At our normal weekly meeting of the Appalachian Gamers this week I had to leave early due to scheduling conflicts (don't you just hate it when real life gets in the way of your game time!) I hate to miss any game night but tonight was particularly painful because as I was getting ready to leave the group pulled out Big Boss, a game by Wolfgang Kramer that came out in 1994. I've only played the game once but I really enjoyed it and have looked forward to playing it again. Alas, that will have to wait for another day.
At its heart, Big Boss is a stock game. Players use numbered cards to play buildings to a board to form companies. These companies grow and expand and when two companies meet on the board a merger occurs and the larger company takes over the smaller company. Players make money based on the number of shares they own in the smaller company at the time of the takeover. The idea is to earn money, of course, but also to ultimately be the player with the largest stake in the surviving companies. Many gamers have compared Big Boss to Sid Sackson's Acquire but having never played that game I'll have to take their word for it.
In any case, I mentioned to my fellow gamers that it was a shame that a reprint/re-theming of the game did not occur as planned. A year or two ago there was news that Big Boss was being reprinted with a Renaissance theme and would be called Altura. This was great news because trying to acquire a copy of Big Boss would not only be difficult from an availability perspective but more importantly from a financial perspective. I like the game but not enough to pay north of $100 (which is probably a conservative estimate.) A reprint, even a re-themed one, would hopefully allow me to have an opportunity to purchase the game at a more reasonable price. For some reason, however, Altura was scuttled.
What I didn't know, and what I learned this evening, is that the game has come out recently in Germany under the name Alcazar! I immediately headed over to Board Game Geek and found to my delight that such is the case! Right now the game can be pre-ordered for around $75 online, which still isn't cheap, but its available and certainly less than the cost of an original Big Boss. Hopefully a U.S. company will pick up the publishing rights (my money would be on either Rio Grande Games or Z-Man Games) which might bring the cost down a bit more.
I checked out a few pictures on the Geek and the game looks good. The buildings used in the game appear to be the same style as those that are used in Arkadia, a game I own. There must be a surplus of those game pieces lying around in a warehouse in Germany that these companies keep using for different games! Apparently some of the game play has changed but at its heart the game is still Kramer's original Big Boss. In time, I absolutely plan to pick up a copy of Alcazar. Until then, maybe I can convince the group to break out Big Boss again to tide me over.