This is our longest news post yet, with many new announcements for Essen and the rest of the year. I’m sure you’ll find something to catch your interest in this one, there’s a lot of shiny things.
Iello has picked up Carl Chudyk’s Innovation for distribution in Europe in English, French and a bit later in German. That’s good news already, you might soon find Innovation in your local game store. Even better: the Iello edition will feature all new art on every card. You may remember that the original Asmadi edition had next to nothing that deserves to be called an illustration – a small issue with a game I love – but Iello is pulling all the stops here: the illustrations are marvellous, each card features its own art but all relevant colours and icons still show up very clearly. I’ll share some pictures with you as soon as I hear back from Iello that they are okay to share. Innovation is currently available for preorder.
Le Joueur will stock their Essen booth with a couple of new games this year:
First of all there’s Cité, a city-building and negotiation game by Guillaume Besançon. Over six rounds, each player builds their own city quarter with a selection of buildings they have available. Some of these buildings merely produce resources, but others influence the production of buildings around them, in your quarter as well as in your neighbours. And so the core of the game is a free-for-all negotiation phase where you trade resources and agree on building placement for mutual benefit. Cité looks very promising, although I’m still wondering how it will play with three players.
Christophe Ribault’s Sandwich has already been sold out in France since its release 3 months ago. It’s a very light card-grabbing game in which you try to assemble sandwiches from ingredient cards you have to grab from the table and make a sandwich one of the other players will like.
L’aventure c’est dur (roughly Adventuring is hard) by Ludovic Chapelliere could be considered the French answer to Munchkin, but that doesn’t mean it copies anything from there, just that it will appeal to the same crowd. Your adventurers set out to kill a dragon and loot its treasure, but before they get there, they have to travel 100km through inhospitable terrain by playing terrain cards, all the while facing monsters the other players put in their path. When they finally make it to the dragon’s cave they have to cooperate to kill the flying toaster, but there can only be one winner…
Last, but certainly not least, Déluges (again by Guillaum Besançon) what you might want to call a sustainable civilisation building game: you’re near the end of the ice age and as usual for the genre you’re building up your civilisation, harvesting and trading resources. But if you exploit the country too much the ice will melt faster, the water level rises and everyone’s empire shrinks. Certainly a very interesting take on the genre, I’m very excited to try it out.
Hans im Glück
Hans im Glück’s fall releases – which may or may not be at Essen, but I hope they are – include two expansions that a lot of people will be happy to see. One is simply the German edition of Dominion: Prosperity titled Dominion: Reiche Ernte, the expansion many people regard as the best Dominion expansion yet.
The second expansion release for this fall is for a game that many fans have been waiting for: Michael Tummelhofer’s (who is really Bernd Brunnhofer…. it’s complicated) Stone Age. The expansion Style is the Goal adds materials for a fifth player, in itself a good reason to have it, and adds traders and jewellery to the successful game. As the title says, style is the goal.
Besides the expansions, there is also a new original game that should be available soon: Greg Daigle’s Hawaii. To no one’s surprise Hawaii is set on a lush, tropical tourist paradise where players build and improve villages to be as profitable as possible, presumably by attracting tourists. Information concerning the rules and mechanics of Hawaii are scarce right now, but will hopefully be available soon.
Alcatraz: The Scapegoat reveals a lot about the game already in the title. The players are plotting to escape from Alcatraz with a intricate plan in six stages. The game is almost cooperative, if it weren’t for the one guy that’s left behind: the scapegoat. Unlike the usual “one person wins” sort of game, Alcatraz: The Scapegoat has an “one person loses” approach. I imagine this sort of game might be hard to implement properly, but I trust designer team Rafal Cywicki, Krzysztof Cywicki and Krzysztof Hanusz – the people that brought us Kingpin– to create another quality game.
Every time I think dungeon crawler games are basically all the same, something comes along to convince me otherwise. Last year that something was Catacombs, this year it’s Cranio Creations’ Dungeon Fighter (Aureliano Buonfino, Lorenzo Silva, Lorenzo Tucci Sorrentino). The dungeon crawling part holds no big surprises: a party of heroes ventures into a dungeon, collects equipment, splats some monsters and gets eaten by the boss monster – or maybe they don’t get eaten, but that’s what usually happens to me. The innovative part is the combat system: you roll dice, but you don’t just roll them, you roll them in a dart-board like target. The target has miss, hit, critical hit and bullseye zones, and each roll is modified by the heroes skill that you’re using. Dungeon Fighter sounds slightly silly and seriously fun, always a good combination in a game, and you can preorder it now to pick up in Essen.
A game that was nominated for the Kennerspiel des Jahres award deserves an expansion, and Lancaster is no exception. The expansion The New Laws (Matthias Cramer and Wolfgang Panning) will be a minimal size expansion: 18 new laws – the rules players get to vote on every turn – to either replace the original ones or mix with them.
Even if you are not at all interested in Japanese animation, you may have heard of the animated heist series Lupin III, on of the classics that have been around since the 70s. The series about the grandson of gentleman thief Arsène Lupin has a huge following even today, and with Lupin the 3rd it is finally adapted into a boardgame. Players chose between two different heists to perform and can play either on the side of Lupin’s gang or as the eternally successless Inspector Zenigata – who I hope is not doomed to fail in the game, that would be rather silly – in this hidden movement game.
Fantasy Flight Games
New editions of popular older games are currently trending at Fantasy Flight Games, and Nexus Ops is the latest push in that direction. The light science fiction wargame will have everything that fans loved about the first edition and adds all new miniatures and all new optional rules and game variants.
Of course, expansions are always a good business plan as well, even more so if they are loosely related to Lovecraft’s Mythos. The latest preview of Mansion of Madness – Forbidden Alchemy shows us a new player character, a new type of monster that doubles as a cheap taxi and a new scenario to drive everyone insaaaaane *cue manic laughter*