Before I begin…nothing. I backed this on Kickstarter. If you would like to watch a video of this review, check it out below. Learn more about the game here.
I like Euro games…a statement I never thought I would be saying. But here is the thing. I like euro games that have an interesting theme. If I am going to be pushing cubes around, and turning one color cube into another color cube, then I want to be able to say I am doing it for a cool reason…not because there is some old time-y European city, that needs some cubes pushed around.
ENTER Anachrony! A game about the end of the world! Thankfully a zombie free end of the world. And as you can imagine it is a game about making sure that humanity survives, and in order to do this, your faction needs to push their cubes around better than the other factions. However, since this is a game about time travel, not only do you push cubes around on your board, and the main board, but you can borrow cubes from the future! Seriously. The future.
If you are familiar with worker placement games you have a rough idea of what is going on here. You place your workers on the board. Placing a worker is either going to gain you resources or allow you to build something in your faction board. These will likely be new spots to place your workers. Whoop de doo, right? Well here is where it gets interesting. You see in order to place your worker any where BUT on your own faction board you will have to power up an exosuit to send your worker out in to the dangerous post apocalyptic world.
This means before you even begin your turn you are managing your resources, and spending resources. Yet, it is even more than spending resources to power up some suits, because you actually will gain other resources for every exosuit that you do NOT power up. Then just to add to the resource puzzle, before you start placing your workers you will have the opportunity to borrow resources from the future. This is as simple as placing a tile on the timeline, and collecting said resource.
However, anyone who knows anything about time travel is you risk paradoxes, and time anomalies. Well this game is no different. You see the more things you have borrowed from the future the most chances you have of creating a time paradox…create too many of these and you gain an anomaly. Anomalies are not only worth negative points at the end of the game, but they block spaces on your faction board, and removing them usually results in the untimely death of one of your workers…so make sure you send Herb. No one likes Herb. Then at some point before the game ends you will have to build a specific type of building that will allow you to send whatever it is that you borrowed back through time…or you will lose points at the end of the game…and I can only assume utterly destroy the future.
You will earn points in a variety of ways: building things, traveling back through time, giving your workers water, rather than just yelling at them to work, and by collecting technological breakthroughs.
Whomever has the most points at the end of the game wins.
So what do I think?
The time travel mechanics of the game are delightful. There is something so fun about borrowing stuff from the future, and the delightful puzzle on how to make sure it gets sent back to the past. Additionally, the decision space of how many exo-suits to power up each turn, and when to build new buildings, when to recruit new works, when to travel through time, etc.
Though there is a lot going on the game is certainly quite tight. It does not ever feel like you are wasting actions, or doing things that feel superfluous. Along with that, the AI’s are relatively simple to operate, and definitely offer a good challenge.
Finally, there is a massive amount of variety in the the box. There is a veritable, cornucopia of modules and expansions that come in the infinity box, and each and everyone offers something fun and unique.
The components are good, and the art is good. The game also has some diversity which is wonderful, as the industry recognizes more and more the need for diversity it is good that we are starting to see it here, though I would have liked to see it more present in the game, and the workers that you use.
This game takes up a huge amount of space, both on the table and on your shelf. The more modules and expansions you use the more space it takes. Human sized tables cry in fear when Anachrony comes out. Finally, it might feel like the game is a little bit fiddly. There are a lot of bits and pieces that you are moving about, and managing each round. They are nice bits and bobs…but there are many bits and bobs.
Bringing it all together
Anachrony is a unique feeling euro game. While it has a core of worker placement, the things that are unique about this game are what makes it work. The time travel elements, the use of the exosuits to open up the most important worker placement spaces, and the crazy amount of variety offered from the expansions and modules makes this a game that probably belongs on any euro gamer’s shelf. However, the game is a lot. There are lots of bits and pieces, lots of expansions and modules, and it takes up an incredible amount of space on both the table and on your shelf.
Through time travel I do not have to read all your nonsense
* Unique feeling euro
* Well realized theme
* Time travel mechanics are good fun
* Tight ruleset, where no actions feel wasted
* Very clever puzzle to work out at every stage of the game
* It can be hard to even decide just what modules and expansions you want to play with
* Takes up a ton of space on the table and on the shelf