Editor’s Note: My full review of Terra Nova will appear in Knucklebones magazine. This is an abbreviated vesion.
Immortal Eyes is a new venture by Winning Moves, an established game company who previously concentrated its releases in Germany and Europe. This new division seems to be concentrating on the English speaking countries, but will also be licensing some titles from its parent company. One of those “co-releases” is Terra Nova from designers Rosanna Leocata and Gaetano Evola.
Set in a brave new world, Terra Nova charges players with the task of claiming as much land as possible. Borders are sealed by the placement of stones, and land lying within those borders is awarded to the player with the greatest presence there.
The board depicts a cross-section of this new world, with a hexagonal grid superimposed over eight different types of terrain. Players begin the game by placing their pioneer tokens (8 – 13, depending upon the number of players) onto the board, and take turns moving them and placing stones. The objective is to cordon territory, with points being earned for the size of the territory and the number of different types of terrain enclosed.
Game play is quite simple. Each turn, players must perform three actions, which consist of moving tokens and possibly placing border stones. A pawn must be moved in a straight line, and can be moved as far as desired. It must stop, however, if it encounters another pawn or border stone. Each pawn moved costs one of the three actions, and the same pawn may be moved multiple times during a turn. A player may use an action to place a border stone, but only after moving a pawn. Border stones must be placed adjacent to the just-moved pawn, and each placement costs one action. When an area is completely enclosed by border stones and the board edges, it is immediately scored.
The game is one of maneuver, as players attempt to position their pioneers in key locations and place border stones to block the movement of their opponents. Timing is also critical, as waiting too long to close a territory can allow a wily opponent to sneak in and grab control, while closing a territory too early reduces the number of pioneers available for future turns. The type of thinking involved is similar to that used in many abstract games; indeed, in spite of the theme and colorful board, the game is decidedly abstract in nature.
With a full compliment of four players, the game can be a bit chaotic, as the board changes dramatically between turns and plans are difficult to achieve. With two players, the game offers more control, and is more strategic in nature. Some have found the game a bit too abstract and chaotic for their tastes, but I find it quite challenging, with ample opportunity for clever moves. Terra Nova is the third release from Immortal Eyes, and in my opinion it is clearly the best.
Ray, Sheila, Gail and I maneuvered our pioneers across the new world, claiming territory and trying to slip into areas our opponents were attempting to capture. Ray and I managed to stop a huge territory Sheila was creating, which had the result of securing the victory for me.
Finals: Greg 59, Sheila 52, Ray 41, Gail 39
Ratings: Sheila 7, Ray 7, Greg 7, Gail 6.5