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Svarog's Den - Board Games

Stop a Pulp Invasion, Search for Lost Species, and Burn Brightly in Candelabria

by W. Eric Martin

I haven’t looked at games being crowdfunded in a bit, so I know a hatful of projects have floated past without me seeing them. Nevertheless, let’s check out a handful of current projects that have their hands out:

Pulp Invasion X3 is the third and final expansion for Pulp Invasion, a 1-2 player game from Todd Sanders and AVStudioGames that uses licensed artwork from pulp magazines in a new context. (Kickstarter link) Here’s the pitch:

You thought after your last mission that you had finally successfully driven the cosmic hegemony out of the universe. Wrong! The three alien races known as The Red Hegemony are back and have already infiltrated several Intergalactic Alliance planets — but that’s not enough for them! They want domination, no matter what the cost…

As a secret agent of the Intergalactic Council, it’s your job to prevent this from happening. The fact that this sounds like a hopeless task doesn’t stop you from grabbing one of the new ships and assembling a strong crew to embark on a journey to the farthest reaches of the universe and crush the Red Hegemony once and for all!

In Pulp Invasion X3, you have new spaceships and a new bridge crew to help you eliminate the threat once and for all. Use your skills in combat, diplomacy, and super science to track down their world-shattering super weapons before it’s too late!

• After the success of The Search for Planet X in 2020, designers Matthew O’Malley and Ben Rosset and publisher Renegade Game Studios are now encouraging you to search for things closer to home. The Search for Lost Species challenges you to look for a half-dozen hard-to-find critters in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. (KS link)

Don’t just point at the game cover

As you travel on the double-sided game board, you survey the land for wildlife using a companion app, set up cameras that may provide evidence later, and visit towns to use the skills of local inhabitants.

It’s interesting to note that Renegade is promoting an “early release” program with this Kickstarter, with the games anticipated to be available in May 2023 for both individual backers and retail backers, but not available through regular distribution channels until August 2023. As of February 22, the retail-level option has 72 backers. How well will those retailers promote their early availability? And will those copies simply shift sales earlier in the year, or will they build support for more sales over time?

• If nothing else, I applaud The Curse of Candelabria from Davide Carcelli, Gabriele Porro, and Lunar Oak Studio for the world in which the game is set. (KS link)

Humans have been transformed into living candles who are using their armies and mobile castles to compete for control of territories in this world. Each player has unique powers for their “House of Candles”. Candles gain flames as they are deployed to determine their strength, and they can spend flames — burning out, that is — to trigger abilities. The publisher notes:

Candelabria is an area control game with strong interaction with the game map and other players. It is totally deterministic, there are no rolls of dice or cards disguised as dice, so what matters is the skill of the player who will have to make the most of the situations.

• A game with a number of similarities to the one above is SCRAP, which is being self-published by designer Kenny Michael-Otton. (Gamefound link)

This 2-4 player game challenges you to use a unique, asymmetric faction of bots that have come to life to control areas on a map through deterministic combat. You have a hand of functions (i.e., action cards) that you program in a queue. You can gain additional functions, all of which are unique, and aside from programming them, you can discard them to boost other actions of the same color.

• U.S. publisher 25th Century Games is crowdfunding a trio of tile-laying games, which seems like an odd connection to me as I can’t imagine someone just being interested in tile-laying games regardless of topic, but maybe that’s just me. (KS link)

As for the topics, in Águeda: City of Umbrellas from Dustin Dobson and Milan Zivkovic, you draft umbrellas from a shared display, place them in a row on your board (ideally using the right colors to unlock sections of a mural and new tourists), then use tourists to gawk at your umbrellas and earn points.

Each round in Mondo DavisColor Field, you draft paint tiles (or draw random ones) to build an abstract painting patch by patch on your canvas, ideally matching edges and creating a large, single-color patch that dominates the image.

In Jeffrey D. Allers‘s Donut Shop, you create a field of donuts in a vast display case, ideally placing like donuts together, then boxing them (i.e., covering them order cards) to earn money.


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