With this weeks news, us meeple people will disappear on a very short summer vacation to Scotland, including a tour to the Highlands and the Isle of Skye. We’ll be back by next weekend (if no one goes Vineta on the island while we’re there), but until then if we don’t answer your emails it’s nothing personal, we’re just away from the Internet. And now *drummroll* the news:
This may not be the freshest bit of news, but the game has not been released yet so I consider it on time. Greek publisher Artipia Games will debut in Essen this year with the circus management game Drum Roll by Konstantinos Kokkinis and Dimitris Drakopoulos. In Drum Roll players enact three performances by hiring performers and giving them the resources they need to perform. When they are able to perform, each performer returns a benefit that goes beyond mere victory points: more resources, money, reduced salaries to pay. Drum Roll seems like a typical optimisation game with a lot of variables to tune so fans of the genre have something to look forward to in a setting that has not yet been overused.
Fantasy Flight Games
Announced last year already, finally there’s news on Blood Bowl Team Manager (Jason Little). Blood Bowl, for both people here that never heard the name, is Games Workshop’s bloodthirsty fantasy offspring of rugby and miniature wargame, set in a universe that looks like Warhammer but has less war and more sports – the only difference being that one of them involves a ball. Blood Bowl Team Manager is a card game in which each player manages a team through one season, buying players and staff and competing against other players in violent sports matches that might as well not have rules because no one obeys them anyway. But winning or loosing is not your main concern, as long as you attract fans. Blood Bowl Team Manager was originally announced as a deck-building game, but has changed directions in development and may now include deck-building elements but is not focused on them.
This weeks preview of Elder Sign(Richard Launius, Kevin Wilson) shows the extreme unpleasantness the game is capable of. Because what would a Lovecraft game be without Great Old Ones? The big, nasty, soul-devouring beings from outer space are clawing their way up from whichever pit they have been sleeping in while our brave investigators are desperately trying to find the Elder Signs that could seal them away forever – meaning you can only play Elder Sing eight times before running out of Great Old Ones. But not all is lost when the big bad manages to enter the museum. You have a chance to drive them back and resume the search, but driving them back will cost you dearly.
The rules for Ninja – Legend of the Scorpion Clan (Frederic Moyersoen) are now available online. Ninja is a game about secrecy: one side’s mission is too infiltrate the castle and complete to secret missions, the other side is the guards trying to prevent just that. To keep movement secret from the other side, the intruders mark their progress on their own private gameboard and only place their ninple (ninja meeple, as you all guessed) on the main board when they are detected. The options for both sides go much beyond other find-the-sneaky-guy games like Scotland Yard. The ninja can rid himself of guards that are getting too close, but guards can listen for the ninja who becomes easier to spot the faster he moves. If all that sounds too complicated for you, don’t be afraid: the rules are actually very straightforward. Everything beyond basic movement is controlled by cards and that tell you in easy words what you can do with them. This is a game I’m really looking forward to, the asymmetry and the innovative concept of hidden play make it very attractive.
White Goblin Games
White Goblin Games has a sizeable selection of new games ready for Essen this year: besides Revolver, which we talked about last week, there is one expansion, three new releases and a re-release.
Rattus Africanus is the expansion to Ase and Henrik Berg’s highly successful Rattus and will not only add new tactical options like caravans and diplomats but also make the game playable with up to 6 players.
The first new game is Bruno Faidutti’s Lost Temple (which he talks about a little in his blog), a classic racing game towards a temple in the south-east Asian jungle driven by a role-selecting mechanic like Citadels‘. Anything that is like Citadels sounds promising in my book.
David Ausloos’ Panic Station is a cooperative game with traitor. Players are members of the Extermination Corps and sent out to take out an alien parasite hive. Sounds like a pretty standard job, but one team member is already infected by the parasite and unlike other traitors in coop games, the infection can spread. You’d better maintain a healthy dose of paranoia because you never know when you are the last healthy exterminator …
Not many details are available yet about Singapore by Peer Sylvester except that it’s a trading game allowing for some illegal activities, either on the side or as a pillar of your business. However, it also allows for players involved in illegal activities to be caught.
Finally, the re-release is of Bruno Faidutti’s Dragon’s Gold, a game where stealing the dragons treasure is only the beginning and the hard part is splitting the loot with the other players – a real classic in negotiation games.
Klaus Teuber, the master of everything Catan, announced Die Siedler von Catan: Aufbruch der Händler (The Settlers of Catan: Rise of the Traders, maybe?). This new game will take the core mechanics of last year’s Settlers of America: Trails to Rails and transfer them to medieval Europe. But don’t expect the games to be too similar, many differences are hidden in the details. (Read here if you’re not scared by a bit of German)
On Kickstarter this week Indie Boards and Cards is looking for funding for their cooperative game Flash Point: Fire Rescue. It’s no secret that we’re big fans of cooperative gaming here in the Meeple Cave and this one has everything we’re looking for: great illustration, different levels of difficulty, lots of replayability with a very random setup and a theme that is rarely used in board games. The original funding goal for this project is already reached, but if you check in the updates on Kickstarter there will be more goodies for backers if the project reaches double the amount, so don’t be shy.
With this week we have a small change in our news posts: although there is still a lot of incredibly beautiful cities in the world, we wanted to change things a little and will, for the time being, go with animal photos instead. And we couldn’t think of a better way t start this new series oh photos than with the world’s most adorable browser mascot, the Red Panda aka Firefox. The photo was taken by Simon O’Brien and shared on Flickr with a CC-BY license. Thank you for sharing, Simon. May your cookies never crumble.