Two days late, but not forgotten, here are the news for this week. Rumours that the delay was caused by a decadent multi-day Meople’s Magazine birthday party with naked meeples jumping out of cakes are, however, slightly exaggerated. The meeples were fully dressed at all times.
In general gaming news this week, the nominations for the 2011 Dice Tower Gaming Awards have been announced. I’m glad I don’t have to pick between those, all the nominees have a lot going for them. 2011 has been a good year for gaming.
Fantasy Flight Games
For the last two weeks, it almost looked like the news torrent that is FFG was slowing down a little. It did come back with a vengeance this week, I hardly know where to start. Let’s just go with traditional fantasy games first:
For one, there is Talisman: Blood Moon. In the most recent preview, we get a good look at the effects of day and night as well as the phase of the moon. But that’s not all: after an announcement last year and a long period of silence, the second edition of Descent: Journeys in the Dark is back in the news. This is a classic among dungeon crawls games, but the first edition does have a reputation for being slightly long. (Yeah, right. The same way that the sun has a reputation for being slightly warm.) Second edition promises a streamlined ruleset, an amount of material typical for Fantasy Flight Games and 37 premade maps for your adventurers, plus as many more as you care to invent, obviously.
If your interest is less in individual heroes wading through piles of corpses but more in whole armies doing the wading, then the Battle of Westeros expansion bringing House Baratheon into the war might be more to your liking. On top of troops, generals and everything else that goes with a new house – except maybe a questionable grasp of ethics – the expansion also includes maps for the first epic battle in Westeros, the Battle of Blackwater.
After so much death, a bit of profit might be nice. That’s where the latest Sky Traders preview comes in. Equally profitable, at least if you do it right, is your career in Infiltration. This preview reveals core mechanics of the game: there is a strong push-your-luck aspect to it, quite similar to the famous Diamant. The deeper you venture into the infiltrated building, the more profit you might make, but only if you make it out before getting caught. And finally, the news many people have been waiting for: the X-Wing Miniature Game and, of course, its first set of expansions.
Fantasy Flight was not the only publisher with a lot of news: Alderac announced three new games, all set in the renaissance-era city-state Tempest. In Jeff Tidball’s Mercante three to five players take control of merchant dynasties in the city state and send out their agents to buy low, sell high and stab quietly. What, you didn’t think in a setting like this trading would be peaceful, did you? Courtier (Philip duBarry) offers a faster way to power: why bother with money and trading when you can talk, threaten, seduce and influence your way to the top at court? Or maybe, just maybe, the court is not as much in control of Tempest as you think: in Dominare (Jim Pinto) you find yourself at the head of a conspiracy, spreading your agents – all with their own special powers – through the city while, very slowly, the other players learn about your network.
Days of Wonder
Small World Realms is another game where you can come up with your own setup, but it also comes with premade scenarios for when you lack the inspiration. The first one, presented by designer Philippe Keyaerts, is all sorts of nasty. You can only enter the map on the western edge, but everything profitable lies to the east. This will require some new strategies.
The third edition of Puzzle Strike is now on Kickstarter. After only a few days it’s already funded, but you can still join the fun and have your Puzzle Strike and the Shadows expansion a month before everyone else. That should give you some time to practice.
Penny Arcade: Gamers vs. Evil is a deck-building game. And what do all deck-building games get? Say it with me: ex-pan-sions. It’s not 100% true in this case because Penny Arcade: Rumble in R’lyeh is a stand-alone game, but it’s close enough to count. I’m not complaining though, it had Gabe, Tycho and C’thulhu, that’s a good starting line-up.
Tasty Minstrel Games
The start-up company simulation game Ground Floor can now also be funded on Kickstarter. You can also find the rules and even a print-and-play prototype on the Kickstarter page.
I was lucky enough to get a basic introduction to Winter Tales by Matteo Santus and Jocularis. Winter Tales will be a mix of storytelling game and boardgame. Players join one of the factions – Summer or Winter – and takes control of one or more characters. Whenever it is their turn, they use one of their characters to complete a quest, create a new quest or stand in the other factions way, all the while spinning a story around these events. I’m very, very curious about this game now, there is a very high chance it’ll be a success here at the Meeple Cave.
Greater Than Games
And one more Kickstarter project for this week: Greater Than Games’ Sentinels of the Multiverse enhanced edition and the Infernal Relics expansion. I haven’t had the chance to play Sentinels of the Multiverse, but the general consensus on the intertubes was that it’s a blast, and the fact that it’s completely sold out confirms that. If you haven’t heard about Sentinels, it’s a cooperative card game with ten different heroes and four different villains, each represented by a deck of cards. A coop superhero card game.