Friday, December 9, 2016

Scrounging in the snow

I get information about new (and new to me) games from lots of different sources. I spend a lot of time lurking on BoardGameGeek, I subscribe to the Facebook feeds of most of my favorite game publishers, I watch Wil Wheaton's Table Top, and I'm a recent convert to Beasts of War's Weekender show, just to name a few.

I also spend a lot of time browsing the shelves at my local game store (Guardian Games, a huge and well-stocked shop). Occasionally, a game I've never heard of will jump off the shelf at me, and this is how I discovered Arctic Scavengers.

Recent films Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Snowpiercer, and especially Mad Max: Fury Road had rekindled my interest in the post-apocalypse genre, and the artwork on the box for Arctic Scavengers intrigued me. Combine that with my deep love of deck-building games and you have an easy buy.

In the game, players represent groups of survivors scavenging the frozen ruins of a near future earth for food, equipment, medicine, and useful people to add to their pool of resources. As with most deck-building games, each player starts with a deck of cards representing basic resources, and slowly builds them up throughout the game.

There are a lot of interesting strategic choices to be made on an average turn, chief among them being what to have your survivors spend their time doing. You can mind your own business and dig through the junkyard for cards representing run-of-the-mill resources (and sometimes useless junk), but you may want to hold some of your people in reserve to fight over the much better cards in the contested resources pile. You also need to play some of your cards to generate food and medicine, which is used to buy face up cards from the center of the table representing more effective personnel such as thugs, saboteurs and snipers.

The pacing and tone of the game are a little on the somber side, which definitely enhances the theme of post-apocalyptic survivors wandering a frozen wasteland, but player turns go quickly, and the limited number of contested resource cards act as a game timer, so games don't take too long to play.

Rating: 4 (out of 5) It's not the most high-octane deck-building game out there, but it's simple and self-contained, which makes for a nice change of pace from more complicated games like Legendary.

No comments:

Post a Comment