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Popular Alternate History Board Games (Category)

These are the board games with the Alternate History category.
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You Told Us: Your Go-to Games for 3-5 Players [Betrayal at House on the Hill, Wingspan, Pandemic, Viticulture: Essential Edition, Ticket To Ride, Century: Spice Road, Concordia, 7 Wonders, Catan, L...]Like| 28 comments | [+]
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I'd probably put Fantasy and/or SciFi as having the possibilty of the most variety because you can make up totally new worlds in any game.

If I had to pick one theme it would be historical, which also has a lot of variety because there is a lot of history.  Also, I don't know if I could chuck alternate history in there too if so then definitely that's my desert island pick.

This sometimes is a hard question for me because I want to put #Root into this category and there is a reason why I say, yes it does, and a reason I say no.

I'll start with the no first because it's quick.  Ultimately Root doesn't have to have a Woodland theme to work, it could just as easily be SciFi or Alternate History.  But...

The mechanics of the factions fit perfectly into the theme of each faction.  I won't go into all of them but I'll give a couple of examples...

My favorite faction to play is the Lizard Cult who spread their religious message throughout the Woodland.  When you discard in the game (foxes, bunnies, or mice), those particular creatures feel discarded by the rest of the Woodland.  The creatures that are the most discarded, in their sorrow of being pushed down by everyone else, turn to religion.  This allows the Lizard Cult to thrive on those who everyone else has kicked to the curb.

The Woodland Alliance also works perfectly (I mean honestly they all do).  They spread sympathy throughout the land, and anytime you mess with that sympathy you drive more of the critters to their cause.  More into a fox clearning that has rallied against all the other factions, or attack those foxes and they will be further encouraged to work against you and create a large pool of sympathizers for the WA.

I may add my thoughts on the other factions later.

Oh my goodness... depending on the price it's gonna be hard for me to not support this project (admittedly this is an initial reaction) but so many things look like they would hit the mark for me.  4x, Negative Player Interaction, Hand Management, Area Control, Resource Management, Sandbox.  Plus, I love alternate history and Steampunk.

The player count is not problematic for me as I almost never play at 2P.

Is the artwork the same artist that has done the North Sea and West Kingdom games?

I love this subject.  But I also worry about articulating well in the forum how I feel about it.  Part of this for me is the question of what does "thematic" mean.  The impression I've gotten from reviewers is that for a game to really truly be thematic the mechanics must only work with the theme of the game.  However, this seems like a very large order that would in most cases be difficult.  To me I take to mean, the game could have no other theme or it wouldn't work.  I do think Viticulture does this very well, but other games I believe you could change the skin of the game and it could still work.

I'm going to focus on how I enjoy the theme of the game and if it is enough for me to say, the theme adds to the experience.  I'll try to give a few examples of what I mean.

First, I have to agree that sometimes the "theme" is just icing on the cake of a good game.

Scythe - I love this game and I love the way it plays and I love the Steampunk Alternate History.  But... do I think it needs to have this skin to be a great game?  Probably not.  Could it, maybe be a SciFi theme.  You are on a distant planet in the future.  You could keep the mechs, the board could be different, and you could even keep the Wind Gambit style expansion with space ships or shuttles of some sort.  I would probably still really like that game.

Root - For me the thematic devices in the game that work are the creative ways they game uses the mechanics of the game to feed into the way the asymmetry works.  I'm thinking about (for examples) how the Woodland Alliance gets a matching card if you move into a sympathetic clearing.  This works thematically in the sense that the foxes are wanting to rebel against the current system and by the current military moving in to their clearing they are further upset and it drives more foxes into the fold of the Woodland Alliance.  I love the Woodland theme, but again I think you could have the same asymmetric theme with a different skin.

Given all that though, I would definitely be drawn to a game that has a "theme" that I'm attracted to because it's easier for me to put myself in that world.  Do I love the Woodland part of Root.  Heck yeah.  But I don't think if it were a different skin (say Fantasy World, SciFi, etc.) that I would be less inclined to play because the mechanics are the biggest draw.

Sorry, that was really long and I hope it made sense.

Thanks for asking though, I love really thinking about the things I love about games!