I've been backing (probably too many) board game Kickstarters for the last year. They all seem aimed to launch at or around Essen, so I'm set to finally get a huge deluge of them over the next few months. The first one arrived last week, and I thought I'd review it.http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/435243061/eons-a-strategic-universe-development-game-from-gn
The game is 'EONS', which has the unusual theme of casting the players as 'cosmic architects', shepherding a shared galaxy from its formation to its eventual death. Along the way, stars and planets are born, life and civilization will arise, and most of the above will probably tragically expire before the game is through.
The core mechanic is nothing novel; each player has a hand representing cosmic scale entities that they can create or upgrade. Each one provides varying amounts of 'Essence' income, and is worth a certain amount of points if it still lives at the end of the game. There's a nice inverse relationship between some of the higher VP cards and income; the most VP is awarded by degenerate bodies like black holes and neutron stars, requiring players to extinguish their essence-generating live stars as the game draws to a close.
One of the more novel mechanics in the game are its non-essence resource. There are five elements that exist in the galaxy: hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, iron, and uranium. All of these exist in fixed quantities, divided between player's supply and a central stockpile. Creating stars ties these resources up. Each round, every star must 'undergo fusion', transmuting/swapping some of their own elements for those in the stockpile, which the player can then harvest or keep within the star. Stars must perform at least one fusion transformation per round, and they require the elements they are going to covert to to exist within the stockpile, which makes a fair portion of the strategy about trying to strategically lock up certain resources to kill opponent's stars. As stars die, the 'entropy level' of the galaxy increases, placing restrictions on how many resources each player can have, and eventually ending the game.
Overall, the game is fairly simple, pretty strongly thematic, and pretty fun I found. The default runtime is a little bit longer than I think its simplicity should merit, but the manual has some handy advice as to how to adjust game length to taste.