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Svarog's Den - Board Games

Craft Drinks, Musical Instruments, Robots, and a Cursed Painting

by W. Eric Martin

Distilled is the debut title from Dave Beck of Paverson Games, and it’s just started to reach backers following a Kickstarter campaign in mid-2021.

Here’s an overview of this 1-5 player game:

Distilled is a highly thematic strategy card game about crafting spirits in a distillery, with resource management and push-your-luck elements. In the game, you have inherited a distillery and are hoping to someday achieve the title of master distiller through purchasing goods, building up your distillery, and creating the world’s most renowned spirits.

Use cards to purchase new ingredients and invest in upgrades to your distillery, all while eventually distilling the spirit and sending it to the warehouse. Once in the warehouse, age your spirit to enhance its flavor and bottle it to sell it for major profits!

Achieve the title of master distiller by having the most victory points at the end of the game. Points are obtained by distilling and selling spirits.

• With the release of Distilled now rolling out, Beck plans to demo his next title — Luthier — at Origins, UK Games Expo, and Gen Con in 2023. In this 1-5 player game, you’re once again crafting something, but in a far different environment:

Luthier transports players to the height of classical music in Western Europe, when the art of the instrument was upheld equally by skilled craftspeople, noble patrons, virtuoso performers, and famous composers such as Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven.

Promotional image

Using a new, unique combination of hidden bidding and worker placement, players manage resources to craft various musical instruments in their workshop, while also courting actual historic patrons through an ever-changing personal tableau of actions and bonuses. Each player chooses how to balance improving skills across multiple tracks, unlocking specialized worker abilities and other bonuses. The choice to concentrate on varying gameplay strategies and goals, such as musical performances, instrument building and repairs, apprentice training and workshop expansion, and overall reputation as an instrument maker, provide multiple paths to victory.

• What else can we craft? How about robots, as in the game Raising Robots from Brett Sobol, Seth Van Orden, and Nauvoo Games, for which a crowdfunding campaign will take place in 2023:

In Raising Robots, a competitive, simultaneously played, engine-building game for 1-6 players, you are a famous inventor seeking to assemble the greatest collection of robots. Each round, you simultaneously choose and perform two or more actions: upgrade, assemble, design, fabricate, recycle. Every action will be performed with a variable amount of power to make the action better or worse. However, the most powerful actions will also help your opponents.

Whoever has the most points after eight rounds wins.

I only hope the game includes a “Beep Boop” card to ensure 100% authenticity.

• I don’t normally feature RPGs in this space, but an upcoming project from Banana Chan caught my eye and fits with the “crafting” theme, so here it goes: Forgery is a solitaire, horror-based RPG in which you take the role of an art forger who is commissioned to recreate a demonic painting, a painting that you will create during play in a paint-by-numbers manner. Here’s the setting:

It’s 2023 in New York City. You graduated from art school with dead prospects and too much talent. Nobody wants to hire a painter who doesn’t have extraordinarily rich parents. The art gallery scene in New York City only takes the wealthiest, most well-connected people.

Unfortunately, you’re a nobody. Sure, you aced all your classes, and you have a great eye, but it’s hard to make it into Art Forum magazine. Instead, you’ve found contract work in replicating famous paintings and selling them online, which is actually legal as long as you specify it’s a reproduction. The pay hasn’t been great…until you receive your latest commission.

Forgery is a story of a down-on-her-luck art forger named Tempest, who receives a new commission to recreate a painting that they discover is cursed over time. It is a solo tabletop role-playing game in which the player (you) will be coloring in a paint-by-numbers image. The colors that you choose determine the outcome to the story.

The game comes in a ~125-150 page book that has 26 chapters that you will go through in a choose-your-own-path style of play. As you choose from the options provided, you will fill in noted parts of the picture with colors of your choice.

If you feel conflicted over some of the options provided, you may roll 1D6 to determine which option you go with.

For more details, check out Chan’s Indiegogo crowdfunding project, which runs through the middle of April 2023.


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