There’s something infinitely enticing about the prospect of a short civilization game. Centuries, even millennia of technologies, policies, wars and wonders, played out in a couple of hours rather than an entire afternoon. You might even call it one of the holy grails of game design.
For a moment, Matthew Dunstan’s Monumental looks like it might reach out and choose wisely. The turns clip along nicely. It has decisions with room enough to stumble, but not so badly that you’ll slip onto your face. And of course there’s all that plastic. What could possibly go wrong?
After the jump, let’s talk about what went wrong.
Remember the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, when Indiana Jones is getting all shouty about the government’s “top men” not acknowledging the true power of the Ark of the Covenant? Well, you should have seen him when the U.S. announced they’d run out of money and were going to be auctioning it off. He just about nuked the fridge.
Chances are whenever you see the word “quantum,” that rather than bearing a passing resemblance to the actual meaning of the word, it pretty much means whatever the author needs it to mean to get the plot rolling. And in Quantum, the new board game by Eric Zimmerman, that rule is taken to the extreme. Why is it your goal to plop cubes down onto planets? Quantum. How is it that your ships can reconfigure into entirely different forms, transforming from a tiny scout to an indefatigable battleship without so much as winking in the direction of the law of conservation of mass? Quantum. Why is the logical endpoint of your imperial research program to suddenly become nomadic? I’ve said it already: quantum.