Author Topic: Grand Austria Hotel (with images)  (Read 2039 times)

Offline franks

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Grand Austria Hotel (with images)
« on: December 11, 2016, 10:05:08 AM »
Grand Austria Hotel

A place I would be happy to visit regularly!



While I live in Canada I purchased this on the recent, and now ubiquitous, Black Friday promotion sales, (from a friendly Canadian on-line retailer). I had this on my want list since watching Miwi’s fantastic play through video.



We’ve now had the chance to play this game about a ½ dozen times and it has shot up, in the games I admire and want to play the most.

This is the product of a pairing of Italian designers with other great games to their credit, Simone Luciani, (Marco Polo) and Virginio Gigli, (Egiza).

At its heart, this could be simply described as a set collection game but with many moving pieces. BGG categorizes this just over a mid weight game with a complexity rating listed at 3.22/5.0. In my personal experience I think this is a little inflated. Again, while there is a lot going on in the game play it is really straightforward to learn.

But what’s it all about? I won’t go into an in-depth analysis but here are the basics:

You are proprietor at a turn of the century Hotel in the heart if Vienna vying with rival hotels for the favour of the Emperor, guests and politicians.



Set up of game board at start of game, (with and without guests at tables).

In the game players draft and fill orders for guests in their café in hopes that they stay and occupy a room in their hotel.

These guests come with various attributes or rewards, some would be more desirable than others for you hotel. As the guests make their way to their rooms there are several further opportunities for bonuses as you try to complete blocks of differing coloured rooms.


Sample player board at start of game, (note guests and room colours need to match. Here the red guest at the table needs a red room that isn’t ready for his arrival yet!).

The core mechanism is an action selection board that is driven by rolling a pool of dice. These will decide which actions are available in a round.


Action board. Sample roll of the dice, the die each show what actions are available in a given turn and how many of those actions you can take.

Some of these actions include:

➢   Gathering resources, (Strudel, Cake, Wine and Coffee – which will be served to the guests).

➢   Prepare rooms in advance for the guest’s occupancy.

➢   Movement on the Emperor’s favour track and collection of money.

➢   Hire hotel staff of varying abilities and assets, (an important feature in the game.)


A sample of the many available staff for hire and their attributes. The Iconography in this game is very well done and doesn’t take long to master.

The dice can play havoc with your plans are you try and build an engine. Adapting to those changes on the fly gives this game interest and replayability.

Another important aspect is the Emperor's favour. He’s a fickle character that you don’t want to get on the wrong side of. This feature also plays important role in the game, again at the expense of messing with other plans, (though it can also garner good rewards).   

The game boards have variable set up, from the series of ‘political’ bonus cards, the Emperor’s Bonus / penalties, to the player’s personal game boards themselves, again all adding replay value.

The game production is nicely done with good components and friendly artwork by Klemens Franz.


A few special guests make an appearance at the tables, with a visit from Brother Uwe and a self-portrait of the artist himself. Sitting down to some nice Strudel and Coffee.

I have only played this with two and it is the recommended count on BGG. See other reviews for perspective on higher player count.

This is a game of tight resources that creates, a mostly good kind of, tension as you play and plot for pieces to come together. To add to the tension players only have two actions per turn in a 7 round game. This ultimately leads to a relatively quick contest, where you might want to stay at the table and play another match. 

While this has a very respectable ranking on BGG, (187 Overall, 102 Strategy games), in my humble opinion and for my taste, think the title to be underrated. It’s a solid mid weight Euro style game that is approachable and rewarding.


Don’t let this full game set up scare you. While it can be a table hog, when broken down to it's core elements this is not an overwhelming game!

Have you played GAH? What are your thoughts on the game?

Linkback: http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=3025.0
« Last Edit: December 11, 2016, 03:19:49 PM by franks, Reason: spelling and grammar »
Franks

Wanna play Carc? Can we add just one more expansion?

Offline danisthirty

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Re: Grand Austria Hotel (with images)
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2016, 10:13:44 AM »
Thanks for this franks! I've never played this (or gotten round to reading your post in full until this evening) but I'll definitely be on the look out for it now and would consider buying it to play at home if I enjoyed a demo. Perhaps the next time we have a CarcC meetup in somewhere that has it available...

Merit for your efforts :) :(y)
Heroically snatching defeat from the jaws of victory since 2018

Offline franks

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Re: Grand Austria Hotel (with images)
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2016, 03:51:08 PM »
Thanks Dan!

Hope you get a chance to try it. I also think they are designers to watch for!

Cheers,

Offline Decar

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Re: Grand Austria Hotel (with images)
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2016, 12:41:07 PM »
Merit from me too.  Nice photos too. I've heard this game discussed a few times, but have not had the chance to play it.  It looks too complex for my regular games, with lots of parts to keep track of.  Hopefully, we can play at a meet-up though as Dan said!

Offline franks

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Re: Grand Austria Hotel (with images)
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2016, 03:59:05 PM »
Thanks Decar!

It was fairly easy to pick up. As mentioned, watching those play throughs helped tremendously. After that I read the on-line rule PDF once and then read through the actual rule book when I picked up the game and we were on our way, (I am in no way a rules savant). It's one of the few games that we didn't make a single error!

We mostly just reference the special abilities of the hired staff and the odd clarification. Hopefully you get a chance to try it out, though I know we probably have more than enough games in our collections to get us to old age  8)


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