Friday, December 16, 2022

Palatial covers familiar ground

 Palatial, a game that is allegedly about renovating a house but is really about filling a grid with polynomials, exemplifies what I have come to expect from Dark Imp Games. Pretty much no innovation but an incredible level of accessibility on almost every level.

You have a square grid broken down into six asymmetrical areas. You have a table of six different polynomial shapes, some of which would be right at home in Tetris. Each turn, you roll two dice. Pick one die for the area and the other die to be the shape. The game ends when any player has to pass three times.

Here's the two clever bits: Some squares have triangles and some circles. You get extra points for covering triangles but you lose points for covering circles. And the one pip shape is just two squares but it is the one shape that you can have cross over the line between areas.

In other words, Palatial doesn't cover any ground that I haven't seen before.

With that said, it uses all those elements to create a mechanically solid game. You get to make choices and you have to make sacrifices.

Dark Imp's mission statement is to create games that can work in family and classroom environments. Palatial is an ink-light Print and Play game that requires just hitting the print button to make. You just need two bog standard six-sided dice. It can handle pretty much any number of players. It's easy to teach, even if the student doesn't have much experience with board games or Roll and Write.

Palatial isn't a game I'd recommend for gamers. There are too many other games like it out there that have more interesting twists or themes. But I do think it would work very well with locations like classrooms, youth clubs or random family gatherings. Easy to make, teach and play.

As I keep finding, Dark Imp Games knows what they want to do and then they do it.

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