Aquatica has been one of my favorite games to play in person or online since being introduced to it at Board Game Geek Con 2019. (Thanks Board Boys!)
Cosmodrome Games showed off the new cards and mechanics for the expansion to its hit game, called Cold Waters at Gen Con Online this weekend. Ivan Tuzovsky, the designer of the original, participated in a demo of the game’s development at the Cosmodrome Games Twitch channel. (All pictures taken from screenshots during the presentation, which is still up on their channel.)
Cold Waters comes with enough components to play with five players now. It includes new goals, new creatures, new kings, and new locations — and of course, new mantas and decks in a new color (white).
But, the new expansion is more than just cards. We learn more about the story about the world of Aquatica. A volcanic eruption affected the world, and divided the seas into four independent kingdoms. But in Cold Waters, there is a new development — the volcanic eruption changed and heated up the world wide sea flows. The previously lifeless, dark, cold waters of the northern polar cap has opened up due to the water changes, and beautiful creatures have emerged.
But these creatures are barbarian tribes, and our young kingdoms have to interact with these new creatures. In fact, there is a new mechanic for scoring points associated with these “northern” tribes. At the top of the game board, there will be another section for scoring. New scoring cards will be located there, with pictures of the tribes from the cold water region. Some give permanent bonuses like a +1 coin each turn, or return creatures to your hand during scouting. Some will give you instant powerful bonuses that you can only use one time. These special cards will cost either coins (for influence) or giving up some of your locations to the barbarian tribes (basically giving up victory points) or mix and match, depending on the card.
The artwork that we have seen so far is just amazingly beautiful. One of the cool things is that like the artwork in Lost Cities, if you put some of the cards side by side, they make a panorama.
There are some new mechanics on the cards, effects like getting rid of mantas.
The designer was very circumspect about all of the new mechanics, but did show us one that looked like a mirror – and apparently it allows you to do an action you already have again. (Editor’s note: Ivan Tuzovsky, the designer, explained this part for us in a comment exchange: “The mirror effect allows you to use one top effect from another card without rising this card, but rising a card with a mirror. So, technically you may use the ‘any additional action’ (not resources effect like +1/2/3 power or coins) from your cards twice: first time, by the mirror, and next time, by the card where the copied effect is. Thanks, Ivan).
We also saw a few new creatures like Big Bad Walrus and Killer Whales. Some of these had text running down the side giving special powers when certain conditions were met, like getting extra power when the character is on top of the discard pile, but the character itself might be a little weaker when you actually play the card.
Killer Whale is especially intriguing — you can recruit characters using power instead of coins. It could synergize with a strategy of location building power cards.
There are three new kings, each with beautiful art:
- Cassandra the Enchanted — which lets you flip mantas, recruit free characters, and conquer discarded locations;
- Bjorn the Fearless, which only scores two cards, but when played, gives you the ability to use power instead of coins on your next turn; and
- Tundra the Severe, which gives you extra power and a location conquer action, plus even more power on your next turn.
Looking forward to playing Aquatica: Cold Waters when it comes out this fall!
Laissez les bon temps rouler!
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