Heading into PAXU, An Age Contrived was on my short list of upcoming titles to check out, based almost entirely upon its innovative conveyor belt styled action programming mechanic. Our overview with Chris Matthews of Bellows Intent was more along the lines of big-picture game feel than the nuts and bolts of rules and actual gameplay, but the gameplay looks to be intriguing and the table presence of the game is undeniable.
Matthews described An Age Contrived as an engine building game, where the conveyor acts as your engine. Players will have their pick of two options on their turn, either advancing their conveyor engine by adding a new section to the beginning and loading it up with their available tiles, or performing actions by removing tiles from the bottom of their conveyors, sometimes additionally removing tiles from the top half to contribute to like-patterned spaces on the 3D monuments players will be building on the main board. Only the player that slots in the final tile to finish a section will place a tile next to the assembled monument and score points, but everyone else will gain secondary rewards, like unlocking extra tiles, new pieces for the conveyor, or upgrading actions.
I will say the production quality here is off the charts without feeling excessive. The tiles are chunky pieces of plastic reminiscent of Azul, and the monuments are assembled through snapping together magnetic sections.
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Nick grew up reading fantasy novels and board game rules for fun, so he accepted he was a dork at an early age. When he's not busy researching the intricacies of a hobby he'll never pick up, Nick can be caught attempting to either cook an edible meal or befriend local crows.