Martin Wallace birthed a new subgenre with A Few Acres of Snow. Here was deck-building but tied to a map, every single location represented by a card. Seizing territory not only meant extra points and opportunities, but also more regions to administer, and your deck and hand could gradually choke on bureaucratic smoke that distracted from the conflict at hand. It was deviously clever. Also incomplete.
Wallace’s Mythotopia sought to fix up the concept, broadening it from two to four players and sanding down some of the system’s rougher edges while giving others their due. It made for a good time, as far as I’m concerned, though still an experience where a single pulled thread might unravel the whole thing.
Now Wallace is back with A Handful of Stars, the last in his trilogy of deck-building-on-a-map games. And as we’ve come to expect, there are some excellent ideas on display here — and a few that could have used some extra work.