Board Game Reviews

Warehouse 51

Publisher: Fun Forge, Passport Game Studios
Designer: Bruno Faidutti, Sérgio Halaban, André Zatz
Artist: Rafael Zanchetin
Year: 2015
Game Type: Auction, Set Collection

Theme and What is it?

America is liquidating their assets, trying to pay off debts. They are auctioning off the wondrous treasures from the fabled Warehouse 51.

You are a wealthy collector bidding on these relics from history, and you long for these treasures. You dream of riding the magic carpet, while wearing the golden fleece and wielding excalibur. Be careful, though, some items were swapped for counterfeits.

Gameplay Mechanics

There is a deck of relic cards that consists of 8 blue (Western Fantasy & Literature), 7 green (European Mythologies), 6 gold (Near & Middle East) and 5 red (Eastern cultures) for a total of 26 relics. Most cards have special abilities, blessings or curses that affect players along the way. You score points based on having the most or second most of each color and sets of different-colored cards at the end of the game.

In the beginning of the game, depending on the number of players, a number of counterfeit cards are laid between each player. You can look at the cards to your left and right in order to know what cards in the actual relic deck not to bid on. Counterfeit relics do not score points for your sets. Also, you start the game with 10 ingots each worth a billion dollars!

Starting with the youngest player, and the auction winner on subsequent rounds, a card is flipped from one of the four decks and an auction will commence. There are two types of auctions, determined by a symbol on the card. The first type is an open auction where, starting with the player to the left and working clockwise, players bid or pass until all but one player has passed. The second auction type is a closed auction in which all players place as many ingots in their hand as they wish to bid and simultaneously open their hands to find the highest bidder with the tie-breaker going to the closest bidder, clockwise, to the card-revealer starting with the card revealer. Finally, the auction winner pays their ingots to the player to their left.

Play continues until all cards have been drawn and all actions have been resolved.

Initial Impressions

The publisher did a great job picking an artist. From the awesome-looking vault on the box, to the cards and chits. The backs of the cards showing the deck that they belong to also have symbols for colorblind accessibility and the art is downright phenomenal.

The fanboy in me started coming out as I fanned through the cards, seeing Mjöllnir, Aladdin's Lamp and Pandoras Box. I couldn't wait to try to own them.

Quality of Components and Insert

As I already mentioned, the cards and chits are lovely. The insert is a molded plastic and it holds everything nice and neat.

Artistic Direction

Warehouse 51 has beautiful art. The backs of the cards look like crates that would have stored the relics. Every relic is illustrated relevant and compelling setting. The book sets the time of the game in 2038, which is reflected in the slightly futuristic vault on the box and hinted subtly throughout. 

Fun Factor

Warehouse 51 is enjoyable, but not an overwhelming experience. The blind auctions and seeing the relics that get flipped can be exciting. Also, the end when you see what relics are counterfeit can add some thrill, but my experiences with the actual game weren't always positive. If someone keeps passing on bids, they can accumulate all of the money and nobody else can bid. This doesn't always happen, of course, but if it does, nobody has fun. Some of the games went well and were entertaining, but this game wont come off of the shelf before other games will.

Difficulty and age range suggestion

This game is very easy to learn and to teach. The official age suggestion is 10+ and that feels accurate. 

Conclusions

For some reason, this game was good, but didn't live up to the expectations that I had. With the name Bruno Faidutti on the box, I had the bar set higher. This is a tough one, because I don't openly recommend Warehouse 51, I wouldn't say avoid it either.

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Dusty LaPerriere
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Dusty LaPerriere

Hello, I am Dusty and I live in Denver, Colorado, USA. In addition to reviewing games and sharing news for MeepleGamers.com, my wife and I are on a quest to play a game every day for 365 consecutive days!

#everynightisgamenight
Dusty LaPerriere
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Latest posts by Dusty LaPerriere (see all)

Hello, I am Dusty and I live in Denver, Colorado, USA. In addition to reviewing games and sharing news for MeepleGamers.com, my wife and I are on a quest to play a game every day for 365 consecutive days! #everynightisgamenight

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