The title of Filip Lindlof's game doesn't help. It suggests a game that's themed around a chemical process. Rest assured tho', there is no lab chemistry involved in this game. This is actually a game about competitive swimming; chlorination is simply the process of cleaning the water in swimming pools.

This is a race game where 2-5 players train for swimming events and compete against each other (and non-player competitors, when playing with fewer than five). There are successive rounds of action selection allowing you to work at one of three locations to earn money and choose skill cards, and/or to train, which costs money. It costs money too to compete in each swimming contest, so it becomes a delicate balance deciding which events to compete in. There are scoring tracks for each event and if you don't think you're in with a decent chance of winning a place on the podium (at least Bronze - third place out of five), you are better off passing on that event and focusing your efforts instead on the next one. There are four local swimming events (butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle) and five international events (the same four as local, plus a medley event).

When you draft a skill card, you get to pick from the five in the display. If you don't fancy any of the cards in the display, you can take a chance on a blind draw from the facedown deck, but that's not a recommended gamble as there are some 'injury' cards in the deck that will set you back. Other than discouraging blind draws, the injury cards are just there to clog up the market and reduce players' choices.

Spend two consecutive actions working at the Mall or training at the Pool and you get to draw one of the special cards at those locations. These can prove to be surprisingly valuable resources... For example, the 'massage' card lets a player add half a point to their score on a track. Pick this up and your initial thought is 'meh', but it can prove to be literally a game winner if it's what settles in your favour an otherwise tied contest.

Tho' Chlorination is notionally a race game, the race element is less prominent than the euro-game decision-making about what skill to take (ie: which track you're going to want to advance along) and when to compete. The non-player characters help to keep players on their toes because, even in a two or three player game, you're not guaranteed a medal (and therefore points) in every event. You score for position, so you don't want to overperform in an event: if you win an event by a huge margin, it means you'll have wasted skill draws... There's scope for bluff and double-bluff too as players simultaneously reveal their decision on whether or not to compete in each race.

Shown here on Board's Eye View is a preview prototype of the game before it makes a splash with its upcoming Kickstarter campaign. We'll add a link to the campaign when it goes live.

#Chlorination #swimming #race #actionselection #sports

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