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Last Aurora

You're one of a handful of survivors in the radioactive frozen wasteland of a post-apocalyptic world. Your one remaining hope is to reach the relative safety of the Aurora, the last icebreaker ship that can take survivors to safety. The ship is already receding tho', so it's a race against time to traverse the frozen tundra and reach the Aurora before it sails off forever. And you're not alone - it's also a race to get to the Aurora ahead of other survivors, and you'll need to fend off raids along the way from bands of marauders...

Designed by Mauro Chiabotto and published by Ares Games and Pendragon Game Studio, Last Aurora is quite literally an engine builder, as you'll be using cards to build a Mad Max-style caravan of vehicle parts. As you build your caravan, you'll be trying to create the ideal balance between storage capacity, speed, weaponry and the amount of damage your vehicle can soak up. It's very much a 'euro game' with a strong worker placement element, but the periodic rounds of combat melds that with elements of the game-style disparagingly referred to as 'Ameritrash'.

Last Aurora is also a race game, tho' its one with a strong catch-up mechanic, not least linked to the marauder attacks. There's a luck factor in the combat and the rewards it delivers but the strategy you adopt in your caravan building can help to mitigate poor luck.

This is an immersive atmospheric game and we've especially appreciated the original take. Games with a post-apocalyptic theme are usually set in an arid desert, so it's refreshing to be dealing here with icy world, and credit is due here too to the art from Davide Corsi. We've appreciated too the huge replayability of this game. Tho' you'll notice repetition in the limited array of items, there's otherwise a wide variety of cards and the board is double-sided to offer alternative layouts.

There's a lot going on in this game so there's quite a bit for new players to take in, especially when resolving the marauder attacks. Nevertheless, Last Aurora more than repays the effort of working through the rules: the gameplay may involve racing to escape but this is nonetheless a game to which you'll quickly want to return.

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