One of my favourite lighter strategy games from the last couple years was Kramer and Kiesling's perfectly-tuned Asara. Asara is a worker-placement, majority game which slickly used cards for the placement making it feel deceptively different. What stuck with me was just how amazingly well all the overly familiar mechanics in Asara fit together - it was like everything had been playtested 1000s of hours to create that perfect experience. I feel the same about my all-time favourite game The Princes of Florence, also co-designed by Kramer, although PoF is a much heavier experience.
The latest game from K&K (I like that!) is called The Palaces of Carrara and was up for the Kennerspiel des Jahres award this past year. And after a couple of plays I'm happy to say it's just as magical as Asara. Familiar mechanisms meld together in familiar ways and yet everything feels intentional and fresh. Carrara combines a clever decreasing market for blocks which are bought to let you build buildings. The buildings are then scored in various ways to get players more money and victory points.
|The board and the stone wheel|
|Player's building and scoring mat|
Very much looking forward to exploring this gem.