Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia review

We picked this guy up from our anniversary purchases. I’m quite fond of it.

Euphoria. Legitimately beautiful board.
Early play in Euphoria. Legitimately beautiful board.

Euphoria is a dice placement eurogame with a great theme and a bunch of interesting twists. You play a middle manager in a world crushing dystopian society and you’re just trying to get your job done. To do so you use your worker dice, and the larger the dice score, the better the dice works in some jobs, but if they get too smart then they will make a break for it and run away from the dystopia. Then you gotta go spend resources to birth new ones from the tanks.

The game also includes 4 factions. All buildings have allegiance to one of them, and every time you use that building it gives that faction a bit more strength. Players have employee cards, active employees give let you use those buildings more efficiently.

Your goal is to put down all your stars onto the board. Doing so requires building markets and trading ancient artifacts (from before the dystopia) in those markets. Getting those requires trading with the Icarites (the sky faction), or digging tunnels to allow some factions to steal from the other factions.

The final tier of dynamics are the aforementioned markets. They’re set up so that not all players can contribute to their building, and once they’re build everyone who didn’t help has a new game rule placed against them until they donate some artifacts.

You should start to get a feel that this game includes lots of things happening at once, and I can vouch that that’s in a good way. First you want to ride the balance of most use you can get out of your workers without losing them cause they got too smart. Second, you want to advance the factions you have employees with so that they get more efficient. Third, you want to make sure to be early to contribute to market building so that you don’t get locked out of game benefits, again for maximum efficiency.

There’s also a nice natural narrative to the game, sort of nice in a euro. The game goes through distinct phases of first general start and dice generation, then a digging/building phase, and then a maximum speed race for artifact generation and placement. This helps prevent the sensation of sameness that occurs with some euro games.

Euphoria, top down
Euphoria, top down

I genuinely like this game. Great theme, great art, great tokens, and most importantly genuinely interesting gameplay. My only quibble is that the box and board feel just a bit light and it makes me a bit worried whenever I move it, but it’s a really really minor concern and in no way makes pulls me away from recommending this game fully.

The Gallerist review

From the makers of Kanban: The Heaviest Euro comes a new extremely intimidating euro game, The Gallerist.

Gallerist, early game, only 5 artists discovered
Gallerist, early game, only 5 artists discovered

First, it’s a beautiful game. Everything feels and looks perfect, which makes sense for a game about art. The art pieces are genuinely interesting, though entirely cosmetic.

That out of the way, the rules are intimidating. Not in a sense of hardcore depth, which exactly is very nicely balanced, but in the sense of looking at a busy board and making sense of it at a glance. There’s also a bit of “surprise side effects” in the game that while documented well in multiple places are still sometimes forgettable.

Gameplay wise it’s a variation on worker placement that’s more “worker movement”. You have just one worker and they walk around the board activating various actions. One catch is that if you use a building with someone else currently in it they get a “kick out” action as a response to you. Keeps people from super zoning out.

Gallerist. Easiest than it looks, I swear
Gallerist. Easier than it looks, I swear

The game is also almost totally luckless. About the same level as Russian Railroads and less luck driven than even Village. It really rewards awareness of others and playing to the goals that no one else is competing in. A very satisfying part of a strong euro design.

It’s a genuinely fun game, with beautiful layout. If you’re willing to put in the time it takes to set it up each time, it’s a very streamlined and balanced worker game.

Alchemist, the *other* Alchemy game review

Long story short on this one: I bought the wrong game cause I confused Alchemist and Alchemists. This simple euro got shoved on the back shelf and stayed there for about a year until it finally got dug out to try.

Alchemist, just after start
Alchemist, just after start

It’s a very simple color management game with a tiny bit of hidden information. You set up potions, assign them points, and then are never allowed to make your own potions again. You then spend the rest of the game drawing cubes and making the potions your opponent(s) created, earning points.

Standard euro stuff, playable on Allowed Angelica to continue her streak of beating me in every game that involves Alchemy.

Notable: check out the weird creepy hand on the board? It’s oddly realistic:

Alchemist: creepy hand and Angelica's hand for comparison
Alchemist: creepy hand and Angelica’s hand for comparison


Czech Games Edition’s Alchemists, in 2 player


might need to switch to master mode cause angelica solved all ingredients by like 4th turn.

incidentally, the iphone mode worked great. technology really adding to the gameplay, and another great example of why CGE is considered so innovative atm