What? It’s the Essen week and the volume of game news on the web drops to close to nothing? Inconceivable! That never happened before. Well, I hope no one is too disappointed by this development, everyone was too busy showing off their new games to post on their websites.If you didn’t have a chance to visit the SPIEL yourself, maybe our fair report (part 1, part 2 and part 3) can offer some consolation at least. And keep an eye on this space, the reviews of Essen release games will start soon.
Fantasy Flight Games
After all the excitement between Fantasy Flight and Stronghold Games was resolved, things got quiet around the new edition of Richard Hamblen’s Merchant of Venus. But now the previews are falling quickly and close together, looking at the dangers of travelling the universe, the effects of fame and infamy and how to trade with planets and build spaceports. Risking some of my geek cred here, I never played the first edition of Merchant of Venus, so I can’t say anything about changes between now and then, but in this new edition, the galaxy seems like a dangerous place to travel, with chances to be stopped cold at every corner and sometimes even the chance to end up somewhere completely unexpected.
The monster previews from Thunderstone: Root of Corruption are getting worse every week. The Incarnates are the kind of monster that is so disturbingly ugly you don’t even want it in your deck. They’re worth a bunch of points, sure, but all of them also have a trophy effect that is less than beneficial for you, making cards more expensive to buy, weakening your heroes, fun things like that. If the goal was to make me feel conflicted about killing valuable monsters, then it’s working. And the new village cards aren’t all sunshine and happiness, either: using Rage of the Disowned is not the easy choice that many spell effects in the older sets were.
Following the names of the other game modes, it was predictable there would be a Ragnarok Campaign Mode in Legends at War. Just like the Ragnarok Skirmish, Ragnarok Campaign lets you mix and match your pantheons (panthea? panthei?) with a card draft. In an interesting twist, there is not one draft phase at the start of the game but three of them, one at the beginning of each phase, letting you adjust your drafted cards to the situation on the board.
Treefrog’s first Kickstarter project is not a new game but a beefed up reprint of Moongha Invaders, a game that had previously been produced in a 650 copies print run and has since been hard to find. The subtitle really tells you everything you need to know about the game: MAD SCIENTISTS AND ATOMIC MONSTERS ATTACK THE EARTH! Sounds great, I’ll take some of that. Especially with the promise of plastic monster figures – I’m a big fan of wood in games, but atomic monsters are allowed to be plastic.
This week’s banner photo shows the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, a medieval city and trade center in today’s Zimbabwe – and coincidentally also the name and theme of Splotter Spellen’s Essen release this year. The photo was taken by Flickr user Nite_owl and shared with a CC-BY-SA license.