The snowshelf reached from horizon to horizon in all directions. We were in the Valley of the Ancient Ones, which was a frozen region, pounded by deadly storms, but which had made space for a single, lone city. It was summer and time for the guilds to go on their annual pilgrimage and explore this tundra. As one of the leaders, you were about to take your guild to look for vestiges of a civilization whose existence had been passed down through myths and stories. If you were successful, you would bring riches and prestige to your lodge. You knew the risks, but you were prepared to go out onto the I C E by Bragou and Samson F. Perret from This Way.
Some might argue that board games are basically just toys. Some games add to that argument when they play on the toy factor by including one or more components that are basically just a gimmick. These components could easily be replaced by something else without affecting gameplay. Yet, some games are accused of capitalising on the attraction of gimmicks when these playful components are actually an integral part without which the game wouldn't function. In this article, I want to look at this a bit more closely.
There was all sorts of Xiaochi and other street food on offer, as well as a variety of speciality drinks. It was still rather quiet, but already the stall owners were busy. The streets were heavy with the scent of various herbs, spices and all sorts of wonderful flavours. As it was getting darker, more and more people found their way into the wonderful maze of this amazing Taiwan Night Market by Zong-Ger from Good Game Studio.
To create the best apple brandy, you have to freeze fermented cider and remove the ice. It's quite simple and very effective in increasing the alcohol content of an already delicious drink. It's really easy to apply this to cider made after the autumn harvest. Just leave the casks in the winter cold and when enough ice has formed, pour the remaining liquid into another cask. Repeat the process as often as you please to concentrate the remaining liquid to levels of anywhere between 25% and 40% alcohol. It's what we call "jacking" and it will come as no surprise that the resulting drink is called Applejack by Uwe Rosenberg from The Game Builders.
We were going to leave our Scandinavian homelands to search for fortunes in new shores far beyond the horizon. However, before we could set off, we had to load our boat with provisions, equipment and a daring crew. The problem was, that it was a rough, windy day and our longships were dangerously swaying on the swell. Getting everything safely stowed on board was going to be tricky. It was almost like we were on a Viking See-Saw by Reiner Knizia from Itten Games.
It was the 5th century BCE and we, the Athenians, had been victorious over the Persians. The Delian League was now under our military control and the income generated by federation fees had made us prosperous. It was time for an ambitious building programme and the most talented architects in ancient Greece were ready. We were going to build housing, temples, markets, gardens and barracks. Our planning rules were going to create a harmonious community, enhanced by plazas. We would create new quarries to provide the stone to stretch our city towards the sky. We were going to build our high city, our Akropolis by Jules Messaud from Gigamic.
The living room floor was a mess, sort of anyway. Everything was neatly arranged in a grid pattern, but there was no order to it whatsoever. Books were next to plants, which were next to games, which were next to frames all while some of our cats were tiptoeing around everything. All of it was only temporary though. I just wanted to get everything lined up, before returning it all to My Shelfie by Matthew Dunstan and Phil Walker-Harding from Lucky Duck Games.
Before the dawn of time, Gaia, our Mother Earth, gave birth to the first trees. With their strong trunks and majestic crowns, they quickly converted the fallow land into fertile soil. They cherished the everlasting rituals of Gaia that sent a ferocious force through their veins, bringing life to the highest branches and deepest roots. It did not take long for them to cover the whole continent and create the vast Forests of Pangaia by Thomas Franken from Pangaia Games.
The tigers were stealthily making their way onto the meadow, where the goats were grazing. Watching their calm and coordinated approach made you believe there was going to be only one outcome - and it wasn't going to be in favour of the goats. However, the sheer number of grazing animals didn't make it easy for the hunters. It didn't take long for one animal to sense the danger. Suddenly, the whole flock was alert and bunched together, making it virtually impossible for the large cats to attack. It was now their turn to make the next move in this Bagh Chal from Lemery Games.
"Troll!" came the shout from the battlements. "Where?!" we shouted back. "Southeast!" was the reply. Darn it. We didn't have any archers defending our fortress in that direction. It was fortunate that we still had time before we had to deal with the next wave of attackers. We were already in over our heads fending off orcs and goblins at the northern end of the bastion. Things were slowly becoming too chaotic. It was a real Castle Panic by Justin De Witt from Fireside Games.