Part of your world
Katie O’Neill’s insatiably charming graphic novels first transitioned to the tabletop world as the family-friendly deck-builder, The Tea Dragon Society Card Game. The second venture inspired by her works, The Aquicorn Cove Board Game focuses on the same audience and keeps Katie’s signature the too-adorable-to-handle art style, but digs much deeper, both in gameplay and its theme.
In this co-operative board game, players take the role of one of the characters from the graphic novel as they build a small fishing village next to a cove of Aquicorns, benevolent reef guardians. The game is split into phases, during which players fish, plant crops, feed the village, build and generate income. Each round can be aided by the Aquicorns or hindered by the weather conditions, especially during the winter season!
There is no victory-point-pat on the back from feeding the whole village or bonuses for the most buildings constructed because this isn’t what The Aquicorn Cove Board Game is about. In fact, there is no ‘winning the game ’in the traditional sense. The main focus of the game is on the delicate balance between the growing industry of the village and the natural world around it.
If players catch two of the same kinds of fish it leads to overfishing. This decreases the variety of fish, making it easier to overfish and harder to feed the village in the future rounds. Performing certain tasks will cause pollution to the cove, which, if uncleaned, will once again make it harder to sustain the village in the future.
This gently presented cycle teaches in a simple, yet incredibly effective and entertaining way, that nature’s resources should not be taken for granted – we rely on its resources to survive and prosper, but we can’t keep taking and never giving back as it will only lead to our own demise. Players succeed in The Aquicorn Cove Board Game by understanding their impact on the environment and maintaining the balance, resulting in prosperity for the village and in nature.
PLAY IT? YES
Designer: Tom Ben Eisner, Tim Eisner, Steve Ellis, Tyler Tinsley
Artist: Katie O'Neill
Time: 30-60 minutes
This review originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.
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