The Hungry Gamer Previews Endless Winter
Before I begin I was provided a prototype for testing, and will receive a production copy of the game should it fund, in exchange for an honest preview. This is not a paid preview. If you want to watch a video of this review you can check it out below. Learn how to get your own copy here.
Jonny Pac is a bad man. Because of him, I actively seek out euro games. All kind of euro games. I even have sought out some euro games that are akin to just pushing cubes around the board, and turning them into other colors of cubes. This is all his fault!
So when I learned that he was doing development on a new game, I immediately had to check it out. Then later I learned it designed by the same designer who did Lockup, which I recently reviewed quite favorably, I was very excited, then I go to become extremely excited when I discovered that the solo mode was being designed by Drake Villareal.
In Endless Winter you are a tribe of cavepeople trying to survive in the…wait for it…Endless Winter. To do this you will grow your tribe, hunt animals, expand your territory, and build monuments to your greatness. This will be done through worker placement, deckbuilding, set collection, and tile stacking! Then a bunch of math at the end!
The game takes place over 4 rounds, with a mid round in between each one. On your turn you will start by playing your culture cards (new ways to use your resources…mostly), then by placing your worker. Your worker will then give you a variety of options of what you can then do. These options will allow you to build your deck, or stack some monument tiles, or hunt some animals, or put a tent out on the frozen tundra.
Of course no good euro game would be complete without your own player board, where you track the sacred stones you have built, and the villages and monuments you have put out on the board. Then in between each round you wind up getting all kind of bonuses during the “eclipse” phase of the game. These bonuses are determined by your player board, the cards you played towards the eclipse phase, and the placement of your camps on the frozen tundra.
After four rounds you tally up all the points, and whoever has the most points wins! I assume they get a cool rock or something.
So what do I think?
They have done a very good job on the theme of this game. You really do feel like you are, abstractly, doing everything that you would do to make sure your tribe rose to dominance. Along with that there are a ton of small game systems operating at the same time, but almost miraculously they all weave together in a way that is both elegant, and fun. My personal favorites are controlling the land with your camps, and building your deck.
The artwork and production on this one are going to be fantastic. I am a big fan of The Mico’s work, and this is another example of his delightfully tongue in cheek art style. The rest of the production, promises to be very good as well.
Woooo….this one takes up a lot of space. You have the player boards, then you have the idols board, and the main board, and the land hexes, and the Monument boards, and then all the cards you can draft. It is a space hog for sure. It looks good, and that is a good thing cause it takes up a lot of space.
The game does not have a ton of player interaction. I would not say it is completely multi-player solitaire, but it is pretty close. That might not bother you, but be aware. I will also say that there is a lot going on in this game. There are a lot of mini systems to manage, and things to try and balance, and it might feel overwhelming to some. This game is just on the edge of being a truly heavy game.
Bringing it all together
Endless Winter is a complex, yet elegant euro game. If you are a fan of Lacerda games, then this one will be right up your alley, though it is simpler than any Lacerda game I have ever played! The art and production promise to be brilliant, though it is going to take up your whole table, so be aware of the spacial requirements. Finally, there is not a ton of player interaction in the game, which is either a good thing or a less than good thing, depending on your perspective. All in all, I think this is a good game, and a brilliant first offering from Fantasia Games.
Grunt! Me Caveperson!
* Great art, and production potential
* Lots of small systems that blend very well together to make a strong thematic game
* Very successfully brings deck building and worker placement together, with set collection, area control, and tile stacking mixed in for good measure
* Not a lot of player interaction in this one, and it is a whole lot going on…I wouldn’t call it a heavy game, but add anything else and it will be heavy