05 April 2019
Pull the other one
The brick-pulling, tower-toppling gameplay of Jenga has inspired the stress of horror in RPG Dread and sexual tension of unspoken romance in the loved-up Star Crossed. Now, an upcoming board game wants to take the tabletop classic into the future.
Sarah’s Vision doesn’t use an actual Jenga tower, of course. But the nondescript pile of blocks that sits at the centre of its gameplay takes obvious inspiration from Leslie Scott’s iconic family favourite.
In the board game from NewSpeak co-designer Anthony Howgego, the tower is an actual tower, representing the HQ of the 22nd-century Agency to which players’ operatives belong.
The players pull blocks from the stack to deploy the Agency’s resources on the game’s main board, covering symbols on event cards to mitigate danger and gather ‘inspiration’.
The story-driven game plays out over a series of scenarios, with players needing to resolve all 20 event cards in each mission to progress. Story cards in the event deck drive the narrative forward, concerning a new technology called MindNet that a secretive group of powerful people are attempting to use to create a utopian Europe in the year 2163AD – and whom the Agency must protect to bring the new era into being.
If the tower collapses, it’s not instant game over: players rebuild the tower and resolve the next five events without the chance to take actions in-between to reduce their effects, potentially propelling them towards a loss triggered by five danger cubes accumulating in the characters’ danger zones.
Each chapter of Sarah’s Vision plays in around an hour to 90 minutes, and is the debut release from the Baloise Group, marking an unexpected new venture for its parent insurance firm.