Klaus Teuber is a favorite at home. The first game I got of his was Lowenherz and the next his all time hit Settlers of Catan. So when I saw some favorable reviews of Elasund I wanted to get it.
The game is very well produced with good quality components. The player aid cards are really excellent and help newbies get into the game very quickly. I really like this because I am the guy who has to explain the rules here and once I go through them the players can manage with these turn aids very well.
Since the game is a part of the series on Catan adventures there are a few elements taken from Settlers. The first being rolling dice for production. But there are 2 distinct differences. Firstly there are no hexes. There is a rectangular board and a ship track with numbers corresponding to each row. Based on the type of building you build and if they exist on the row rolled for, gold or influence cards are generated. So the production sequence is much simpler because there are basically only 2 different types that we are rolling for.
Both gold cards and influence cards have a variety of uses so that an excess of one over the other or a balance of both helps us in our performance. This and the fact that we can pick up 2 gold cards freely per turn also instead of another option – that of placing a building permit, removes the uncertainty element of not getting favorable rolls. In effect you can go through 3 turns of not getting favorable turns but still collect 6 gold cards.
Placing a building permit is the precursor to building. Buildings generate income and victory points. Victory points are in the form of 10 victory cubes given. The first person to place all his 10 victory cubes is the winner of the game. Victory cubes can be place on certain types of buildings. They can also be placed on certain city walls. There are 9 walls given to each. Most of them generate an influence card when built. A few of them give you a chance to place a victory cube. There are also some squares on the board with windmills. When a building is built on this there is another track that you can move your counter on and place victory cubes once you move a certain number of spaces. When your building gets displaced you have to move down the track and lose the victory cubes you had placed earlier!
There is no trading in the game but player are allowed to build over and displace others' buildings. Here is where influence cards also come in play. The can be used to place building permits, pay off others' building permits and use those to build your own buildings, pay off others when building buildings of the same size as others etc. There is also a church that can be built This is very powerful, has 9 pieces and each pieces can hold a victory point, and can displace a building of any size. Finally as in Settlers a pirate is activated when a 7 is rolled and forces people to give up cards. The can be picked up by the pirate if he has a victory cube on a city wall.
The game is listed as 2-4 player. The board gets scaled down when playing with 2 or 3. It plays very well all numbers. I can see resemblances to Settlers. I also see a bit of Lowenherz in the game especially going down the track when losing a square with the windmill. Overall I have really enjoyed the game and is my current hot favorite. The components are completely language independent.