Onwards to Venus is a fairly new game by his holiness Martin Wallace set in the Steampunk world of Doctor Grordbort. Five mustachioed nations set out to be the most points dominant amongst equals. The map consists of a half dozen planets or so each seeded each round with a number of random one use tokens.
The game plays out over three rounds and sees players raising troops and traveling out to planets to claim tokens and execute their respective actions. These actions could be build a mine. Build a factory. Start a fight. Grab some cards. Up your score or selflessly fight an uprising.
Building stuff increases your income and having the most presence on planets gains you victory points. It’s standard enough stuff but where it gets interesting is the uprisings. Planets don’t like your type around here and as time progresses are more likely to rebel and wipe out your great works and everyone else’s there. Going against your lifelong principles you may find yourself quelling these and helping others by helping yourself or more comfortably sitting back and letter someone else do the dirty work and gaining the benefits. Quelling uprisings is key and a real gamble. It’s a sweet mechanic. (There’s also a third option of ignoring them and having everyone on the planet burn with you when the moon men (or whomever) rise up)
Theme is strong here. It’s all daring do. Steam powered contraptions and outlandish WW1 styling, larger than life heroes and death rays. I love the vibe. Games are close run with plenty of cock blockery and the occasional rumble. It whizzes along at a jolly old pace and it scales well with more players (max 5)