Meteo (aka Wind und Wetter)

Jumbo, c.£25

The theme here is weather prediction. You play the role of a holiday company planning manager who has to decide where to build hotels and sail cruise liners for maximum profit. The biggest money is to be earned in the sunny, high pressure areas and little is earned for holidaymakers left sitting on the pier in the rain.

The map consists of sea, beaches, prime hotel strips, hills and even a mountain ski resort. The map is divided into squares and each square holds a clear plastic weather tile which indicates sun, clouds and so on. There are also high and low pressure areas that move around affecting a wider area. Onto the map are laid the hotels and ships in your colour; these cost money that hopefully will be recovered many times over by payments from happy campers. Rather like Master Labyrinth, the game's heart is the moving of the tiles by pushing a new weather front on (from where the wind is blowing) and thus hopefully moving a scorcher onto your tanning clients and a touch of heavy cumulus onto your rivals.

The components are superbly done, the available strategies are very acceptable for a family game (perhaps even a bit difficult) and play balance is spot on. Meteo is one of those games you need to play at least twice to work out the best strategies and, if you enjoy those enough, I am sure it will offer repeat playability. Clever concept, if more than a little abstract in feel and possibly a little random with four players, this is one of the better games from Europe this year as one might expect from the generally reliable Jumbo.

Back to Master Labyrinth or on to Space Crusade.

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