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Black Metro

Designed by Emesh De Zoysa and published by Absolute Ascendancy, Black Metro is a highly interactive 2-4 player worker placement game set in a dystopian cityscape. And the setting for the game isn't just a pasted on veneer: Emesh De Zoysa's world building for Black Metro extends to a full science fiction novella that shares the game's name.

Players 'candidate' cards give them asymmetric abilities relating to specific locations on the board. Over six rounds, players assign their personnel meeples to various of the 12 districts on the board in order to garner resources or benefit from a district's other abilities. If you have a meeple at a location, it doesn't stop other players from also placing meeples there, but after all meeples have been placed there's a test for dominance of each district, with outnumbered players taking 'strain' which will ultimately lose them power.

Black Metro has a distinct gameplay arc. You'll likely find that players widely spread their meeples in the early rounds but the game increasingly becomes one of area control as players position their meeples for dominance of particular districts; forcing other players' meeples out when they achieve a 3:1 margin.

Your meeples all start off as 'subs' with a strength of 1 but they can be upgraded to stronger 'special personnel'. Players can also build forts to add to their strength at particular locations. Expect much wargamesque vying for control of districts but Black Metro isn't a wargame per se. It's a game that's ultimately all about power because that's Black Metro's victory points. You gain power for each district in which you have dominance and you get additional power whenever you overwhelm an opponent with a 3:1 area control margin in a district. The resources you collect can be converted into power. You earn power too for each technology you develop over the course of the game, and researching technology early on in the game can be particularly beneficial because you'll be able to claim the benefit of that tech in each of the remaining rounds. Likewise there's power to be earned by satisfying the interests of Syndicates and by meeting the requirements of Mission cards. These various alternative routes to victory give Black Metro something of the feel of a sandbox game.

Black Metro is due to be be published in July. Click here to pre-order a copy, and if you quote coupon code 18VV4U66YZ you should be able to claim a discount.

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4 days ago

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