The duo of Canadian designers Sen-Foong Lim and Jay Cormier are on a bit of a roll recently. After the critically acclaimed Belfort in 2011, they released Tortuga – a lighter pirate themed dice game. They also had one of the most well received TMG microgames from last year with the awkwardly named but super fun This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the 2-4 Of Us.
…but it’s their latest effort, Akrotiri, that has me so excited.
When I was young I had a marble collection. Now I’m older, and I still like to collect marble… only now it’s marble made of wood. And it spins. On a disc. And it comes in a variety of colours and values. You use it to construct buildings in this game… this game that I just can’t stop talking about. Let me tell you about it!
In The Palaces Of Carrara, players spend their turns performing exactly one action. You’re either collecting marble, building buildings, or scoring. Sounds easy, right? That’s what I said too! Not so fast, Vitruvius.
“It is never too late to be wise.”
― Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
That famous quote from Robinson Crusoe is a poignant in life, but it becomes a little less realistic in Ignacy Trzewiczek’s boardgame Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island when you only have twelve turns to keep yourself from starving to death. This is a game that requires you to make wise decisions early on, and punishes you dearly for making incorrect ones. It’s a game that lavishes you with a variety of options, but teases you with the inability to select more than a meagre handful of them. Practicing your wisdom a little too late is how you die on this breathtaking deserted island.
“Love is a game
for the next x or o.”
― Lang Leav
In the past couple of years Bruno Cathala has quickly become one of my favourite modern boardgame designers. He’s incredibly prolific. In the past year alone (and I haven’t played most of these yet) he’s released Five Tribes, Abyss, Dragon Run, Madame Ching, Desperados of Dice Town, Cyclades: Titans, and Haru Ichiban. You’d be forgiven if you missed one of his titles along the way.
So is the case for me and Niya, a little game designed by Cathala and published by Blue Orange Games, most famous for their line of Spot It! titles. Published in 2012, this small game flew right by my radar, but is it worth circling back and investigating?
One day this game showed up on the front page of my favourite online game shop, and I’ll be the first to admit, the cover caught my eye with all the sparkly goodness of a rare gem, but I waited before procuring Splendor. The first review I saw was Watch It Played’s preview of it with Jules Vautour of Asmodee. My interest was peaked, and by the time I received my copy, I’d seen more high praise from both Drive Thru Reviews and from the Dice Tower. It was time to dive in.