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Svarog's Den - Board Games

Sea of Thieves, Bubble Net, Lunar Rush, Final Strike and More at GAMA 2023

by W. Eric Martin

I’m still catching up on GAMA Expo 2023 thanks to some non-Covid illness I caught there — con crud is back! — so here are more pics from the opening media show:

• I appreciate that my reaction to seeing a mock-up of Steamforged GamesSea of Thieves: Voyage of Legends — which I covered in March 2023 — on the table at GAMA Expo 2023 was to immediately exclaim, “That’s not the cover showing on the BGG game page. Can you please upload an updated cover on that page?”

That’s so on brand for me, being obsessed with details that others might never notice. (P.S. The cover still hasn’t been updated.)

• I’ve talked with publisher Dead Alive Games about having designer Steven “Skippy” Brown submit a designer diary for Lunar Rush, a “simultaneous-play Euro-style board game that combines time-based resource management, market economics, bidding, and tableau/engine-building”, so ideally that will be something filling this space in the future.

On first glance, there’s a lot on the table to absorb…

• Speaking of a lot, here’s the table spread for Epic Seven Arise from designers Jessie.H and Chris Turner and publisher Farside Games Entertainment, with Japanime Games providing distribution in North America.

This co-operative game is an adaptation of the Epic Seven mobile game and features multiple chapters of side quests and main challenges that can be played in any order with players controlling any combination of the unique heroes.

• On the other end of the scale from Japanime is Bananya: The Card Game from Chelsea Schwartz, a card game in which you use card powers to try to collect all ten bananyas of one type, with a bananya naturally being a cat that lives inside a banana.

Four expansion packs are available to give you more cats to collect.

How to Lose a Guy in One DM from Flying Leap Games and Spite House Studios is a judge-style party game in which you’re served several DMs — many taken from real-life DMs — and asked to respond in your best “please die alone on an ice floe” manner.

• In Final Strike from Peter Yang and Looking for Greatness, players each have a hand of weapon cards and must play one each turn, damaging the central monster to collect blood, which will be transformed into glory, the game’s points. By causing more damage, you might set up another player for the killing blow, which comes with special bonuses, so perhaps you want to play a “magic hammer” instead, causing minimal damage, but allowing you to gain more powerful weapons from an array set up at the start of play.

After multiple rounds, you compare the blood banks to see who wins.

Not So Neighborly from Alice and Jessica Hong of Fambam Games is a “take that” card game for 2-4 players in which you attempt to be the first neighborhood to contain 10 build points despite others stealing or destroying what you’ve created.

• In Bubble Net by Cat Drayer from Drayer Ink, you are a humpback whale that is trying to catch as many fish as possible through the power of your bubbles!

As Drayer explained, humpback whales use a method of catching fish in which they create a sort of typhoon of bubbles around fish to disorient the fish and make them huddle in the middle of the typhoon so that the whale can conveniently get more of them in its mouth at one go.

Each player has their own game board, and you’re competing simultaneously, but independently. The game lacks a BGG listing, but you can find more about the game on the Drayer Ink website.


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