Hello everyone, and welcome to 2014! I hope you had great holidays. On our part, I can say that we are more relaxed and less burned out now, and that is basically what game the power to go through all the news items that had piled up during our absence. And here you have it, the distillation of all those news to an amount that you have an actual chance to read through. Enjoy, and have a great year!
Fantasy Flight Games
Talisman received a new expansion just before Christmas with The Nether Realm. This expansion focuses on the nasty player-versus-player side of the game: the first player to reach the Crown of Command gets a set of special cards to try and eliminate all other players. If he manages, he wins. If, on the other hand, some players survive, then they win collectively. I wouldn’t bet on that, though, as the Nether Deck contains some of the baddest baddies Talisman has to offer. The designer of this expansion is Jon New of Talisman fan site Talisman Island, so you could say he knows what he’s doing.
Another expansion for Talisman is coming soon. In The Firelands the Ifrit, creators of the fabled Crown of Command, return to the realm of mortals, and they are very, very pissed. As you’d expect from an expansion called The Firelands, many things go up in flames: new effects often force you to burn hand cards, others set the game board on fire and damage adventurers crossing the burning areas. As another new effect, terrain cards can cover and replace terrains on the game board.
The end of this summer will see a second expansion to mythological strategy game Cyclades. Detailed information isn’t available yet, but the post on Asmodee’s Facebook page calls the expansion “titanic”, so it’s a pretty good guess that the Titans will make an appearance. The expansion will also include material for an additional player.
Worlds Collide in the upcoming Thunderstone Advance expansion. This new set will contain cards from the classic Thunderstone sets, updated to be compatible with and on the same power level as the Thunderstone Advance sets. Especially for newer players that never got to experience these cards, this will be a fun box to pick up.
There hasn’t been much going on in real-time tile laying games since Michael Schacht’s Mondo founded the genre in 2011. Newcomer Kane Klenko is about to change that with his Mad City, announced for February. In Mad City you have one minute to build a 3×3 tiles city grid in the most profitable way you can manage, specialising on commercial, industrial or residential areas while trying to finish first as well in order to score bonuses from parks and special zoning bonuses. (via BGG News)
The Lords of Vegas expansion Lords of Vegas: UP! will let you expand your game in two ways: first by another player and second by expanding your casinos upwards. I was always confused by those single floor buildings in Las Vegas, to be honest. The rest of the game stays the same battle for casino ownership it always was, with the new, higher buildings at the center of attention because they score more points.
After the Spiel des Jahres nomination for Qwixx last year, the 2014 NSV catalog has some new variations of the game. Qwixx XL and Qwixx Deluxe are exactly what it says on the box: an edition with larger components and more luxurious components, but no changes to the game mechanics. The same can not be said for Qwixx: The Card Game, where dice are abandoned in favor of cards, giving you more control over the game because you have a choice which card to play and are not fully dependent on your luck. You can even play multiple cards on your turn, if they have consecutive values, and end the game much more quickly that way. But don’t expect the other players to be happy about it.
Basari: The Card Game goes further back into the past, the original Basari is from 1998 but also designed by Reinhard Staupe, the designer of the new game. Basari: The Card Game is a game of simultaneous action selection broken down to almost the bare minimum for the genre: players choose one of three possible actions, then take that action if they alone picked it or do nothing if three or more players picked it. The most interesting part happens when exactly two players picked the same action, then they try to buy the other player off, so that in the end one may take the action, but has to pay the highest bid to his opponent. The three actions are to collect workers, gems or victory points. A round ends when one player has 12 or more workers, the highest score after three rounds wins. Very minimal, but nevertheless interesting.
The Builders: Middle-Ages (Les Bâtisseurs: Moyen-Âge) is a fun and pretty card game by Frédéric Henry. You have two types of cards, buildings and workers, where buildings bring you points and money but you need workers to actually build them. But this was last year, this year there will be a second part called Les Bâttisseurs: Antiquité set in ancient Greece and Rome. It looks like it will be a stand-alone game, not an expansion, but we don’t know yet if the two games will be compatible.
The beautiful sculpture from this week’s featured photo was once the top of a column in Persepolis, capital of the Achaemenid Empire and to found today in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The photo was taken by Ivar Husevåg Døskeland and shared with a CC-BY license.