Deeply Thematic - AwSHUX Previews


Dialect – interesting, but is it fun? It feels as though it might be rather more work than enjoyment, with a combination of great inventiveness and a very restrictive structure. I think I might get this better if I watched a game.

Robot Quest Arena – a bold choice, making a robot battle game with no programming element. I suspect I’ll still play VOLT though.

Europe Divided – I’m sure I’ve seen this before somewhere. Ah right, kickstarted in 2019. Something about it rubs me wrong, but I can’t pin it down.

Bantam West – why is settling the American West still acceptable without comment when other colonialism isn’t? I see no mention at all of the native inhabitants among all this logging and foraging and bandits; presumably they’ve all been murdered before the game starts.

Though I do like the idea of Hannah the Arsonist selling wooden cabins, and I’m glad to see the coloured-ring line-of-sight idea being more widely used, even if there doesn’t seem to be a backup for people with colour vision deficits. (Overlapping zone boundaries?)

Fired Up – oh, that’s very pretty! I’m half in love with it just from the wide shot, even though it has minis, and more levels of indirection are a good thing. But dice-based? Hmm; I think I might be happier with a deck of cards so that I know everything will come up evenly eventually. Definitely one I’d like to take a look at.

Atma – well, see Dialect really. Restrictive in ways I don’t like to be restricted.

Peak Oil Profiteer – might well be good but I don’t find myself engaged; that basic seesaw of “more units on the board = less good for the controller but more geographically influential” seems as though it might not have much depth. I do like the dice iconography on the board though.


I backed this one on Kickstarter a while ago and it really didn’t gel with me and my group (even though I had selected language/linguistics enthusiasts to try it out with). It has the same problem we found with Microscope, where you have such a blank slate to work with that it’s really difficult to come up with what you want to explore next and what you want to focus on. It asks for a lot of from-scratch imagination, compared to something like The Quiet Year with its prompts that are more focused and easier to connect together.

And the language part of it is hard. We were wracking our brains trying to come up with new words. And unless you get a really good idea, it’s not like it’s something that’s going to be naturally part of the conversation in any of the scenes. You might try and cram it in awkwardly, but so often the context was not right for it, and you can’t just say “Everyone uses this word now!” and expect people to be able to follow through on that during improvised dialogue. So it was fairly unsatisfying.

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