Strategically Thematic: Anachrony

May 2, 2018

Strategically Thematic is a segment featured on The Dice Tower's bi-weekly Throat Punch Lunch videos about games where the theme and mechanics go together really well.

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Hi! This is Ambie from Board Game Blitz, and this is Strategically Thematic, a segment where I talk about theme in different strategic games. This time, I’m talking about Anachrony.

Anachrony is a post-apocalyptic board game where you're playing as one of four factions trying to get out ahead and survive an asteroid crash. The game is a worker placement game with different types of workers that do different things. For example, engineers can be really good at building things, and scientists are good at researching things. In addition to the post-apocalyptic theme, Anachrony is also about time travel, which actually I don't think is very thematic in the game, because the way it works is just a loan system.

The gameplay is mostly linear, and the way the time travel works is that you borrow resources from the future. And then in later turns, you need to go to your time travel machine to give the resources back. So it's basically like a loan. To me, that doesn't actually feel like time travel, because you're not actually reliving the time periods, you're just living the one time period where the time travel happened to help you out.

But I think the post-apocalyptic theme really shines in Anachrony. There are two parts to the worker placement, there's the main board, and your own home board. On your own home board, that's where you live, and you can just have workers go anywhere you want. But on the main board, that's out on the surface of the Earth, and it's toxic to people, so you can't have your workers go out, but you have these big mini-figures that you put your workers into, and those are exosuits. In order to use them, you have to power them up, put your workers in, and then go to the spots. Each person has a limited number of exosuits they can use, so they need to plan wisely to determine which resources are essential for them to get out in the main board.

Another interesting mechanism of the game is that when you use your workers, they usually get tired, and then you can't use them again until they wake up, because they're resting. So even though you have a lot of workers, if they're tired and don't wanna work, you can't make them work. And if you do, you'll lose morale, which can give you more or less points. There are also different factions in the game that have different powers that make it feel more thematic. For example, there's a faction that's good at generating water and getting workers, because they're more about life.

Anachrony is a pretty fun game, and I think the post-apocalyptic theme is really well implemented in the game. Although the time travel theme is not as great, the post-apocalyptic part makes it really good. Thanks for watching Strategically Thematic! Is there more to the time travel theme than I thought in Anachrony? Let me know in the comments.
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