Weather Machine – Vital Lacerda’s upcoming Steampunk Euro

Essen Spiel is one of the biggest events in the board gaming world. There is a rush to get new games ready for a coveted Essen release or at the very least to drop a few teasers of great things to come. All publishers are trying their best to be heard and the rate and flow of announcements and press releases is frantic. But whenever some of the heavy-weight designers speak - the World stops and listens. This happened earlier in the week, with a few low-profile of posts by Vital Lacerda.

I don’t think I’m being too bold by claiming Vital Lacerda is the most well-known Portuguese board game designer of all time. Ever. Having published several high-ranked games in the past and successfully funding several Kickstarters – either for new releases or deluxe editions of older games. He has built a really impressive track record in the board gaming world with games like Vinhos, Lisboa or CO2.

His trademark are heavy games – although mechanistically very simple. The player choices in their turns are relatively small in number – but tend to have several ripple-effects that makes you really have to think and plan ahead. Also most of his games have serious / realistic themes, and due to an immense attention to detail, even though you are playing what could be considered a dry Euro game, there is theme in spades – which is a balance really hard to accomplish.

There’s cogs! There’s welder goggles! There’s fancy facial hair! What’s not to like? (source)

Recently he seemed to start moving to more fictional settings. First with Dragon Keepers – a fantasy-themed joint-venture with his daughter – and later with On Mars – a really successful Kickstarter that promises to make us settle and survive on the red planet.

But now the tables have turned and a few pictures were posted both on his social media and on a placeholder page on boardgamegeek.

The name of the game is Weather Machine and it seems to be set in an alternate history setting where a scientist – Sêni Lativ, meteorologist and chief engineer of the weather department on Lightning Technologies – has created a machine that controls the Weather. And a few pictures of its prototype are already looking really promising.

There it is! The Weather machine in all its glory! That dude is pointing the wrong way! (source)

Besides meaning immediate unemployment for all meteorologists, a machine like that could change the World. Crops could now be grown in previously dry inhospitable places! Or you could rise to power by making rain hail over your enemies armies! Or by deploying a tactical drought and starve them out? Is your country bankrupt and you could use some sunny weather to improve your tourism? Beep Bop Bing – the Machine provides!

Tiles! Delicious Tiles! And Top hats too! (source)

This kind of power over the environment could be really profitable – and the usual shady corporations would definitely want a piece of that pie. So according to the designer’s description, players are executives that are trying their best to further their companies’ agendas.

There will be some moral choices there – will you side with the inventor’s ideals of world peace and prosperity – or will you just sell the machines’ services and fulfill contracts for the highest bidder?

And flying ships! This game is officially a steampunk-gasm! (source)

As far as mechanics, although it is still just a prototype, it seems to involve tile placing, hand management, there are some cheeky meeples which might imply some worker-placement. On the brief press release, Vital also described an action selection based on a quadrel similar to what is found in Vinhos. The victory condition seems to be money – we are corporate dudes after all…

We couldn’t confirm it – but it seems to be on track to be published by Eagle-Gryphon Games – a partnership that worked perfectly many times in the past – and created the closest thing to works of art in board game form I was lucky enough to have ever experienced.

The bearded dude and his meeple entourage bid you “Adieu!”

So it is hard not to be excited! The tentative release date of 2021 seems so far away.
Guess it is time to start working on a Time Machine to get there faster.

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