Okay so here’s the skinny on Anachrony.

Okay so here’s the skinny on Anachrony.

It’s a worker placement/economy game, yeah. You manage five different resources to build buildings and superprojects throughout seven game turns. There are four different categories of building and they all provide different effects, bonuses and actions. You have to manage your population of workers, of which there are four flavors (scientist, engineer, administrator, and “genius”, which is a wild card for the other three).

The killer app of the game is that you can borrow stuff from the future. The player(s) who borrowed the most roll a die and produce Paradox. Get three Paradox, and that turns into an Anomaly, which takes up building space and hits you with – 3 victory points at the end. Time travel itself, that is, the act of opening a hole back through time to pay off those loans to yourself, also earns you victory points.

When the game is over, you also have a chance to score on five different endgame scoring things, which are randomly drawn from a set of 9 or 10 of them I think.

It’s pretty okay. Wildly overproduced, oh my lord. Setting it up reminded me of some of the elaborate setups that Vlaada Chvรกtil’s games require. It was maybe one step more elaborate than, say, Dungeon Petz or something of that ilk. Maybe on par with Mage Knight.

The time travel twist I wish was more hard-hitting. There’s this really interesting bit where, to time travel, you have to build power plant buildings. They’re all different, with different ranges (how many eras/turns back you can reach) and different side effects (jump just two back but get 2 victory points, or get a bonus when you assign an engineer to run it, or whatever). So if you leave a debt unpaid long enough, you need to have multiple power plants available to you to push your “focus” token back to where you need to deliver, say, that extra scientist or water that you used on round one.

My wife pointed out that borrowing from the future is basically just accruing debt and that the whole time travel thing was a headfake. And it kind of is. It’s good color, I love it, but yeah…paradoxes don’t actually hurt you beyond becoming inconvenient victory point sinks later. You could have totally made it a credit card.

Only the two of us played it this time, mostly because the rulebook is terrible and the only way to really learn how to play the game is to play the game and see what happens. Our very first round I just kind of floundered around, borrowed too much stuff from the future and sent my little dudes around the map to do stuff. By the third round, we had a pretty good bead on how the game actually works — that is, it’s a fairly conventional worker placement game — and settled in on solving how to win the game, not just play it.

Very curious to see how it works with a full complement of four players. I also know that, like all points-salad games — here’s a dozen ways to earn points, work it out for yourself — my AP prone players will put off a burning-oil smell when they try to solve their rounds.

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16 thoughts on “Okay so here’s the skinny on Anachrony.”

  1. Adam Blinkinsop my fingers are crossed that all the little modular rules and minigames are where the meat of the game is. Because the basic game is a little confusing but kind of underwhelming once you wrap your brain around it.

    Trying it again today! With at least one of the modules activated!

  2. Really liking the look of Adventures, loving that you can differentiate your robots.

    Also probably the non-generic “alternate timelines” sides of the uh…era boards. Although it’ll probably be too damned much AP at that point.

  3. It seems designed to produce AP. Everything but the (simultaneous) warp decision is open, and they even have a more steady anomaly variant. Worker placement tends that direction anyway, but there are good ways to mitigate it.

    Adventures seems like it’d help (because you don’t know what you’ll get), but I think Doomsday is a bigger deal for player interaction.

  4. Yeah I thought I remembered that.

    I have no idea why I keep buying WP games, tbh. My wife likes them pretty well, but lordy do they get slow with my grindier AP prone players.

  5. My favorites in the genre all deal with AP in interesting ways:

    – Robinson Crusoe makes all your options bad.

    – Star Wars: Rebellion hides what your workers are doing.

    – Viticulture reduces the math so you play the players.

    – Yokohama spreads your decisions out to make each one smaller.

    And yes, Rebellion is totally a worker placement game.

  6. Adam Blinkinsop oh yeah, I think it’s solvable for sure. It’s the perfect information thing.

    Inis clogged everyone up, too. Reminded us of Theseus in how a bunch of big brains can come together to drag a game out foooorrrreeeevvvveerrr. Too much information.

    I’m thinking about imposing a rule that you can’t talk about the endgame. Something. We need some kind of rule to deal with it, just like we had to deal with alpha players in coops.

  7. Man, the Inis endgame is a nightmare. I love it, if the group is nice and casual, but a hyper-competitive group kills it. (There’s also something to be said about an endgame that’s all about ripping the rug out from under someone.) Part of it might also be my chess background, the culture of winning openly instead of by trickery.

    That is, I was taught that you should assume your opponent will always see your trap, and play the best move given that assumption. This leads to me being “that guy” about the endgame — “you realize I’m just about at six territories, right?” Inis is almost entirely about the trap at the end, though.

    Perhaps if the deeds were cards, and only counted towards a specific condition. Then the “VP” count would be secret, and it’d be harder to evaluate positions.

  8. Yuuuup to all that. Exactly how it played out when we tried, too. Constant evaluation of everyone’s endgame states and reminders of what cards had already been played. No idea how to deal other than STFU.

  9. It really wouldn’t be difficult to make the deed change… Could hack up a version of it with a deck of cards, one suit removed. Draw two cards when you get a deed. Hearts count as sanctuaries. Spades count as territories. Clubs count as clans ruled.

    Don’t reveal cards drawn until the very last moment — that is, you can take pretender without showing those cards and proving you have it, which might need the Love Letter rule.

    At the beginning of a turn with a pretender, they can prove a win (by revealing cards) and take the game, or they can announce they don’t have it (w/o revealing) and continue.

    With multiple pretenders, they all announce how many victory conditions they have (but not which ones), and if one could win due to the brenn tie-breaker, they reveal and prove.

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