Architects of the West Kingdom co-designer's solo debut is sci-fi dice game Circadians: First Light
Sam Macdonald collaborated with North Sea trilogy creator Shem Phillips on the first two West Kingdom games; Circadians: First Light is Macdonald’s first solo design, with Phillips contributing to the game’s development.
The game sees players managing a crew of researchers on the planet of Ryh, rolling and assigning dice to explore the planet (which bears some resemblance to Terraforming Mars in its hex-grid board, though the two games appear to be very different in gameplay), harvest and trade resources, upgrade their research base and amass points.
A key part of the game is moving your harvester around the planet, using its placement to collect more resources: water, algae and power. There’s an aspect of engine-building to the gameplay, too, with upgrade tiles enabling players to increase their harvester and farms’ efficiency and rake in even more resources and dice.
The players must also negotiate with three different clans on Ryh, by assigning their dice to one of the factions to score points. Dice used to negotiate stay on the negotiation board for the rest of the game, but enable abilities and other rewards – however, siding with one of the clans can also cause setbacks to occur with their rival factions, making it a risk-reward method of pursuing victory.
Circadians plays with up to four people in an hour to 90 minutes, ending after eight rounds. A single-player mode features an AI opponent with four difficulty levels.
After a successful Kickstarter earlier this year, Circadians: First Light will be released by North Sea and West Kingdom publisher Renegade this September.