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Svarog's Den - Board Games

Build the Streets of Barcelona

by W. Eric Martin

I primarily use Chrome as my browser, and I tend to have lots of tabs and windows open, thanks partly to having Google Earth integrated in the browser so that every time I open a new tab, an image pops up showing some part of Earth that I would otherwise have likely never seen, such as the Korgalzhyn District in Kazakhstan—

—or Francois Peron National Park in Australia—

—or Zug in the western Sahara—

I’m unlikely to find myself in Zug or the Korgalzhyn District, so while I know they’re places where humans can visit and might live, for the most part these images strike me as abstract works of art, the colors seemingly modified to intensify the saturation or contrast. The scale is often a mystery, leaving you to wonder what sort of vessel could fit between those islands in Kazakhstan, or the lighting creates an optical illusion, with Zug being a giant crevasse instead of a mountain.

My thoughts are very different, though, with this image of Barcelona:

The human impact visible in this image is striking, with each block containing dozens of homes, apartments, and businesses, each building holding generations of people, this frame containing ten thousand stories. I marvel at it for both what’s visible and what’s happening out of sight, and someday, yes, I might make it to Barcelona to walk these blocks myself.

This image came to mind again when looking at the cover of Barcelona, a 1-4 player game from Dani Garcia for 1-4 players that Board&Dice will release before the end of 2023.

Hey, now I can learn more about what this part of Barcelona actually is!

It’s the mid-19th century. The city of Barcelona is the most densely populated city in all of Europe. Shortly after the old city walls were finally destroyed, Ildefons Cerdà, who is now considered the inventor of urbanism, presented the plan for the creation of the “Eixample”, the expansion that Barcelona so desperately needed. Its construction began in 1860.

In Barcelona, you will take on the role of builders in 19th-century Barcelona who are working on the new expansion to the city. Your main goal is to construct buildings to accommodate the citizens who want to leave the old city, and in the process, you will also build streets, create tram lines, and build public services. You may even decide to explore “Modernisme”, a new architectural and arts style that has been gaining popularity among the rich.


Barcelona is played over a variable number of rounds interrupted by three scoring phases before a final scoring phase. Every round, each player takes a single turn consisting of two or more actions, a building phase, and then preparation for their next turn. At the end of the game, the player with the most points wins.

• In other Board&Dice news, the company has launched a Kickstarter campaign for Teotihuacan: City of Gods – Deluxe Master Set, a giant box that collects everything for Daniele Tascini‘s Teotihuacan: City of Gods — all of the expansions and promos, along with alternate art versions of many game elements and hundreds of wooden components, not to mention separate playmats and a fifth player expansion and a “beauty pack” of just wooden bits for those who want to bling their current thing.

The project has collected a quarter million US$ is less than a day, and all of the pledges deliver in October 2024, so you’ll need something else to do in the meantime. Perhaps you could check out this image of Warsaw, Poland and ponder why we have so few games about trains in Poland


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