Meople News: Martian Farming Crisis

Plaid Hat Games

In all the SeaFall previews so far, we heard about Advisors. Who are these Advisors, where did they come from, and where do they go in SeaFall‘s Legacy system? All those questions, and a good look at the Advisors you can hire from the start, are in the latest preview.


Polish publisher REDIMP has launched a new Kickstarter campaign for Martians: A Story of Civilization, a game by Grzegorz Okli?ski and Krzysztof Wolicki. (Not to be confused with Ignacy Trzewiczek’s First Martians, an unrelated game about colonizing Mars coming from Poland this year.) Players in Martians: A Story of Civilization are Mars colonists establishing a colony and doing their best to thrive and survive in the extremely hostile environment using worker placement mechanics. The game comes with three play modes. Cooperative play has you complete a game scenario together. In competitive play you want the highest reputation with the colonists and become High Administrator. The semi-coop mode lies in between, only one player can become the High Administrator, but unless scenario objectives are met all players lose the game. In all modes there are many different options to juggle, with workers to place, experts to hire and technologies to research.

Agricola Family (Image by Lookout Spiele)
Agricola Family (Image by Lookout Spiele)

Lookout Spiele

I like heavier games as much as the next boardgamer, but do you ever find yourself thinking “I wish I could play Agricola with the kids”? Well, Lookout Spiele has your back in that matter, one of their new releases is Agricola Family, a toned down version of the Uwe Rosenberg classic. While the worker placement core of the game remains, many advanced features have been simplified or removed altogether. There are no more hand cards, the variable game board is now a fixed one, and the rules for expanding your farm have been simplified. You can still grow your family to have more workers, and you also still have to feed all your family members with food your farm produces. With all those changes, the recommended minimum age goes down from twelve to eight and the playing time is given as 45 minutes.


It’s pretty cool when boardgames use current issues as their themes, and even though Crisis is set in a fictional dieselpunk setting, that is pretty obviously what it does. Axia, a country with a long and rich history but quite recent political upheaval, has nevertheless managed to be admitted to the Economic Union formed by its neighbors. Then it managed to ruin its economy with corruption and bureaucracy – you never get one without the other – and its Union partners only agreed to help in return for Axia following a draconian Austerity plan that drives the population into poverty without doing any good for the economy. Parallels to the European Union are certainly not coincidental. In Crisis, brave entrepreneurs, the players, see the crisis as an opportunity to invest in Axia and get even more rich. They take action through worker placement, with resource management and building a portfolio of companies as important things to focus on. What makes Crisis special is that players’ actions affect Axia’s economic stability. It is possible for the country to be bankrupt after any of the game’s seven rounds, in which case the calculation of victory points changes compared to the regular game end and there might be no winner.

Rio Grande Games

Friedemann Friese’s Power Grid is one of the most popular economic games ever, but it also has a reputation for being long and having quite some downtime with more players. What if someone condensed the game to be quicker? Power Grid: The Card Game does a lot of condensing by taking away the game board, players will buy power plants in auctions, supply them with whatever resources they need to burn and then earn income based on the amount of power they put out. It takes away the whole part of the game where you connect cities to your grid, but most other parts seem intact, and as a result the card game is supposed to play in an hour or less. I can’t tell you yet if it will satisfy the urge to play Power Grid, but I am looking forward to giving it a try.

This week’s featured photo was taken in Boyana Church in Sofia, Bulgaria. Boyana Church is famous for its mural paintings and considered an important repository of medieval east European art. This photo was taken by Ann Wuyts and shared with a CC-BY license. Thanks a lot, Ann!

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