Thursday, April 25, 2024

Board Game Top 100 (2024) Part 7 (85-83)

#85 Fallout Shelter: The Board Game

Fallout Shelter is a worker placement game played with cards. Players are collectively contributing to the building of an underground shelter following a nuclear holocaust. This is the comic book type of holocaust which has left the earth covered with mutant monster things. 

Every player has their own level in the shelter and then there is a shared level at the top which begins pre-built to start the game. Players go to areas to collect resources and build rooms to add to their part of the shelter.

Monsters attack and their cards get placed over random rooms in the shelter making those areas unavailable until the monster is defeated. Defeating monsters is worth points and building onto the structure is worth points.

Players can buy gear to make their character more powerful for fighting monsters. They can also go search outside the shelter and sometimes bring back awesome stuff. Fallout Shelter is a worker placement game with adventure game elements. It's my 85th favorite game of all time.

#84 Akrotiri

Akrotiri is a pick up and deliver, sailing, tile laying, exploration game. Players travel from islands collecting goods and delivering them to other islands to sell for money and points. It's really fun, and it's my 84th favorite board game of all time. 

#83 Mandala

Mandala is a two player only card game, where players place cards out on a shared board, to collect sets and to score points. Cards are played to one of two regions, called Mandalas. Each of the two Mandalas is split into three areas. There are two fields. One is your field, and is the area of each of the two Mandalas that is directly in front of you. The other is your opponent's field, and is the area of each of the two Mandalas that is directly in front of them. Between the fields in each of the Mandalas is an area called the Mountain. The Mountains separate your fields from your opponent's fields.

These areas are all illustrated on a cloth game "board" that is kind of like a big handkerchief. This is an interesting choice. The cloth seems weird as a game board at first, but it is very attractive and surprisingly functional. The cloth surface makes picking up the cards much easier than it would be on a slick hard cardboard game board.

On your turn you can play cards to your field or to the mountain. Cards on the mountain will eventually be drafted for scoring. Cards in your field are not scored but make up a sort of area majority contest with your opponent, because the player with the most cards in their field gets first choice in the draft to take cards from the mountain, and this can be really important.

Players can place cards in either Mandala on their turn, but for each Mandala, each of the six card suits can be represented only once. If your opponent plays the yellow suit in the Mountain of the left Mandala for example, you cannot play yellow in your left field. You can only play yellow to the Mountain to add to the existing yellow that is there.

Once all six suits are represented in a Mandala, that Mandala is scored. To score a Mandala, players draft cards from the Mountain. As I mentioned, the player with the most cards in their field will get to draft first. When you draft, you take all the cards of a single suit. If there is a large number of cards in a given suit, this can be a very desirable choice, which is why choosing first can be so important.

One last feature of the cloth play mat is the row of seven card spaces directly in front of each player that spans their side of the "board." These spaces tell the player what the cards that they draft are worth. When you take a suit from the mountain, you must place the first card of that suit face up in the first open space in this row. Now all other cards of that suit are worth 1 point each. 

The first card from the next suit that you draft goes face up into the second space in the row. Now all cards of that suit are worth 2 points each. This continues until all six suits have been assigned values. Each of the first six rows only holds one card, and these must all be of a different suit. All other cards that were drafted, but weren't required to occupy a scoring designation spot in the row are placed face down in the seventh space of the row. These cards are the cards that you actually score.

Mandala feels like a classic card game. It's a puzzly little abstract game for 2 players. The cards are beautiful, the cloth "board" is beautiful. The gameplay is engaging, challenging, and fun. This makes Mandala my 83rd favorite board game of all time.

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