This isn’t a regular update, although one of those will be coming (and full of praise, information, and submariner details), instead I’ve got something of a quandary, and whilst it centres on Egizia, it actually concerns a number of games.
Back when we initiated the great games sell off of 2016, (which is going gangbusters- thanks to all those who’ve bought something, you’ve contributed to the upkeep of the club AND cleared some space in the magic cupboard of doom) choosing the games to sell seemed pretty easy. What have we owned for over a year, isn’t getting played or borrowed, and nobody wants to keep. However, when Egizia went on the list, it was quickly pointed out that this was a highly regarded game which is out of print and retails for ££. I also read it described as a slight move on from Small World, which piqued my interest, as we could always do with another game on the rung between Small World and Agricola (insert Rosenburg game of choice here if you dislike ‘Gric).
So I took it home to try and learn it, and despite the genuinely terrible rule book (I believe the errata need an errata), I think I got a good grasp of it, enough to teach a first game getting only a few rules wrong along the way. It wasn’t until I actually got the cards out when I realised a significant number were like this:
And so on. Now, we have nothing against German games, and some of these are decipherable, but when the game is this heavily language dependant it won’t get played without cribsheets or some other player aid.
Some of the other German games we have in our collection suffer from this also- Mr Jack Pocket is played above the superior Mr Jack, simply because it’s in English, and Mr Jack isn’t even language dependant at all! Of our two main gateway games, Ticket to Ride and Die Siedler Von Catan, one is played almost constantly, whereas the other is never played. Die Siedler von Catan: Seefahrer Erweiterung still remains unpunched to this day. One of my favourites, Die Säulen von Venedig, is played only because I push it so much and we have had all the cards reprinted in English. However, Funkenschlag gets played a lot, as does Zach and Pack, so maybe it’s not really about language at all.
So what to do with Egizia? As good as it may be I doubt it will ever get played except by fluent German speakers. As an introduction to worker placements or Euro games it fails because of the language barrier. If we sell it we say goodbye to it forever, but what’s the point in a game which won’t get played? And what should we do with all our other German games- replace them with English versions, or not? And let me know if you’ve ever been put off playing a game because we didn’t have the English copy.