This is a preview of a Kickstarter.
come together, right now
Worker placement games are one of my favorite mechanisms in our world of fun. When done right, you feel like a real farmer that struggle to by successful in the 1800's (Agicola), lead your neiadathel buddy's through the trials (Stone Age) and tribulations of evolution or that you have lived an alternative life, collecting vinyl records and working as a comic book artist (The Pursuit Of Happiness).
Nētā-Tanka gives me the same sensation, only that it also makes you feel good because you've helped out the fellow players. No, this isn't a co-op game. You are competing. But you are preform tasks to help your fellow man around your nomad village. Feeding them, clothing them, housing them, all for generousness point. All these thing will make your people see that you are "The One" to become the next Nētā-Tanka. This is a game, that if you are really good to you friends and family, you will win the game.
Every building actions and job that you send your meeple out to do will generate generosity points. These are either in a spendable token form or just solid final score form. In the game, you'll be placing out you clan of meeples, one at a time onto spaces that give them a task. Then on your turn, activating the tasks that you sent them to do, before the cleanup and preparation of the next round. A fairly straight forward game of this genera, yes?
... Read on ...
you scratch my back...
The players small clan of helpers live within the same tribe as the other players. Each will be given a specific task to preform. Gather resources and building thing are the nature of most games of this ilk but this has a little twist. You may send someone off to hunt for buffalo, but are purely trapping the animal for the whole tribe. Another player may kill the beast, cutting up the meat and tanning it's skin while taking some of those skins. Yet another play may take the action of smocking the meat to take for themselves. Like chain-reactions, one thing will occur that will allow other things to happen. And what will you get?
Unlike the village idiot, you won't get suckered in to preforming that same old task from round to round, that helps all everyone get resources, apart from yourself. So your day in the sun will come if a player takes the "Elder of the hunt" or "Elder of the forest" action space. Those are powerful actions giving you a choice in what you do, either taking a resorce or preforming a build action. Choosing this space will commit that meeple on that space to going hunting for buffalo of collecting wood in the forest the next round. Therefore setting up more resources that now you can pick from.
what's the point?
You'll be collecting wood and mushrooms, building tepee's, smoking meats and building the tallest totem pole anyone has ever seen, if you wish. Or you could follow the instructions handed to you on your non-obligatory secret objective card. Yes, I said "non-obligatory."
You don't have to do what the card says, so you can go your own route. Make your own objective, without bonus points. As other players may get in the way of the actions you want to preform. Or because you miscalculated an action. For example, you have a meeple on the "Smoke Meat" space and player one just captured a buffalo, but player three is going to skin it and cut up the meat...
And your player two...
And there's no meat for you to smoke...
Better fine a pipe...
But this secret objective card is not a loss, as you can trade it in for a point of generosity that can be either spent on the "Offering" space or kept as a scoring point at the final. Making an "Offering" is one way to get resources that you want, plans to make Handicrafts. And also use a powerful tool..."Links."
join the chain gang
"Links" are scattered around the board, in between each action space. They function on your turn, if you have deployed your clan members on two spaces joined buy this "Link." A sort of area control. If you place the whole clan of your meeples in one area of the board, you will be able to activate multiple "Links" that give you bonus resources and actions. These links are important as they not only make your actions from the adjacent spaces more powerful, but also give you access to things that can be difficult to preform. Like collecting the rare animal skull to decorate your totem pole with.
That's not to say that you will have a hard time doing the things you planed to do each turn. Even though a large majority of spaces that can only hold one meeple, the game does not feel restrictive. There will always be a space or action that you want to do, open for one of you meeples. In fact, there will be rounds where every player gets the spaces that they want and some where they don't. One way around this is, as mentioned before, using the "Offering" space to pay to use the "Links." Another is by unlocking a special ability, which allows you to copy. Basically allowing you to place one of your clan in a space already occupied by one other meeple. Yours or another players. And BAM! your doing the action you wanted to do and maybe activating a "Link" too.
Lots of possibility's for ways to get them chores done. And when their done, it's off to the next. As there are may ways to get those points of generosity to come your way. Not only do you get scored on the height of your totem pole but a bonus for each skull and two parts wood constructed. Object give the marked points but creating sets will give additional. Point city, or should I say point village!
more than just a pretty skin
The strange sensation that you are left with at the end of the game is one of "I could have done more," even though you did get to do almost everything you'd set out to do. And the next time you play, you will do more. The game is of a family lite build with a little bit of conflict for the actions spaces. Lightly twisted around the Maypole with the area control style links and friend hugging, working together (but not really working together) theme.
Of course, there are a lot more things to talk about. Like how timing is important and how becoming first player gives you a helping hand and how to actually build a tepee!!! But those are questions that will be answered in the video below
Now watch "how to play"