Capital Lux 2: Generations – A Futuristic Upgrade

  • Designers: Eilif Svensson and Kristian Ostby
  • Artist: Kwanchai Moriya
  • Publisher: Aporta Games
  • Kickstarter Launch Date: May 19th, 2020

Disclaimer: The PnP for Capital Lux 2: Generations was provided to us by Aporta Games for review.

Luke: Back in 2016, a little card game by the name of Capital Lux swept across the board game community’s radar, a compact card game that was lauded for its inventiveness, tight gameplay, and gorgeous art. Since then, however, I’ve heard very little mention of it, nor have I noticed much chatter about it online.

Phil: Seems like the equivalent of a cult-classic, a title reviewers raved about briefly before it disappeared in the neverending machine of “the new hotness.”

Luke: Luckily, Capital Lux is returning to us in the form of an upgraded sequel, including new variable options and a solo mode.

Phil: Just what the board game doctor ordered. It’s resuscitation time!

Luke: Fittingly, the beautiful artwork of Kwanchai Moriya returns, adorning this game with gorgeous images of some crazy futuristic fashion show candidates.

Phil: Seriously, this dude is talented. I’d buy games he’s worked on just to frame them on my wall.

Luke: I personally prefer the simpler and, to my mind, more iconic images of the original game, but the artwork on display here is undeniably beautiful.

Phil: Capital Lux 2 plays almost identically to the original, albeit some slight tweaks for balance and ease of mechanics. If you didn’t get a chance to play the original, the gameplay loop is pretty simple:

  • At the start of each round, players draft 2 cards at a time until they have 6 cards in hand.
  • On their turn, a player will either add a card to the home base, potential end-game points, or add a card to the capital, activating the ability associated with that color.
  • At the end of the round, players compare the total of their home base cards to the total of the capital’s cards by color. If the total of one of your sets exceeds the capital’s, you lose all those cards.
  • After this, whoever has the highest total of each color takes a card from the capital of that color for end-game points.
  • Players play 3 rounds, keeping their home base cards between rounds. At the end of the game, they score based on the cards in their home base, their set aside scored cards, and any coins they may have (worth 2 points each).

Luke: What’s different here is that you’ll set the power associated with each color at the start of each game, with 4 variable powers for each. New components have been provided, including additional cards, tokens, and boards, to allow for a wide variety of options.

Phil: In this way, the original powers are all represented here, making this more a Capital Lux 2.0 than a proper sequel. This may bother some, as this game essentially replaces its predecessor wholesale, including everything the base game has plus some.

Luke: Yeah, it’s an understandable move but a slight bummer. That being said, this isn’t a particularly expensive title, and I’d be more than happy to put more money towards seeing this game make the glorious return it deserves.

Phil: As a 2-player title, this game is a tight battle of wits, pushing players to think closely around their opponent’s moves, navigating around how you think they’ll use the cards you’re pretty sure they drafted. But what’s even more tense is precariously balancing your home base alongside the capital, making sure you never become so greedy that you insult the government on high. It’s a phenomenal blending of mechanics and theme that only accentuates the smart and clever gameplay.

Luke: Yeah, I can’t speak highly enough about this title. The original, in my opinion, suffered from a lack of variability, which this easily fixes. The core loop of the game is still satisfying and fresh, and the new additions feel at home. Some of them are more involved than others, but that’s not such a big deal beyond remembering the modules when returning the game after a few days.

Phil: I think we can agree that the biggest flaw is the solo mode.

Luke: For sure. It felt similar to the solo mode for Gugong, one of our earliest reviews on this site. It’s easy enough to run here, but the AI just feels like a bear to deal with unless you get particularly lucky. I always felt like I was on the backfoot, and rarely played any cards to the capital as I was trying desperately to keep pace with the game.

Phil: And it takes away from that core interaction with other players that make this game sing. This feels like a poker game you’d play on a barroom table, carefully planning your moves while keeping an eye on what your opponents are planning.

Luke: I’m fairly confident that I’ll be backing this title so as to upgrade from the PnP version we had access to into a full-fledged iteration of the game, and I think that’s the best kind of recommendation we can provide.

Verdict: Capital Lux 2: Generations is one of the best small-box card games we’ve played in recent memory, only improving on the ideas the original. Beautiful art, quick gameplay, clever tactics and options, and a good amount of replayability. Fans and newcomers alike should give this title a look at their earliest convenience.

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