Tonight was game night and I spent the entire night playing just one game: Die Macher.
Die Macher is considered by many to the quintessential heavy Euro game. It's just about the heaviest Euro you're likely to every play. Our game clocked in at a solid 4 1/2 hours and I could see it easily going longer with inexperienced gamers who are unfamiliar with the rules. (In fairness I have to add that it could certainly be played quicker with players who know it well.)
Die Macher takes the German political system for its theme. Players represent different political parties. They compete over a series of seven regional political races and ultimately influence the national political opinion.
This was my first go at Die Macher and although I came in dead last, I think I did alright. I was competitive up until the very last election when a perfect storm of unfortunate events resulted in a tragic reversal. I was poised to win the final election by a landslide but one player was just barely able to use the media to shift public opinion on one of the agendas in my party platform. That would have been fine but then another player published a (randomly chosen) public opinion poll that just happened to drastically erode voter confidence in my party. The resultant swing was worth as much as one hundred victory points to my final score. Devastating but fun nonetheless.
There is a lot to like about Die Macher. It has some truly elegant mechanics and it's jam packed with interesting decisions all the way through. It's equally strong in strategy and tactics. There's a lot of opportunity for maneuvering, collusion, manipulation, and downright screwage. There are auctions, tight economies, resource management, and all sorts of elegant systems. There's enough in here to satisfy just about any hard-core gamer and I can see why it's currently ranked 9th at BGG. Unfortunately, at over four hours, it's just too long for my tastes. I just can't see myself wanting to play it all that often. Still, this is clearly one of those games that every gamer should play at least once and I'd be willing to play it again if enough people wanted to. I don't think I'd ever suggest it though. If you like deep meaty games and you don't mind devoting four or five hours to it then I recommend you give it a try.
Well, alright. I admit it. I lied. I also played Loopin' Louie but that hardly counts. I lost that game too.