Minerva Tabletop Games
Fortunately, you don’t need to really understand color theory to play Swatch, because no matter how often I try, I can’t wrap my head around it, but I still want to play the game. Colors are the theme of Swatch, but under the hood lies an abstract resource management game everyone can enjoy. The resources to manage are colors: you collect cyan, magenta, and yellow, convert them into red, blue, and green, and use those to buy the colors you need for your goal color scheme. You do all that using action cards. The cards available to the public change every game, so you’ll have to rethink the most efficient way to your goal every time. Efficiency is key to Swatch, because it’s not enough to be fast, you also need to not have leftover colors to win. Add the minimalist Bauhaus-style design that appeals to my inner German and you have yourself a pretty attractive package here.
Button Shy’s Wallet Games series – games that fit in a small wallet to carry wherever you go – had some successful entries, but I don’t think any of them were as successful as Sprawlopolis. The cooperative card placement game is quick, tactical, and almost infinitely replayable thanks to the different combinations of objective cards you draw every game. With Agropolis there is a sequel on Kickstarter. Instead of a city you build a patch of farmland with different zones for different types of produce. The objectives are different, of course, so this is a new game with new challenges. With livestock pens and feed fees you also have all new things in this game. Also – saved the best for last here – if you have both games you can mash them together with the free expansion Combopolis and build city and farm mixed together. Everything together will still easily fit in your pocket. It’s hard to pack more game into so little space.
Way back, in the year 2011, we reviewed a quirky dexterity game called Dungeon Fighter. As you make your way through a dungeon, you fight monsters by rolling dice. Not, as you might expect, by rolling high numbers, but by hitting the right spot on the target with the dice. Possibly while sitting under the table, with your eyes closed, balancing a cat on your head. Dungeon Fighter was a frequent guest on our table for years. Horrible Guild are bringing it back in an all new, shiny edition, with some significant changes. On the decidedly positive side, your heroes can now level up – what dungeon crawler doesn’t let you level up? – and finishing a monster while applying extra difficulties will give extra rewards. Extra tactical decisions, always great. On the plain negative side, we got plain nothing. No, seriously, why would they make the game worse. What about mixed feelings? Instead of a base game with expansions, there are now four stand-alone boxes. That’s great because each box has a full collection of its own components – heroes, monsters, even the target are different. If you want to play different Dungeon Fighter games, however, the damage to your wallet and to your shelf space will be larger. Welp, time to convince some friends to buy different editions.
The second expansion to Wingspan is on its way. With Wingspan: Oceania you’ll get the birds of an entirely new part of the world. I’m pretty sure there’ll be kiwis and emus. Maybe cassowaries, too, but they might be too dangerous. Designer diary entries over the next few days will reveal what news this expansion will bring.
CMON’s press release, while very thin on actual details, is still quite a bombshell. They’ll release a boardgame based on popular video game The Last of Us. If you don’t know that one, The Last of Us is a game about smuggler Joel and teenager Ellie. Joel escorts Ellie through the post-apocalyptic US of A, constantly endangered by other survivors and fungal zombies. Yes, really. The video game is full of tension, but also very emotional and character-driven, so I’m curious what kind of game The Last of Us: The Board Game will be.
Deep Water Games
Fantastic Factories is a wonderful example of an engine building game. Players use dice rolls to build and later activate factories. Factories take dice to produce goods that other factories then refine into more valuable goods, and with relative simple elements you can build incredibly satisfying production chains. Soon, you’ll build even more satisfying engines. The Manufactions expansion adds new factories, a new commodity to manufacture, and variable player powers that will make each game even more unique. In the same Kickstarter, you can also get the Subterfuge expansion. This one is for players who want more interaction; sabotage actions let you shut down other players’ factories. It’s not my favorite kind of interaction, but I won’t judge, and between the two expansions you’ll get a lot more mileage out of an already great game.
This week’s featured photo shows Studenica monastery in Serbia. Founded in the 12th century, today it’s the richest of the Serbian orthodox monasteries. It has two churches build from white marble and housing a collection of Byzantine paintings to match. The photo was taken and kindly shared by Flickr user Geri. Thanks a lot for sharing, Geri! (Kloster Studenica, Geri, CC-BY-SA, resized and cropped)