Roux Dat #56: Founders of Teotihuacan, Pret-a-Porter, and Overboss: A Boss Monster Adventure

Hey board gamers, our Twitch Tuesday gaming in the Gumbo Pot continues to roll on! We’ve been playing a lot of good euros but we are open to suggestions. What do you want to see us put on the GameTopper mat next?

All right, that’s enough blather, let’s get to the games we’ve been playing lately. For a recap of what we played at SoBo 2022, make sure to go to https://boardgamegumbo.wordpress.com/2022/03/26/southern-board-game-fest-2022/

This time we are chatting about Founders of Teotihuacan, Pret-a-Porter, and Overboss: A Boss Monster Adventure.

Pyramid Scream

Filip Glowacz has a keen eye for abstracts. Don’t believe me? Play Mandala Stones (my favorite abstract game of 2021) and then Founders of Teotihuacan back to back. Filip is looking at these games just a little bit differently and added unique twists that tickle my fancy.

A little background. The folks at Board & Dice sent us a review copy of Founders of Teotihuacan, and we’ve played it four times already, three at two players and one at three players. It has a similar art style and vibe to its bigger cousin, Teotihuacan, but does not really share any game mechanics that I can recall (other than building up the pyramid and getting bonuses). Instead, players are challenged to use five or six action discs (or less, because each round, one disc is discarded) to either build resource buildings, temple buildings to get bonus tiles, and pyramid pieces for final scoring OR use an influence action to restock your resources, activate your bonus scoring tiles or get points and switch tiles you don’t like.

That’s essentially the game – grabbing tiles and putting them on your board for bonuses, resources, and end game scoring. Ah, but the rub is that many of the actions take “strength” in the form of the number of active discs at that location, which encourages gamers to pile on top of other players’ actions for stronger actions themselves. Or, the action spots have available (and really strong!) bonus tiles, which encourages gamers to stake out unused actions and pile ‘em up with their discs, meaning less actions later on that round.

Time marches on, and if you are not careful managing your resources and your available action discs, you just might find yourself taking a very suboptimal move later in the round. And time literally marches on in the form of the architect meeple, which dictates where those actions are going to be taking place, depending on where your “architect” is camped at for that round. Boo hoo.

ROUX DAT SAYS: As you can tell, Founders of Teotihuacan is the perfect choice for gamers who like polynomial puzzles but want it to be more than just “pick a tile from a row and score points.” There’s so much to think about, and there’s no end to the deliciousness of having the three way spatial puzzle of (a) thinking about where your architect is for building purposes; (b) planning your tile placement to score off the pyramids you build; and (c) managing your resources to build the third level of your pyramid perfectly to align with your temples. Well done, Filip, and I cannot wait to play it more on stream.

Honte Couture

I remember the first artwork I ever saw by Kwanchai Moriya. It was on the cover of the box for Capitol Lux, a game that fascinated us many a Gumbo Game Night. There was something about the swirls and futuristic look of the costumes worn by the characters, that even if there wasn’t really a lot of it, it was very striking. I’ve kept my eye out for his work ever since.

That’s why I’ve been excited to play Portal Games’ re-release of Pret-a-Porter, a game themed around the fashion world. Any euro that has some kind of simulation to a real world industry – vineyards or printing presses, it matters not to me – is going to catch my eye, too. I just love the idea of a different thematic setting that has at least a passing resemblance to its subject.

In Pret-a-Porter, players must research designs, prepare clothing, anticipate the market, and then show-and-sell as much as they can. Rosemary, our old friend from the Gumbo who was in town for Southern Board Game Fest, taught it to me and Andrew and Emily and we had a blast. It’s one of those games where I’m not so concerned about winning, especially on my first try, I just want to find some clever combos and makes some interesting decisions. If I have a round with a big point production, I’m happy as a new pair of shoes walking out the shoe store with a new owner.

ROUX DAT SAYS: It’s gorgeous, it’s got some interactive elements, and it is tailor made (see what I did there!) for people who like to try and do things in typical euro fashion as efficiently as possible. I loved it so much I want to own a copy!

A Tile By Any Other Name Would Still Dwell Discreet

Jay and I love tile layers, and we like games that can be taught quickly and played even quicker. On a recent trip, he ran into the team from Brotherwise Games who asked him to try out a copy of their new release, Overboss: A Boss Monster Adventure.

Players try to fill up their player board with tiles of various types of terrain, and attract monsters to live on those terrain. If you are familiar with Kevin Russ’ other games, like Calico, then you will recognize the puzzly goodness involved in maximizing where the tiles will geaux and exactly what monsters should be recruited to live on them. Kevin is a whiz at this spatial puzzles, and he was a co-designer on the project with Aaron Mesburne, and the “set up four tiles and four boss monster tiles below them” market outlay will look comfortably familiar to anyone who has placed Calico or Cascadia or any of those types of games.

Part of the puzzle is sort of a solo experience, trying to get the best tiles and monsters collected on your board, in just the right spaces to maximize sets and get adjacency bonuses, if any. But you also have to watch what the other players are doing. It might behoove you to pick something just a little bit less optimal for your board if it means crashing the big scoring plans of another player.

There seems to be tons of replayability built in. We joked around a bit on the stream when we played it, but there is apparently a whole warehouse of different terrain tiles that come in the box, and each one is going to interact with the monsters a little bit differently.

ROUX DAT SAYS: I might’ve been the wrong person for this theme. I don’t know Boss Monster, and I played too many actual 8 Bit games to really have any nostalgia for them. But, there were definitely things I really enjoyed about this game. I loved how each of us instantly latched onto different strategies about where to place the tiles and what monsters to attract, and the tension when you are hoping that a tile falls your way. It certainly felt like any of us had a shot at winning with the right moves, and I like that uncertainty in a game.

THE WRAP UP:

So, that’s it for our first impressions and post-game musings of three new-to-us games. The Roux Dat will be back with more commentary and reviews about the games we are playing. Is there a game that you would like us to play? Let us know in the comments, or hit us up on Twitter or Facebook @boardgamegumbo and we will see if we can get a copy!

Until next time, laissez les bon temps rouler!

– BJ

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

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