The Best Board Game at PAX Unplugged 2017: A cutthroat, time-pressured negotiation game called Black Hole Council (by the creator of The Resistance)

Don Eskridge, seen here being real excited about board games.

Don Eskridge (the creator of The Resistance) has taken some of his mechanics from previous games and twisted them up to make this new game called Black Hole Council which is absolutely brilliant. PAX Unplugged was like, 2 weeks ago and I can't stop thinking about how much I want to play it again.

At its core, it's a cutthroat, time-pressured negotiation game with secret information.

For how it plays, the idea is that each round 5 planet cards flip up, and there are 5 action slots on the table - Settle, Tax, Mine, Conquer, and Black Hole.

The core parts of the board, recreated from my memory.

Each player has a secret goal card that shows an arrangement of the planets (red planet on Settle, blue planet on Mine, etc...), and for each planet you match at the end of the round, the planet pays out 1-3 points. You need 3 points each round to advance.

The goal cards. Also from memory.

Where things get amazing is that each round, the leader has 2 minutes to rearrange the planets into slots in the hopes that at the end of the round, a majority of people vote yes and allow the planets to pay out points. If a majority votes no, your turn as leader is wasted. And while the 2 minutes is going on, literally everyone at the table is frantically deal-making, begging, yelling, and stonewalling to try and get their 3 points on the table.

It's equal parts intense and hilarious.

There are plenty of other things going on, like in-between rounds you can guess what you think other people needed in order to snag some points, and there's a money system that can be used for things, but that's the core of the game and it's insanely fun.

I have literally no idea when it's going to go to Kickstarter (there doesn't seem to be an email list signup on his site), but I'll definitely be there to support it on day 1.


P.S. If you're into indie board games, here is a list of all the best games I played at the Boston Festival of Indie Games 2017