Under the Radar: 3 more great games you may not have played (But should)

5 points

By Calvin Wong

Pulsar 2849

From the designer of Last Will and Underwater Cities comes Pulsar 2849, an engine building game of space exploration, energy harvesting, and dice drafting.

If, like me, you're one of those players who likes to have loads of options, Pulsar gives you all the choice your galaxy brain can handle. Shoot for an upgrade path, angle for the various objectives, fly a spaceship around and claim pulsars for massive points... there's lots to do, and never enough time to do them all.

If you enjoy dice drafting, some tableau building, and point-salad style games where you can choose to do a little of everything or focus deeply into one area, Pulsar 2849 is an underrated star of a game. Though not as flashy as the rest of Czech Game's Edition's portfolio, if you're a fan of the genre you absolutely should check this out.


The best thing about Wordsy is how easy it is to teach compared to how much it'll tickle your brain. In the above picture, what's the best scoring word you can make using the letters, with gold letters scoring +2? (You can add as many of your own letters as you like.)

I got 'appreciates', which scores a respectable 23 - 5 points for P and C, 4 points for the 2nd P and T, 3 points for R, and 2 points for S.

What about this grid? Dowager only scores 15, drat! Hm what about diethyl azodicarboxylate...

And that's Wordsy. I love the freedom that it gives to come up with your own words (though if you break out the chemistry terms your fellow players might thwap you.) and how easy it is to teach to anyone. Less-skilled wordsmiths can use a variant with no timer, or a handicap that caps the number of points a player can score. My favorite word game.


Set in the cyberpunk universe of The Resistance and Coup, Grifters is a card game about criminals and heists, slick operators and the operations they pull off.

Each player must amass a cadre of underbosses, getaway drivers, and femme fatales which they will use to rob the city (or each other) blind. Any cards used have to lay low for a while, thus preventing you from repeating the same action too many times.

Besides using the abilities on their cards, players can combine their lawbreaking ruffians into teams to perform crooked capers - from blackmailing a pop star to stealing nuclear weapons.

Grifters plays very fast, has loads of cool interaction that doesn't descend into overly malicious take-that, and has one of the slickest art styles in the industry. Along with its Nexus expansion, my favorite gateway board game.

philryuh Supporter24 days ago | 2 points[-]

I appreciate the diversity of genres covered :)

From what you've described, Pulsar 2849 sure seems like my type of game.

ithayla 20 days ago | 1 point[-]

Thank you! I tried very hard to get the genres quite wide

xldh 19 days ago | 1 point[-]

Thanks for the quick review of Pulsar 2849. Sounds like it is up my alley.

BenjaminK 24 days ago | 1 point[-]

I’ve played Pulsar once and really liked it. This is one I’d actually really like to have. All the options are wonderful and the game feels very deep while remaining approachable. 

ithayla 20 days ago | 1 point[-]

Yes!! that's exactly what I liked about the game

Marshwiggle92 Supporter25 days ago | 1 point[-]

I have heard Pulsar 2849 referred to as a very wonderful "spreadsheet the game" does it feel pretty mathy to you? 

I've played Wordsy. It's great. Second the recommendation. 

Never heard of Grifters. I'll need to keep my eyes open for it. 

ithayla 24 days ago | 1 point[-]

I avoid mathy games because I am Very Bad at math. Pulsar did not require much counting apart from score at the end.

Marshwiggle92 Supporter24 days ago | 1 point[-]

That's good. I too prefer to not think to much about math in games. 

ithayla 24 days ago | 1 point[-]

Big same. Between min-maxing whether this action is better than that action based on how many points you get, I'd rather just wing it and lose if it comes to that.

Marshwiggle92 Supporter24 days ago | 3 points[-]

Amen. I can enjoy min maxing in a solo experience. But I hate doing it in a group experience. And I also get really tired of other people doing it when I'm playing with them. 

Board Game Giveaway!

Make a post or comment/reply in the articles and forum pages. 1 Entry per post/comment. Posts and comments must be constructive to the community and not considered spam to qualify. 1 entry as well to refer a friend to make an account on Board Game Atlas using this link (make sure your friend puts your username under the referral section).

Enter the Giveaway here.