Here's 5 Australian Board Games For The Long Weekend

Squatter, www.squatter.com.au

Looking for something to play this weekend? You could do worse than an Australian board game.

You know I'm not going to be recommending the Australian edition of Monopoly, nor the Sydney edition, the BridgeClimb edition, or even Monopoly: Cricket Australia Charity edition. If someone asks you to play Monopoly this weekend, refuse. Play one of these instead.

Squatter

Two board games almost every Australian house had in the 80s: Monopoly, and Squatter. Unlike Monopoly, Squatter is actually a half-decent game. Buy and sell sheep, upgrade your farm, sell wool, and win!

A more recent version was released in 2016, and it has been tweaked to play somewhat quicker than the classic game, so it plays in about 90 minutes (versus 2+ hours previously). (Also, I wish I could own Sydney real estate, simply by squatting on it.)

Wombat Rescue

Wombat Rescue / Eagle Gryphon Games

Did you know Wombat poo comes in cubes? Marking territory with coloured cubes is suddenly zoologically accurate!

Kickstarted in 2015, Wombat Rescue is a pick-up and-deliver game masquerading as an area control game. It comes on a Catan-style, dynamically-created hexagonal map, it features one of Australia's favourite animals, and is light and delightful enough to play with the family.

Imhotep

Although it involves a trip to the Egyptian delta, Imhotep is the 2017 Australian Game of the Year, by Australia's most decorated board game designer, Phil Walker-Harding.

Sail your boats up and down the Nile, collecting stones and building your monuments. At heart, it's an action-selection game. It was nominated for the 2016 Spiel des Jahres, which tells you how highly it's regarded.

Buy Australian. Get into this game.

Unfair

Unfair / Good Games Publishing

Fair go, mate.

Designed by Queenslander Joel Finch, and published by Australian publisher, Good Games, this game smashed through it's 2016 Kickstarter funding target on Day 1, cleared all stretch goals. Just as importantly, this is a fun game that lets you play competitive Theme Park Tycoon. You build a tableau (here, your theme park). Thanks to several stretch goals, your theme park can be themed with pirates, robots, ninjas, vampires and gangsters. You have to impress a lot of people to get a high BoardGameGeek rating, and Unfair is sitting pretty on 7.5/10, making it the 163th rated board game on BGG.

Turns out, fairs go pretty well.

Power Grid - Australian Map

Power Grid's Australian map. Yes, the cities names are upside down. Yes, it's a down under gag. Photo: Darryl Stein

Power Grid is a heavy game, and Australia is an expert-level map. Building power networks spanning the nation to the disparate population centres comes at a higher cost. Reflecting our love affair with fossil fuels, coal and oil are very much in play, as is garbage and the very rare renewable energy plant. Nuclear power plants, on the other hand, are off the table. Rather, uranium power plants are treated as mines, and uranium is sold for income, adding a different and quite interesting dimension to the fuel market.

I really enjoyed playing this. If you like Power Grid, play the Australian map.

Bonus: AuZtralia

Not everyone will be able to play this game this weekend, but if you're heading down to CanCon, fabled designer, Martin Wallace, will be demoing his new board game, AuZtralia. It's Australia! And Cthulhu! And probably zombies! That can't be bad, right?

Obviously I haven't played it yet (it hasn't been released!), but here's the blurb:

Inspired by Martin Wallace’s A Study in Emerald, AuZtralia is an economic/adventure game set in an alternate reality 1930s where Australia is waiting to be explored.

As well as riches from the land, darkness and insanity lies in the outback.

The game meshes themes of exploration and adventure, economy (farming and mining) with battling fantastical Old One creatures who act as an in-game player It also boasts a randomised board setup, an innovative combat mechanism, and a surprisingly tense solo play mode.

Bonus #2: Mothership Tabletop Combat

Image: Board Game Geek

Created down in Melbourne, Mothership is a 4X-lite hex-based strategy game. The game modes are pretty simple: either you burn your enemies' ships and planets to a crisp, or you win the game through victory points, earned from a mix of research, combat and galactic conquest.

Each player has a mothership that they can upgrade throughout the course of the game, and you can customise its abilities and systems with each turn. If you want a mothership that can roam the galaxy to colonise planets, go for it. If you want something that just functions as a glass cannon from afar, that's an option too.

If you've ever been intrigued by the idea of a wargame in space, but are too intimidated to dive headfirst into Twilight Imperium, Mothership is a good entry point.


Are there any other games you'd include in the list? Let us know in the comments.


Comments

    Squatter is absolute quality. Though i still prefer the longer version to the newer version.

    Poleconomy

    It's like an advanced Monopoly using Businesses and Politics instead of property.

    I know the inventor was a New Zealander but he was living in Sydney at the time and the first edition published was for Australia. So, like many other tings I think we can simply claim it as Australian.

    And given it's Australia Day, how can this list exclude "The Voyage of The First Fleeters: 1787-1788" that was a great board game.

      omg I had totally forgotten about Poleconomy until just now. I used to love that game! It was so much better than Monopoly.

        Not a knock on Poleconomy, but, "better than Monopoly" is not exactly the most impressive of compliments :)

      I used to love Poleconomy, but it lead to a lot of fights when some PMs (ie my wife) taxed certain opposition members (ie me) with really high tax rates making it almost entirely impossible to do anything except hope someone gets us to a new election soon!

    I feel I need to add Oz Quiz and O Quiz II to this list. Oz Quiz was a trivia game about Australia that came in a foam esky. Some of the questions are probably a bit behind the times now, but it was still fun to play.

    One day, I'll write about this game called the Safety Game, which was a snakes and ladders based game featuring Rash Roo and Careful Koala.

    What about Baren Park, wasn't that designed by an Aussie?

    I love Unfair, but as it is a long games I've only played it twice. Got it on Kickstarter - didn't know it was designed by an Aussie.

      It was indeed! It was the same Phil Walker-Harding that designed Imhotep (not to mention Sushi Go, Archeology, and several others).

      I thought it'd be a bit unfair to fill the entire list with PHW games.

    Worth checking out is Question Time! - a sort of dealmaking game with some political trivia thrown in mostly to give everyone at the table a mutual enemy to work against.

    There was also a surprisingly good, if simple, card cricket game called Armchair Cricket that was basically a resource timing game.

    IIRC, the 3D form of Test Match was developed partly in Australia and partly in England. The most recent versions, though need to be avoided. They replaced the BB ball with a plastic one and the plastic fence that velcroed to the mat and kept it taut with a "rope" (read 'string') that doesn't.

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