What a beautiful week of weather we’ve had. What’s that? It’s snowing. Oh, I’m sure it will pass. Ok it’s been 4 months and it’s still coming down out there. It’s cool I’m sure everyone will keep calm. Ok, well someone just hit me with a shovel to get the last of the tinned peaches in the supermarket. I might need to hire some thugs to protect me. If only I had 6 food or medicine!
So, what the hell am I going on about? Arctic Scavengers of course. A deck builder for 2-5 by Robert Kyle Gabhart and recently re-published by Rio Grande Games. You may be forgiven for waking past this game in your local store. The box is a little bland and bleak, but what it holds will have you accepting thugs and mercenaries with open arms, while leaving helpless refugees freezing to death in the arctic tundra for hours on end. Now I don’t mean this is a long game, the box suggests 45-60 mins,I think the first game will set you back a bit longer but overall I agree with the box. What I mean is you’ll want to play it over and over!
The basic premise of the game is that you’re a tribes leader in 2097 during the next ice age. You all have an identical starting deck of a few scavengers, a brawler, a shovel, a spear and a wad of useless refugees. You have 3 phases. First off is the draw phase, where you discard your current hand and draw back up to 5. Then you have the resource gathering phase. This is where you look at your hand and decide what you’re going to send your crew to do, will you send your scavenger into the junk deck to dig out some useful medkits or pills, but he might end up with just junk. Maybe it’s best to save him for the skirmish, but he doesn’t have a weapon! Ok, well I’m going to send two of them out to hunt so I can hire another brawler. You’ve always got to be looking a few steps ahead. Last off, and my favourite concept in the game, is phase 3, the skirmish! Any cards you have left over from phase 2 you commit to the skirmish. Nearly every card has a fight value, except refugees. Who ever has the highest overall fight value gets the top card from the contested resource deck which holds gems that might win you the game like tribes families and wolf packs! Fucking wolf packs bro! After all the contested resources have been won, the game is over and you add up the amount of tribes people you have in the deck, the one with the most wins.
The basic game is good fun the game doesn’t stop giving there, oh no! The box itself holds HQ expansion which consists of 4 extra modules. I love games that seamlessly bolts on new features as you go. It’s make them easy to teach new players, then add the modules and you’ve made it more tactful for veteran scavengers.
I think this has become my go-to deck builder. Theme and mechanics flow effortlessly into a great game. Go get it or you’ll be left out in the cold! Sorry