Most of you will have heard it at this point: the Spiel des Jahres and Kennerspiel des Jahres have been awarded on Monday. Spiel des Jahres went to Queen Games and Donald X. Vaccarino for Kingdom Builder, Kennerspiel des Jahres is Village by Inka and Markus Brand, published by eggertspiele and Pegasus Spiele. Congratulations to all the winners!
And here’s more Ginkgopolis teasing. It looks like the blue 20, and it lets you draw a card and play a card, something along those lines. But the game is still a total mystery.
A DC Comics Deck-Building game – that sounds like a license to print money that Cryptozoic has there. The cards here look great at least. General design and the card texts remind me a bit of Penny Arcade: Gamers vs. Evil – no big surprise there, it’s the same publisher. So far I can only see one currency though: Power. That would eliminate one of the complaints i had with the Penny Arcade system.
The next preview hero from Thunderstone Advance: Caverns of Bane brings you exactly what you want in every deck-building game: deck control. At the highest level, you can basically choose which of the next three cards to draw, that’s pretty cool.
Silly me, here I thought we were done with Smash Up previews. But I forgot something important: the faction decks are only one part of the game, there are also the bases they are fighting over. Each base thematically goes with one faction, but there are no bonuses for the Aliens to conquer The Mothership, for example.
Swordfish (Pierluigi Frumusa and Davide Rissi) is an ocean fishing game for two to six players who will hire boats, captains and crew and head out on the sea to return with the biggest haul of fish – if the storm doesn’t get them first. Swordfish is published by Italian publisher Ghenos Games and distributed by elfinwerks and Tartan Grizzly in the U.S. and Canada, respectively. (via ICv2)
Kemet by Jacques Bariot and Guillaume Montiage is the biggest – the only one in the XL box – and presumably longest of the new games. It’s a game of battle and conquest in ancient, mythological Egypt, where you command your tribe, use ancient Egyptian magic, recruit mythological creatures and even unleash the power of the gods. Similarities in this description to Cyclades might not be entirely coincidental, but you can all just admit that makes you want the game even more.
François Rouzé’s Room 25 is an almost classical cooperative game with a traitor. The players are trapped in a prison with many rooms but seemingly no exit. The exit is rumored to be in room 25, which no one has ever seen, so obviously you set out to find it. But some of you might be guardians who’s real goal is to keep everyone under lock and key. As a new twist to the mechanis, all players program their moves in advance, giving ample opportunity for the guardians to betray them. The five game modes range from solo play to fully cooperative but less cooperative modes are likely to be in there.
Dragon’s River is a new edition of Roberto Fraga’s Dragon Delta that made it to the Spiel des Jahres Recommendation List in 2001. You still try to get to the other side of the river by dropping stones into the water and laying planks between them, and the other players still get into your way as much as they used to. This new edition will have a double-sided game board for even more chances to get in each others way.
Northwest Passage was previously published online as a print-and-play game, but Yves Tourigny’s game will soon be available in a box in shops from Matagot. Your job in Northwest Passage is to find out what happened to the famously disappeared Franklin expedition, an expedition sponsored by the Royal Navy to explore the Northwest Passage connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans along the north cost of Canada. You’ll have ships and sleds to find out Franklin’s fate, succeed where he failed or, if none of that works out, at least survive.
And finally, two games to start 2013. Origins by Andrea Mainini is a family game of the out-of-Africa hypothesis of human development: each player’s tribe sets out from there and scores points by completing various goals, exploiting their hunting grounds or discovering new lands and new technologies. Lionel Borg’s Metal Cards Adventures will be a card game about space pirates who explore and plunder the known universe, including battles between mighty space pirate ships.
This year’s Essen release by Sit Down! is called Karnag (Pascal Cadot) and is an action selection game with many different layers of strategy to consider. You command a small group of druids that have been called to use their magic and defend the world against dark creatures coming out of a gate in the middle of the forest. Creatures move in predictable patterns, making it possible for you to intercept and capture them or block their path with gemstones and menhirs. Each round you choose which actions to perform (moving, fighting, creating blocking stones and more) to defend the realm from darkness. The order in which actions are performed changes every round, so you can never rely on getting them in the order you want. Adding more things to consider, captured creatures may grant you special abilities to use once per round, power cards can be used once for special actions and your position on the Knowledge Track gives you permanent bonuses or bonus resources. A lot of things to keep in mind.
Are you as excited about Clash of Cultures as I am? A Civilization game that does not eat up my precious vacation days every time I bring it out. This week we get a look at the system of developments, arranged in 9 categories your culture can pursue. Three of them lead to different styles of government (democracy, autocracy or theocracy) that will have a bigger impact on your people’s history.
Fantasy Flight Games
I almost forgot there was a Star Wars game coming from Fantasy Flight Games: X-Wing Miniatures Game. This preview talks you through the combat system, and the maneuver system sounds well thought out, with lots of options for tactical dogfights. The X-Wings and TIE Fighters have different strengths and weaknesses, complicated maneuvers are more taxing for your pilot, each pilot has his own strengths to complement his ship’s – and with all that, it still seems to be quite straightforward.
Surprised Stare Games / Lookout Games
Here’s a 16 minute video with designer Tony Boydell explaining his creation: Snowdonia.
With Terra Mystica German (Helge Ostertag, Jens Drögemüller) publisher Feuerland Spiele promises to bring a very interesting strategic game to Essen. Players take control of one of the 14 different fantasy races and attempt to conquer the world – by terraforming. Because mermaids can only live in water, just like giants live in the wastelands. And nowhere else, so to conquer the world, you have to change it. Multiple types of resources – workers, money, power and priests – need to be balanced in order to build cities and fortress and advance your standing in one of the four elemental cults, all counting victory points when the game ends.
This week’s cover photo bas taken by Rémi Kaupp and shared under a CC-BY-SA license. It shows the Palais de Sans Souci in Haiti, a palace built in the early 19th century and a part of the Haitian National History Park.