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Svarog's Den - Board Games

Vladimír Suchý Takes You Underwater, to the Shipyard, and to New Planets — Twice

by W. Eric Martin

Fans of designer Vladimír Suchý are in for a treat in 2023 thanks to the release of a new strategy game, the re-release of an older game, and more.

• Let’s start with Evacuation, which Czech publisher Delicious Games aims to publish just ahead of SPIEL ’23 in October.

Here’s an overview of this 1-4 player game that plays in 60-150 minutes:

“Hurry to the ship! Twelve houses from our town have already burned down!”

In Evacuation, life on our planet is being burned away thanks to increasingly intense sunlight, so everyone is trying to move all the people and factories in their territories from the “old” planet to a new one — and they have only four rounds in which to do so.

You start the game with a full functioning economy, and over the course of play, you must dismantle that economy and move it. Income on the old planet shrinks over time, and production probably won’t be much better until you establish yourself on the new planet and kick things into action. Resources can’t be mixed across the planets, so you need to take special care with your planning.

To do this, you choose actions from the player board, with the expert variant adding cards to your hand that allow you to choose additional actions and combine them. Each action has its own value, and the sum of these actions is important for an “end of the round” bonus. Additionally, players move their markers along the orbital track based on the value of their actions.

If you can raise production of three resources to level 8 and have three virtual reality machines on the new planet, you win. Otherwise, players compare scores after four rounds. Evacuation includes modules to add new play options.

• As I noted in March 2023, Suchý has re-gained the rights to Shipyard, which debuted in 2009, and Delicious Games plans to release the game with new graphics, solo play, and (optional) component upgrades.

• To celebrate the fifth anniversary of Underwater Cities, the debut title from Delicious Games in 2018, the publisher plans to release a promo pack of a dozen new cards.

• Aside from this, Suchý has a new title coming from Czech publisher Dino Toys called Aldebaran Duel. Katka from Delicious Games tells me that this 1-2 player game was a Covid project for Suchý, but since Delicious releases only one new game a year, typically with a higher player count, the designer approached Dino Toys, which was interested in publishing it:

In the glow of the rays of the orange giant, an interplanetary clash of two empires is approaching…

In Aldebaran Duel, you are the leader of a space fleet with which you want to control as much of a newly available planetary system as possible. Over three epochs, you will discover new planets, populate them, use their mineral wealth to build spaceships, and try to gain superiority over your opponent.

During the game, you obtain cards that represent planets, shuttles, mining stations, and colonized parts of planets. Planet building is one of the game’s key mechanisms, and using it correctly can be a crucial winning strategy. By building a fleet of merchant, diplomatic, and battle ships, you gain influence in the explored universe — and in the laboratories, your scientists might discover new technologies that can turn the duel in your favor at the right moment.

Prototype cards

At the same time, however, you can — and must! — use cards as raw materials to build your empire, so during the game you are always considering how to use them most effectively. Is it better to play out the card — or pay with it? Laying out the right combinations of cards will allow you to have better and more varied options in subsequent turns. Whoever builds the best functioning new civilization after three epochs wins.

Aldebaran Duel includes a variant for solo play.


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