Barenpark is Frightening in the Dark!

Our Recommended Age:6+
Recommended Age:8+
Players:2-4
Cost:$42.00
Artwork By::Klemens Franz
Play Time:30-45 minutes
Company Site:www.mayfairgames.com
Newsletter:mayfairgames.com
Contents:28 Enclosures 16 Park lots 16 Food kiosks 10 Restrooms 10 Playgrounds 16 Waterways 16 Bear statues 12 Outside bear areas 30 Building permits 1 Rulebook 1 Supply board
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Ok, not really but that’s one of those references I can’t help but make… anyway… Barenpark (Bear Park) is a fun new tile placement game from Mayfair Games. Play your tiles the right way to add Kodiak bears, polar bears and Koalas (Mayfair does come out and acknowledge that Koalas aren’t actually bears but they don’t care, they’re just too cute!) along with all the standard park necessities to make the best Barenpark!

Mayfair Games has a long history of making high quality games that are fun for the whole family and Barenpark fits into that history perfectly. While the game is listed for ages 8 and up, the 6 year-old Diva can play without much issue (although she’s still working on long-term strategies).

Speaking of strategies, this is one of those great games that can be as strategically deep as you want to be. If you want to really plan out your whole game accounting for what other people might do to maximize your points that’s an option.

If you’d rather just go with the flow and try to find the best (or most aesthetically pleasing) option when your turn arrives that’s fine too, it’s up to you.

Unlike some games that use a variety of materials in various areas, Barenpark is 100% chipboard. And that’s not a bad thing at all! In fact, even the insert is punched out like the rest of the pieces in the game and assembled together to divide things up inside the box – very clever.

The tiles in the game consist of the large Supply Board, Park Areas where you end up building and tiles that represent buildings or other attractions at your bear park. There are a variety of tile types but they all have good quality and easy to distinguish artwork.

The box itself is a standard lift top and unlike some games is definitely not bigger than it needs to be. When you have a decent-sized collection of games, the ones whose boxes are 90% empty can be a tad annoying. Moving on…

Objective:

Make the best Bear Park! In other words, score the most points at the end of the game.

Setup:

The setup for Barenpark is pretty straight forward. First, find the Supply Board – it’s the big trifold game board where all the tiles will live. Lay it out where everyone can reach it and then fill it up based on the number of players. You’ll use less tiles in a 2 player game than a 3 and less in a 3 player game than a 4. The instructions have a nice chart so you know how much of what to use.

Also near the Supply Board is where you’ll put the completed Bear Statue tokens. These will be explained later and just like the other tiles you use different ones based on how many people are playing. There is also a handy chart for the statues as well.

Finally you make two stacks of Park Areas (without entrances). These you always use all of and there is no chart involved. Randomly pass out the Park Areas with an Entrance to all the players as that is where they will develop their initial park. Each Park Area is double-sided and the ones with entrances also have what I assume is the word/words for Bear Park in a total of eight different languages. This has no bearing (get it?!?!?) on any part of the game but it is pretty interesting

Once everything is setup and passed out you get to figure out who the last person in an animal park was as they get to go first. This can be problematic when we play as a family because chances are we were all at the same animal park at the same time.

Trying to figure out who was the last one to leave the park isn’t always possible. Thank goodness for dice. Each player gets a basic tile to start with

Play:

Now that you’re ready to go each player takes a turn consisting of 3 actions: Play a tile, check and process icons and build statues.

Playing a tile is almost as straightforward as it sounds, there’s just a few rules you need to keep in mind. First, with the exception of your first tile, all other tiles need to be placed adjacent to a tile you’ve placed previously. Second, you cannot place a tile that covers the hexagonal pit (there’s one and only one on each Park Area) falls off the edge of your park or overlaps another tile. And that’s it!

Once you’ve placed your tile, you then check the icons on your Park Area that tile has covered up. This then allows you to get new tiles to further expand your park. There are four different icons in the game and they each allow you to pull from a specific set of tiles. The wheelbarrow lets you get any one of the basic 1 to 3 square tiles. The cement truck lets you get any one of the 4 square tiles or any one wheelbarrow tile.

The backhoe lets you get any one of the 5 square tiles or a cement truck tile or a wheelbarrow tile. Finally the construction crew lets you get a new Park Area tile (up to 3 extras after your initial one) and place it immediately.

You must place the Park Areas so the icons are facing correctly and you cannot build a Park Area tile below the Entrance. Even if it’s over a space or two, you can’t place it that low.

When checking icons you get to process each icon covered up this turn once only but you can easily lay down tiles that will cover multiple icons. When this happens you choose the order the icons are processed in. When choosing the tiles you receive you have to pull from the top of the stack of a given tile but since the top tile is always worth the most, that’s usually not a big problem.

Finally you build statues. If you have filled up ever available space on a single Park Area board (so every space minus the hexagonal statue spot) you get to build a statue on that area’s statue spot. When building a statue take the statue with the highest value and place it on the statue spot thereby officially completing that Park Area.

The only time your turn is different is if you have no tile to play during step 1. If that happens you draw a wheelbarrow tile and your turn is over.

Play continues going around until one play completes their fourth and final Park Area. Once this happens each other player gets one final turn and then that’s it!

Winning:

Winning in Barenpark is pretty straight forward: Add up all your points, highest number is the winner! In the case of a tie in points you next look at how many points you have in tiles you chose but haven’t played yet. If it’s still a tie after that then congratulations, you all win.

Barenpark is fun and challenging for adults but easy enough that kids can play which makes it fun for the whole family! The Gentleman loves building a Bear park as he has loved animals (and helping them) since he was 3!

Find MayFair at Booth #117 this year at #GenCon50

Show us your Bear face! @MyGeeklings #Barenpark @MayFairGames

“When we treat children’s play as seriously as it deserves, we are helping them feel the joy that’s to be found in the creative spirit.”
~ Fred Rogers

Author: sandyz