Above and Below
This is another game I missed at Spiel '15, but I do like a game with a paragraph book for players' adventures. In Above and Below, players are establishing a new village, using resources to construct new buildings that provide extra facilities - this is 'Above'. The best way to get these resources is to explore the network of underground caves ('Below'), which is where the book of adventures comes in.
Players need villagers with specific skills to construct buildings and to recruit new villagers, but all villagers can explore. Some are better at this than others, however. Whatever they do, villagers then need to rest and, next turn, players can only deploy as many villagers as they have beds in their village. I do like this clever mechanism. In a neat touch, the odd barrel of cider will also revive a villager!
The game plays in just seven rounds, so players need to work fast and there's not time for too many adventures. The paragraph book has lots of different adventures, though, providing plenty of replay value and a different game each time. I've certainly enjoyed it every time I've played.
For 2-4 players, aged 13+, playing time 90 minutes: £33.00 (£27.50 outside the EU)