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Svarog's Den - Board Games

Claim the Enchanted Throne in Evenfall, Become a Pirate of Maracaibo, and Build the Cathedral of Orléans

by W. Eric Martin

I wrote about Robin David‘s Trepanation from dlp games — wow, that sentence sounds cruel out of context — in April 2023, with David detailing the origins of the game in June 2023, but that’s only one of six(!) items that dlp games will have for sale at SPIEL ’23.

Evenfall is the debut title from designer Stefano Di Silvio, and it’s co-published by dlp games and Nanox Games, an Austrian publisher that debuted in 2020 with CloudAge, another dlp co-publication. An overview:

It’s Evenfall, and the Clans of Magic are preparing for a new era. Evenfall is the time when the boundaries of reality collapse and the supernatural awakens. The World-Tree opens its glowing gateways to unknown distant regions. Send Witches from your clan to discover and control new Places of Power. Use them for arcane rituals and battle for the favor of the Powerstones. But there is only one seat on the Enchanted Throne! Do you have the skills to lead the world into a new era?

Pre-production components

Evenfall is a card-driven, engine-building game with both novel and familiar mechanisms for 1 to 4 players. Manage your resources, execute your actions in an efficient order, and discover card and action synergies that generate victory points. The game ends after three rounds, then the player with the most points wins.

• Another dlp co-production is Pirates of Maracaibo from designers Ralph Bienert, Ryan Hendrickson, and Alexander Pfister and publisher Game’s Up. This 1-4 player game is set in the same world as 2019’s Maracaibo, a solo design from Pfister, but is a standalone game. An overview:

Set sail for an adventurous raid…for perhaps it will be your last! Face danger and adventure once more while you search high and low for the most valuable treasures the Caribbean has to offer, then quickly find a safe harbor to stash priceless gold, rare emeralds, and iridescent pearls.

As you sail, be on the lookout for a place to settle after your life on the high seas has come to an end, but before you do that, you must outpace your opponents as one trip around the Caribbean won’t be enough. You must make three trips in order to retire as the richest and greatest buccaneer of all time.

Players who are familiar with Maracaibo will recognize some concepts from that game, but new players of Pirates of Maracaibo can jump right in with no prior knowledge as this standalone game has a more accessible rule set. The game plays over three rounds in which you sail the Caribbean, hire crew, ally with other ships, commandeer rivals, explore the shore, amass the most treasure, and (ideally) retire to a secluded island as the most revered pirate in history. Cast off sailors and swashbucklers, cast off!

• Another standalone game set in an existing game universe is The Cathedral of Orléans, with this being a co-operative game for 2-4 players from Wolfgang Dirscherl, Markus Müller, and Reiner Stockhausen, the latter being the designer of Orléans. Here’s a rundown of the setting and how this design relates to the original game:

It is 1598, and you have settled in the middle of France in the city of Orléans on the Loire. Your goal is clear: Build a cathedral in Orléans — all of you together because only together can you meet this challenge!

In The Cathedral of Orléans, players will recruit followers familiar from Orléans to take actions — knights, craftsmen, scholars, traders, and monks — but these followers are divided between two pouches, so the question you will constantly face: From which pouch should I draw to get the desired tile? You will want to remember which tiles go into which bag at the end of the round, dividing duties between one another in order to work out your strategy together as effectively as possible.

Time is always a pressing issue. The cathedral must be completed in the third round at the latest, and if a tile can no longer be placed elsewhere with an action, it must go into the bell tower, with that tower’s toll ending the round.

Special highlight: You build a real, three-dimensional cathedral!

• Speaking of Orléans, Orléans: Die Pest / The Plague is the third large expansion for this Reiner Stockhausen design, and as you might expect from the title, you are not enjoying a festival along the Loire river:

Mon Dieu, quelle horreur! The inhabitants of Orléans have been hit hard as the plague has come upon them, bringing suffering and misery to the population. There are many dead to mourn, and even the plague doctor can bring only limited relief and hope to the long-suffering inhabitants. The clergy also has little to offer in the way of relief. And so, in the end, everyone is on their own and must try to protect their followers as best they can…

When you use the Orléans: Die Pest / The Plague expansion, the game conditions are made tougher from the start of play thanks to the “rat cards”. Sometimes there are fewer monks in the game, sometimes no gears may be placed on place cards or the building of trading stations must be paid for with an additional coin.

New events are now also linked to the “corpse tokens” which players must place a certain number of in their bag at the end of each round. These tokens might be randomly drawn from the bag at the beginning of the round and occupy valuable space on the marketplace because they cannot be used for any action. To get rid of them for good, a player can fulfill indulgence cards through pilgrimage, donations, or other conditions, which also bring victory points at game’s end. Fortunately, each player has a “plague doctor”, a new figure that is available in (almost) every round and can be used universally.

• Finally, Boonlake: Artifacts adds new elements to 2021’s Boonlake from designer Alexander Pfister:

In Boonlake: Artifacts, you send out your treasure hunters to find treasures and mysterious artifacts on a new map.

Have you always wondered about the vases scattered around Boonlake? Recent findings show that they are loaded to the brim with variable atomic system energy, or V.A.S.E. for short. Put your found vases into the new artifacts and secure an advantage toward victory.


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