The problem with colonialism in board games is that it’s such a good fit. Exploration! Discovery! Conflict! The race between nations! Filling up the world with your chosen color! Heaps of resource tokens and/or cards! Negotiation and trade! Eventually somebody glances longingly at a railroad! No wonder you can hardly enter a game store without tripping over a dozen of the things. European colonialism is basically the Original 4X Game.
Which is why I skipped out on Endeavor the first time around. “Looks like more cardboard colonialism,” I shrugged. Not because cardboard colonialism offends me. But because it’s generally so dull and so carefully purged of anything that might offend. When I use the term “whitewashed,” I mean it in two senses.
Well, mea maxima culpa, because not only is Endeavor a fantastic game about colonialism, it’s a fantastic game about colonialism. And this year’s Age of Sail remolds the original in some exciting new ways.