Slay the Spire is the world’s first deckbuilding roguelike. If you favour video games, you may recognize one of these terms. If you prefer board games, the other. Chances are, you won’t know either! However, there’s no need to. Its fusion of the digital tradition of dungeon crawls with the innovative card-play of the tabletop is excellent on its own.
Modern designers try not to include poor mechanics in their games. Losing a turn, for example, used to be absolutely commonplace, until they realized that not being able to play wasn’t much fun. However, designers are not always successful at avoiding their use. Sometimes, they make their way in, unintentionally. This is the case of Vagrantsong, whose 1920s cartoon extravagance is contrasted by its dated mechanical design.
For more than a hundred and fifty years, scientists have wondered what lies beyond the orbit of Neptune. By measuring the movements of comets, locating gas clouds, and checking for the presence of asteroids, they hoped to find proof of the existence of a new planet. The Search for Planet X translates this quest into the language of logical deduction games, building from the base of Cluedo and greatly surpassing it.
The might of science and the steam engine might have changed the world but, lurking below the sea’s surface, countless horrors remain unknown. As the S.S. Atlantica sets its course to Boston, a horde of creatures known as Deep Ones prepare to attack. The horror world of H.P. Lovecraft and the humanoid, fish-like hybrids that inhabit it set the stage for Unfathomable, a game of cooperation, crisis management and treachery.
Venus Next was the second expansion for Terraforming Mars and the first one to add new cards. Yet, it’s one of the least loved. Often accused of making the game last longer for little benefit, many see little value on it. But its simplicity hides a surprising amount of depth and several tools to make strategies better and more varied than before.