This week I did not have much inspiration: only a few games got added to the database and most of them looked unsuitable (often limited to a random picture and a description blurb with no publishing plan and a vague idea of the mechanics). So I gave up doing my usual homemade selection and instead...
I Made You A Mix Tape. Speaking of games with little info about them and no real publishing plan, this one is a perfect example. Still, the theme was innovative enough for this title to be worth a mention (after all, it's only the sixth game on BGG revolving around making a mix tape!). The game mechanics focus on drafting songs with a pinch of push-your-luck, and you score according to some Set Collection considerations. The goal is to please your "crush", so, better keep track of what they enjoy!
Staying with the mundane and the familiar, Food Truck Entrepreneur embarks you on a business venture as you try to manage a food truck company, hiring workers, sending them across the city, and selling street food, from tacos to ice creams. Make money, don't get overwhelmed with bank loans, and flood the world with fresh greasy fries to make it a happier place.
No change of atmosphere with the next one, Panchayat, an India-published board game about building a village and making it prosperous. To achieve so, you will select and place tiles balancing commercial, utility, residential and industrial areas, with the possibility to replace formerly built facilities along the way. I doubt it will be easily available anywhere outside India, but I fancy featuring games from abroad!
The main problem with realistic themes is that you can't stay for long far from the grim and the sinister that lurk in the corners of our world. Eventually, growing stronger can only be achieved by waging war on the neighbor... And this is exactly what Manhattan Project: War Machine is about. Not conflict per se, but the political and economic preparation that lay the ground for it, that allows your country to become a fearsome military player on the world scene. Thisn interesting take on the matter, supported by a superb cover, appropriately reminiscent of militaristic propaganda posters. To be Kickstarted later on by Grail Games.
Since all of this is pretty despairing, I'm going on with the usual answer to any such troublesome topic: escapism! Realm of Rimembor: The Beginning, whose title could certainly apply for "most cliché first book of a Fantasy trilogy" award, is genuinely intriguing: this is a regular dungeon crawler game about defeating foes, equipping gear, and ending with an allegedly epic boss fight, except all of it is powered with memory mechanics. And, of course, sequels are planned.
If getting gutted out on the dusty stone of a dark dungeon doesn't feel like a relief enough, maybe adorable animals peacefully trading goodies in the forest is a better fit? That's the pitch anyway of My Lil' Everdell, the even more cutesy family version of Everdell. They cut out the giant tree for this one, but you still have the lovely squishy berries, the delightful meeples, and all the kind of overproduced stuff that made its big relative such a gaming hit. I guess that sums up it all.
In truth, you shouldn't listen to such alluring ways to avoid facing the struggles of this world. The glory of high fantasy, the gritty heroism of low fantasy, cute utopic woodlands worlds, they are all snares to mesmerize you away from your real goals. So, why not start to be the Sirens instead of succumbing to them? In this card drafting game, you compete against a fellow siren to lure sailors into a deadly fate. I don't know if the solo mode pits you against a dummy siren or offers something else though. I expect this to be Kickstarted in the near future.
But rather than being either the predator or the prey, maybe the best is just to ignite the insurrection and fight for freedom! This is at least the pitch of Reversed Front: Dear Revolutionaries, a politically oriented Taiwanese board game about fighting China's Red Army as a revolutionary organization that spreads across Asia and engages in alliances with the various regional powers. The game, published last year in Chinese, will be offered an English localization through KS at some point in 2023, and allows you to play various factions (the Chinese Communist Party that aims to quench the revolution, the revolutionary armies that want to defeat the trade unions, the Taiwan government that uses maritime firepower to achieve military goals, etc.).
I guess after such chaos unleashed on the planet it's no wonder that it will be up to the racoons to regrow life on Earth - a quite likely future explored in re:creation. In the game, you will try to reduce pollution, clean up the ruins of the fallen human civilization, study mutants, and recreate animals. The game is by the same publishing team as the recent Frozen Frontier, so I guess it may show up on Kickstarter eventually.
I'll end with GRUNN, a Dutch board game about the Dutch province of Groningen, which the game invites you to re-create in the way you deem best. This is a tile-laying game which remains rather vague in its game mechanics description, the game being about "optimizing the puzzle, as each type of landscape tile scores victory points in different ways." The availability of this title (which comes in a dual language Dutch/English version) is going to be limited, but if you ever happen to visit Groningen, it will be for sale on 31 museums there!