You might have noticed the complete and utter lack of anything new at Meople’s Magazine this weekend. The sad truth is, yours truly was suffering from a bad case of the Meeple Flu. This rare and dangerous flu was named the Meeple Flu because it makes you lie on your back with arms and legs spread in a meeple-like position and alternating between the very traditional Meeple colours blue and red, with an occasional bout of green. Thankfully, I’m mostly cured from being a gaming accessories and back to pushing Meeple around instead of being one. And just in time to collect this week’s news, too.
Let’s start with Ravensburger, as this news might be the most unexpected for you. Uwe Rosenberg, recently of Agricola and Ora et Labora fame, has tackled the challenge of creating a board game from the web game Farmerama. Just like in the web game, you manage your little farm, grow feed for your animals and collect stars to win at the end. Game mechanics are based on action cards, a central action wheel and a smaller wheel on each players farm, so everything sounds like this will be a worthy game in its own right, not just another roll-and-move game with a famous name on the box. But I wouldn’t expect anything else from Uwe.
Some games, you just read the description and the first thing to come to your mind is “Wow, that’s weird” closely followed by “I must have it”. That’s what happened to me with Space Cadets by Brian, Sydney and Geoff Engelstein. It’s a cooperative game – one point in favour – letting you play as cadets on an interstellar starship – another point – that, obviously, does not get into any trouble and arrives at its destination. Okay, I made that last part up, it’s not going to happen. The weird part is how you play, depending on your role: the Engineer plays dominoes to keep his systems running. The Weapons Officer completes puzzles and flicks discs to load and fire torpedoes. And the other guys are not better off, either. Sounds like utter chaos – third point in favour.
I can’t tell if this is a real project or an April’s Fool. I’m tending towards the latter, but if it is it’s too awesome to keep it from you. And it has a Kickstarter Project, so at least it will be an April’s Fool come true. I’m talking about Chris Cieslik’s We Didn’t Playtest This: Legacies. The exceedingly silly card game We Didn’t Playtest This At All, mashed up with
some Risk: Legacy a completely new mechanic of writing on the cards to change the game. What could possibly go wrong?
Fantasy Flight Games
The name Infiltration and the setting in the dystopian Android future have been known for a while, as has the setting of breaking into a highly secured office building to steal data. But now we’re getting details on how to play Donald X. Vaccarino’s newest game. You move through the offices from your entry point – which is also the only exit – in a linear fashion, discovering new rooms with new threats and new opportunities as you go along. Once you get to the second floor, both risk and rewards are higher, but the way out is longer as well – and the only way to win is to get out with your loot. A push-your-luck game in the tradition of Moon and Faidutti’s Diamant, but more elaborate with more options.
Small Box Games
Finally we know what’s behind the pretty cards Small Box Games have been teasing us with. It’s Tooth & Nail: Factions. Each of the six factions has their own deck of cards, representing their troops. Each card can go directly into the conflict, or it can stay in the back granting special abilities and resources. And don’t forget about the illustrations.
The large group game that had us all excited last year in Essen is finally available: The Last Banquet. This game for up to 25(!!!) players is all about positions. All players are attending the King’s Banquet and are positioned around the banquet hall in a great circle. Each player gets one turn to use his character’s special action, most of them rearranging the seating order round the table. The goal is to have your team’s assassin next to the king at the end of the round while keeping the other assassin away. Besides this standard scenario, there are a few more for varying numbers of players and degrees of experience.
Dr. Finn’s Games
Scripts and Scribes, also known as Biblios, has been an insider tip among gamers looking for a quick but engaging and strategic game. As the abbot of a medieval monastery, you are trying to set up a scriptorium and produce valuable scripts. Steve Finn is now reinventing his own card and auction game as a dice game (titled Scripts and Scribes: The Dice Game) where the dice may add a bit of luck, but the point seems to be to manage that luck as you acquire resources or alter their prices, all using the dice. Of course, the auctions are also still in there – the auction mode is each player making a bid with hidden cards, highest amount of gold wins. Some bluffing skills will still be required.
After Sake & Samurai, Beer & Vikings will be the entry in the Alcohol & Warriors series of games. I hadn’t realized, but there is an Alcohol & Warriors series of games. The world of gaming is wonderful. Just like in Sake & Samurai, your goal in Beer & Vikings is to be the most drunk warrior by the end of the game, but every drink you take robs you more of your ability to fight – and death is a very sobering experience. This new card game of fighting and drinking is fully compatible with Sake & Samurai but also playable on its own.
Paul Peterson has invented an entirely new genre description for his upcoming game Smash Up: shufflebuilding. The relationship to deckbuilding games is obvious in the name, but what exactly does it mean? Well, you don’t go building your deck during the game, you play with a deck that is shuffled together from two premade decks. Since the premade decks have themes like ninjas, zombies, aliens or dinosaurs you may end up with your Zombie Dinosaurs fighting against the Alien Ninjas. How cool is that? (via GameSalute)
In Zoch’s new announcements there are two dexterity games this time: Riff Raff and Hamsterrolle. Riff Raff asks you to stow your cargo on a ship caught in a storm – or more literally, on a swivel head, but Robinson Crusoe would never have been popular if his ship had been wrecked by a swivel head. Hamsterrolle is more abstract and forces you to place your stones in a big – I’m guessing 30 cm diameter – wooden ring that will roll around the table with every new piece. And everything falling out goes to you and must be put back.
As if Geistesblitz wasn’t mean enough, Geistesblitz 2.0 is going to make it so much worse. In Geistesblitz – a Jury’s Recommendation at last year’s Spiel des Jahres award – you have to grab one of five items depending on whether it is shown on the card and in the right colour, or not on the card at all if nothing has the right colour. It’s very confusing at high speed. Geistesblitz 2.0 makes it so much worse: now there is a towel, and when it shows up you have to pick up the previous item that was on the towel. Just when I thought it couldn’t go any worse for me.