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Lead the Inca, Build a Capitalist Empire, and Try Not to Inflict Too Much Damage on Planet Earth

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game Publisher: Deep Print Games
Board Game: Renature
• German publisher Deep Print Games plans to debut in 2020 with two new designs: Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling's domino-based majorities game Renature, which I previewed in depth here, and Kyoto from Sabine Harrer and Johannes Krenner.

As far as I can tell, Kyoto is Sabine Harrer's first published board game, but she's hardly new to games. Harrer has "created experimental games and performative play experiences" since 2014 as a member of the Copenhagen Game Collective, has taught game design at the University for Art and Design (BTK) in Berlin, has served as a lecturer in media and game studies at the University of Vienna and the IT University of Copenhagen, and has authored the 2019 book "Games and Bereavement: How Video Games Represent Attachment, Loss, and Grief". Lots of interesting stuff in her résumé!

Harrer also co-ran a game jam at the 2019 Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) conference held in Kyoto, Japan. Kyoto, of course, might be best known these days thanks to the Kyoto Protocol, a 1997 agreement (that was ratified in 2005) that commits developed countries to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. The subject of that agreement is also the subject of this 3-6 player game:
Quote:
Kyoto takes players straight into one of the burning issues of our time: climate change — and not with a wagging finger, but by putting them into the shoes of the decision makers.

Board Game: Kyoto

As delegates from different countries, players face a few quick rounds of negotiation at a climate conference. Together, they try to hit reduction targets and provide the needed funding, knowing that each round they fail to do so they inflict severe damage on the planet. But bent on preserving their own country's wealth and following their secret agendas, none of them may be eager to give more than absolutely necessary. After all, the winner will be whoever best preserves their wealth...unless the impending damage to earth becomes too severe, in which case the conference fails immediately and the greediest player can't win.
Kyoto is due out in mid-October 2020 in Germany and in mid-December 2020 in the United States.

Board Game: Tahuantinsuyu
Board Game: Inca Empire
• Before Tawantinsuyu: The Inca Empire — due out in October 2020 from Board&Dice — was Alan D. Ernstein's Tahuantinsuyu, self-published in 2004 through his Hangman Games brand. This involved route-building game was re-released in 2010 by White Goblin Games as Inca Empire, and now in 2020 U.S. publisher DPH Games will release Inca Empire: The Card Game, which is based on the world and concepts of those earlier games.

Here's an overview of this 2-5 player design, which was Kickstarted (link) in mid-2020:
Quote:
Become one of the Inca's regional leaders in Inca Empire: The Card Game! Expand the empire by extending your road system, build cities to house your people, and construct temples to please the gods.

Board Game: Inca Empire: The Card Game

In the game, players take on the role of an "Apu", a regional leader, and construct cities and colcas (storehouses that contain fish, corn, and potatoes) between the cities. These are all connected by a road system that players build out from the capital city of Cusco. The improvements to regions are for the benefit of the empire. Players additionally stock storage huts, create terraces for additional power in future rounds, make trade agreements with other players, construct temples, and use extra workforce cards to take special actions.

In the end, Sapa, "the Only One", will favor only the leader who does the best over the empire's four eras.
Board Game Publisher: Hobby World
• Russian publisher Hobby World has released initial information and rules for Furnace, a 2-4 player auction-based card game from Ivan Lashin that it plans to release widely in 2021, following an advance run that will be available during SPIEL.digital 2020.

Here's an overview of this 30-60 minute game:
Quote:
Furnace is an engine-building Eurogame in which players take on the roles of 19th-century capitalists building their industrial corporations and aspiring to make as much money as they can by purchasing companies, extracting resources, and processing them in the best combinations possible.

Board Game: Furnace

Each player starts the game with a random start-up card, the resources depicted at the top of that card, and four colored discs valued 1-4.

The game is played over four rounds, and each round consists of two phases: Auction and Production. During the auction, 6-8 company cards are laid out with their basic sides face up. Players take turns placing one of their discs on one of these cards, but you cannot place a disc on a card if a disc of the same value or color is already present. Thus, you'll place discs on four cards.

Once all the discs are placed, the cards are resolved from left to right. Whoever placed the highest-valued disc will claim this card, but first anyone with a lower-valued disc on this card will gain compensation, either the resources depicted multiplied by the value of their disc or a processing ability (exchange X for Y) up to as many times as the value of their disc.

Board Game: Furnace
Gameplay summary

Once all the cards have been claimed or discarded, players enter the production phase, using their cards in the order of their choice. Each company card has one action — either production or processing — on its basic side and two actions on its upgraded side. During the production phase, you can use each of your cards once to gain resources, process those resources into other resources or money, and upgrade your cards.

At the end of four rounds, whoever has the most money wins.

Furnace also includes capitalist cards that contain unique effects, and if you want, you can choose to deal one out to each player at the start of the game. For an additional challenge, you can require players to create a "production chain", with each newly acquired company card being placed somewhere in that chain and locked in position for the remainder of the game.
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