“The world is shifting, Time is fleeting. The Queen needs help re-buiding the realm. This is not a haiku.”
Publisher: Deep Water Games
Designer: Ji Hua Wei
Artist: Maisherly Chan
Game Type: Drafting, Puzzle, Set Collection
Initial Year of Release: 2018
Age Range: 10+
Expected Playtime: 30-60 Mins
Number of Players: 1-4
Theme and What is it?
The world is shifting, Time is fleeting. The Queen needs help re-buiding the realm. This is not a haiku.
Here in Realms of Sand, the world is a double draft, where you are building buildings, that also give you permanent powers, to build more buildings. The game is very themed artistically to a fanciful world, built on sand.
The double draft builds upon the drafting games of the past few years. You have to build based on a specific set of resource areas. Its fairly unique, but does feel a bit like a smashup between Splendor and Patchwork.
The way it functions, is that you will pull a tile out of the next two offered tiles, and use one of the three tiles you already have to build shapes. Once those shapes match the cards, you can then build the card, and get its benefit. Simple, yet thinky.
This is not a negative at all, in fact, I think how these mechanics were thrown together is quite witty and charming. There is enough in this, that you could feasibly have all three games in your collection, to scratch different itches.
The box art for me evokes box art from the 16 bit RPG era of games, I just imagine summoning great monsters to fight my battles on my behalf, here come Bahamut.
For that nostalgia reason, I wanted to play Realm of Sand.
Game Build Quality
The game build is functionally adequate. There is nothing super exciting, even the wood pieces are wood with stickers. Though, the game is very nice in its execution, it did not scream to me based on the components. It also did not detract from the experience.
It was exactly what it needed to be.
As I said in my initial impressions, this evokes games of yesteryear for me. That makes me love the art. It has feelings of Final Fantasy, Populous, SimCity, and Disney’s Aladdin.
How this artist was able to mash-up the art in such a recognizable, yet new way, is a testament to her skill. I did not know I was a fan of Maisherly, but now, I do. She is someone to watch for, as her art easily brings nostalgia to the table that I did not know I missed.
This game is a little thinky, and does not have much take that. I like puzzly games, though I realize they are not for everyone.
If you play this, make sure the people who play, enjoy the puzzle aspects of games, and also likes drafting games, as they ties the two together over the entire game.
Age Range & Weight
10+. I would agree with the age suggested. Younger audiencexs will not yet possess the critical analysis skills to piece together the end game points, or watch the game timers.
This is with the recognition that some younger players, do enjoy the puzzly aspects of games, they just may be at a disadvantage to win.
Realm of Sand is artistically quite nice, and builds on a library of games that EmeperorS4 and Deep Water Games has been building, smallesque games, with biggesque play.
I think the game could easily have a place in any library. I am not so sure if it takes the place of the aforementioned games for me or not. Though I do like that it combined the two skill sets in such a nice accessible way. This is easily a game, I would play again though.