Board game reviews, strategy tips & session reports
No. of players: 2-4
Amount of time to play: 30 min
Age requirements: 13+
Set-up time: minimal
Old World New World is an abstract game about discovering the New World. Can you get your explorers across the board before your opponents?
Old World New World starts like a blank slate. The board is an empty frame. You start with a hand of five cards. On your turn you play two cards and take your free moves or discard as many cards as you like. At the end of your turn you draw back up to five cards and play passes to the left.
When you play a card you may place it in the frame, or burn a card to perform an action. When placing cards they must align to the 6×6 grid. If you place a card with a Port or Camp in the row closest to your side of the board (called your home row), you may place a unit there. Ports let you deploy ships and Camps let you deploy a Soldier.
You may burn (discard) a card to move, deploy or convert units. Your units move like rooks in chess. Ships may only move on oceans and Soldiers may only move over land. Each time a Soldier moves onto mountain terrain it must end its movement. You get a free move any time your units are on a Port or Camp. This includes the turn in which they are deployed there.
You may deploy a unit to your home row by burning a card with a Port or Camp symbol. You add the unit to the appropriate tile but two units may never share a space.
Convert is used to switch a unit to the other unit type. You must burn a card with the symbol of the unit type you want to convert to and be adjacent to that symbol on the board. The tokens are double-sided with a Ship on one side and a Soldier on the other.
Some cards are action cards and may be burned for their action. The actions let you move terrain and units, destroy units, place natives on the map or other things to help you get across the board or slow your opponent down.
Once one player has three units on the opposite side of the board the game is over and they win.
Old World New World is a fun abstract strategy game that uses cards like tiles to create the board. This game is easy to teach and quick to play. And though it is not super deep there is a lot to consider.
This game comes with upgraded laser cut components like many of the new Victory Point Games. The tokens and cards are nice and the art work fits the theme well. The rules are pretty easy to read and follow. Be aware the pieces do need to be cleaned up after being punched out.
I like that the decisions you make in this game are not super straight-forward but they are meaningful. What I mean by that is that you must weigh whether it is better to play a card to advance your units or block your opponents’ units. How good a move is will depend on what your opponents have.
The way the pieces move and interact with the Camps and Ports is interesting. If you can chain some Ports and/or Camps together getting across the board is much easier.
I wish Old World New World scaled better. Don’t get me wrong the game plays fine with two, three or four players. But the experience is different depending on the number of players. With two there is more back and forth. A four player game is a bit more random and the board can change a lot between your turns. It may be tricky with three players if two players gang up against the other but this might also be the game’s sweet spot.
Old World New World is a fun quick abstract game. If you like abstract games try it out. It could also fill the niche of a three player game for your group.
Score and synopsis: (Click here for an explanation of these review categories.)
Strategy 3 out of 6
Luck 4 out of 6
Player Interaction 5 out of 6
Replay Value 4 out of 6
Complexity 3 out of 6
Fun 4 out of 6
Overall 4 out of 6