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Kickstarter: Paradox (board game)
*Finally*, it's time to talk this one up.

Last year, I attended the Origins game fair, mostly to help mindways teach Spirit Island but also to learn new games. I learned lots of them and wrote them up in my LJ, but the one I've really been waiting for is Paradox. Quoting my description from last year:
Paradox was my surprise winner from the convention. The pitch is basically "Humans invented time travel, and broke the universe. Now they're trying to use time travel to fix it." That doesn't really convey the feel of the game, though.

Basically, Paradox is a game of three closely interlocking mechanics. On the one hand, you are drafting what amount to time segments of planets -- for each planet in the game, there are Past, Present and Future cards, and you are trying to make sets of those by first drafting and then "saving" that time segment. Once you've drafted a card, you have 2-4 rounds to rescue it.

Then there is the Time Vortex track. This represents the time storm that is gradually eating the galaxy. Every time someone saves a time segment, the Vortex moves around the track (how far depends on the segment), and stomps another world. If a world is stomped at game end, it is worth fewer or no points, so you need to put a good deal of effort into shielding your target planets, or fixing their timelines if they have been stomped.

Finally, there is a truly unique resource-gathering track, which is used to gather the resources you need for both of the above aspects. It's hard to describe, but it is vaguely like a physical representation of Bejeweled -- you have a 5x5 grid of tokens representing resources, and you do pairwise swaps to make columns or rows of a color in order to capture that resource type. There's nothing terribly deep about the mechanic, but it is a fun puzzle game, and more strategic than it looks at first glance.

I found the game tight, fun and fast-paced. While it is very turn-based, it is designed to minimize waiting time: you can play the drafting game and the resource-gathering games simultaneously, so you wind up with some players doing one while others are doing the other.

Definite winner in my book: it's the one game I firmly decided to Kickstart when that opens (supposedly soonish), and I look forward to playing the final game when it is released.
Well, it wasn't so soonish -- the "Kickstarting soon!" card has been sitting on my dresser for almost exactly a year now, reminding me to keep checking in periodically. But the Kickstarter campaign finally opened today, and it sounds like they're most of the way done with production, so things will hopefully ship soon after the campaign closes.

So: I strongly recommend that board game fans check out the Kickstarter for Paradox. It's a fun medium-weight game, with enough meat to require paying attention without being a two-hour brain-burner. (For those who want more details, check out the rulebook (PDF).) I *really* want to see this campaign succeed, so please consider backing it, and spread the word to any board-game fans you know...


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