Obsession: The Ongoing Wessex-Hanover Rivalry
Travel back to a world of Victorian high society and rebuilt country estates with the enchanting play in Obsession.
What’s a well-known fact about Obsession? It’s still my favorite game! And with several months since I last set it up, I knew it was time to give it another whirl. The theme of managing a household and manor works so nicely for me, while the gameplay offers the perfect challenge. Ring for the valet or lady’s maid! Time to revisit this glorious experience…
My staff was all set and ready to tackle Derbyshire society! Going off of my last attempts, it appeared I was stuck in a struggle as the Wessex family against the Hanovers. So I used the same general setup, choosing the breakfast room over the tennis court as the Wessex bonus. Could it work?
January 25, 2019
January 15, 2021
24" x 28"
At the start of play, 5 objective cards set the stage for potential bonuses. Several of these are discarded during play, so they provide a few different options.
The Wessex family was already on their way to becoming epicurean masters! That breakfast room had to work out.
The group bonus didn’t look too inviting since the initial tiles didn’t include any of them. But time would tell if it made sense to pursue the extra 12 victory points.
All of the options were there. I merely had to guide the Wessexes to victory over these horrible Hanovers!
An Important Tea Party
Things started off well enough with Robert and Francis sitting down for afternoon tea. The favors were what I really needed to focus on, in addition to the building tiles.
Maybe it was unwise to start off with practically no money, but that no concern to this family! They were on the edge of reemerging into society. No problem at all.
The promise of new guests within the family’s social circle was the main draw here. And a prestige guest, to boot!
I eagerly drew the cards to find out who would come to visit after such an important tea service.
The Best and the Rest
It must have been the antique porcelain teacups that made the Marchioness of Easton take an interest. Ha! Take that, you Hanover disaster. I may have been a little rude…
Naturally, this new acquaintance came with strings attached. Don’t they all?! This one had a pauper.
At least she wasn’t an American heiress or, worse yet, an adventuress! I couldn’t exactly fault this friendship, though, as it seemed steeped in tragedy.
There were plenty of stories to be told here, yet I was focused on finally winning against the Hanovers.
A Noisy Game of Bowls
The Countess of Rochdale looked impeccable on the surface, but what a nightmare she was! “Overly loud” was a most accurate description. No one could stand her!
As it so happened, Reginald Hopkins needed to be taught a lesson. His affinity for “hunts” sometimes had him chasing down the ladies. Hardly a reputable man!
So the Wessex estate brought the pair together for a game of bowls. It was to be the loudest game on the property.
The unfortunate footman suffered through Beatrice’s yells and Reginald’s complaints. It was a baffling affair!
To the West Terrace
At least the oddly arranged activities brought in more revenue for the estate. Slowly, renovations took shape and new areas were completed. Quite the improvement!
Fortunate events at the market opened up builders who could renovate the west terrace at a very reasonable price.
So it was that the Wessex family could enjoy the sunset each and every day. Surely that would attract the attention of the Fairchilds? It was a necessity, after all.
I actually had some interesting decisions with the market. It wasn’t so prudent to buy the cheapest tile every turn.
Planning on All Fronts
A-ha! Charles did, indeed, take notice of the activity around the Wessex country estate. I knew it would work!
So it was to the morning room for a proper introduction and planning, not just for the day, but for the future.
Note that this was the morning room, not the breakfast room. No one cared much about that area. Lovely! I set myself quite the challenge with that starting tile.
It’s not even that the breakfast room is inherently bad. But against the Hanover family, it served no purpose and I kept playing at a disadvantage. Victory wasn’t far off!
Plain Old Suffering
Beatrice! Not again… It might have been me who planned this terrible weekend in the heritage guest suite, but it’s clear the Hanovers had something to do with this.
The footman witnessed the countess’s loud rambling again. Worst of all, the lady’s maid was exhausted after attending to this so-called “lady” for days.
Granted, this impressive invitation led to a nice boost in reputation and introductions to quieter individuals.
I can just imagine what this might have been like if it happened, though! Truly, that poor lady’s maid.
Much as I wanted to announce my prowess at managing the estate… The Wessex family was in trouble. I made some errors in judgment that wouldn’t go away.
Just in time for the national holiday, when anyone could stop by for a highly reputable activity… I planned this mess. The Wessexes got a new horse. Come out and see!
We had 2 guests show up. Lord Gresham wanted to buy it to study it. Miss Katherine had nothing else to do that day.
Note, too, how this was a level 1 reputation activity. Great planning on my part! I really know what I’m doing. Ha!
Under the Hanovers
I… Don’t want to talk about it. Did I get my lowest score ever? Hmm. Pardon me, but I do believe there was some tampering on the part of the Hanovers. Horrible!
Looking at this scoring breakdown per season, it might be obvious what to do. Yet I didn’t have every option open to me. And yes… I played poorly in general. Ha ha!
The important takeaway from this is how much fun I still had with the same general challenge. Hanover!!!
And the rivalry simply grew stronger. So I quickly reset, eager to best this opponent in some way.
Prestige for Miles
Alright. It was time to beat the Hanovers at their own game, which was usually the prestige department.
I focused on picking up every prestige building tile I could and hosting all sorts of events. It worked out very well! The butler was busier than ever, hosting so many events.
At the same time, the theme cards for each courtship phase just didn’t work out how I needed them to. Go figure that prestige wasn’t all that important this time!
Still, I had a hold over the Hanovers for the first time yet. The final scores would be close. Go, Wessex family!
Play Number: 29 and 30
Expansion: Obsession: Wessex Expansion
Solo Mode: Included in the Base Game
Play Details: Standard Play with Closed Courtship
Outcome: 82-137 and 118-128 (2 Losses)
Ugh. So close! I was fed up with the Hanovers, though, and thought about the end of Charles’s story this time. I had it! The Wessex family may have lost, but their good friend, Anne Hawkins, was simply irresistible to the Fairchild heir. He ran off with an American heiress, shaming the Hanovers into oblivion. That’s how you lose ungracefully!
Price & Value
Challenges & Mechanics
Design & Theme
Components & Rules
Achievement & Enjoyment
Distinctness & Randomness
+ Pros (Positives)
- The story potential is amazing with such a rich theme, individual guest flavor text, and historical details.
- Even playing over and over with the same family against the same solo opponent creates a lot of variety.
- Each servant type is represented by a uniquely shaped and colored meeple so they’re very easy to identify.
- Gameplay flows smoothly and rather quickly so that turns never drag on and the experience lasts long enough.
- Managing the family’s affairs involves a lot of elements, yet never feels overwhelming nor overly complex.
- All of the components fit neatly in the box, which includes useful storage to make the setup process very easy.
– Cons (Negatives)
- The font for the guest names is thematic and fancy, but can be difficult to read for certain letter combinations.
- There is an element of luck involved in getting the right building tiles in the builders’ market early on.
- Pulling tiles out of the draw bag must be done carefully since the bag itself can be prone to unraveling a bit.
- Details on the tiles are vital, yet the lack of visual elements can sometimes make everything seem uniform.
Score the Most Points
- Overall Goal Progress 93% 93%
Goals and Milestones
Win at least 1 game against the Blois family.
Win at least 1 game against the Boleyn family.
Win at least 1 game against the Brunswick family.
Win at least 1 game against the Cornwallis family.
Win at least 1 game against the Eden family.
Win at least 1 game against the Fairfax family.
Win at least 1 game against the Fitzherbert family.
Win at least 1 game against the Grosvenor family.
Win at least 1 game against the Hanover family.
Win at least 1 game against the Lancaster family.
Win at least 1 game against the Orange family.
Win at least 1 game against the Seymour family.
Win at least 1 game against the Simpson family.
Win at least 1 game against the Stuart family.
Win at least 1 game against the Gladstone family.
Continue the Conversation
What do you like or dislike about Obsession? I always like to hear other opinions, particularly about my favorite games. This one simply works the best for me, though, and it’s hard not to share that excitement! Do you have a particular game that’s nearly perfect for you? The only thing wrong with this right now is the Hanover family. Not for long!