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Svarog's Den - Board Games

Balance Buildings and Parks in Tangram City, Fight Fires, Then Rule With a Smile & a Gun

by W. Eric Martin

• At SPIEL ’23, you can encounter a new tile-placement challenge from Uwe Rosenberg in Tangram City, which is coming from Korea Boardgames. What will you be doing this time?

As a prestigious city planner, you have been ordered by the queen herself to build a harmonious city. Take care to balance the human and natural realms by creating equal amounts of building (red) and park (green) tiles, and do not forget to incorporate the shape of a rectangle — the shape most important for fortification. Can you build a city worthy of the queen?

In Tangram City, 1-5 players place tiles in a randomly determined order in a square field while trying to balance the amount of city (red) and park (green) tiles. The more balanced these are and the more often you have built a rectangle shape, the more bonus points you receive.

• At SPIEL ’23, publisher Artipia Games will demo Firefighters on Duty from Konstantinos Kokkinis and Sotirios Tsantilas that will be released in 2024.

That tagline!

Here’s what to expect in this 1-4 player real-time, co-operative board game:

During the game, players immerse themselves in intense two-minute rounds in which they manage an entire fire department. They’re tasked with dispatching vehicles and firefighters across the city, extinguishing fires, saving civilians, and safeguarding properties. Every round, players roll their action dice as quickly as they can and perform actions based on the symbol they roll. Every choice carries weight as the clock is always ticking. You need to work together, make decisions under pressure, and risk it all to keep the city safe.

• SPIEL ’23 will also see the release of a German edition from SPIEL DAS! Verlag of With a Smile & a Gun, which debuted from designer Amanda Vallerand‘s own Subsurface Games in 2021.

Here’s an overview of this 1-2 player game:

Al Capone famously said, “You can get pretty far in life with a smile, but you can get a lot farther with a smile and a gun.”

English edition from Subsurface Games

With a Smile & a Gun is a fist-clenching game of intrigue and sneakiness in which two criminal gang leaders fight over the domination of a city’s underground businesses during a very noir Prohibition Era. They have to outthink their rival, send the police into their business, use their network’s abilities, and decide when to lay low and when to go all-out.

Mechanically speaking, With a Smile & a Gun is a dice-drafting, area-majority game about taking the last 4 — not because you need it, but because your opponent does. Each round, thirteen dice are rolled in a pool. A player then drafts two dice: one for their movement around the city, which will place influence, and one for an action.

English edition

After both players have drafted three times, a non-player character — one of five in the box — will use the leftover die for its own movement, affecting the game in its own way. The player who attracted the least attention, that is, who has lowest sum of action dice, takes a special scheming action, then majorities will be scored for each district.

After three rounds, the player with the most points wins.


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