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Svarog's Den - Board Games

Prepare a New Harvest, Roll into New Realms, and Profit from Nucleums

by W. Eric Martin

Lots of last-minute Gen Con 2023 announcements are sprouting in my inbox right now, such as Bézier Games stating that it will be demoing Colossal Cat in the Box from designer Muneyuki Yokouchi.

You thought Cat in the Box: Deluxe Edition was already deluxe? Well, now it’ll be even deluxier thanks to a larger game board, double-layer player boards for bidding, cat head-shaped plastic trays to hold your player tokens, and a larger (one might say “colossal”) box to hold all of this stuff. (Six sets of player tokens are depicted, but the player count remains 2-5.)

This game, which will be Kickstarted in late August 2023, also includes two expansions in the form of sheets that you can slide into the double-layer game board.

The “String Theory” expansion has connections on some spaces to allow you to build a larger group of tokens, and the “Doppler Effect” board places each number on the board twice, reducing the chance of a paradox occurring. Gameplay remains the same, with only the expansions twisting why you might want to play one card over another.

• Along similar lines, at Gen Con 2023 Keymaster Games will demo Harvest from Trey Chambers, this being a revamped version of 2017’s Harvest from Tasty Minstrel Games that will be Kickstarted in 2023 for release in 2024.

In the new version of Harvest, anthropomorphized animals have replaced the humans, goblins, and, um, anthropomorphized animals of the earlier game, and the player count is now 1-4 instead of 2-4.

Salutations, neighbor, and welcome to Furroughfield, the Commonwealth of Free Beasts! Ours is a budding farm town with soil ripe for planting.

In Harvest, you take on the role of a farmer, each with their own unique penchant for working the land, and choose a farmhouse with its own special round-to-round benefit. Each round, you draft sunrise cards that give you a one-time income and determine turn order for the round. Following that turn order, move your wheelbarrows around town to gather resources that you’ll use to manage your fields. Plant seeds, tend the land, and harvest crops to make money and score points. Clear land to expand your farm, and construct buildings that make your land more efficient and give you endgame bonuses. By the end of harvest season, the farmer with the most points wins!

Board&Dice is demoing a newly announced game as well — Nucleum from Simone Luciani and Dávid Turczi — but this 1-4 player game will debut at SPIEL ’23 in October, so the wait isn’t quite as long:

When Elsa von Frühlingfeld presented her invention to King Frederik Augustus II of Saxony, people thought it was trickery. She used the recently isolated element uranium to heat up a jar of water and used the resulting steam to power an engine that kept the uranium active via a process she called “atomization”. Her device, the Nucleum, ushered in a new era of energy and prosperity over the next decades. Saxony went from a minor regional power to the hub of European science and engineering.

Now, a generation later, factories are still hungry for more power, demanding bigger and more Nucleums to be built, more uranium imported from the nearby country of Bohemia, and railways and power lines built across the country to carry the tamed power of the atoms to Saxony’s great cities. Inventors, engineers, and industrialists flock to the Saxon court, vying to be the leader in this new industrial revolution.

Nucleum is a heavy Eurogame in which players take the role of industrialists trying to succeed during the economic and technological boom of 19th-century Saxony, fueled by the invention and spread of the Nucleum (a nuclear reactor).

Players earn victory points by developing their networks, building and powering urban buildings, securing contracts, and meeting milestones (randomized endgame goals). Each player also gets unique asymmetric technologies, giving them special powers when unlocked. Gameplay is continuous; players take turns one after another with no rounds or phases.

Stonemaier Games doesn’t have its own booth at Gen Con 2023, but you can find its products at booth 2909 courtesy of Meeple Source, including three new realms for Jamey Stegmaier’s Rolling Realms that are based on existing games from other designers — Rolling Realms: Lost Ruins of Arnak, Rolling Realms: Millennium Blades, and Rolling Realms: Roll Player — and the Rolling Realms: Risky Realms expansion from Karel Titeca.

P.S. GeekUp! bits from the BGG Store are also available for purchase at the Meeple Source booth.


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