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Singularity

Rather ambitiously, designer Sasa Celinscak describes Singularity as a game that can accommodate an infinite number of players. That perhaps is in keeping with the theme (in physics, the gravitational singularity of a black hole is thought to create a point in space/time where matter has infinite density). However, it's not a practical proposition for the Singularity board game, and so, more practicably, the game comes with components for 2-6 players.



Singularity is a race game in reverse. Players each have two game pieces that move around the board towards the black hole in the centre. When a piece falls into the singularity that is the central black hole it is eliminated, so to win you want one of your two pieces to survive longer than any of the others. That means you want to be behind all the others as you all progress towards the black hole.


Players roll a standard six-sided die to determine the distance moved but, in a twist that will feel counterintuitive to those coming to Singularity from other roll&move games, you can choose to move either your own or an opponent's pieces and from most positions you can move either forward or back along the board. You'll want to move opponents' pieces forward inexorably towards the oblivion of that black hole and you'll want to move your own pieces back. If there are multiple pieces at the same location, you have the option of moving all of them together.


Singularity is a simple game but it's not quite that simple: some locations on the board only respond to odd and others only to even die rolls; others only allow movement forward and others only back; and when you pass the Event Horizon, you cannot move backwards past it (tho' you might still be able to move back out beyond the Event Horizon by using the Wormhole).



Players can moderate their die rolls by playing a card. There are cards that add and subtract 1 or 2 from the number rolled, and cards can be daisy chained so that the +/- movement is modified by a succession of cards. There's even a card that multiples the moment by zero, so has the effect of freezing you in position that turn. The rules allow you to chain cards in any order and maths teachers will be upset to learn that 'BODMAS' rules don't apply, so you can, for example, chain +2 and x2 cards on a die roll of 5 to move your piece 12 or 14 spaces back or to move an opponent 12 or 14 spaces forward! Players can play cards to counter another player's roll and cards, so if you have the 'Inhabited' card, you would want to play it to prevent your piece from being moved forward.


In our plays of Singularity, it was the use of cards as die roll modifiers that really brought the game to life. Unfortunately, our preview copy of the game came with just 12 cards; so just two apiece with 5 or 6 players, and all Singularity cards are single use (tho' there's a rule that lets a player sacrifice one of their two playing pieces to pick up all the cards in the discard pile). Three- and two-player games tended to be more tactical and less of a luck fest because players each started out with 4 or 6 cards. Based on our plays at Board's Eye View, we've suggested modifying the game so that players all start off with identical decks of cards so that players have more agency and Singularity becomes a hand management game as much as one reliant on the luck of the die. You'll want to draw out players' defensive cards before you whack them with a powerful 'take that' dice-modifying card combo.


Singularity certainly has potential as a step up from conventional roll&move games so we're eager to see how it continues its development before it launches later this year.


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