Last time we went into space, in words filled with wonders and magic, but today, let’s be reasonable, and follow me on a trip through history!
Of course, all good travel through time should begin with the basics – that is, dinosaurs. In Dino Journey, a children's game for age 4+, you must cooperate to create pairings of dinos on specific locations while escaping a rampaging lava-spewing volcano. Time moves quickly when you're having fun, so we’re already millions of years later with Prestige, a card-driven city-building game in which you must establish the superiority of your tribe. The game, when ready, will probably be available on the publisher’s website, Oak Lounge Games.
History didn’t have to wait long to show up, and we start exploring it in year 33 with Ierusalem Anno Domini from Devir Games (i.e. retail release) in which you compete for being the closest to Jesus during the Last Supper by showing your dedication to proselytism through clever worker placement. You’ll also have to manage fish and bread resources because, unfortunately, you’re not playing the one who can multiply them. Then in Nova Roma you want to establish the city of Constantinople as the New Rome, here again relying on clever worker placement. It also features hippodrome racing, estate management, and a “unique, pattern building, grid activation game mechanism”. With illustrations by The Mico.
Alas, empires crumble as the wheel of time crushes the dreams of grandeur and eternity of all civilizations; yet new realms arise, only to be threatened by looming disaster all over again. This is the pitch of Carolingi, a deck-building competition game over the collapsing Carolingian empire (and if you don’t know about it, you’re not French). Set in a rather vague medieval time, The Two Heirs features a rondel and some engine building to sustain a fratricide competition between two siblings for dominion over some random realm. To play, you must pick three out of six game modules, so you can refresh the experience by combining modules differently. The game is published by Albi, so expect a retail release.
Early Modern Era
Europe was comfortably settling into internal feuds until everything changed all of a sudden; they discover a whole new playground out there to keep the warfare going without spoiling their own territory!
In Pacificum 15XX, you will play out the rivalry between Spain and Portugal overseas. Sail, trade, and die from scurvy your way as you Christian natives, discover islands, seize new riches, and become the undisputed capo dei capi of the New World. While the big empires are settling their disputes, another player arises quietly at the time: it’s the sneaky Netherlands. In The Kraken, an adventure game about exploring the high seas set in 1538, you’ll explore the unknowns of the vast ocean in order to bring back home wealth and knowledge, setting the Netherlands to a path of everlasting prosperity. The PnP has been kickstarted a short while ago and can still be purchased from the website. In the meantime, in Japan, feudality is all the rage, and rival daimyos send over seemingly inexhaustible stocks of ninjas to assassinate each other. This is what 99 Ninja is all about: there will be blood, and there will be lots of tile-laying. A bit more on the quiet side, El Burro invites you to experience the countryside daily life of 17th century Majorca, with donkey-powered delivery of goods to La Palma, and the tasty multi-purpose card and dice drafting that made the reputation of its predecessor, La Granja. And of course, there is no Early Modern Era without a touch of magic, as the witches in Rune Rite dutifully remind us; and, yes, it’s a purely abstract game, what’s the matter with this? Aesthetically minimalistic polyomino-based flip-and-write is not to your liking? Tss, what a pesky positivist you are. Spell up your life a bit!
Towards the Present Day and beyond
The witches' call has not been heard, and the rationalists won the day. Centuries later, a grey, industrial, functionalist, profit-driven world has emerged. This is the end of the nineteenth century.
As fire obliterates the city of Seattle, while some witness desolation, you see opportunity. Seattle will be rebuilt, cleaner, better, fit to the imperatives of the modern world. Fill with freshly erected buildings the newly erased grid-like pattern of the city, compete with a pesky AI, and manage cash appropriately in Rebuilding Seattle, from WizKids (retail release). Before moving on, let’s have a bit of alternate history. What if Turczi had designed Scythe? This is the question Welded Iron sets itself to answer. London, aka the Clockwork City, is now controlled by the Imperials, a tyrannical mech faction ruling over humans; yet hordes of rampaging machines are coming straight from Edinburgh, and humans and Imperials must defend the city by building pew-pewing towers all over the place. This crazy alternate reality might actually take place if the upcoming Kickstarter proves to be successful. And since history culminates with a series of World Wars, we had to feature at least one – here we picked up the Second, with the refreshing perspective of submarine warfare thanks to Duel of Commanders. The game features a really weird board where submarines can actually move underwater, so at the very least, I’m intrigued. At least we arrive at our final step in Earth 2053: Tipping Point, in which players need to cooperate to avert global climate catastrophe. You’ll develop the economy, fulfill the population demands, unlock rewards, while generating a population whose rising level might well end up be fatal. My only reaction is: 2053? Aren’t you about two decades late?
All images are taken from the games' pages on BGG.