Did I mention that this is a co-operative game? Together, players will either scramble to safety, or burn to a crisp.
Welcome to Museum, a game of archaeology (stealing), curation (re-arranging), and prestige (letter-writing).
Quinns: With over 300 gorgeous illustrations by Vincent Dutrait, Museum is the definition of a labour of love. In fact, Ava and I approached it like a real museum, taking a leisurely tour of its exhibits across two days.
Finally, we’re ready to write our review. Ava, do you want to explain the game?
Ava: Let me be your guide through the byzantine corridors...of board game.
Each player is given a personal city map which you'll fill with a scattering of white and red biodomes, which will connect to a flourishing network of factories and laboratories. Ideally, this network will score you points, as well as act as an engine that'll occasionally spew out resources such as credits, biomatter, and kelp. Lots of kelp.
Apparently when we colonise the seas, the only thing available to eat will be kelp. I’ve never tried kelp. Have you tried kelp? They tell me it's the kale of the sea, but I'm pretty sure that's a lie.
All of which is a little misleading. The best bit of Tiny Towns is hearing one of your neighbours - having carefully examined their own tiny town - mutter “Oh, sh**.”
Intentionally or not, designer Peter McPherson has captured the reality of living in a tiny town. Friendly interactions, with a pungent undercurrent of jealousy.
Bolds: Moving to live in a new place is stressful, nigh on terrifying. A place where the faucets turn differently, the light switches are in odd places, and your bed faces a wholly new wall.
Well, GET READY, because Betrayal Legacy is a game about moving into a new house over and over, forever, without end. A new house where the portraits leak blood, the attic is infested with gremlins, and even the ghosts have skeletons in their spectral closets.
That is probably a strange place to start my review of Games Workshop's newest offering, Kill Team! A re-release of a variant of Warhammer 40,000, the game's big selling point is its size. Unlike the sell-your-car-budget armies of its larger cousin, in Kill Team each player uses a small band of 5-20 miniatures to do battle in a space designed to fit on a kitchen table. As I've played around with it, though, I find myself at a loss as to what to say.
Kill Team is, at the same time, an exhausting incremental iteration on a tired system... and the best thing Games Workshop has released in years.
And yet naming the game that will next make me grin is as exact a science as reading tea leaves blindfolded from across the room. It’s like I’m in a raffle I never entered, holding
Paul: OH GOD WHERE’S THE SPRAY QUICK OPEN A WINDO-
Quinns: It’s fiiiine Paul! This is something we can safely let into our homes to flit happily about, to land on our tables or to watch us from the shelves with its compound eyes. Santa Maria is quite harmless!
Paul: Harmless and… perhaps toothless?
Popping open the almost cartoonishly cute box, which appears to depict Santa Claus as armoured as he is jolly, we’ve got dice! We’ve got charming wooden tokens! We’ve got wonky jungle tiles! We’ve got… is this the terrifying face of an inflated baby, about to burst?!
It’s also barely a game, not so much a skeleton of rules as a single bony finger, the sort that would be tentatively and timidly excavated, brush by brush, by archaeologists baffled by both its simplicity and its profundity. How, they might ask, could something so simple be so magnificent?
But is this true? Six year later, I'm pretty sure that sometimes a good game is one where you roll dice and then nice stuff happens, or perhaps you own a spaceship(!).
Well HOLD ONTO YOUR PANTS, because in the newly-released Space Base all of these things are true. Each player starts with 12 ships that are straining at their docking clamps like greyhounds before a race, and you’re going to be shrewdly dispatching them across the galaxy for profit and points.
What you’re really doing, though, is designing a slot machine. Won't you listen to me squawk about Space Base? I really like this game.