Origins Spotlight: Baba Yaga

I’m feeling almost guilty doing one of these on a game called Baba Yaga. Not because Russian folklore is unworthy subject matter for a boardgame, or because Chicken Hut Games is a small startup. I’m feeling slightly guilty because Thad and Rich, the designers, are friends of mine. So is Julia who hand-assembled the game in her living room and who runs Dogs in the Vineyard for us every so often. For that matter, so is Maryanne who did the logo (somebody I’ve met twice is a friend, right?) and so on and so forth. So be warned: unlike the other products I’ve had in these Origins Spotlights, I know the people making it, and cannot remotely be accused of not being biased.

I did not, however, manage to playtest the game, although I’d seen some of the components. I did get to play it today and it’s a lot of fun. It’s based on Russian medieval folktales, as noted, and despite being a (mostly) cottage production the component quality is very high. (I don’t want to give the wrong idea – everything is professionally printed, but the game was assembled in Thad and Julia’s living room.)

Baba Yaga is one of those rare boardgames that actually plays like an RPG that’s not D&D. It’s very story-driven, to the point where reading the flavor text on the cards as they’re played added a lot of atmosphere to the game. I would like to play it again, and I’m sure I’ll get the chance; knowing where the designers live and all, I can drop by at 2AM and demand to play. I’m sure they won’t mind.

Baba Yaga is available for sale at Origins (at the Con on the Cob booth,) and online ordering should be available in the next couple of weeks.

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