For today I have a large diversity of themes, from a weird take on dungeon crawling to superheroes to hippie festivals, plus some glamorous fairies, city building, Renaissance Russia, and Scottish independentists. Board games know no limits. Since there is a bunch of entries today, I’ll try to keep it short, and I leave it to you to follow the BGG links to know more about the games that sparked your interest!
I’ll begin with The Breach. It’s hard to understand what this game is mechanically, but sifting through the usual cyberpunk mish-mash of AIs, giant corporations, and rebels hacking systems to spread viruses, I can see that there are two-component minis (for the toy factor), and a hint that the game is actually a dungeon crawler – sorry, “Net” crawler.
Next, we have a big box for Agricola 15th birthday, Agricola 15 which includes the core game, the Artifex and Bulbus expansions, and a few promos. And just in case you already own everything, they add a little incentive to grab the big box anyway by adding some little novelties here and there.
Now to the Toongeon! I mean Toongeon Fights. The artwork is reminiscent of old-school cartoons, in the style of the Cuphead video game or the recent Townfolk Tussle and Vagrant Song in board gaming. It’s a card-based dungeon crawler driven by deck-building mechanics. A Kickstarter campaign is to be expected.
Let’s continue with some groove in Shake That City. The title is actually quite literal as you play with a shaker in which you have cubes play the boogie-boogie and spit 9 of them out every round. You can then place a tile (building) on your board (city) that matches one of the cubes' color and position. In the end, you score your city according to various scoring conditions, as is always the case with tile-laying games.
PnP time! Dragonborne where you play a ‘dragonborne’ (that is, ‘a person who is psychically bonded to an ancient biological war machine known as a Dragon’) in a tactical warfare game that you can play through a narrative campaign. You fight against enemy AIs driven by dice rolls. You will upgrade according to an evolutionary tree featuring 60 different powers to choose from.
Let’s move on to the “historical” theme section, starting with the erection of the Red Cathedral in Contractors, the first expansion for The Red Cathedral. This is a rondel-based economy game, with tableau building and some dice to put on the rondel. I’ll chime in with a subjective opinion and point out that the art, inspired by the works of a Russian artist who specialized in the depiction of folklore, is quite superb.
And another expansion with Tainted Grail: Kings Ruin (well… historical?). I’d say that this is mostly a good excuse for a reprint, it will offer a new campaign where you’ll explore new lands with new characters. It’s also a stand-alone title, so if you want a smaller dive into the beast, that may be a good opportunity.
Another title that reeks of concern for historical accuracy, the next title in the Tiny Epic line: Tiny Epic Vikings. It has already been dubbed “Tiny Epic Bloodrage” by people who know as much about the gameplay as you and me (which means, a tiny list of BGG-defined mechanisms). The BGG forums have already seen the rise of a hotly debated thread about the box art, which seems to become a new hallmark of the Tiny Epic games.
Now, I’ll be a bit more serious and offer something actually rooted in history with Braveheart Solitaire. It seems to be a rather unique roll ‘n’ write war game, in which you’ll be able to live through two major battles, against twelve different bots.
And finally some hippie time in Come Together, a worker placement game in which you must organize the best music festival of the 1960s. You expected some peace and love time? Well, you’re here to play the role of the event manager who wants to benefit from this bunch of dreamers.
PnP second time! Star Charter is a card-driven legacy game of space exploration, with a likely FTL-inspiration (FTL, “Faster Than Light”, is a popular rogue-like sci-fi video game). You’ll have to create your own cards at some point, as the world grows, and evolve in ways that are unique to your playthrough.
Let’s stay in Sci-Fi territory with Sector 18. This is a tactical space warfare game featuring asymmetric alien factions you can choose to battle against. You’ll fight over territories to get resources to take more actions to take more territories… until you reduce your opponent's base to a pile of dust, or suffer that fate yourself.
Another roll ’n’ write, Siege of the Eternal Night follows the standards of the genre: roll dice, mark some squares to either cast magic, shoot arrows, or defend the gate, and after nine rounds, get a score depending on how many enemies you defeated.
Another game, which is actually an expansion to a hidden identity game… but features a narrative campaign and a solo mode. This is Vigilante: Story Mode. The game it builds on has not even been delivered to the backers yet (but it should be soon, I’ve seen pictures of it in the last update), but this one is set for a… 2025 release date. So you’ve got time to look at the BGG page before that.
But where are the promised fairies?, you may ask. Fear not, for here they are! In Glamour, you use Fairy cards to make bids on Court cards (that, I guess, are worth points at the end of the game). There’s also a secret identity and bluffing component, where you may accuse other people of lying - all mechanisms that I have no clue how they can ever be translated in a solo mode.
And I’ll end with the PnP pick of the day (I hope you have realized by now that these picks are largely random and don’t entail any hint of endorsement): Marks of Legend: The Spire of Deren’nuk. The game is played on bookmarks that you fill with the contents of the book you decide to play with. Actually, this is reminiscent of a recent French design, Nouvelles ContRées (it’s a pun between told tales/new lands), which also plays within books. Bookmarks board games, setting a new trend? Let’s leave it at that for today at least.