Preview - RACE TO THE NORTH POLE

Ahh, the first day of December, a month that brings us all kinds of wintery goodness, as well as the first chance to put up our Christmas trees without any kind of Scrooge-like side-eye. It also brings most places their first glimpses of snow on the ground, so this is the perfect opportunity to talk about Race to the North Pole.

Shown: You can pick your team of explorers, including Santa, the man himself (though he just goes by Kris nowadays). The cards also feature some delightful art.

Shown: You can pick your team of explorers, including Santa, the man himself (though he just goes by Kris nowadays). The cards also feature some delightful art.

Race to the North Pole is a charming game of competition from Playmore Games, as you and up to four teams race to see who can get to the North Pole first. Designers Jouni Jussila and Tomi Vainikka throw in everything you'd expect on an expedition like this, but also infuse the game with some crafty innovation. You move your pawns from the boat to your base camp, and then set out to get them all to the North Pole's peak, all while avoiding hazards like cracks and holes in the ice, polar bears, and other players trying to ambush you back to your ship.

You can only enter the North Pole from one direction, and that can change throughout play.

You can only enter the North Pole from one direction, and that can change throughout play.

The biggest component of change however comes from the storm mechanic. You each have cards that dictate your actions, and after each turn you dispose of those cards, which increases the likeliness of conjuring up a storm. Once a certain number has been reached (it depends on the number of players), the top half of the board actually spins and rotates, completely changing what is around you and your proximity to the north pole. Not only that, but it also changes the cards you have in your hand as well, as they are always placed on the board during your turn. You can go from a great set of cards to ones that do absolutely nothing for you. This random element should provide a nice shot in the arm for players who are running behind, as you always have a chance to turn things around.

I am going to paint one of the teams in a Yukon Cornelius color scheme. Yes, this will happen.

I am going to paint one of the teams in a Yukon Cornelius color scheme. Yes, this will happen.

This mechanic is at the heart of the game, and can result in someone just about achieving victory, when it is suddenly ripped from their hands. With the card based mechanic in play, you will most likely know when a storm is coming, though you might not be able to properly prepare for it. To combat any repetitiveness this might result in, the game will also feature app compatibility with the Dized app, which will allow the storm element to be completely random. This would probably be my preferred method of play after a few games, just to increase the chaos factor for all involved.

You can catch a glimpse of the game in action in the teaser above, and to find out more about the game you can head to their official site. Race to the North Pole will release in Q4 of this year.

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