Urgency Review

Designer: Alex Coburn
Publisher: Self Published
Year Published: 2020
No. of Players: 2
Ages: 10+
Playing Time: 20-30 min. 
Main mechanic / Theme: Racing, Take That, Abstract

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com.

WARNING: This is a preview of Urgency. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.


Urgency is a new twist on Ur, the oldest board game known to man. Nobody's sure how Ur was played 5000 years ago, but it's still around in various forms. Urgency is a new take that adds faction power decks allowing an element of engine-building to your overall strategy.  

Rules and Setup:

The rules are quick and painless. 

You'll notice the board has a lot of different patterns on the squares. For now, all you need to know is that landing on a flower allows you to roll again. Pieces on the black flower can't be attacked. Everything else pertains to power cards that you will put into play in future turns.

Setup: Each player chooses one of the factions and takes the associated deck of six cards. Those cards are divided into three stacks of two (face-down). Each player draws two cards from the Rosette deck and chooses one to put into play face-up. Each player takes seven tokens and four dice, and you're off to the races!   

Theme and Mechanics:
Urgency is a dice-fueled race/battle game. Dice can yield a result of zero or one, for a total movement of zero to four.

Each turn, you will roll to see how many spaces you can move one of your tokens along the path shown here:

Tokens in the center strip are vulnerable to attack. If you land on another player's token, it goes back to their supply. Up to four other player powers (animal cards) will come into play for each player as the game progresses. 

Each card in your faction deck is a unique power themed after an animal:

Each player starts the game with one Rosette rule that only applies to them. These are all scoring bonuses that activate when one of your tokens makes it off the board. But, each time you score, your opponent gets to put another power card into play.   

 Game Play:

Two players face off in a race to get six tokens all the way around the board. This is a fast-paced game that starts simply and builds as it goes. There's no downtime. You roll, move, roll, move, roll, and keep going until somebody scores. The powers are clear, and you only have two to choose from each time, so that's quick, too. The power cards synergize into a nice little engine to provide a lot of strategic options. However, with the roll-to-move limitation, it doesn't take long to find the best option. Luck is definitely an element. One player could repeatedly roll just what they need to land on the other, but the way new powers enter play keeps things balanced. 

Artwork and Components:
This is a prototype, so I can't say much about the final product. The board is pretty, though.

What Worked:
Quick to learn, setup, and play.
This could be a good family/gateway game.
The historical factor is cool.
It's available in both cardboard and wooden versions.
No downtime.

What Can Be Improved:
It was too light for my taste.
I didn't feel a lot of tension/investment because the board is short, and your bumped pieces go back to your supply. You only have to finish with six of the seven.

Final Thoughts:

Urgency is an excellent bridge between Sorry! and light strategy game. If you are looking for a light, fast strategy game that's good for youngsters or game nights with booze, give Urgency a look.You can get it here: alexcoburn.com/urgency
For Players Who Like:
Backgammon, Sorry!, Flux, Ur, abstract games.

About the Author:

Stephen Gulik is a trans-dimensional cockroach, doomsday prophet, author, and editor at Sausage-press.com. When he's not manipulating energy fields to alter the space-time continuum, he's playing or designing board games. He has four cats and drinks too much coffee.