Tiny Footprint (Saturday Review)

Living in the country is nice, but getting to work requires a car. In fact, getting anywhere needs a car: shopping, going out (unless it's to the local at the edge of the village), seeing friends (because even though you pretend to, you don't actually get on with your neighbours) and doing the school run. On the other hand, because it's so hard to get around, we don't actually spend as much on things, which is good. However, there is a lot we need to do if we want to make sure our household leaves only a Tiny Footprint by Gaard Games.

Heroic Echoic (Saturday Review)

I slammed down Cowgirl and immediately opened the bidding with a "Klik", which was countered with a "Thwak" and to which I responded with a "Splat". A "Twang" played by the other side brought us level again, which meant I could still win this. After a moment's hesitation, the other side played "And" and immediately put down Wheel-Demon, closely followed by "Zooom", giving them the leading bid. However, their unexpected move actually gave me the advantage. I put down "Kerunch", which they countered with "Eeeek!!", which I trumped with "Crrash", which they... no... they couldn't keep up. The bids were level, which meant I was victorious and was inching closer to victory with another two Heroic Echoic by Happyclash Games.

Bots Up (Saturday Review)

With a loud "Bang!" the head flew off, followed by a "leg-splosion" that severed both legs, leaving only the body and the left arm. It wasn't pretty. Yet, you knew you could turn it all around. There were still plenty of options. You just had to duck and dive and try and swap body parts with another robot to boost your own. You were sure that in the end you would be a Bots Up.

Cracker Games (Saturday Review)

I know, it's not yet Christmas, but bear with me on this one. Cracker Games by The Dark Imp is going to be on Kickstarter on 1 September 2020 and is scheduled to reach backers in December, before Christmas. So, yes, lead times are a bit longer. However, even if you're not in the mood for the festive season, the Cracker Games are worth checking out, as you'll see in my review below.

Swatch (Saturday Review)

"Hm. Deep Purple looks good. Life's A Peach is also very warm and rich. Oh, and of course, we want the Cactus Jack. That would be the perfect triad of colours." You step back and look at the colour samples you just painted onto the wall in the kitchen. "Yes, that's it." You're so pleased to have come up with this perfect colour scheme. It had been harder than you had expected. Mixing the 13 cyan, 14 magenta and 15 yellow in the right combination had been a bit of job, let alone getting all the red, green and blue to mix up the cyan, magenta and yellow, but the result was more than worth it. "Yes," you say out loud, "that's the perfect Swatch by Minerva Tabletop."

Compressed collections (Topic Discussion)

As many of you probably know, I only have limited space for games. That's why I very much like small box games that have a lot of gameplay crammed into a small volume. It's also the reason why I have been reboxing games that come in bigger boxes, compressing them down and getting rid of all the extra air that came with the original packaging. I have written about this in my article "Box clever?" a couple of years ago, and this time I want to give you some concrete examples of small box games crammed to the brim and larger box games that I have shrunk down.

Carbon City Zero (Saturday Review)

It was time to build a better future and turn this city around. We knew we had to reduce our carbon output quickly. Our aim was to be carbon neutral. Yet, the road there would be difficult and tough decisions had to be made. Modernizing our housing stock, building wind farms, offering grants for solar panels and everything else would cost a lot of money. If we wanted to move quickly, we might have to accept a temporary increase in carbon output to build factories, that would help us finance the final goal - or we could go slowly and use our existing funds to improve things gradually. We were not alone though. There were a number of others who wanted to become the first Carbon City Zero by Possible.

Heavy Times (Topic Discussion)

Text and board games are inextricably linked. You find text in various places in every board game to a greater or lesser extent. I can't think of any game that doesn't have some text somewhere, but feel free to prove me wrong in the comments below. At the very least, there will be text on the box, stating where the game was made or what its player count is. At the other end of the spectrum, you'll find games that are text-heavy. I want to look at the varying levels of use of text in modern board games.

Kodama: The Tree Spirits (Takebacks)

The air is still and the sky is mostly clear. There are only a couple of fluffy clouds and sparkly stars fill the firmament. The forest is flourishing, stocked with many great, big trees with long branches colonized by many fragrant flowers, marvellous mushrooms, wriggly worms and fantastic fireflies. You are proud of what you have achieved in the three preceding growing seasons. It wasn't easy to decide how to grow each tree so that it would be in harmony with nature and be inviting to a varied flora and fauna. Yet, you did it. You pleased the spirits of the forest, the so-called Kodama: The Tree Spirits by Action Phase Games.

Underleague (Saturday Review)

Your stable is ready. You've chosen three creatures from your selection of 30. There are the Chill Wraith, the Stasis Golem and the Skinling. You know that some of them will lose and some will win, which is fine. In fact, it's what you're betting on happening, because if you win your bet, irrespective of whether the creature wins or loses, it will give you a strategic advantage in the next round of combat. You also have a few trumps up your sleeves. The Iron Tusks, which you have kept back for now, will make one of the creatures even stronger, and you have pulled some strings behind the scenes, so you know that you can fix one of the matches in your favour. You are confident that you will come out on top in Underleague by Cogwright Games.