Publisher: Mindclash Games
Designers: David Turczi, Viktor Peter, Richard Amann
Time: 60-120 minutes
It is the 26th century and earth is recovering from a devastating explosion that is creating havoc with the atmosphere of the planet. You are a leader of one of the four Paths that the Capital has trusted in. Your goal is to prove to the Capital that your Path’s strategy is the new way to inhabit and ensure Humans survival on earth from this time forth. The problem is that there is an asteroid headed to earth that resembles the same explosion that occurred centuries ago. Gather Resources, travel in time and evacuate the capital before it’s too late. If you succeed, your Path may just save the Human Race from extinction.
Each player chooses a Path that they would like to lead, including Harmony, Dominance, Progress or Salvation. They take their player boards, Exosuits (really cool miniatures), Leader Cards and tokens for that Path. Choose whether to play with the A or B sides of the player boards and get your resources indicated on your Leader Player Board.
The center board is placed in the middle of the table and all the resources, resource and worker cards, buildings, Superprojects, VP chits, workers, Power Cores, Breakthroughs and Anomalies off to the side…..this game is a major table hog! Put the 8 Timeline tiles at the bottom of the board with the impact after the 4th timeline tile. Each player then places one of their tokens under the first timeline tile, indicating what part in time they are currently in.
The game is played over 7 rounds, potentially less if Capital Spots are gone before that. Each round will have multiple phases. The phases include Preparation, Paradox, Power Up, Warp, Action and Clean Up.
During the Preparation phase you prepare the board for the next Era in the Timeline. Put new resources and workers out. Put a building from each stack into a new stack keeping two stacks of each type of building. Place a new Superproject in the current Era.
The Paradox phase forces you to acknowledge, remember and plan to fix the time travel rips in time you have created due to “borrowing” resources from the future. For each Era on the Timeline the player with the most warp tiles will roll the Paradox die and add that many Paradox tokens to their board. Once they reach 3 Paradoxes, they will then take an Anomaly which will take building spots away and kill workers to get rid of them as. For every Anomaly you still on your board at the end of the game, you will lose 3 points.
Now it’s time for the Power Up phase. Your workers need to use Exosuits to go out into the harsh Earth environment to collect resources. Now is the time you choose how many Exosuits you will need. You will get 3 each round for no cost but can have up to 6. For any over 3, you have to spend Energy Cores. For each Exosuit you did not use you will receive one water.
Next is the Warp phase. In this phase you can borrow resources, workers, and Exosuits from the future. You each secretly choose how many you want to get from 0-2. Reveal your tokens and then place them on the spots available and get those items. This is when the Paradox will be effected. You need to fulfill these in future eras by traveling back in time to the era you used them to get rid of them. If not, each one you still have at the end of the game will cost you 2 points.
The meat of the game happens in the Action phase. The actions you will take are dependent on how many workers you have…..not Exosuits. This is the one concept that many players cannot understand. Most of the actions you will take will give you resources, workers or allow you to build buildings. There are some actions to take on your player board that allow you to get your workers refreshed to work again. Every worker you use will go to the rest side of your board and will not be able to work until you have rested them with water raising their morale, or forcing them to work again like a tyrant lowering morale. There is also a spot to take for first player. When the impact of the asteroid happens the spots under the Capital will begin to be destroyed. At the end of each round if there was an Exosuit on one of those spots it will be gone for the rest of the game. When all spots are destroyed the game will end.
The last phase of each Era is the Clean Up phase. This is where you retrieve your workers, check for the impact to happen, check to see if the game ends and then move all players to the next Era on the Timeline.
You play each Era until one of the two end game conditions happen. After that you calculate your scores and see which Path will lead humanity into the future. Each player will add the points they get from buildings, morale and time travel tracks, points they got throughout the game and subtract any points from Warp tiles and Anomalies still on the board.
These components are freaking awesome! Even if you don’t have the Miniatures the components are fantastic. The art work through out the game is great. Each player board has unique art depicting the different Paths. Iconography might be over whelming at first but then becomes easy by the end of the game. The layout of the actions and player boards are very good. The cardboard pieces are all sturdy and thick. The cards are all good quality….but let’s get to the real show stopper…..these miniatures. They are beyond what is needed and probably over produced but they are spectacular. They are about 3 inches tall and made of heavy duty plastic. Even without these minis the game would still get a 5 for components, with the minis the game should get a 6. If your gunna get this game…..you have to get the minis! The components in this game are top notch! The only issue I had was the Green resource cubes are very similar in color to the Black resource cubes.
For the most part, this is your standard Worker Placement game. I would probably say there is nothing special about the worker placement mechanism. It is simply, you take a worker put them in an area and they get your resource. But there are little things that make it unique to this game. Needing to wake your workers up to work again is a very cool concept. Each worker has a unique ability depending on where you place them on the board. You can use your workers in Exosuits or on your own buildings…..which is very important! Again, nothing new here but all comes together spectacularly! The star mechanism in this game is the timeline/time travel. Being able to borrow things from the future and then needing to pay it back in future rounds is fantastic. In essence it is just a loaning mechanism right?? But instead of just saying here, I am paying this back….Anachrony forces you to build time machines, then use workers to travel back to the exact Era you borrowed them from to personally hand it to the worker in the past who used it at that time……sooooo cool! It just oozes with theme. The other mechanism I really enjoy is the Evacuation. Each Path needs to Evacuate earth…..to do this you need to fulfill requirements after the impact. There are two parts to your Evacuations, one a requirement and the other bonus if you are able to complete it and how many times. For instance, you may need 3 red buildings in order to evacuate but then you get more points for having scientists with breakthroughs. You will score 3 points for doing the requirement but then an additional 2 points for every breakthrough/scientist pair you have at the time of your evacuation. But that does not end the game….you just score those points and keep playing. It is a really neat aspect of fulfilling all the things you need but then trying to get more….kinda like a press your luck aspect. The first person to evacuate gets all their points, anyone after that gets their points minus 3. So you want to be the first but also get the most points possible. There are even more things I could talk about but these are the most impressive for me. Just some really great stuff in here.
I can’t believe the replayability in this game. Everything is doubled…..double sided player boards that play slightly different. Double sided leader boards that have different Evacuation plans and starting resources, two different kinds of leaders with different special abilities. Double sided timeline tiles that play differently on each side. Everytime you play this game you will have a different set up and different goals and different mindset. The Evactuation plans will set your sights on the best thing to do to maximize the most points you can get but you can’t forget the other things either. There are two expansions that you can play with….I have heard one is good with 4 players while both should not be played with together. There are just so many things that can be explored. There are some slight differences that once you play it you will probably never go back to the other way. But even the base game with nothing extra has plenty of replayability.
Okay, I struggled with this one……there is a bit of randomness to the game. In order to get Breakthroughs you need to roll dice. The workers and resources that come out every round are from a stocking card. Turn the card over and those are available. Even with those small instances of randomness the game is all strategy……if you don’t win, it’s your fault not the games. Not only that but the designers did a fantastic ob of making small changes that add just a bit more strategy. The Timeline tiles have two sides where one is just generic and the other has an order in which you add Warp tiles to and some spots have benefits and others have punishments. Just a simple thing to add yet gives great decision making. There is also a variant where you use a draft to get your starting resources. You deal out 4 resource cards to every one and choose one and pass the others to the player on your left. Repeat the process until every one has 4 cards. Those are the starting resources you get to start with instead of the already set resources on your leader board. Again, such a simple way to inject even more strategy. You can focus on getting a specific building built or hoard Power Cores so you don’t have to worry about them for a couple rounds. Simple changes, great decisions!! I love the strategy in this game!
Final Thoughts: 20/20
I don’t know what else to say about this game…..it is a fantastic game! It will never leave my collection and will challenge Dominant Species as my favorite game ever! I absolutely love everything about this game. The theme really shows through. When you know the back story you really feel immersed in this universe. It’s heavy but at a great time length. Buildings are so important to make sure you have plenty of things for your workers to do, especially in the later Eras in the game. If you like worker placement, get this game! If you like heavy, tight resource management, get this game! If you like strategy games that have great decisions, get this game! If you like board games, get this game! If you like peanut butter, get this game! Anachrony was my number 2 anticipated game for 2017 and it has even surpassed my expectations…….what a game!