Let’s start this week’s boardgame news with something peaceful, like gardening. In Agie Games’ Botanists that’s what you’ll do. Tend to your small garden and grow the flowers your regular florist customers want to buy. Of course, nothing in board games is ever as straightforward as it looks at first. Your seed supplier wants to get rid of his less popular seeds, too, so he only sells package deals and you have to see where you put those seeds you didn’t even want. With all your competitors buying from the same seed supplier, them buying the seeds they know you need is a concern as well. What did I say about peaceful again?
2F-Spiele / Stronghold Games
Racing games are sort of an old hat. Been there, done that, came dead last. But what if there were a racing game where you’re too lazy to move at all? That game is Fast Sloths (German title: Faultier) by Friedemann Friese. Even sloths want to arrive first, but they don’t want to move fast just to win. The obvious solution: let other animals carry you. You have a lot of options for this kind of transport. Ants will pass you along their chain, elephants throw you across the board, and so on. There is a total of twelve animal species to help you in your race, but you only pick six of them per game. Together with the modular board that gives you many different setups to play over and over.
Also new from Friedemann Friese is Fire!, a new Fast Forward game. This one is to for one or two players only and takes you back to the golden days of game arcades. You’ll play a game that is almost, but not quite, like Space Invaders. Through nine levels you’ll defend Earth against aliens, and with every level new cards come out of the Fast Forward stack to keep the game interesting.
Meditative exercises like, say, making mandalas, are the opposite of competitive. A competition in making mandalas makes no sense at all. Yet here we are with Mandala by Trevor Benjamin and Brett Gilbert. Two players make mandalas together and try to make more points than the other. The trick is in the colors. A mandala can only have a color in one of its zones and it’s only finished when it incorporates the six available colors. Then the players take turns picking up color cards from that mandala. You have to pick if a card goes to your river or your chalice. Color cards in your chalice score points, but the position of a color on the river determines how many points each card of that color is worth. Happy meditating!
Final Frontier Games
We’ve all heard of asymmetric games where not all players follow the same rules and have not quite the same game mechanics. And then there’s Merchants Cove who’s four players aren’t even playing the same game. The Alchemist plays an engine building game with marbles. The Blacksmith builds a dice pool. The Captain and the Chronomancer do their own thing. What they all do is try to satisfy literal boats full of customers coming into Merchant’s Cove. That, and the mercilessly advancing clock, because each action takes time. And you don’t have to understand exactly what your opponents are doing. All you need to do is make more money than them. Should be easy, right?
Monster Fight Club
Here we have a light, beginner friendly worker placement game – with tentacles. I wanted to keep the tentacles as a surprise for later, but with a game called Tentacle Town it was tough. So, you’re building a nice, little town by the sea together with the other players. And you are building it together, Tentacle Town isn’t a cooperative game, but all actions are improved by the number of workers already on them, no matter who they belong to. What exactly there is to do around town changes every game, but there’s always something. And then, attracted by all that activity, come the tentacles. From the deep they appear to tear down your buildings, scare your workers away and sometimes even kill them. At least defeating a tentacle is worth victory points. Tentacle Town is great to introduce new players to modern boardgames, and you certainly won’t be bored while playing, either. Also, this game goes perfectly with fried calamari.
This week’s featured photo shows Tugela Gorge in the Maloti-Drakensberg Park, a World Heritage Site shared between Lesotho and South Africa and a beautiful place. The photo was taken by Esther Westerveld. Thanks a lot for sharing, Esther! (“Tugela Gorge” wandeling – Royal Natal National Park, Esther Westerveld, CC-BY, resized and cropped)