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Bid to save your soul in Tsuro-like board game Umbra Via

Creeping to victory.

Guide missing pieces of a soul away from the darkness in Umbra Via, an upcoming board game about choosing paths from Pandasaurus Games - the publisher behind Dinosaur Island.

Hidden beneath a towering wall are a collection of forgotten fragments of soul desperate to reach the light above. Umbra Via is a board game for two to four players that sees competitors taking control of one of these soul pieces. The objective of the game is to guide the player’s chosen soul fragment up the wall by using the twisting vines that climb up the structure’s tiles. Represented by coloured blocks, the soul fragments become flowers that bloom up the vines, gradually getting closer to their goal.

Taking place over four rounds, Umbra Via has players revealing four tiles from the deck, each with their own style of path. As in the beginner game Tsuro, the player’s tokens will move along the paths these tiles create - with some paths presenting a better movement option than others. However, players are not eliminated from the game. Instead, they take turns to secretly place bids on the four available tiles, simultaneously revealing their choices and placing the amount of coloured cubes they bid on the corresponding tile.

Umbra Via Layout 2

Players complete this process twice before the tile with the fewest number of cubes is placed on the board by the player who bid the most cubes. This continues until a pathway is blocked off by either the edge of the board or by another tile. Whichever player has placed the most cubes on the final tile receives double-bidding cubes from the game’s reserve equal to the amount of tiles within the finished path. The player who placed the second-largest amount of cubes then gets half the number of double-bidding cubes received by the first player. This continues until all players have taken their designated number of cubes.

Any tiles on the board are then removed and placed in a discard pile, with players beginning the bidding and tile-placement process again. The first player to take all of their coloured double-bidding cubes from the reserve is named the winner.

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Umbra Via is the design debut from Connor Wake, a software engineer from California. As well as Umbra Via, Pandasaurus Games is known for releasing board games such as Dinosaur Island - and its sequel, Dinosaur World - Machi Koro Legacy and last year’s Gods Love Dinosaurs.

The release date for Umbra Via is March 17th, with a price of $39.95 (£29).

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Alex Meehan avatar
Alex Meehan: After writing for Kotaku UK, Waypoint and Official Xbox Magazine, Alex became a member of the Dicebreaker editorial family. Having been producing news, features, previews and opinion pieces for Dicebreaker for the past three years, Alex has had plenty of opportunity to indulge in her love of meaty strategy board games and gothic RPGS. Besides writing, Alex appears in Dicebreaker’s D&D actual play series Storybreakers and haunts the occasional stream on the Dicebreaker YouTube channel.
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