ve built and unlock that building’s ability.

    Obviously I’m biased – but I think you’ll dig it!! 🙂

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      • Right on! Let me know your thoughts! And once you’ve played it a few times – see if you can track down the expansion as it adds some interesting ideas as well. There’s also 3 more guilds available at the BGG store – I think!! Anyway – hope you dig it!

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      • I’d love to pick up the expansion at some point, I’ve been reading about it as well and the unique workers seem like a very cool addition. As for the 3 bonus guilds, I already have them from backing Harbour on Kickstarter – they’re actually what got me really interested in Belfort, then reviews by Rahdo and (I believe) EndersGame on BGG sealed the deal.

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