There are two open contenders for the best board game of 2022

Many board game publishers make a tidy profit from upgraded components such as coins and card cases that make their products more appealing on the table. But some companies build entire games around these kinds of bits. Check out the poker-style chips and specialty dice used by Chip Theory Games, or the neoprene game board in Leder Games’ headquarters. The Oath: The Empire and the Chronicles of Exile. This year, another rare and expensive component exploded: clear plastic playing cards.

These unusual transparent pages feel like regular playing cards. You can shuffle and watch them so they integrate seamlessly into decks with traditional cards. However, they can be overprinted, allowing designers to layer art or hide certain game elements from view. Cleverly used net cards offer players new mechanics and features not previously found in board games. Two best games of the year — John D. Clair’s dead reckoning and Corey Konieczka 3,000 Low put them to use in their own creative ways.

Photo: Charlie Hall/The Shooting Range

A transparent card, a traditional paper card and a card sleeve were combined.

Photo: Charlie Hall/The Shooting Range

dead reckoning is a sandbox-style exploration and combat game on the high seas. Each player at the table has a crew of sailors to manage their ship. This crew can be upgraded over time, giving players a stronger sense of ownership. Clair uses a clear plastic card for each of these crew members – blank, mate, deck hand, etc.

The art on these clear cards only covers the top half of one side. Each is then paired with a traditional card of the same size and a matching card sleeve. As players upgrade their teams, they unsheath the traditional playing card and either flip or flip it over, revealing new stats visible through the top transparent card. It’s a smart system for both how it uses new materials and how it reinforces the sense of investment players have in their team.

A collection of traditional cards and clear cards.  In addition to jobs such as hackers, butlers and prospectors, they show features such as old, patient and vindictive.

Photo: Charlie Hall/The Shooting Range

A transparent card combined with a traditional card, card sleeve.

Photo: Charlie Hall/The Shooting Range

Inside 3,000 Low, designer Konieczka has created an elaborate bidding game where players design other characters to work alongside them to accumulate the most treasures. Konieczka uses much more than these transparent cards in its design – 60, dead reckoning‘s 8. These 60 unique cards combine with 50 traditional cards to create a rogue gallery of thousands of potential characters, similarly supporting the game’s promise of diversity implied in the title.

A horse ride turns a person into a horse.

It seems that “horse” is a job.
Photo: Charlie Hall/The Shooting Range

Application of transparent cards 3,000 Low especially ingenious. The game’s traditional cards have art for NPC faces, while open business cards cover clothes and other accessories on top like a sort of paper doll. Traditional and clear cards interact creating new combinations of stats, benefits, and costs based on how they’re paired. It makes preparing for each new game an act of exploration and further reinforces the game’s futuristic time travel story.

A set of boxes and instructions on how to get them back inside the box.

Along with the premium price tag, dead reckoning it has one of the best package solutions I’ve seen in a modern board game.
Photo: Charlie Hall/The Shooting Range

Of course, this isn’t the first time clear cards have been used in tabletop games. one of my personal favourites, gloomIt has existed since 2005. Actually, dead reckoning The latest in a long series of similar games from AEG. Mystical Valley and Special Heroes. The company even copyrighted a name for its custom solution: They call it the Card Crafting System.

But why did two different companies release such high-profile games with such similar bits? Well, that’s one of the joys of desktop games. Names, locations and certain mechanisms can be legally protected and prevent other companies from using them in their own games, but more common items like dice cannot. The idea of ​​using cards to play games is as old as the game itself, leading to such common evolutionary designs.

More interestingly, while both games use face-up cards in similar ways to achieve different things, the games occupy very different places in the commercial space. 3,000 Low at a very affordable, big box-friendly price of $49.95. dead reckoning, on the other hand, has incredibly high-cost components such as plastic miniatures, sturdy tuck boxes, and 3D resin tokens. It also carries a premium price of $79.95, which you can expect to increase as it makes its way to retail.

You can find dead reckoning Currently on Backerkit where a second edition is available for pre-order. 3,000 Low It’s available for pre-order on the Asmodee website and friendly local game stores on September 23, and goes on sale with a worldwide retail release on October 7.

Dead Reckoning and 3,000 Scoundrels previewed with final retail release provided by AEG and Asmodee respectively. Vox Media has subsidiaries. While Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased through affiliate links, these do not affect editorial content. You can find Additional information on Polygon’s ethics policy is here.


3,000 Low

Prices are taken at the time of publication.

• 2-4 players, age 12 and over

• Game time: 60-90 minutes

• Game type: Card game

• Category: Bluffing, bidding, drafting

• Similar games: Cash ‘N Guns

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