We reviewed fantasy town-building game Terra Mystica back in 2013 and found ourselves submerged in strategic nirvana. Today 28,000 people have rated it on BoardGameGeek, awarding it in an average of 8.3 out of 10. That’s shockingly high considering just how complicated and odd Terra Mystica is, with its challenging puzzle squished in between ugly mermaids and magic bowls. But there you have it! It’s just that enjoyable.
This week we’re looking at the sequel, Gaia Project, which is a big deal in more ways than one. As well as swapping Terra Mystica’s musty fantasy for a sci-fi backdrop, it’s more expensive, more complicated and demands significantly more table space. All set up, you’re looking at an asteroid belt of iconography.
Quinns: It’s an astonishingly rigorous database. As if IMDB was combined with a... an educated mosh pit, but with a set of scales in the corner that told you how much every actor weighed.
As we close out this feature, I’m simply left wanting to play more board games. Which is surely the best possible result.
I can’t say I’m ever likely to buy or play either of them, nor that I’m at all invested in the worlds of either of these entertainment giants, but I do see this as a wonderful way to bring different kinds of licensed games to more players, particularly families, beyond another bloody Monopoly, as well as for Czech Games to earn more well-deserved cash. If someone tells me, in twenty years, that they got into board games through trying to interpret obscure clues about Frozen characters, I’m going to be okay with that.
Okay, hold on, there is also comic potential here. I’m sure there’s all sorts of hilarious clues you can give if you want people to guess both a talking candlestick and a singing elephant, or something slightly sassy you can say about Spider-Man, Victoria Hand and Captain America. Maybe? I don’t actually know anything about comics. Is Garfield DC or Marvel?
You guys will have seen my collection in the background of loads of SU&SD videos, but I don't think you've seen the work that goes into it. Come with me today as I perform... a CULL.
Board Game Geek News has a Big Book of Madness designer diary up, and goodness me this game looks like a treat. It's a deeply co-operative, Harry Potter-style deckbuilder, but with a more flexible interpretation of deckbuilding that I find very welcome.
Players are attempting to close an evil book and defeat all the monsters spilling out of it, but you're not simply slowly improving your deck as the game goes on. You can improve your deck, or spend your turn putting good cards in your friend's deck, or trying to expunge horrible Madness cards that you'll slowly amass as the game goes on, or actually closing the damn book.
Let's see what golden games we're squawking about today, eh?
Uwe Rosenberg, designer behind such pastoral heavyweights as Agricola, Le Havre and Caverna has revealed his next project! What bold new setting are we getting this time, Uwe? What magical new mechanics have you birthed from the recesses of your labyrinthine mind?
"In the worker placement game Arler Erde, set in the German region of East Frisia, players develop an estate and expand their territory by cutting peat and building dikes."
Ah. More of the same, then. That's a shame! In the very same week, similarly prolific German mentat Stefan Feld has announced that his next game is about scientists that hang out with octopuses and crystals at the bottom of the ocean. Is "Team Feld" a thing? We should make it a thing. SU&SD hereby announces it is TEAM FELD!
Scientists are at a loss to explain this heinous corruption of the laws of physics. Tell you who's not at a loss, though! The hot boys of Shut Up & Sit Down. After just few plays of this beast, we're ready to tell you whether we think it lives up to the hype.
(CREDIT CARDS AT THE READY, PEOPLE.)