To think, once the worst thing in the world was Monday mornings, or having to read 3 Kickstarter pages a week featuring a new zombie game. Now its every morning, awakening to the sandblasted ruins of civilisation, fighting off marauding gangs of thugs and scavenging desperately for enough food and medicine to keep your rag-tag group of survivors alive in this Mad Max-style post apocalyptic wasteland. Well, that will teach you to move to New Mexico. It will also teach you to play Salvation Road.
Except maybe you should play Salvation Road. Sure, you and your band of friends may be only ever one card away from an unpleasant death, but maybe, just maybe, you can pull it together and reach the fabled safety of Salvation. You’ll need resources to survive the journey though. Fuel, bullets, medicine, food. But you’ll need those just to survive the day-to-day life in Maldito, the town you start the game in. How much do you use up before you leave? How much do you save for the road ahead? These are the questions you’ll constantly be asking yourself.
The game plays out in Maldito. After, players brave the road deck, a set of event cards that demand you spend you stockpile of resources. Will you have saved enough? To help, instead of scavenging you can send a character out to scout the road, letting them see what types of resources they’ll need, but not what quantity. In Maldito, players must explore locations to gather those resources, but the more they gather, the greater the marauder threat grows.
Salvation Road looks like a neat little coop game. There’s a good deal of replay ability, with each game only using a subset of locations and road cards, and each game sounds like it will be full of tough decisions. Clearly timed to coincide with the new Mad Max film, the setting is really nicely brought out in the card and board art. The board looks like a map scribbled by a group with limited knowledge of the world beyond their fence. Locations are photographs taken on a scavenged polaroid camera. Some characters are brave heroes, but some are cowards with “abilities” that hinder the group, but you’ve still got to make the most of what you have! I certainly hope to see this project succeed!
Journey along the Road to Salvation until June 11th.
Koala bears, those lovely cuddly Aussies, have discovered a taste for meat. The eucalyptus trees have all died (it’s a post-eucalyptic theme! Geddit…!? That’s their joke not mine I swear!) so the koalas have adapted by turning karnivorous. And surprisingly cultured! The aim of this card game is to be the first to prepare 3 meaty courses for the king koala of your tribe: a starter, a main and a dessert. What goes into the courses is less important than the simple act of eating. Which is probably a good thing, because it seems no animal has survived the euc-alypse (that ones my fault, sorry) unharmed, with an array of mutated creatures to hunt.
So how does this game work? Well, there are a selection of different bears can be played to make up your tribe. To catch animals, you’ll need to match the symbols on the animal cards with the symbols on your “workbears”. Then you use your dice to kill them, as if you’d crossed Bear Grylls and Board Game Geek and left the malformed monstrosity to survive on a pacific island. The symbols on the dice can be used to activate your other bear types, like the king, the “backstabbears” or the “huntbears”. These bears have abilities that help you or harm your opponents. The dice (and the huntbears) can also provide spears. Get three spears and the right set of workbears and you can catch the animal and serve it to cross off one of the three courses.
The theme to this game literally made me laugh out loud, and the art does a great job of supporting that theme. It’s a quick, daft game for a start or end of night, or to play with friends who aren’t so into gaming. So if like me you relish a daft theme, go check it out!
The Karnivore Koalas will be out hunting until June 12th.
Green, black and purple cubes, sorry, Orcs, Trolls and Älfar (no I don’t know what they are either) are invading your once pleasant homeland, and its up to you and your group of friends to stop them! Take on the role of characters from “The Dwarves” novels and complete the tasks set forth to you by the dwarven council to stem this tide of evil.
Welcome to Girdlegard, a land that sounds suspiciously like something you do to prevent a throat infection. Unlike a throat infection though, The Dwarves is something you might well want to catch. The original German version of the game was nominated for a host of awards and the game looks pretty neat, whether you are a fan of the novels or not. The players win if they can complete the “scenario” cards (missions) they draw at the start of the game. But there’s also “adventures” to complete which will boost your strength, and an invasion to hamper. Ignore the encroaching darkness at your peril, as through a nice intensification mechanic, areas that have too many monsters in are destroyed and the monsters spill out into neighbouring territories bringing their destruction that much closer.
In The Dwarves: The Saga: The Kickstarter, you will be helping to bring the successful German only board game to English speakers around the world. The Saga Expansion further upgrades the original game with custom meeples for the baddies, improved game boards and new adventures and scenarios. Whether you want to foot the extra price for such lavishness is up to you though, as the base game is available on its own for a reasonable price.
The Dwarves will be Girdling until June 14th,
Worth a Look
Defenders of the Last Stand – Oh what’s this? Another Mad Max-style post-apocalytic world? This time it’s a coop miniatures game of defending the community of Last Stand against multiple raider factions while attempting to complete scenario specific objectives. Kind of like Defenders of the Realm, but with a post-apocalyptic world… and its by the same designer…. Ey? I guess you can decide what theme you prefer! Ends June 8th.
Samara – Players build the Russian city of Samara in a worker placement game. A nice twist has the cost of building measured in time, with a calendar that slides along the bottom of the board to give you your workers back. A really nice, intuitive mechanism. Ends June 10th.
The Builders of Blankenburg – Another city building game, this time in Germany! Players must win auctions to gather resources, a nice way of keeping resource values dynamic. Players must choose their buildings carefully to ensure income from visiting travellers. Ends June 11th.
Harbour Bridges – A game of getting cyclists to destinations around Sydney or Auckland. Collect sets of cards to move 6 pawns around the map, with lots of potential for blocking. A game for families to maybe check out. Ends June 14th.
Converting video games into board games can make for really interesting games. A couple of weeks ago we saw the tower defense type game with the oddly spelled title, B-sieged, rake in a huge pile of money. This week, however, we see how not to do it, with Crysis Analogue Edition. Here, the designers have taken an action packed first person shooter game (Crysis), and lovingly recreated it in board game form. The production values are high, there’s a nice card based manoeuvre and tactics system and a well-written manual. And with that they let you play team deathmatches and capture the flag games. And that’s it. The strength of board games is there ability to create memorable evenings, socialising with friends. Board games can capture the fun elements of video games and make something great. But if you’ve just made something identical to the video game version, but that takes longer to play, costs more to buy and has far fewer options, why would anyone buy it?? The designers have some nice mechanics. I hope they can go away and come up with something interesting for the players to do with them!