You may have noticed by now that there was no new review this weekend. That’s a sad state of affairs, but our trip to Brazil had to take precedence. Fear not, we won’t be out for the rest of the month, next weekend should have a review again. Our trip went well, thanks for asking. We’ll now be gaming in tropical heat instead of German winter cold for a while. Before we departed, we enjoyed our first games of Power Grid: The First Sparks. The first impression is that it’s less complex than Power Grid, but the game mechanics survived the transition to the stone age very well: experienced Power Grid players will feel right at home. The game is also a lot of fun and reduces the bureaucracy on each turn compared to Power Grid, one aspect that I know had some people annoyed.
Remember the game with the silliest name ever? Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Duel at Mt. Skullzfyre? The rules are online now and the game appears to be as silly as the name implies: you magically splatter your opponents’ brains in many different ways. I can’t find anything wrong with that except that the rulebook’s garish colours make it hard to read. One interesting aspect of the Epic Spell Wars are the Dead Wizard cards. You draw these on every round after you’ve been eliminated and get to use them on the next game. It’s hardly fair, but who ever said that wizards had a sense of fairness?
Fantasy Flight Games
More information about the re-release of Reiner Knizia’s Kingdoms is showing up, with a detailed description of what the new edition will play like. Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with the old edition of Kingdoms nor with Auf Heller und Pfennig, the German variant, so if anyone can enlighten me what the differences are between all those editions, that’d be grand.
Another game Fantasy Flight set up for re-release some time ago had almost slipped my memory again: Wiz-War. I was reminded by this news item about the game and it’s different schools of magic. While the setting is quite similar to Epic Spell Battle etc etc, both games play very differently and Wiz-War may actually be slightly – very slightly – less wacky and more strategic than Epic Mountain Skull.
A new expansion for popular deck-building game Nightfall is in the making called Nightfall: The Coldest War. This expansion takes vampires and werewolves back to their ancient homelands in Russia and Eastern Europe and includes all new cards, new minions and the phase of the moon as a new mechanic – something that was sorely missing in many games about werewolves so far.
Quick and fun negotiation games like Masters of Commerce or Cité are on the up-and-up at the moment and I see them gaining even more popularity next year. One reason for that prediction is Dan Baden’s Article 27: The United Nations Security Council Game. Please forgive me for only referring to it as Article 27 from now on, but data transfer is too expensive to repeat the full name more than once. In Article 27, each player takes the role of one permanent member of the UN Security Council negotiating on various issues brought in front of the council. In each of the five minute long negotiations round, a new issue or set of issues is negotiated and may win or cost each member state influence. Every player also has a secret agenda to fulfil, may bribe other players in any way he chooses and may veto decisions already made. With my recently discovered love for negotiation games, I can’t wait to try this one.
Speaking of negotiation games and our much-beloved Masters of Commerce: rumour has it that you can soon release even more of your inner capitalist with one or possibly more expansions. Saying that I was excited for those would be a bit of an understatement.
When I was a wee lad, a friend of mine owned Sherlock Holmes Criminal-Cabinet, the German edition of Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective (Raymond Edwards, Suzanne Goldberg, Gary Grady) and I was crazy for that game – although I don’t remember many of the details, I’m afraid. I do remember that you took the role of the world’s most famous detective solving crimes in Victorian London, examining the scenes of crime, studying news paper archives, talking to witnesses, it was very atmospheric. Ystari has posted the rules for their french-only new release Sherlock Holmes détective conseil. For now, a release is only planned in French, but with enough interest, maybe Ystari can be convinced to create a translation. Let me say it loudly: INTEREST!
This week on Kickstarter, I noticed The Hatter’s Table and as a big Lewis Carroll fan, I had to go check it out. The game is set at the Mad Hatter’s tea party in Wonderland, and while the game shows a lot of chaos on the surface it is, ultimately, a game about logic. Lewis Carroll would have been proud. Players move their pawns around the table while the Mad Hatter yells instructions at them where to sit. Each player has a secret rule he needs to follow and that the other players need to guess in order to win points, so you have to observe closely as everyone follows the Hatter’s instructions. This should go some way to end deduction games’ reputation as calm and quiet.