Puzzling Pixel Games
“Stroll and write game” is a clever pun on the recently reemerging roll-and-write genre of games. The idea of Seven Bridges is just as clever. Players will draft dice showing straights, corners, and intersections and draw them on their little map of Königsberg to mark out the stroll they’ll take around the city. There are seven ways to score points, from having closed loops in your path to passing trees, buildings, or landmarks to passing through grid spaces on the map. To activate each of these scoring options, you have to cross one of Königsberg’s bridges. If you want all seven options you need all seven bridges, but maybe going out of your way for those bridges is not as profitable as scoring more points from the options you already have. To top it off, passing in front of landmarks also awards bonus actions to use immediately or later. Those are plenty of tactical options for a roll-and-write game. By the way, if the seven bridges of Königsberg ring some bells in the back of your head but you don’t know why, it may be from math class: Those bridges were what inspired Leonard Euler to invent graph theory.
Deep Water Games
In a solar system far, far away six inhabited planets spend many generations on war before they formed a system-wide democracy. Then humanity arrived, and just for a change we did not start new wars. It was more profitable to influence the six planets’ senators and trade and gain trade concessions for rare (on Earth) crystals. Controlling the action in Sovereign Sky is an old friend of strategy gamers, a rondell. Moving your mothership around the system gets you to different action spots. One step is free, moving further or turning around cost energy. Each space on the rondell offers three actions, using only one gives you energy, to use all three you have to spend again. Those actions let you place ships and construct bases, important for majorities that grant you influence. They also let you recruit senators for even more influence and valuable favors. To have the most influence when the game ends you’ll have to plan carefully, majorities can shift faster than you like and take your precious influence with them.
There is something beautiful about unicorn racing. The creatures’ graceful power, competing against others of their kind. Plus the money from betting on them, that’s beautiful as well. That’s what we play Unicorn Fever for. The fantasy rainbow version of Horse Fever is all about the betting. The player with the most money at the end wins. Once the unicorns are running you’ll have to wait and bite your nails like everyone else, but before the race starts you have some unsavory ways to interfere. Magic that speeds up a horned pony, or slows it down. Contracts with beings even less ethical than you to help your betting career. Just like Horse Fever, Unicorn Fever is a simple game of luck, risk taking, and anticipating what your opponents might be planning, in about equal parts. But this new version is also extra colorful and has the most adorable, chubby racing unicorns.
Hans im Glück
Marco Polo didn’t just go to Beijing and back. He saw much more of east Asia. We’ll accompany him on those extended travels in Marco Polo II: Im Auftrag des Khan (translated: By Appointment of the Khan), a sequel to the successful dice placement / action selection game The Voyages of Marco Polo. The basics remain unchanged, you roll your dice and place them on spaces to take different actions, hoping that your opponents don’t take the spots you wanted. Beyond the basics, however, you have new characters taking new actions on a new board to meet new scoring conditions. In other words, it’s exactly what you want from a game sequel: At the same time familiar and new.
The biggest addition Days of the Siege brings to Galakta’s This War of Mine is the three act story campaign titled Forlorn Hope. The latest preview post explains just how big that campaign is in some detail. There are 700 new story script entries to discover, each act will last two to three hours of play time, acts two and three have two variants, one of which you pick based on your decisions in the previous act. So that’s six to nine hours of play time for one play-through, you can play at least twice just to discover the different versions of acts two and three, and then some more times to find all the different events you can run into in each act. That’s a lot of play time right there.
This week’s featured photo shows the fort of Qal’at Murair at Al Zubarah, Qatar. The photo was taken and kindly shared by Mohamod Fasil. Thanks a lot, Mohamod! (Al Zubarah – Qatar, Mohamod Fasil, CC-BY)