The history of Mindclash Games began in 2015 with the successful Kickstarter project for Trickerion. This was able to collect almost ten times the set goal. The next project was Anachrony, which is also the subject of this board game review. The goal was set a little higher here, but it was also easily achieved. In the end, almost exactly eleven times the actual goal was collected here. Just before the release of the German version of Skellig Games/Quality Beast, we will show how justified this success is in a test. For this we used the English edition of Mindclash Games. The photos partially show elements of the expansion "Fractures of Time".

The "Day of Purification" has permanently changed the earth with a huge explosion. Several centuries later in the 26th century there are four disparate ideologies (Harmony, Power, Progress, Salvation) called Paths. Mankind has split into these, and the only point of contact between these paths, which otherwise coexist in isolation from each other in a fragile peace, is the last remaining great capital. 

A new resource, neutronium, was found at the site of the explosion. It is unimaginably powerful and can create wormholes and open time rifts. The "Day of Purification" was the result of the first time rift caused by a meteorite impact in the future that carried a huge amount of neutronium. 

The possibility of time travel brought unprecedented progress, but the bleak future also drew ever closer. As leaders of one of the four paths, players try to prove that their path is the only true one in order to lead humanity to a future after the meteorite impact. 

Lots of stuff

As you would expect from an expert game, there is at anachrony a lot of material. The central game board (the capital) is still relatively small, especially in comparison to other similarly complex games like Hydropower, Bitoku or trickerion. In addition to the neutronium already mentioned, there are three other resources gold, titanium and uranium. Water and energy blocks are other resources in the game. 

Of course, to be a worker placement game, it also needs workers. These are available in the four colors green (scientists), yellow (engineers), blue (administrators) and pink (geniuses). Each worker type is better at performing certain actions than other types, but has disadvantages when it comes to other actions. Geniuses are like wild cards and always take on the best possible type for an action. Exosuits are required for most worker slots.
There are also four different types of buildings. In addition, there are super projects that work similar to buildings. 

All players choose a path and take all the associated materials: path board, leader board, warplates, exosuits and the path markers. The path boards have an A and a B side. On the A side, all paths are identical. The B side brings some asymmetry back into play. The starting resources are always distributed depending on the selected path. 

Always with the impending meteorite impact in mind, the players try to lead their way to victory. Image: Jonas Dahmen

In each game there are five final victory point cards that are chosen at random. The resources, buildings, anomalies, paradox dice, paradoxes, achievements and victory point markers are laid out next to the game board. Below the game board is the timeline. The impact takes place between the fourth and fifth time arrow. A super project is placed over each of the seven arrows of time. 

Plunge into the time rifts

The procedure is the same for the first four rounds. After the impact, the game board changes and gradually there are fewer and fewer places to place the workers. 

At the beginning of each round, the resources and workers that will be available in the current round are determined. To do this, a card is drawn from the recruiting or mining pile and the workers/resources shown on it are placed on the corresponding spaces on the game board. Additionally, at the start of each round, one building is drawn from each building stack and placed next to its stack. There are always two buildings of one type to choose from.

From the second round onwards, for each section on the timeline, it is checked who places the most war tiles there. That person must roll the dice and gets between zero and two paradoxes. If you have collected three paradoxes, you get an anomaly that blocks a building site. As a more plannable alternative, you can also quickly distribute a paradox.

Good engine building with the buildings and super projects is one of the keys to victory. Image: Jonas Dahmen

In the third phase of a round, the players decide how many exosuits they want to use in the current round. The first three are free. Each additional exosuit costs one energy block. There is one water for each unfilled exosuit loading slot.

The warplate tiles are placed on the current section of the timeline in the following phase. Everyone simultaneously chooses between zero and two of their own available war tiles and then places them on the timeline. The resources shown on the war tiles are immediately obtained “from the future”. 

Now comes the central element of the game, along with time travel: the action phase. Here the players carry out an action one after the other until everyone has passed. Exosuits are required for all actions on the main board. Actions on the path board only require workers. Each location has its own requirements for workers. In some places only certain types can be used or individual types can perform the actions better. 

Research can be carried out with one of the three capital city actions by rolling the two research dice and receiving the achievement tile that corresponds to the shape and symbol of the dice. You can turn one of these dice to any side. The second action in the capital is recruiting new workers. In addition to the new and ready-to-use worker, you also get a bonus depending on the type you choose.
The third capital action is building. Here you can build one of the available buildings by paying the cost of the building site on your path board or you build the super project over the timeline section where your focus marker is currently located.
If all fields of a capital city action are occupied, you can carry it out via one of the two world council fields and thus secure the position as starting player by paying additional costs.

The three locations outside the capital on the central game board allow you to collect and trade resources. Additional action spaces can be found on your personal game board. Further action options are added there by buildings. Free actions may be performed at any time. These are marked with the path markers on your own tableau.

If no one wants to or can no longer carry out actions, the current round is cleaned up. Everyone gets their workers back. These are usually exhausted and are initially not available until they are activated again by the corresponding action. 

The meteor strikes

At the end of the fourth round, the meteorite hits. The evacuation tile on the game board is now placed on the "damaged" side. This makes the Evacuate action available. Each path has its own condition that must be met in order to evacuate your followers. If the evacuation is successful, you receive a fixed number of victory points, which are determined by your own path. In addition, each path has a variable number of victory points, which are also available according to the requirements shown. The person who evacuates their followers last loses three points. 

Collapse tiles are placed on the three capital actions. These amplify the actions of the locations. After the workers return from the locations, these locations are then no longer accessible. If no more locations are available, the game ends. If this does not happen even after the seventh round, the game then ends.

The meteorite also does damage on the path boards and destroys two loading slots for exosuits. Image: Jonas Dahmen

Something also happens on the path boards after the meteorite impact. Instead of six exosuit loading slots, only four are available after impact. Only the first exosuit can be loaded for free. 

The resources that are placed anew each turn are also affected by the impact. There is now always at least one neutronium.

Time travel made easy

The thematic focus is time travel. They are made possible by constructing the yellow buildings (power plants). The buildings indicate how many steps you can travel back in time. In order to trigger time travel, a worker must be placed in the building. Here, however, it does not require an exosuit. 

You can now move your focus marker into the past within the frame provided by the building. If the focus marker was placed in the past, you can now turn in things that felt like you got for free back then. If you carry out these two steps, the time travel marker moves forward one step on your path board. Time travel alone is not sufficient for this. 

The end of the game

As described above, the game ends when either all locations are destroyed or the seventh round is over. Now everyone gets one more chance to fulfill leftover warplates to avoid problems with the continuum. This earns no steps for the time travel token. 

Now you add the points for buildings and super projects to the collected victory point markers. In addition, there are points for the position of the time travel and morale markers (the latter is affected by the way you reactivate your workers). The individual requirements of the five final victory point cards laid out at the beginning are now also scored. For each card you fulfill, you receive three victory points. War tiles remaining on the timeline cost two victory points. Anomalies are “worth” minus three victory points. 

You can change the game with three variants contained in the basic game. You can draft the starting resources as well as the final victory point cards. The “alternative timeline” variant is more noticeable. Here, each warplate space on the timeline has an effect that is triggered by placing it on that space. Here the tiles are not placed simultaneously, but in turn order.

Infobox

Number of people: 2 to 4 (solo mode in the extension Fractures of Time contain)
Age: from 15 years
Playing time: 30 minutes per person
Difficulty: very high
Long-term motivation: very good
Genre: Expert game
Core mechanisms: worker placement, engine building

Author: David Turczi, Richard Amann, Viktor Peter
Design: Villő Farkas, László Fejes and others
Official Website: anachrony
Year of publication: 2017
Language: English (Skellig Games and Qualtiy Beast will bring a German localization in early 2023)
Cost: 62 Euro

Summary

anachrony is definitely in the top 50 on BGG. The widespread worker placement genre is not fundamentally revolutionized here, but thanks to the excellently interlinked elements and actions, it offers a great gaming experience.

Really impressive is the theme and the underlying game idea implemented around time travel. The way in which resources from the future are used here, which you then have to give up yourself, is brilliant. At the beginning of the rulebook, a whole page is taken to build up the story. There is more background information on the Mindclash website. Along with the great implementation of the time travel theme feels anachrony very thematically, not only for a Euro Game. The design underscores the future feel of the game. A lot of white and a generally rather bright game material give the game a really great look.

In addition to the great design, the components of the game are also of very good quality. All tokens are made of sturdy cardboard. Only the time travel and morale markers could be a bit bigger. There is nothing wrong with the resource dice and the water tokens. Placing workers "in" the exosuits also works well. The game board is laid out very clearly and yet not overly large so that it does not overcrowd the table.
The biggest criticism of the game is the amount of symbols used. Especially on the super projects or with the individual skills of the leaders, some text would often be the better choice. Despite their own design, many of the symbols are well chosen and easy to understand.

Exosuits are required to deploy the workers on the field. Image: Jonas Dahmen

The rules are excellently written. You will find few games of similar complexity where you really only have to look up symbols in the first game and questions about the rules are the absolute exception. Of course, this good understanding is partly due to the classic worker placement element, which makes up a large part of the rules here. But time travel is also well explained. The only thing that isn't entirely intuitive are the rules for advancing the time travel marker. 

There is a lot to consider in the game. Which workers come to which place and when? Do my fellow players perhaps take the important resources from the mine, the building I'm saving for or other limited action spaces? After the impact, do they try to end the game quickly or do they all still have a lot to do? These and more questions are asked again and again in the game. Due to the limited action spaces, but also especially on the timeline and towards the end, the interaction between the players is on a very pleasant level. The importance of being the first player in a turn is also very well resolved by the cost of claiming that position.

As in any complex game with many possibilities, the time between your own moves can of course be longer with three or four people. Nevertheless, the gameplay is very pleasant. During the other players' moves, there's always plenty to worry about as well.

At the end of the game, the sources of points are clearly laid out. The scores are always in the middle double-digit range. So in the end it's relatively close between the players and you get the very rewarding feeling that every building and every decision mattered.

The replay appeal of the game is very high. Just playing all paths with their two different leaders has a great appeal. Due to the different evacuation requirements, there is always a new focus in your own strategy. Add to that the asymmetrical sides of the path tableaux and there is even more to discover. Even with several games with the same paths, it doesn't get boring.
Should there ever be a desire for more, there are also three expansions.

Can also be played solo

Who visites  anachrony If you want to play solo, you don't have the option to do so with the base game alone. for this, the extension Fractures of Time needed. This then contains two solo opponents. The slightly easier to control Chronobot and the Chronossus. 

The expansion "Fractures of Time" contains two solo opponents. Image: Jonas Dahmen

The Chronobot has a tableau on which four tokens numbered from two to five are placed. A die determines which token is activated. The action at its position is carried out and the token moves one step further. The actions are all slightly different variants of the actions described above that are available to the solo player.

Chronossus is only slightly more complex to control. Unlike the Chronobot, it charges a variable number of exosuits and thus does not necessarily perform an action for every action taken by the solo player, as the Chronobot does. You can also complete objectives against Chronossus, which is not possible in the game against the Chronobot. Overall, Chronossus is the slightly nicer opponent to play. To get into the game, but also nothing speaks against the Chronobot. 
Both solo opponents have an excellent balance of predictability and chance. It's just a shame that you have to buy a full expansion straight away just for the ability to play solo. 

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Last updated on 9.02.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API