Futuropia

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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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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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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Crystal Clans

Why would anyone fight for crystals? Maybe because they are shiny. Maybe because of their powerful magic. Or maybe you just can’t stand the thought of another clan getting them. One reason is as good as the other. Crystal Clans hints at a rich setting with its clans’ personalities expressed through special abilities and the units each clan fields, but the setting doesn’t go beyond those hints, not even to tell us why those crystals are so important.

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Wingspan

So, you build engines from shiny, new metal parts? That would make you a mechanic or an engineer. You build them from bits of old engine? A game show candidate, maybe? Engines from bamboo and coconuts, you say? Why, hello there, Gilligan. You build engines from birds? Then… um… I don’t know… I guess you’re about to receive an angry visit from PETA, if not the police. You’re also a peerless genius of a mad scientist. Or you might just be playing Wingspan, an engine building game by Elizabeth Hargrave and this year’s Kennerspiel des Jahres winner.

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Carpe Diem

Year2018PublisheraleaAuthorStefan FeldPlayers2 – 4Age10 – 199Time45-75StrategyLuckInteractionComponents & DesignComplexityScoreCarpe Diem. The fish of the day, as they say in Latin. It’s an[…]

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Tsukuyumi & After The Moonfall

One amazing thing games let us do is explore worlds of imagination. Space ships traveling to distant stars are just as possible as dragons or old gods walking the Earth. I can’t think of any game that stretches the borders of imagination as far as Tsukuyumi.
On the surface, the world of Tsukuyumi used to be just like ours. Like Earth, that is. One difference, though – or at least I hope it’s a difference. Thousands of years ago, the white dragon god Tsukuyumi was trapped in the center of the moon by his brothers and sisters. There he lay, plotting, planning, until one day he broke free of his lunar prison by crashing into the Earth. The devastation was absolute. Continents shattered. Mountains crumbled. Oceans fell try. Animals, plants, and especially humanity paid a heavy toll. And amidst all this destruction Tsukuyumi and his army of Oni warriors stand to recapture what was once theirs.

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Architects of the West Kingdom

After three games around the North Sea – Explorers, Raiders, and Shipwrights of the North Sea – designer Shem Phillips wanted a change of direction. Literally. So him and co-designer S J Macdonald went to the West Kingdom. The first game in this new trilogy is Architects of the West Kingdom, the sequel Paladins of the West Kingdom was just funded on Kickstarter, we don’t know the title of the third game yet.

The West Kingdom is the 9th century Carolingian Empire, and in the first game the players are architects – don’t act surprised now – construct landmarks and cathedrals for the king.

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Mea Culpa

Mea Culpa

Way too many religions in the world threaten their believers with going to a bad place if they misbehave. Let’s call it Hell. Or maybe Purgatory, if there’s a chance you might leave and go to a good place at some point. Think about that what you will. But in the Middle Ages, one religion went a step further than usual with this belief: the Catholic church offered their believers a way to buy themselves free from eternal punishment. With the purchase of a papal Indulgence, they advertised, your soul will go straight to heaven, all your sins forgiven. And as a side effect, the money will pay for a shiny new basilica in Rome. This practice was not universally popular. It was so unpopular, in fact, that a German priest and theologian rallied against it and caused a schism in the church that was never mended. And that’s why we get Mea Culpa, a game about indulgences, this year, exactly 500 years, after Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg.

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World's Fair 1893

World’s Fair 1893

The World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago has mostly fallen from general awareness. In its day, however, there was a consensus that this event had a transformational power in America exceeding anything since the American Civil War. Calling the game World’s Fair 1893 transformational might be going a bit far, but it’s in one league with many of the novelties presented at the 1893 World’s Fair.

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