There a couple of big trends in the world of board games: zombies, superheroes, and anything with an 8″bit video game ascetic. The Battle at Kemble’s Cascade falls into that third category. In The Battle at Kemble’s Cascade, 2″5 players take on the roles of spaceship pilots in a recreation of classic side scrolling shooting games such as Space Invaders, Gradius, and Ikaruga.
The game comes with a set of five trays that are set up horizontally and are used to hold cards representing the various threats that show up in shooters that the players will have to deal with: asteroids, black holes, and of course alien warships. Players spend their turns dealing with the various threats, gaining money to use on upgrades to their ships, gaining victory points, and basically dealing with whatever’s on the board. Once each player has taken their turn, the bottom tray of cards is removed, with any players that are still on this tray being pushed onto what was the second row of cards, which is now the bottom row. The tray that was just on the bottom is moved to the top, and a new set of cards is revealed. It all simulates a top down scrolling shooter in a brilliant and “so simple I can’t believe no one’s done it before” manner.