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.
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.)
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.
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.
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 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.
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.