Clockwork Wars is the sort of game that might not survive the first glance. “Looks like a pared-down version of Archipelago,” one of my friends said when he first walked into the room, which is a longtime cardboard enthusiast’s version of “Looks like Settlers of Catan,” the proper reaction to any game featuring colorful hexes. And while Clockwork Wars holds nothing in common with Archipelago (or Catan), my friend wasn’t wrong. Colorful hexes and counters aren’t enough to set you apart in today’s golden age of colorful hexes and counters.
That’s where the second glance and the third glance come in, because Clockwork Wars absolutely survives those.