How many different faces are there, really? You get men or women, young or old, blond or brunette, dark-skinned or light, wearing a hat or not – if you want to get really exotic you might consider cat faces, wolf faces, green faces, blue faces. So let’s say there are like, thirty different faces in the world. That seems a lot already. And then let’s say there are that many again, because there are two sets of Similo cards: History and Fables.
How are you supposed to find one specific face out of all of those, when the one person who knows who you’re looking for can only give cryptic clues? Why, by deduction, of course!

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Friedemann Friese wants us to build a utopia. Not the kind where we all have jet packs and go to the moon for brunch, but a more achievable kind. The kind of utopia where we all have enough food and energy and can spend our days doing things we enjoy, not at a job that is slowly but inevitably draining my will to live, where every hour makes me long for the sweet embrace of the grave, where the only way anything will ever change is for the worse… sorry, what was I talking about?
Oh yeah, Futuropia. Even that small kind of utopia doesn’t come for free, initially. Someone has to make it work first. Your mission, should you choose to accept it: build a condominium that produces its own food and energy and where all the work is done by robots.

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Nova Luna

The moon has a lot of influence over things down here. It controls the tides. It affects people’s feelings. It grows people’s teeth and body hair – at least that’s what Ted Alspach would tell you. Now that floating piece of rock will even decide which tiles we’re about to pick in a game.
Okay, not really. Even the Nova Luna rulebook doesn’t go to much effort to explain the game’s lunar theme. Nova Luna is an abstract tile placement game, the moon is just there for the graphic design. Which is fine, I like abstract games and I like pretty games, so the combination is a win for me.

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The King’s Dilemma

How far can you get with only yes/no decisions? Pretty damn far, if you ask anyone working with computers. But how about in terms of game design? How far does a game of yes/no decisions get you? That’s a question to ask Hjalmar Hach and Lorenzo Silva, the designers of The King’s Dilemma. While there is a bit more around it, the core of the game is a series of yes/no decisions.

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One thing boardgames usually play quite loosely with is time. One round equals one month? Then using your workers to construct a building takes a month, be it a log cabin or a cathedral. Need a new worker? That takes a month. Travel to the next city? Sounds like a month-long trip. Getting money from the bank? Better bring your tent, because guess how long that will take.

Well, not so when you start building the city of Samara. Corné van Moorsel’s Samara is all about time. The game’s basic unit of time is still a month, but how many months something takes and how many people you need to accomplish it, that’s where things get way more interesting.

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Silver Amulet / Silver Bullet

I’m starting to wonder if Ted Alspach had some bad (or maybe very good?) lycaontrophic experiences in his youth. He created Ultimate Werewolf, One Night Ultimate Werewolf, Ultimate Werewolf Legacy, and a bunch more, what are the odds the neighbors’ dog didn’t whisper dark secrets to him?

Ted’s newest take on the lupine exposure genre is the Silver series, so far containing Silver Amulet and Silver Bullet and soon to be joined by Silver Coin. The furry beasts in these games are much more insidious than usual, though. In the Silver games, people are not simply werewolves or not werewolves. Werewolves exist on a gradient from “not a werewolf” all the way to “holy crap, that is absolutely a werewolf”. Finding the most werewolf group of people will be a challenge under those circumstances.

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Cerebria: The Inside World

Year2018PublisherMindclash GamesAuthorRichard Amann, Viktor Peter, István Pócsi, Frigyes Schöberl, Nick Shaw, Dávid TurcziPlayers1 – 4Age14 – 199Time60-120StrategyLuckInteractionComponents & DesignComplexityScoreInside every one of us, powerful forces are[…]

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Letter Jam

Take some words. Pulp them thoroughly into component letters. Mix with sugar and possibly pectin, boil in a jar. Realize that you misunderstood what Letter Jam is, throw out that mixture of boiled sweetened dictionary, and play the game by Ondra Skoupý.

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Pandemic: Rising Tide

In times when a lot of bad things happen, it can be important to remember that we, as a species, have achieved a lot of great things already. We’ve eradicated diseases and developed vaccines for others. We’ve saved the world from a continent full of fascists. We’ve wrestled land enough to build whole countries on from the cold, wet embrace of the seas.

Two of those three things you can experience right now in a Pandemic game. The one we want to look at this week is Pandemic: Rising Tide. With this version of Matt Leacock’s legendary cooperative game you can join one of the world’s biggest engineering project, the Dutch flood control system.

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