Hamlet – Mighty Boards – Board Game Review

Hamlet mighty board main image


My writing is often scatter-brained without form or structure, a bundle of ideas stitched together, hopefully with a decipherable message. I hope they make sense and above all I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I do writing. While writing is something I enjoy, I have never placed a huge amount of importance on anything I put out there. If it resonates with your own thoughts then wonderful. If it confirms that you made the right decision on a game you now own then I have done my job. At the same time, sometimes I need to warn you of pitfalls and issues that I see in a game. Sometimes this is a personal preference and sometimes it is because something I’ve played has left me frustrated and annoyed due to some poor choices. Hamlet is one of these games. It seems to want to be different for the sake of being different and it seems to blindly want to stick to its choices regardless of what expectations might be.

The central premise of the game is the construction of a church in order to elevate the simple village up to the status of a hamlet. As players your job is to build structures which allow you to increase the kind of resources the village produces and then move these resources around the tiles to places where they are required for construction. As the game progresses, you are hopefully working towards the common goal of constructing the church and completing the final round.

Unusually resources are always shared, so while there are rewards for doing the work with your worker, anyone can then use the resources produced. Then you have to move them to where they are needed and this requires you to bring in the braying beast of burden. It all works like a bucket chain where things are passed up the chain as long as there are connected routes between the different tiles. Some of the tiles will need to have roads created to allow transportation where there are no paths available.

Your workers will grant you actions, and so having them is key to making any decisions in game and therefore has to be the focus in the first couple of rounds that you play. In fact, trying to play the game without concentrating on workers in the first few rounds is a bit pointless and ultimately will lead to you falling behind. It’s very strange to not have a limiter on the number of actions that can be taken per round and I can see why the decision was made but I’m confused as to how it ended up not being included. Simply put, unless you buy workers, there is no catch up mechanic in place to stop other players from dominating the game space.

The tile presentation is colourful and vibrant and I can see why they have opted to make the tiles in a range of differing shapes, but the art style on the tiles is often busy and the icons could be bigger for old eyes such as mine. My biggest concern is how the tiles connect to each other as it’s not as clear and straight forward as it could be and I would have preferred dumbed down art that made things more obvious.

Hamlet simply stays too long on the table. I was expecting a Tiny Towns experience, with short sessions and quick smiles. It plays like the full nine minute version of American Pie. there’s joy at the beginning and everyone is singing but you eventually just want it to be over.  There’s not a real incentive to build the church as opposed to trying to gain more resources and score end game points. So you’ll end up in the situation where you’ll have this wonderful map of connected tiles where resources are easily flowing between tiles and then all of a sudden you’ll remember what the final goal should be. However, you’ve been playing for ninety minutes and now you need to persuade everyone to knuckle down and build the church and the truth is that some simply might not want to as they are far behind you on the score track. It would have made more sense that the church was automatically constructed as certain resources or tiles were played and the village grew, a back ground timer that would spurn players on to take scoring actions and generate a sense of urgency. As it stands, you’re more likely to end up bored than pious.

It’s a shame because the overall presentation, components and artwork are really impressive. There’s obviously been a lot of thought and resources put into how Hamlet looks when it is on the table. Some of the core mechanics in Hamlet make it a frustrating experience, and considering the number people who backed the original campaign, I hope they managed to see through the issues I have and managed to still enjoy the game. For me, there are too many design decisions which won’t see Hamlet back to the table any time soon. Shamelet..

You can find out more by visiting https://www.mighty-boards.com/11/47/products/Hamlet

Designer – David Chircop





This review is based on the retail version of the game provided to us by the designer and publisher. We were not paid monetary compensation for this review. We give a general overview of the gameplay and so not all of the mechanical aspects of the game may be mentioned.

The majority of the games that we are play are going to take a reasonable number of sessions and playthroughs to fully understand every possibility that they offer. We hope this write up gives you an idea of whether or not this game is something that you will consider playing or even add to your collection. 
Even if we don’t like something, hopefully it helps you to decide if it is something that you should find out more about. We always suggest you check out a gameplay video to give you a better understanding of the game as it is played. 

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