Besides Alcatraz: The Scapegoat, Polish publisher Kuznia Gier has another game in Essen this year: Top-a-Top by game design newcomer Agnieszka Migdalska is a party card game where you try to react to the picture on a card another player reveals in the way described in the rulebook – I’m not sure if you have to learn the actions for all 90 cards or if they are obvious from the images – but we’ll soon find out. Preorder for both games is open.
Together with Riachuelo Games, Runadrake will present Galáxia S.A. in Essen. We briefly talked about the game by Antonio Marcelo and Flavio Jandorno before: it’s a space exploration and trading game, the rights to exploit a planet’s resources are awarded by auction and you can only hope your opponents will let you profit from them and not overpower you with superior technology.
Also from Runadrake comes the abstract strategy game Trench by Rui AlípioMonteiro. Trench was inspired by World War I trench warfare but puts the setting into a chess-like game. Your soldiers fight from corner to corner and both sides can make use of the central trench to enhance their defensive position. And the whole thing looks stunning, too.
Fantasy Flight Games
Forbidden Alchemy (Corey Konieczka), the Mansion of Madness expansion, gives you all new options to keep your sanity between all the horrors of the mansion: psychotherapy! One of the new characters is a trained psychiatrist who can heal other character’s horror. This will finally bring greater usage to the expression “emergency hypnotherpy”.
Small Box Games
Small Box Games’ John Clowdus is well-known to pretty much everyone with an interest in small publisher’s with great games. He’s the mind behind games like Irondale and Cartouche. His newest project is Hemloch, a card game about control over the city of Hemloch. The seasons are changing and when the Eternal Twilight ends – which is a bit contradictory, eternal things don’t end, and yes, I am a nitpicker sometimes – only one player can be in control of the city. So send out your minions and save what control you can while the sun is slowly rising.
Feudalherren (or Feudality in English language editions) by Tom Wham is available from Lookout Games since end of September. Feudalherren puts each player in the rather uncomfortable pointy shoes of a baron, sole ruler over his little fiefdom by grace of the king. By building up your domain, gathering resources and maybe starting an affair with the king you do everything to gain royal favour – occasionally interrupted by rats, dragons, the queen and other inconveniences.
Queen Games has announced a whole caravan of new and new-ish games this week but is still playing coy about possible release dates and other detail information.
The two-player game Sparta by newcomer – and wunderkind, he created Sparta at the tender age of 12 – Yannick Holtkamp looks like an abstract strategy game played on a chess-style board with some additional features and with only two types of pieces – but that’s all the information there is for now.
Kairo is rumored to be a re-implementation of the Finnish game Tori – which translates to “market” if my six months of studying Finnish don’t mislead me – and is credited Kimmo Sorasmo, the author of the Finnish original. If those rumours turn out true, then Kairo will be a tile-laying game driven by cards. Your goal is to build a successful stall in the bazaar and sell as many of your goods as you can to the tourists streaming by.
Dirk Henn’s Wallenstein is the reason I included the word new-ish up there – if you want to call that a word – as it was originally released in 2002. The new release will have some rule tweaks and come with two expansions already included, but the basics are the same, a strategic and not entirely peaceful game that includes the famous combat dice tower: each player drops their troops into the top of the tower, and some of them come out at the bottom and tell you who won. But the losers cubes are still in the tower and may come out again in future fights. The re-release of Wallenstein is sure to make a lot of people happy that were unable to find a copy so far.
It’s no big secret I fell in love with Dominant Species, so when designer Chad Jensen comes up with something new I get excited. Urban Sprawl is currently in final development and will ship soon. Like I expect from GMT and from Chad, Urban Sprawl is in the upper reaches of complexity, so when you’re building a small dot on the map into a metropolis you have to watch your finances, zoning laws and many other things. You can be elected into political office, with all the added power that comes with it, tear down old buildings to renew the neighbourhood and make even more money. Many things, I can’t wait to try it.
We did neglect Kickstarter those last few weeks – amazing board game projects don’t come in at a convenient rate of one a week. But this week, there’s a new candidate for the highest funded game project ever: with 57 days to go Miskatonic School for Girls already has more than 200 backers and crossed the magical 100% funded line. But what’s not to love? It’s set in the Cthulhu Mythos universe, as the name gives away. It has adorable and disturbing art of perfectly sane students and slightly less sane faculty. And it’s a deck-building game that lets you add cards to your opponents deck to corrupt their students and slowly drive them into madness. The only downside I can see is the long waiting time before I’ll be able to try this.