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Freshly added to BGG: The Great Escape

Let’s forget all about pretty nice relaxing Euros about planting trees, nature spirits, and merciless economic supremacy over the Rhine canals, and go all-in escapism: in today’s post, I’m going to pit 7 Sci-Fi games (the real one, with spaceships and all!) vs. Fantasy games. At the end of it, you’ll tell me which of the two yields the most potential to produce innovative settings and elicit smart mechanics for our solo gaming delighted satisfaction.

Space Out

The Council of Shadows sets the mood with its four galactic civilizations, its weird cosmic locations, and the promise of a hex-based domination. In this game, you will try to get your civilization admitted into the supreme Council of Shadows by harnessing as much energy as you for the purposes of the said Council. So, this will be more about smart resource management than about obliterating alien cultures.

You’ll meet even more alien cultures to engage in pacific profit-driven interaction in Circadians: First Light - Specialists Expansion expanding on the original game by featuring two new alien cultures, new contract cards, new characters, new dice, new locations, well, you get it, it’s a “more stuff” expansion to make the core game chewier.

In Galaxy Postman, you will, as expected, deliver packages around and give a lift to quirky aliens in the meanwhile. You’ll be given the opportunity to upgrade your ship to work even more and become the best one-shuttle delivery service in the galaxy. The mechanics are driven by Dice Worker Placement, and a modular board made of grid cards will allow you to explore an ever-changing galactic neighborhood.

These days there is no proper “Freshly added post” without a roll and write entry, so here we are with Dice Colony, where you draw and roll colored dice to earn resources and found a colony on a far-out planet. Explore, colonize, terraform, and become the most successful colony in this corner of outer space.

In a totally different tone, Space Station Zero invites you to a looting party in the depths of a derelict space station. You’ll gather a crew of 5-9 miniatures and venture into this branching campaign. This is mostly a set of rules and you’ll have to provide your own minis (finally these useless big boxes full of plastic on the shelf might find an use), but I think the art was cool and I’m always intrigued by an abandoned station filled with some dangerous mystery to uncover kind of narrative.

And we move to Tethys, a dungeon crawler game that may remind you of a certain Sci-Fi IP, in which your crew of warriors must explore a devasted mining colony and face the Alien Queen lurking beneath. The game is from publisher Little Rocket Games who usually keep their games small and affordable, so we’ll see if this applies to this new title as well.

Finally, Ashfall will be perfect to transition towards Fantasy, as I couldn’t have told it’s Sci-Fi from the few pictures of it. It’s set on a single planet, and I think the main difference with regular Fantasy is that the two “kingdoms” are called “Union” and “Protectorate”. This is supposed to be a deck-building RPG with a narrative campaign, and it features critters to fight against such as a giant spider or a Witcher-inspired leshy. But I enjoy the idea of leveling up and upgrading stuff through the means of deck-building. Very little is known about it so far!

Living the Fantasy

We start the presentation of the Fantasy team with something big: DANTE: The Invasion of Hell, a minis-heavy game loosely inspired by the Divine Comedy, and will feature some historical characters that pop up in the book. The goal is apparently to invade the circles of Hell, through a branching narrative campaign featuring “epic battles against hordes of enemies”. I guess that makes it a dungeon crawler. The game will be crowdfunded on Gamefound, and the prelaunch page is already live.

Next, The Thinning Veil, another mins-heavy dungeon crawl with a branching narrative campaign take on a mythological material, here the Celtic mythology. It claims to have a roguelike feel, and you’ll alternate Hero phases, spending action points, and Enemy phases; combat is dice-driven. The Kickstarter page is already up, but I have no clue with respect to the launch date.

Fantasy is not all about dungeon crawling though. Forges of Ravenshire, for instance, is a Worker Placement game with dice workers set in a Medieval world with anthropomorphic animals, where you manage a forge to compete for the title of best Forgemaster. You’ll recruit employees, gather resources, and fulfill contracts. Well, you know, the usual Euro drill.

We can also have strategy games, as with Dragonlance: Warriors of Krynn, a D&D licensed game set in the Dragonlance universe. Few details have been given, even though the pre-orders are already up, but the component features a hero board, plastic units, map boards, plenty of cards, and a scenario book.

Although I have to admit, Fantasy-themed games are mostly about dungeon crawling. Rove is no different in this regard. The game is played on a map book à la Jaws of the Lion, features standees (apparently), and claims to be a homage to the old-school turn-based video games. The game is structured as a branching narrative campaign, where your choices impact the alliances you may form with the different tribes of this Fantasy world. And the heroes look like they are coming straight from Avatar.

Ruins of Lamur is an indie game already available on the company’s website. You’ll build a dungeon out of cards and fight your way through the ancient of Lamur, in search of fame and glory. It’s also apparently suitable for children from age 6 (you seem to only fight goblins and spiders, and the rules are pretty simple).

Finally, Boutwood is a boss-battler game, in which you play one-shot skirmishes as animal characters against a boss that has invaded their forest (apparently there is only one, the Spider Queen). The game is played on a hexagonal grid and focuses on the tactical side of things. Each animal seems to feature a completely different set of skills and mechanics.

Keep on Rollin'

And to conclude this face-off, I’ll give you three PnPs: Roll Into Town, a roll and write economical game in which you manage a medieval city, freely available on BGG; a dice-driven roll and write war game called D-Day Solitaire – I let you figure out the theme for that one –, available in the BGG files of the game; lastly, Roll and Safari has you moving through a savannah map to take the best pictures of animals.

#TheCouncilOfShadows #CircadiansFirstLight #SpecialistsExpansion #GalaxyPostman #DiceColony #SpaceStationZero #Tethys #Ashfall #DANTE #TheThinningVeil #ForgesOfRavenshire #Dragonlance #Rove #RuinsOfLamur #Boutwood #RollIntoTown #DDaySolitaire #RollAndSafari

All images are taken from the games' pages on BGG.

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