Lacrimosa from the Spanish publisher Devir was a big hit at Spiel 2022. The game sold extremely well and we were also very excited about the latest title from Gerard Ascensi and Ferran Renalias. So excited that we added this to ours Top list who recorded the game in 2022. Of course we were all the more pleased when Kosmos announced the title for the German games market. Well – just before that Game 2023 - the game in which we review Mozart's life was also released in German. Reason enough to delve deeper into the game and see how good Lacrimosa really is.
In December 1791, at the age of 35, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, seriously ill, wrote the last eight bars of his life. Mozart's widow Constanze decided to contact up to four of the late composer's most generous patrons to help her commission the right composers to complete Mozart's final work, Lacrimosa of the Requiem in D Minor.
Memories of a time together
In Lacrimosa we play through five eras from Mozart's life over five rounds. We remember works that were commissioned from Mozart and remember Mozart's travels to the cities and royal courts in Europe. We hold on to memories, in the form of cards, which we add to our deck in a deck-building fashion and help Constanze complete the Requiem in a sort of area control mechanism. In doing so, we collect recognition in the form of victory points, which ultimately lead us to victory.
A round or epoch lasts 4 moves. On our turn we move up to 4 hand cards. We then select two cards from our hand and slide them into the slots at the top and bottom of our game board. The so-called memory cards consist of two sections. While the upper section of the map decides what action we take this round, the lower section gives us resources in the form of story points, money or victory points at the end of the round. So every turn we have to decide which action we want to take out of the game for this epoch. There are 5 types of actions in total: write down memories, commission an opus, perform/sell an opus, travel and work on the requiem.
The Write Memories action is the deck-building component of Lacrimosa. In this campaign we take one of the souvenir cards from the display and pay the associated costs. We then exchange the card that we pushed into the bottom slot of our personal tableau with our new card. The old card is removed from the game. This means our deck stays the same size throughout the game and improved cards have a greater impact.
Opus cards are available in the display along with souvenir cards. If we commission an opus, we pay its costs and place it in front of us. For an opus we immediately receive victory points. In addition, we can perform or sell Opera in another promotion. Performing an opus gives us money and is possible once in each round. If we sell an opus, we remove it from the game, receive victory points and can move forward on the income track. The income track gives us money, resources and victory points at the beginning of each round, depending on how advanced we are on it.
Victory points for Mozart's travels and work on the Requiem
With the travel campaign we move from city to city with the Mozart figure on the game board. This campaign is intended to represent the memories of Mozart's travels. Here we decide on a destination and pay the associated travel costs in the form of money. We can then carry out the corresponding local action at our destination if we pay its costs. While cities give us rewards in the form of additional actions, resources or victory points, with royal courts we receive a goal in addition to a reward. This goal, if fulfilled, gives us additional victory points at the end of the game.
We work on the Requiem by selecting one of the five movements of the Requiem and commissioning it from one of the two composers in the game. We pay the associated costs, take the appropriate note marker from our personal tableau, receive the associated reward and place it with the side that matches the selected composer on the corresponding field of the selected movement.
At the end of the game we also receive victory points for each of our note markers in the Requiem. This is about which composer contributed the most to each movement. To do this, add the note markers of both composers (eighth and sixteenth notes) together in the sentence. The players then receive the higher victory point value for each of their note tokens that belongs to the more common composer in the movement. For each note marker belonging to the other composer, the smaller victory point value.
Information about Lacrimosa
|Number of players: 1 – 4|
Age: from 14 years
Playing time: 90 minutes
Difficulty: expert game
Long-term motivation: high
Classification: Deck Building, Area Control
Author: Gerard Ascensi, Ferran Renalias
Illustrations: Jared Blando, Enrique Corominas
Publisher: Kosmos, Devir
Official Website: Link
Year of publication: 2023
Cost: 59,99 Euro
Lacrimosa is a game that basically doesn't do much that's new, but individual mechanisms are so well done that the game feels new in some places. The fact that the Opus cards and the commemorative cards are offered in the same display is pretty clever and brings a lot of variety to the game. The Area Control-like taunts about a composer's majority in the Requiem are also a fun transformation of the classic Area Majority mechanic. We are not directly fighting for the majority of a composer here. Every now and then it can be a good idea to join the other composer because, for example, his tile is currently significantly cheaper than the other composer's. Nevertheless, at the end of the game we receive victory points for all of our grade markers.
Lacrimosa also offers a good solo mode in which we compete against Emanuel Schikaneder as a “soloist”. As patrons of Mozart, we are competing against a close friend of the family and trying to tell the story of the great composer in the best possible way. Even if some of the soloist's adapted actions feel a bit questionable, overall he is a solid opponent. At least we're fighting head-to-head against someone here and not chasing some high scores.
Still, something about Lacrimosa kept bothering us during our test games. So the game was never able to fully catch us during the games. In the end everything felt somehow old-fashioned and wasn't completely convincing. The individual mechanics may be well done, but they somehow don't feel like they fit together. Everything somehow stands for itself. It's also to blame for the fact that the theme doesn't come through in the game at all. We tell Mozart's story, but at no point does it feel like it. In general, we just play along in a dull manner and trigger actions in the individual areas of the game.
Lacrimosa also takes a path with the material that, on the one hand, inspires us and, on the other, quite annoys us. The game material is great! The personal tableaux are like small books into which the memory cards can be inserted perfectly. Many games can learn a lesson from this. Except for the coins, all resources are made of wood and therefore feel high quality. The cards have an elegant linen finish and if there are cardboard tiles, they are nice and thick, fit well in the hand and are easy to grip. What's really annoying, however, is that Lacrimosa doesn't have any inlays or bags, even though there are many small tiles, cards, etc. in the game. All of this makes setting up Lacrimosa a pain. The rulebook doesn't really read well either. A lot of terms are thrown around without explaining them in advance. The game material is only explained in detail after the gameplay has been explained, which means that in the first half of the rulebook you are constantly wondering what the point of what is being explained actually means.
This is all a shame, because Lacrimosa is by no means a bad game. As I said, the individual mechanisms are really well developed and we never had a bad time with the game. On the contrary. Nevertheless, even though we had a lot of fun with Lacrimosa, in the end we always had the feeling that something was missing and that everything had somehow been seen better in other games.
|KOSMOS 683931 Lacrimosa, Mozart's Traces, Strategy Game... *||49,99 EUR||Buy|
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