Published by: Mind Clash Games
# of Players 1 to 4
Anachrony comes in a very heavy box that is roughly the size of the big box collection games. There are a ton of components to this game and that does not include the optional expansion that includes miniatures for the Exo-Suits. I do not own them, but they do look really great. Anachrony is a table hog. This game takes up a lot of space to play and will take a little bit of time to set up. The main board is very large and has impressive futuristic art that I really enjoyed. Each player will have their own player board and path board. Each of those is double-sided for more variety. There are tons of plastic resource cubes and cardboard tokens. When you first get the game, it is intimidating how much you have to punch out and figure out how to store. Thankfully Mind Clash does provide a lot of baggies to help store everything. Some companies have already made inserts for Anachrony and they may be worth checking out if this becomes a favorite of yours. I know I am looking into it currently. Anachrony comes with components for a solo mode called Chronobot. The rule book is massive with 36 pages of content. The rules are actually well down in how they guide you through the game and provide bold headers to provide quick reference. Everything is explained in great detail and with lots of helpful colorful illustrations. Also be prepared to learn icons. There are a few of them and you will understand them pretty early in the game. Even with the rule book, this game is brain burner. Your first time learning the game and playing will be full of large blank looks, confusion, and finally everything starts to click by the end of the game. You are then wanting to play again and again. Too bad you can't give yourself the knowledge of the future to your past self. That will make more sense when I explain the gameplay. To summarize the components to Anachrony is very tough as there is a lot of great art and quality to the components, but it is also very overwhelming.
Anachrony is a worker placement game that involves resource management in a fluid timeline. Each player will have their own player board that will be comprised of a exo-suit hanger, morale track, areas for rested and tired workers, a time travel track, a place for buildings. Each player will also get a board that is for their path's ideology. This will include starting resources (unless you use card draft variant and ways your ideology earns victory points. Besides the main board and player boards, there is also a Time Travel Track made up of tiles. Each tile is a game round called an era. There will be 7 possible eras during the game and an impact tile between the 4th and 5th era tiles. There will also be 5 end game condition cards that will be randomly selected and placed above the board. An era is comprised of 6 phases. The phases are Preparation, Paradox, Power Up, Warp, Action rounds, and Clean up. Once you have played the game, you will move through most phases quickly compared to your first time playing. During the preparation phase, the superproject tile above the current era is revealed. These are special buildings that require your focus to be in that era and costs materials and breakthroughs. They are worth getting as they provide a great passive ability or worker spot, and also provide a good amount of victory points. During this phase you will also fill up the worker and resource spaces of the main board and shift the building stacks. The Paradox phase will not do anything your first era, but after the first era, it will penalize the players who have strained the timeline the most. Those players will have to roll a paradox die and will possibly receive paradox tokens. If you ever end up with 3 of more, you will earn and anomaly. These are worth -3 VP and covers up a space on your building tracks.
During the Power Up phase, players will have the option to power up their Exo-Suits. You can power-up to 6 exo-suits during an era. 3 hex spots for exo-suits costs nothing to power up. The bottom 3 cost 1 energy core to power up. After you have decided how many exo-suits you are going to power up, you will earn a water for each spot that was not used. Water is very important in the game. I argued that the city that lives underwater should not have to worry about water, but everyone else at the table laughed at me. The Warp Phase is the phase that involves time-travel and borrowing resources. Players will secretly place 0-2 warp good tiles in their hand. Everyone will reveal and in player order place them on the current era of the time track. Each tile will show an asset that you will receive like money, water, resource or something else. You are getting these items from the future to use now. Later on you will need to travel back in time to payback those goods or the bad stuff of the paradox phase will happen. This will take awhile to wrap your head around. After the Warp Phase, you will move onto action rounds. Each player will take an action keep going in clockwise around the table. I will explain the actions in the next paragraph. Finally after the action phase has been passed by everyone, you will move on to the clean up phase. During this phase, you will retrieve your workers and place them in either the tired or active columns of your player board depending on the space they were on. You will check to see if the next timeline tile is the impact tile and check for end game conditions. You will then move everyone's focus to the next era on the timeline.
There are many actions you can take during your turn and with different types of workers. There are 4 types of workers. Scientist, Engineer, Administrator, and Genius, who can act as any of the other 3 types. Some of the work spaces require a specific worker or allow the worker to remain active for the next era. The hex shaped spaces on the main board must be used by a powered up exo-suit. Each space can only hold one worker, unless it is a large pool space. Then it can have any number of workers, but must be in exo-suits. Other spaces will have a normal worker shape that just uses a worker. Some of the actions you can take during your turn are to build new structures on your player board, recruit new workers, research breakthroughs to receive breakthrough tokens. There is also a world council that you can place a worker on and use a construct, research, or recruit action if no more of the spaces are available for that action. You will then perform the standard action for the location. You can also use actions to mine resources, purify water and trade with nomads. Additional actions will be available on your player board when you acquire new structures. Also on your player board, you can supply, which lets you move workers from tired to active after paying a water cost. This will raise morale. You can also force workers to work, which also moves them from tired to active but lowers morale. Some of the structures you will build will be used to power up your time traveling ability. This will allow you to go back in the timeline and pay what you owe from previous eras. For example if I took a purple cube during the warp phase in the first era and now in the third era I go back in time and pay back to the bank the purple cube. Basically righting the future and preventing a future anomaly.
Wow that is a lot to explain about the gameplay of Anachrony. That was only a brief summary of what you will be doing during the 2 to 4 hour epic game. I did not know what to think of Anachrony when I opened it up and was going through the rule book. I was pretty sure I was reading German. Turned out I was reading the German rule book and picked up the English rule book which made a little more sense. Still this was an epic achievement to play and understand. Afterwards, I look back and I really enjoyed playing the game. I wasn't even very good at it, but I had fun playing and making jokes about time travel and doomsday movies. There is a lot to the game and a lot of variants to keep it fresh for quite a long time. The learning curve is high and there are lots of icons to remember, but once you get past that, it becomes a smooth flowing game. The components were high quality, though I wish there was an insert as this is a bear to set up and take apart. The rule book does it's best to help guide you through the game by highlighting important items and going over rules that are frequently played wrong. This shows not only that they did a ton of playtesting, but they also took the feedback from those playtesters to help the consumer in the rule book. I was very impressed with the quality of game that Mind Clash Games provided us. Anachrony is a game I would recommend to those wanted a challenging worker placement game that brings lots of different elements. The theme is felt nicely throughout the whole gameplay. This is not a game that you can try once and decide if you like it or not. This is a game that must be played a lot before you can feel the flavor and the different tiny details that make up the game. I highly enjoyed this game and it is one of my favorite worker placement games in recent years. This is staying in my collection and will be a mainstay for my heavy worker placement needs.
+Theme and mechs in a worker placement game
+Plenty of variants to keep things fresh
+Excellent rule book
+Solo Mode for those who like that
-A pain to set up
- No insert provided but lots of baggies to hold all the components
-Large learning curve
-Trying to explain the time travel part