Tsukuyumi’s unique sci fi setting includes killer robots, sad whales and moon demons. This clearly isn’t your grandpa’s strategy game.
Up to four players (more with expansions that are available at different pledge levels) duke it out in a war for world domination – each using a unique faction with asymmetric abilities. There’s the robotic Cyber Samurai, humanity’s futuristic, mechanized form. There’s the Boarlords, hyper-evolved pig-men who are bent on decimating the remnants of humanity. There’s the Nomads, a roving band of humans who use their resourcefulness to make up for their squishiness. And there’s the Dark Seed, a swarm of gigantic insects united in a hive-mind mentality by their queen. (There’s even more factions, depending on what content you get with your pledge level.)
As with any sort of asymmetric strategy wargame, balance is key. You don’t want one faction to have an unchallenged advantage over other factions, but you want them to feel unique and play differently. It’s a tough thing to design, especially considering the tendency for games like this is to develop (not always intentionally) into a “paper-rock-scissors” scenario where one faction will generally beat another, but lose to another. A lot of games fall prey to this, but it looks like the folks at Grey Fox have done a great job at balancing the factions of Tsukuyumi to feel and play differently without there being a glaring power imbalance.
Each faction, of course, has their own theme and character within the world of Tsukuyumi. I’m particularly drawn to the Nomads. They’re the last remaining soldiers from the U.S. Navy, and use a somewhat derelict aircraft carrier as their capital base. They have a gritty ragtag feel to them that I always love in futuristic sci fi.
Of course, I’d be neglectful if I didn’t talk a bit about the miniatures in a hefty miniatures game. Tsukuyumi boasts an almost insane amount – over 130. Yeesus, pardon me while I salivate. What we’re able to see on the game’s Kickstarter page are mostly 3D renderings, but they look downright awesome. With a setting as unique as Tsukuymi’s, I fully expect some jaw-dropping minis, and it doesn’t look like I’ll be disappointed. Check out a few from some of Grey Fox’s promo material:
I appreciate the color-coding for factions, making them easily identifiable on the table. I appreciate even more that the style of the minis (and all the game’s visual assets, really) is a perfect blend of gritty and comic-y. There’s an almost graphic novel or manga aesthetic to Tsukuyumi, which is so cool to see.
The gameplay of Tsukuyumi takes me to a cool place as well. There’s no dice to roll, and the game’s choices feel truly strategic – players draft an action card, and pass the remainder to the player to their left. This draft-and-pass style of action selection is interesting because it reminds me of games like Sushi Go Party or a MTG draft where you’re not only trying to set yourself up for optimal actions, but you can try to screw your opponents – or at least have knowledge of what they can do in the future. Here’s a summary of more of Tsukuyumi’s gameplay from the Kickstarter page:
Head on over to Tsukuyumi’s Kickstarter campaign to check out more of the deets – there’s some great setting material and video reviews that delve deeper into this awesome game.
Until next time, gang. Keep it plucky!