Meople News: In the Wilderness, your butler won’t bring you cake

Writing the news, I realised I find it awkward to use “pen name” or “nom de plume” when talking about game designers. There are pens involved, sure, but they are not the most prominent tool. What would you call a pseudonym for a game designer?

Portal Publishing

The Neuroshima Hex army pack Steel Police will premiere simlultanously at two conventions on the last weekend of March. The Steel Police keeps the promises of its name and the Neuroshima setting: a rampaging police force, cybernetically enhanced to superhuman power that will show up out of the blue and enforce their version of the law. I’ll be right back, but I have to get my car out of the no parking zone.  There is also a brief mention of prototypes for Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on Cursed Island that we know nothing about yet, but we’ll be sure to keep an eye out.

Hans im Glück

Santa Cruz Card - photo by Schmidt Spiele
Santa Cruz Card - photo by Schmidt Spiele

At the Nürenberg toy fair Hans im Glück presented Santa Cruz, a new family game that might be deep enough to give professional games a quick fix as well. In the game by Marcel-André Casasola Merkle – that one is probably not a nom de plume – you settle a newly discovered island, arriving at the coast with your ships and following paths and rivers inwards from there. You score points by building your churches, lighthouses and houses in the appropriate locations but also by playing scoring cards. However, those have the small downside that they score points for everyone. And when you’re done, you go and do it a second time, but this time with the knowledge of some of the scoring cards.

Alderac Entertainment

After teasing us with previews the last few weeks, Thunderstone Advance is drawing closer. At least the rulebook is now available to make your mouth water a bit more.

Black Tea Studios

The Kickstarter campaign for Shadow Days has started. Shadow Days mixes deck-building with fantasy combat and a lot of great and unique illustrations. I’m itching to give it a try. And you can get a lot of extras as Kickstarter rewards, including t-shirts and signed art prints. If you want to know some more details, you can start looking at card previews here.

Fantasy Flight Games

The rules for Rockband Manager are online and the game won’t be far behind. But this week already Cosmic Encounter fans can have their Cosmic Alliance expansion, and to celebrate the preview reveals two more new aliens. The alien races in Cosmic Encounter have always varied from serious and deadly to utterly wacky – but still deadly – but the Butler takes the cake. And serves it to you. On a silver plate. With coffee. I imagine having him in your game will be hilarious.


The original Serenissima by Dominique Ehrhard and Duccio Vitale was published iin 1996 and was pretty successful back then. Everyone likes playing renaissance merchants and pirates, after all. That’s a good reason to republish it with slightly modernised rules. There is a 16 minute video about Serenissima by Board Game Geek TV on Asmodee’s website.

Ares Games

The publisher of War of the Ring and Wings of Glory is diversifying quite a long way with Micro Monsters. Your goal is no longer to wipe out your enemy and salt the earth they lived on, it is now to “squop” your enemy. Which amounts to the same thing, only without the salting and more child friendly. If you played any of the thousands of variants of Tiddley Winks as a kid – around here that means “if you were born before 1990 for sure, if you were later chances are still good” – then you know the base mechanic: you have paper or plastic chips on the table, then you use a larger chip to press down on their edge to make them jump towards a goal. I was always horrible at that. Now you make four different species of chips, give them names like Autogators or Turboturtles and a special ability each and you arrive at Micro Monsters. It’s a light kid’s dexterity game, but it tickles my nostalgia nerves. I wonder if I still toss the pieces around the room after the first game …

Fryx Games

Four Swedish brothers started Fryx Games last year to finally publish a game they’ve been working on for a long time: Wilderness – A Game of Survival. Up to eight players get lost in the wilderness and battle weather and wild animals but also their own thirst, hunger and exhaustion on the way to the saving village on the far end of the board. Survival seems to be far from guaranteed. On the other hand, you can guarantee that Wilderness – A Game of Survival will be produced by supporting the game at indiegogo.

Grouper Games

Masters of Commerce, one of the rare games that are absolutely brilliant in a big group of people, will be distributed by Asmodee. That means everyone with trouble finding a copy will have a much easier time later this year. It’s not decided yet if all Asmodees in the world will have it, but there is hope.

The turtles were photographed by Flickr user ellenm1. Thanks a lot, presumed Ellen. (CC-BY)

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