Focus. Do one thing at a time. Stay in the present. Think. Make your own routines. Act for your own good. Don’t act on emotion.
Now that I think about it, there’s something really Zen about playing board games. And yet so few explore this ideology. Luckily, this week a really interesting project joined the Kickstarter fray: Tang Garden by Thundergryph Games.
Long Time Ago in Tang Dynasty China
7th and 8th century in China. The art of gardening is blooming and the era will be remembered as the First Golden Age. Emperors surround their palaces with lush, vibrant mazes of greenery. Gardening techniques are more efficient than ever before. Apart from vegetation, various decorations attempt to mimic real world landscapes, waterfalls and mountains. Gardens themselves become the place for poets, artists and sages to stroll around.
In Tang Garden each player takes on the role of a garden designer and does everything in their power to attract and charm every fancy visitor.
Back to the Roots Again
Tang Garden was designed by Thundergryph Games. Last year they created the pirate themed Dead Man’s Doubloons, which we luckily managed to get our hands on (as seen below). Now they seem to be back to their favourite oriental themes.
Thundergryph Games is a Spanish company, that started developing games in 2016 and already managed to deliver 5 successful projects. Their games are often (but not always) abstract and put heavy focus on the visual side.
Tang Garden is aimed at 1 to 4 players and a session can be completed below 45 minutes. Each turn you decide to either expand the garden or add a decoration piece to it. If you decide to add terrain tiles, they can reward you with coins or help you move along your water/greenery/stone score lanes. There are also tiles, that grant special tokens with additional moves.
Instead of adding tiles you can decide to draw decoration cards and pick one you want the most. Next, you complete the action by placing the object mentioned on the card on the game board.
The Visitors Arrive
Achieving certain point thresholds on your 3 lanes will allow you to summon a guest of your own to the garden. Each summonable character has his or her own preferences and will grant different bonuses. Noblewomen and poets may have slightly different tastes in what they prefer to see.
If you like supernatural elements in your games, an expansion based on chinese ghost stories is also planned and can be ordered through the campaign. Additional box includes mythological guests like magical cats, demons and fox ghosts.
Like a Painting
Graphical style feels like one of the most attractive aspects of Tang Garden. The board starts white, empty and minimalistic. Then, turn by turn players fill it with plants, ponds, walkways, bridges and patches of grass. Later they’re joined by 3D cardboard trees, gazebos and swan tokens. Setting up the game and playing it should feel like watching a painting being made in real time.
During the course of the game the board will get surrounded with panoramas, added by certain tiles. Images painted on them will be vital to scoring guest impressions and again, look simply gorgeous.
Visitor figurines look detailed, filled with grace, and it’s also worth noting that it’s one of few games where miniatures aren’t actually used for fighting. They just walk around and enjoy the beauty of the moment – the zen way.
Tang Garden on Kickstarter
The campaign had one of the strongest launches of the month, with over 300 000 USD collected on day one. Authors are trying to keep up by adding stretch goals, but it feels like the success was bigger than they expected. Being a fan of this type of setting and building games genre I can only wish them best luck. 祝你成功!