Vindication is a thematic Euro game from the fine folks over at Orange Nebula. Wait….thematic Euro game?! I’ll give you a moment to compose yourself. In Vindication you will be turning cubes into other cubes, spending cubes to perform various actions and pushing cubes from one area to another. How wonderfully dry! Marc over at Orange Nebula found a way to thematically manipulate these cubes the way Euro board gamers love doing so much, while also appealing to the thematic, plastic loving, Ameritrash board gamers as well.
Its HOW you manipulate these wooden cubes that brings the game to life. You are told that you were such a vile person, that your own crew threw you overboard and wash up on a deserted island. It’s your job to explore, kill monsters, make friends, gain skills and turn your potential influence into conviction all while trying to (possibly) change from your wicked ways.
Modules, Modules, Modules
Aside from the sandbox style worker placement resource management mechanics, Vindication has a lot of great modules/expansions to change up the game depending on your gaming tastes. Enjoy hurting your friends? Play the treachery expansion. Want alternate ways to do things? Play with the Jewelcrafter expansion. Want cute pets to help you on your voyage to self righteousness? Add the pets module. Want a shortcut to go across the map instantly? Add the sacred stones tiles. Want to have access to 5 Magic the Gathering commander leaders with different bonuses? Add the Leaders and Alliances expansion.
You may have noticed the core box and BGG say it plays from 2-5. There was originally no solo for this game. That right there goes against my usual rule of not buying a game if solo is an afterthought. I originally held strong on Orange Nebula’s first kickstarter. No solo? No back – easy. Then I played it, I was in love. This was around the same time as their second Kickstarter for Leaders and Alliances…with TWO solo games! Cut to 6 months later – I hated the solo games they made. Neither reminded me of the multiplayer experience.
Months later, I started looking on BGG for a user created solo variant and there was talk of one. “The Golem” from svardosi was exactly what I wanted. The Golem has adjustable difficulties and comes with an easy to run AI system. It took a few games to find the correct difficulty for me to set the Golem to, but it made it worth it to keep Vindication in my collection as a solo gamer.
But… is it right for me?
That depends. Are you a solo only gamer? If so, the answer is maybe. Vindication has soul, it has depth, but it doesn’t have a good solo system. You will have to be ok with buying a $100 game to use with a user created variant. I’ll link the variant below and you can see for yourself. I backed the recent expansion Kickstarter in hopes that svardosi will update his Golem AI with the new expansion, as he did when Leaders and Alliances came out.
The Golem Solo Variant – https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/175802/golem-ai-variant-solo