Editor note: This is Sarah (Marti’s partner)’s first foray into writing for us. She’ll have an intro up sometime next week and you will see content from her from time to time. Enjoy!
Publisher: Lookout Spiele & Mayfair Games
Designer: Phil Walker-Harding
Art: Klemens Franz
Main Game Mechanisms: Tile laying
Number of Players: 2 to 4
Game Time: 30 to 45 minutes
Description: This game is a delightful, visually pleasing polyomino (think Tetris block) placement game. Your goal is to build the most visually pleasing park, which will be worth the most points. The different bear exhibits are worth different amounts of points. They include Pandas, Polar Bears, Koalas, & Gobi (Brown) Bears. You also have green areas (Rivers, Food Stands, Playgrounds, & Bathrooms). You start out with a 4×4 grid and can eventually add on 3 additional grids to make a 16 x 16 grid by the end of the game. You also have pits on your grids, which are covered with bear statues after you fill the rest of each 4×4 grid.
Review: The mechanisms and feel of Barenpark remind me of three games I enjoy very much: Patchwork, Carcassonne, & Lanterns.
Barenpark had been my most anticipated game at Origins and it didn’t disappoint. Tile placement is one of my favorite board game mechanisms & I love bears, so I knew this would be right in my wheelhouse. The gameplay took me a little bit of time figure out, but I definitely had a lot of fun playing the game. The art was wonderful and the production value is solid. There are also expert variants that can be used to ratchet up the difficulty levels as you become more comfortable with the game. The replayability factor is another huge plus of this game.
When I first demoed the game I was not aware of its ridiculous insert (this picture is a great example of how silly it looks). But the laughable insert does not diminish my enthusiasm for this game.
Try, Buy, Deny: I am really excited to play this game more and, sooner or later, add it to our collection. If you like tile laying games and you want to have an amped up version of Patchwork that plays with up to four people, then Barenpark should be on your list of summer hits to buy.
Sarah – The Confuzzld Meeple