We're taking the unusual step of showing off on Board's Eye View a 'what might've been'. The publishers, Gindi, launched Final Fusion earlier this year on Kickstarter but they cancelled the project because the campaign failed to trigger sufficient interest. The preview prototype only reached us well after the KS launched so we weren't able to share with prospective backers our excitement or enthusiasm for the game. It's a pity because designer Rafal Cywicki had come up with a great 'take that' game, and with impressive art from Bartek Repetowski.
In Final Fusion, the 2-4 players (5 with the optional expansion) each control two space-faring races who have formed an alliance. You are working towards successfully achieving 'Final Fusion' between these species, and you can attempt this at any time. Of course, any time you do attempt 'Final Fusion', all the other players will naturally gang up on you to frustrate your plans because your success means you win and they lose. This then becomes a game where players are always trying to buff up their attack strength, defences and other capabilities so that they have a realistic chance of achieving 'Final Fusion' while fending off all their opponents.
The game is played on a modular 'board' made up of various planets; the number is varied according to the number of players. You move your fleets between planets collecting resources and taking the various actions that buff your species, including securing technological advances and improving your ultra-slim draw deck.
Rafal Cywicki's design incorporated some uncommon mechanics. For example, tho' the game incorporates a tight drafting and deck-building mechanic, the game doesn't allow players automatic card draws: to draw a card into your hand costs you one of your actions. Progress tracks recorded and rewarded players' success in colonisation (occupying planets) and 'domination' (combat). Traits could be acquired and assigned to your races, and players needed to acquire VPs: not Victory Points but 'Void Particles', collected from planets and from the progress tracks and used to buff defences in your 'Final Fusion' attempt.
Final Fusion is not a game for shrinking violets: it's a highly interactive strategy game that's predicated on conflict. That said, it isn't a game based on mindless aggression; not least because the tongue-in-cheek set up of the races showed it to be light hearted. The races mostly represented familiar stereotypes and board game stalwarts, including dinosaurs and Vikings! Instead of spaceships representing each race, the game was going to use minis portraying the species, and the minis in the prototype was first class, if somewhat brittle in their pre-production form.
So that, in a nutshell, is the game shown in our 360 but which won't be available for you to buy or play :-( However, Gindi promise that Final Fusion will be back in a revised rethemed version, titled The Battle for Goldenstar. The revised premise will involve rival alien races seeking out Golden Keys that can rip through subspace, and fighting for control of a powerful command ship (the Goldenstar) that will give them galactic domination. The likelihood is that the revised game will be more 'serious' (some criticised the game and its original protagonists as 'cartoonish') so possibly less tongue in cheek. Our limited plays of the original Final Fusion did show that it worked much better with three or more players than as a two-player game, so we'll be especially keen to see how the all-important two-player interaction is improved as this game goes back for further development. You can follow the continued development of Final Fusion/The Battle for Goldenstar too by clicking here to sign up for the publishers' newsletter and relaunch plans.