Editions du Matagot
As the friendly people at Asmodee point out themselves: Matagot likes to draw out news for an almost painful amount of time. You might also call it building tension. Either way, not much is known about the Cyclades expansion except that it’s coming to Essen. For those of you who don’t know Cyclades – you can tell that this is a generic bridge to start the sentence by the fact that everyone knows Cycladed – is Bruno Cathala and Ludovic Maublanc’s big 2009 strategy success, a game about conflict in the islands of the same name with a big mug of mythological beasts mixed in and components to die for. Literally, some of the things that have really nice miniatures want to eat your armies. I hope there’ll be more information about the expansion in the weeks to come.
Space exploration and conquest is not a theme European designers are interested in, traditionally. All the more reason to be excited about about Eclipse: New Dawn for the Galaxy – fortunately completely unrelated to a certain book and movie series – by Finnish designer Touko Tahkokallio. Eclipse lets you explore and exploit a galaxy of hex tiles, research new science, improve your fleets and gain points through very diverse means including warfare, diplomacy and architecture. I’m very excited to see this game will find international distribution and looking forward to it.
Fantasy Flight Games
U.S. publishers like Fantasy Flight Games are generally more at home in the space conquest genre. Point in case: Twilight Imperium. After the original plan to reprint the 1979 classic game Dune failed due to licensing troubles, FFG sent their crack team of game designers (Christian Petersen, John Goodenough, Corey Konieczka) to recapture what made that game great in the Twilight Imperium universe – and Rex: Final Days of an Empire was born. The promise is that we’ll get the same amount of strategy, intrigue and betrayal but with none of the sand.
Sands of Time Games
Not everyone likes the heavy strategic space battle, so lets look into a completely different corner now. Catacombs was a very courageous project for Sands of Time Games as it was a very unusual concept: a dexterity dungeon crawl. You take the roles of the usual adventuring heroes – Warrior, Wizard, Thief etc. – but your mode of fighting is to flip wooden discs across the board to eliminate equally wooden-discy monsters. The risk paid of, Catacombs was a huge success. And we all know what happens with hugely successful boardgames. They get expanded. Together with the second printing of the base game, two expansions are available. Cavern of Soloth is the “big” expansion with new heroes, new monsters, new bosses, new everything. Dark Passageways is a “small” expansion, merely adding some cards to the exploration deck to add various special effects, some in favour of the heroes, some not. (all by Ryan Amos, Marc Kelsey, Aron West).
It appears that Dixit Odyssey is now available. Nothing has changed about the basic rules – why change a winning formula, after all? – but it does come with 84 new illustrated cards, plays up to twelve players now and comes in a box big enough to fit all the cards from Dixit and Dixit 2. Honestly, you had me at “new illustrated cards”.
It’s not often that an old, established franchise comes up with something highly innovative all of a sudden. But there’s always room for surprises and Risk Legacy seems to be just that. Playing one game, it’s still pretty much Risk. But the new idea is that the game itself changes with every match played. Bunkers you built in one game will be there in the next. Upgrades will last from one game to the other. Territories will gain or lose power – or maybe even be destroyed, there is one photo with a ripped territory card. You even get to name cities and territories! I see the obvious downsides here, of course: you’re permanently changing the game, it will be close to impossible to start over in a blank world if you really write in permanent marker and rip up cards. But as an experiment in innovative game mechanics, Risk Legacy manages to get me excited about a Risk game for the first time in 20 years.
A good pirate game is always welcome and Scurvy Dogs: Pirates and Privateers promises to deliver just that. You will plunder by land and by sea, you will fight mortals and mythological beasts like the Kraken. You will sail the seven seas in the name of the crown – at least if you want to survive the game, because all the riches in the world don’t help you when you’re dead. A fun-sounding concept with an emphasis on the game’s art, you have to hurry with this one because there’s only 9 days on the Kickstarter campaign.