Do you find yourself with an embarrassing gap in your Vital Lacerda collection? If that gap is about Kanban-sized then you have a chance to fix it now. Kanban EV is new deluxe edition of the classic car factory game. There are some minor rules changes and streamlines, but mostly it’s the same game with some fresh exclusive expansions. Oh, and with all new components and with artwork by Ian O’Toole. Lacerda and O’Toole, that combination will always make me lose money.
The animals of Tiny Towns were living in peace, just competing for who could build the nicest town. Then they invented money, and that was that. No, not really. Just from reading the rules Tiny Towns: Fortune might make the game more peaceful. In the base game, the Master Builder player decides which resource all players get. Now they can spend money to instead get a resource of their own choice. Money is a scarce resource, so you can’t just take what you want all the time, but it makes it harder for the Master Builder to shut other players down completely. Sounds more peaceful to me, at least.
If you just read the description of Inner Compass then it sounds pretty esoteric. Search for meaning, make life choices, experience emotions, create memories – those things are important, sure, but how exactly do you do all that in a boardgame? Well, Inner Compass doesn’t really have anything to do with emotions. It’s a soft setting for a surprisingly logical, strategic abstract game. You move around a grid of colored spaces to collect emotion cards, taking care of the direction you move and the color you end up on to gain a bonus card. With the emotion cards you buy memories, ideally of a kind your opponents have been ignoring because that makes them more valuable. But you also want to buy them when you’re in the right place on the grid, because you’ll leave a cube there that you can later score points for if it’s in the right place. Only what “the right place” is depends on which Qualities you get, and you only get Qualities for taking cubes from your own grid and placing them on the main grid… are you confused? I’m confused. To be fair, though, the rules are easy enough to follow from the rulebook. They just connect with each other in interesting ways that you’ll have to puzzle through to figure out what to do when in which order to actually score more points that everyone else. A mental exercise that I’m looking forward to giving a try.
With Frutticola Giochix.it are kickstarting an unusually quick strategy game. The contest to become the richest fruit selling family plays in around sixty minutes, but those will have plenty of meaningful choices. Those choices are driven by action cards, which are way more powerful than you’re probably used to from other games with action cards. These guys here dictate turn order, they tell you how many workers you have for the round, and they give you a special ability to use this round. The more powerful action cards come with built-in downsides, though. You might have many workers and go first but be unable to sell anything this round. When you play with random action cards then those powerful cards might get a bit unbalanced, that’s why the full game lets you draft them instead. That’s how you make growing an orchard fun.
It might just be me, but I feel that times between Marvel movies are too long. Not much I can do about it, but at least here’s an option to bridge those gaps: Play out some new plots in CMON’s Marvel United – optionally with the The Infinity Gauntlet expansion. Marvel United is a cooperative game and seems to be on the light side, rules-wise. On a villain turn you draw a villain card and resolve all its effects, mostly doing damage to heroes, putting civilians in danger, and sending thugs to cause trouble. On a hero turn that hero draws a card, plays a card, resolves the card’s effect. There’s an interesting connection between heroes’ turns through their heroic teamwork: The active hero resolves the effects of the previous hero card in addition to his own. There’s some interesting strategy in there. Don’t have the action cards you need? Maybe the player before you has a card to benefit you both. Even though the rules are pretty simple Marvel United will neither be easy to beat nor boring. Always a great combination in a coop game.
The dwarven kingdom of Nidavellir is under attack. The dragon Fafnir has come and the king has tasked you to raise an army to turn him back in Nidavellir, the latest game by Serge Laget (Ad Astra, Shadows over Camelot, …). Where do you find dwarfish fighters and even the greatest heroes of dwarfdom for your army? In a tavern, of course. In three taverns, five classes of dwarfs await, each class with their own way to count their total strength. Generally, having more dwarfs of one class makes them stronger. But having a full set of all five classes lets you recruit a powerful hero, that’s not bad for your army, either. To get those dwarfs, players bid money on the taverns. Highest bid gets the first pick from that tavern’s patrons. However, you have good reasons to bid low, too. When you bid your zero coin you may upgrade one of the coins you didn’t use this round into a more valuable coin. All this adds up to a game that is not super complicated, but where the decisions you make always have a pro and a con to them – which is what makes decisions interesting, of course.
This week’s banner photo shows what remains of the baths ar Abu Mena, an early Christian settlement in Egypt. The photo was kindly shared by the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World. Thanks a lot for sharing, guys! (Baths at Abu Mena (XXI), Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, CC-BY, cropped and resized)