Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Near and Far: another Kickstarter post, and related works

For my boardgaming followers, I'm going to encourage you to take a look at Ryan Laukat's newest offering, Near and Far. While this game's campaign doesn't need anymore help at this point, I know I also get some legacy readers, so there's that as well. For those that make it to GenCon this week, I encourage you to check it out.

For those not familiar with Mr. Laukat's work, he does all the design and graphic design for his games that he publishes, and has published one other persons work with his graphic design. I don't have all of it, but I'll give a quick rundown of what I do have, and then discuss what's cool about this game.

Eight Minute Empire:  This is a quirky little area control game with set collection, auctions, and only an initial money count. Yes, it plays in 8-12 minutes.  It feels good for that, and not like microgames like Love Letter, in that there are real choices to be made.

Artifacts, Inc.:  A worker placement/set collecting game with dice rolling to acquire goods for points. Different workers have better abilities, buildings can be upgraded, and you can dive for artifacts. 30 minutes of fun.

The Ancient World- Another worker placement with dice. Another implementation of set collection. Your village is facing Titans in a last stand. Unique to this is the experience added by previous troops when you recruit new ones.

Above and Below: The true predecessor of Near and Far. Explore caves, build your village, and collect good types. The exploration occurs via a deck of cave cards that link to a set of encounter stories in a book. Several plays in, and each is different.

Islebound:  The most recent of Laukat's games. You guessed it, another worker placement idea. Here you move your ship, and explore or conquer an island in the archipelago. I have yet to play this one, but am excited about the workers, as the reverse will work in Above and Below.

There are a few I haven't gotten, but these are the ones I've experienced a bit.

Now, to our feature attraction.

Near and Far is going to have an atlas with a total of 11 map boards, and five alternate game modes. The maps will tie to an encounter book like Above and Below, and will be larger, with more long term effects, due to the game modes. Game modes include a first adventure (first play), Campaign mode (10 games on 10 maps), Story mode (3 or 4 games), and an arcade mode that won't use the storybook, but a set of cards. The campaign and story modes are going to be akin to a legacy game in that your character will grow in ability.

So, Mr. Laukat likes to design interesting takes on Worker Placement and Set Collection. The games play differently, and all feel a bit different. My only other comment that might be negative is that his games only accommodate 2-4 players.; I personally try to avoid that count at this time, as 5 and 6 players are not that hard to reach.  I hope he keeps up the good work.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

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