Thursday, March 17, 2016

A game illustrated by your favorite artist - Euphoria (Jacqui Davis)

I recently got to play (not for the first time) the first game that ever got me to say, "Oh that's beautiful!" Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia is an artistically lovely game. It has an Art Deco art style. The game itself is based upon ideas posed in dystopian literature like:

Before I proceed with a description of this game, it's important to make sure that all of the readers understand the meaning of the term, dystopia:
"A dystopia (from the Greek δυσ- and τόπος, alternatively, cacotopia, kakotopia, or simply anti-utopia) is a community or society that is undesirable or frightening. Dystopias are often characterized by dehumanization, totalitarian governments, environmental disaster, or other characteristics associated with a cataclysmic decline in society. Dystopian societies appear in many subgenres of fiction and are often used to draw attention to real-world issues regarding society, environment, politics, economics, religion, psychology, ethics, science, and/or technology, which if unaddressed could potentially lead to such a dystopia-like condition." (Wikipedia)
Basically you are a workforce leader who has "awakened" and are trying to figure out how to react to the reality before you. Your job is to keep your workforce (dice) dumb and happy. You do this with food and Bliss (drugs). You are presented with opportunities to "invest" in projects. If a project that you invested in is seen to fruition, then you gain certain privileges. If you missed out on an opportunity, there will be areas of the board that you are locked out of until you can buy your way in. 

During the game you are collecting commodities (food, water, power, and Bliss), resources (ore, clay, and gold), and artifacts from history (glasses, boardgames, teddy bears, balloons, etc.) in order to either invest in projects or keep your workforce dumb and happy. You are also confronted with an ethical dilemma that you have to decide how to deal with it. One way to deal with it is to maintain the status quo and thus, earn a victory point (star). Another way to deal with it is to go against the establishment and recruit others to your faction to rebel against the status quo. The winner of the game is the first person to place all ten of their stars on the board. 

I have yet to see the rebel strategy win. The idea of the game, after all, is to build a better dystopia. Therefore taking the more conservative and stringent path will lead to the "best" dystopia. On the one hand, this is a fun game. On the other hand, it forcasts a depressing vision of society if one truly understands the meaning of the term, dystopia. As with the books named above, the game serves as a warning of a possible future.

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Thank you for your comments! I will review them as soon as I can and make them live. I'm just trying to keep out the spammers. I'm sure you understand. :-)