Cyberpunk is old. We’ve seen a lot of steampunk. The new punk is solar punk, and Solar City takes boardgames there. In the new game by Alien Artifacts designers Viola Kijowska and Marcin Ropka each player builds their own solar-powered city on a four by four grid. After a player places a building on the grid they activate all their buildings in a row or column. This benefits them in different ways and should produce money and solar power (victory points), but it also locks that row or column for the other players, meaning they can’t activate their own buildings there. What could have been another game where everyone puzzles their own engine becomes very interactive. For long term enjoyment, Solar City comes with many different types of buildings, only some of which are used per game.
Things you don’t want to encounter in Thunderstone Quest: Back To The Dungeon, but will. Today: the Trog Scout. He’s not super dangerous in the sense that he’ll kill you, but his ability to steal your gear before you even get close is very annoying.
It’s hard to imagine how much planning and work go into a classic Chinese garden. Thanks to Tang Garden you won’t have to imagine any more, the tile placement game lets you experience the planning part. Calling Tang Garden a tile placement game doesn’t really do it justice, there’s a lot more going on. Beyond the garden tiles you also have to place garden decorations and panoramic views along the sides of the garden. Placing those things will enable you to call different characters that then help out with their special abilities, or can be placed watching their favorite panorama in the garden. Even with all that games should typically take less than an hour, making Tang Garden a great game for those who like having many things to consider but don’t want to spend the whole evening on one game.
Sometimes a game and its theme don’t seem to fit together. The result of that mismatch can be quite jarring, but it can also turn out adorably quirky. That’s the case for Raccoon Tycoon, a game about talking animals in hats painted in a fanciful fine art style. However, it’s not a kids’ game like you might expect but a strategic, economic game that just happens to feature talking animals in hats. These animals trade commodities in a market where every buy or sale changes the prices. With the money they (hopefully) make they construct buildings with helpful special effects and contribute to the railroad. Raccoon Tycoon is a very streamlined game, so the rules are not overly complex. Strategy is a different matter.
Fantasy Flight Games
The conflict between Empire and Rebels is getting to Lothal. The latest preview for Imperial Assault: Tyrants of Lothal gives us some overview how this conflict will look. It introduces CT-1701 “Wildfire”, a clone trooper turned rebel. It also introduces Overwhelming Opression, the new Imperial Class in this expansion. An Imperial Player with this class will be an expert token juggler, using tokens to enhance his units on the board and his hand cards. They might take a bit to get going, but once they have those tokens to spread around they’ll be terrifying.
Let’s face it, it’s only a matter of time until someone really creates a theme park with dinosaurs. Until then Z-Man Games’s Mesozooic will give you the chance to build your own. The card game combines drafting with a real-time phase where players slide their cards into position in their theme park. The big attractions have more than one card to arrange. The monorail between them has to be all connected to make sense and score points. And before you can let visitors see anything in your park you must have a maintenance truck there to keep things safe. We all know what happens when you don’t do the maintenance!
Rio Grande Games
Over on BoardGameGeek designer Tom Lehmann teases New Frontiers, a new game in the Race for the Galaxy family. New Frontiers will have mechanisms closer to Puerto Rico: the active player picks an action, then all players may take that action. The active player does get a bonus on it. In that framework your goal is the same as in Race for the Galaxy: expand your space empire, develop your civilization. Planets to expand to will be drawn from a bag, developments come as an assortment of tiles in different sizes to add to your empire board. There is more to come, including a new mechanism that is not present in Race for the Galaxy nor Puerto Rico, but that will be a story for another time.
Holy Grail Games
When I got up this morning I didn’t expect to crave a game that traces its heritage to Dominoes, but here we are. Dominations – Road to Civilization by Holy Grail Games is a Dominoes-based civilization game, and if you think those things don’t go together then have a look at the description on Kickstarter. Placing the triangular tiles brings you knowledge in six different domains, with special extra knowledge for matching colors. Knowledge buys you skills to fit into your tech tree, another structure of connected tiles. You also build cities and monuments on the map formed by those triangles to earn even more knowledge and score victory points and influence. There are some more details, like characters that help out the player with the most knowledge in a domain, but Dominations is generally a “simple rules, rough decisions” kind of game. It’s a very different kind of civilization game, and it sounds great.
The Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne, Australia doesn’t always look like it does in our featured photo. It’s a beauty without the light show, too, but this picture from the 2016 White Night event is something else. Thank you, Steve Collis, for sharing this beautiful photo with the world. (Royal Exhibition Building, Steve Collis, CC-BY, resized and cropped)