Out of the (Chanukah gift) wrapper – thank you Lori, Sarah-Lee, and Tomer! – is Shakespeare, designed by Hervé Rigal, and published by Ystari Games. It can take up to four players (though, interestingly, BoardGameGeek puts three as the optimum number), does include a solitaire option, and claims playing times of 20-90 minutes.
The description from BGG:
The theaters of London are abuzz. In one week, her majesty the Queen will attend their new shows and will grant her support to one of the troupes. It’s the chance of a lifetime for the young authors who are inflaming the populace with ever more audacious and motley plays. But how do you create a masterpiece in such a short time? Whoever has the answer to this thorny question will probably enter the rolls of history!
In Shakespeare, players are theater managers who must recruit actors, craftsmen, jewelers and others in order to assemble everything needed for the play’s performance at week’s end.
Players are competing to get the right combinations of people and assets so as to end with the most prestige points.
The online reviews are very favorable, and my reading of the (clear and easy) rule book suggests this will be a good game to play, though there are bound to be the usual stumbling first steps before we get it right. The interactions are extensive, and it appears the possibility of screwing up your opponents (and, of course, the other way round) must be borne in mind with every action.
I’m looking forward to getting this on to the table and playing it.