I had a nice surprise waiting for me when I got home yesterday afternoon - my order from unhalfbricking.com had arrived. Woohoo, Hameln and Die Dolmengotter! I had no time to read the rules before leaving for CyberKev's place to play, but I did manage to print the rules to Die Dolmengotter from the publisher's site. We didn't get to play it, but we did play Hameln using the time-honoured but a bit boring technique of reading the rules at the table as we set up the game. Wow, this game has a lot of bits! And it's pretty! And it's complex! It reminds me somewhat of Power Grid (3 phases) and somewhat of Goa (many ways to score VPs) and not much of Shear Panic. There's a whole lot more game than I was expecting.
It's very cute - you have houses with men and women in them. The men produce goods such as meat and the women have babies. The babies can get married and move into houses, and the meat can be sold. There are rats everywhere. When enough rats take over the board, the Pied Piper comes along and may take unmarried babies to Transylvania with him (which costs you VPs). What a good idea that is! But it also means that it's a valid strategy to father children upon other players so they have babies to worry about. Also when the girl children get married they can choose a house and the boy player has to pay. This group had played Funny Friends together, so forcing each other to get married and have children was familiar territory for us and we had some fun.
We did play several rules wrong, but one of the Lamont brothers has a good article on BGG about rules that people get wrong. The one we figured out was that when you activate males or females you can do so in multiple houses. This would have made the game move a whole lot faster and there would have been more money to splash around on the optional actions. We agreed that would improve the game, and might give it another run tonight at Critical Mass.
I had read some disparaging comments about Hameln, and that and the steep price ($A100) almost convinced me not to buy it, but I wanted those mice. Now that I've played the game, I'm glad I got it. Where is my kid, anyway?