Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Make Widgets AND War: City of Remnants

Earlier this week, I had the chance to play the newest title from Plaid Hat Games: City of Remnants.  In CoR, a fearsome alien race known as the Yugai has conquered much of the known galaxy and they've transported survivors from the worlds they've ransacked to Gatorum -- The City of Remnants.  As players, you'll take control of one of the gangs fighting for supremacy on the Gatorum city streets and you'll have to use all of your strength and wits if you're going to survive and prosper in this brutal and hostile environment.

From a mechanical perspective, CoR is a something of a "mash-up" game that blends together deck building, auctions, area control, action-point allowance and hand management into a game that's truly greater than the sum of its parts.  Over the course of the game you attempt to outbid other players in order to recruit new members to your gang.  Those gang members will be added to your deck as cards (which can be used for combat or for other special abilities) and as figures that will be deployed on a map of the embattled city.  Once on the board, your gang members will not only be battling with other rival gangs for control of the streets, they'll also be working to build up an economic infrastructure that will generate revenue and by extension new gang members and weapons (bought from the black market of course!) to aid in the struggle for survival.  Oh, and did I mention the periodic alien incursions!!  Yep, on top of everything else, your Yugai overlords will show up in the city at the end of every round and, if you encounter them, you'll need to either buy them off or fight your way free.  And people thinking feeding your family at the end of a round of Agricola is stressful!

Ultimately, if I were to describe this game in two words, they would be: unmitigated carnage!  Yep, that's right carnage.  This ain't a sedate euro game in which you'll be fine tuning a beautifully balanced VP generating 'engine'.  And you sure won't be sending out workers to collect reeds in order to thatch the new roof of your freshing renovated stone house!  Nope, CoR is a  game that's filled with randomness, chaos and conflict.  There is an enormous amount of player vs. player interaction as buildings are built, taken over and even razed to the ground.  You'll be fighting over everything whether its territory on the board, control of buildings, gang members to recruit and black market items that grant seriously powerful benefits.  And when you aren't fighting each other, you've got the Yugai to worry about -- and let me tell you, if they catch you unprepared you're about to have a real bad day!

In many ways this game is unlike any other title that I have ever played.  On the one one hand you are in a constant and bloody war with both the other players and the game itself in the form of the Yugai.  On the other, you're trying to run a thriving small business empire making black market toasters and hosting fightclubs (I'm not kidding, you can actually build a fight club!).  This is a game that is really about embracing the chaos and playing for the shear experience of it all.  To be sure, sometimes you're going to get obliterated by pure luck -- either when you lose a fight you were sure you were going to win, or when the Yugai patrols show up and you don't have any troops on hand to fight them because they were all otherwise occupied trying to retain control of your freshly minted widget factory.  But, it's balanced out by those awesome moments when it's your opponet who gets crushed by the Yugai, or when you somehow win a battle that you had no right to have won.  So if you're interested in a game that's all about theme and experience, oozes conflict and player interaction, has great component's and blends together a series of mechanics in new and fresh ways -- well then head on down to the store and grab a copy of City of Remnants today!

No comments: