Essen is coming. We still have more than two months to go, but the torrent of announcements has started, and no one is making more announcements this week (and last) than White Goblin Games, so lets start with them.
White Goblin Games
The third Essen announcement by the Goblins is less of a surprise than the other two: we knew already that Expedition: Congo River 1884 was coming.
Yet another game announcement for Essen: Vampire Empire. The two-player game is set in a small town, right next to a small castle and with a slight vampire infestation. Three of the nine characters in the game are vampires.The human player tries to unmask and destroy them while the vampire player wants to bluff him into killing his own people. A game of bluffing and deduction by Filip Milunski.
Hm … not only will the original Revolver receive a total of three expansions this year and next, we will also see Revolver 2 in Essen. That explains the weird numbering on the expansions (1.1 – 1.3), it will avoid a lot of confusion. The basics are very similar to Revolver – an asymmetric two-player game set in the Wild West – but we’re now closer to Mexico, with two new bands of gunslingers shooting it out. As a nice thematic touch, where the fight occurs is now decided in a poker tournament.
In Pyramidion (Yannick Gervais), I know this will come as a giant surprise to you, you’re participating in the construction of the Cheops pyramid, this time as a resource supplier. To deliver the resources by boat you chose the abilities from different characters and different locations, interacting with each other in intricate and interesting ways.
Jeffrey D. Allers’s Nieuw Amsterdam – the game that might be renamed to New York on the future – is an auction game where you bid for the right to take different actions, building the city and the farmland around it and engaging in fur trade with the Lenape people , shipping the furs back to Europe for a profit. The different districts of the city also have special actions to take advantage of, and the winner is the player that made the most profit and build most of Nieuw Amsterdam.
And last, but definitely not least for many fans in this year’s White Goblin Games Essen line-up is a new Rattus game: Rattus Cartus. For the first time, this new release is not an expansion for the original Rattus but an entirely new game with the same setting and by the same authors, Ase & Henrik Berg. Travelling from town to town, you make use of the different buildings present everywhere to use their benefits and recruit followers from the associated class. But be careful in the streets, because rats still carry the plague.
All White Goblin Games announced for Essen can now be preordered.
Fantasy Flight Games
The Corporations basic turn structure in Android: Netrunner was the subject of an earlier preview, today we’re going deeper. Here’s a good look at servers and ICE, how ICE protects against runners and why corporations have to worry about their cash flow. And if you want to know more, here’s the rulebook.
If you want to see some great game illustrations then check out this preview at the Greeks in Legends at War. We also learn how each factions cards are divided into dominions and levels, and that the Greeks excel at ranged actions.
The rules for Tokaido are now online and I stand by my previous statement, the game looks amazing. It’s an entry into the rare genre of tourism games, players follow the tokaido, the old Japanese route that connects Edo and Kyoto. You’ll collect souvenirs, sample the local cuisine, take panorama photos, all in the form of cards. While the basic mechanics are very easy – the player who is last on the road moves forward as much as he likes and takes the action of the space he arrives on – there are many ways of scoring and the real challenge in Tokaido will not be arriving in Edo but participate in the right selection of touristy delights on the way. If you’re all excited now, you can preorder Tokaido for pickup in Essen.
Good news for all Bang! fans, there will be two new releases for your hobby in Essen this year. BANG! 10th Anniversary is a new release of the classic Bang!, but with added characters from all the expansions and deluxe components – wooden bullets, for example.
Even more exiting is Bang! Samurai Sword that goes with the basic system of the classic game but makes some very interesting changes, the biggest of which is that there is no player elimination any more. In place of the last-man-standing rules of Bang!, Samurai Sword will use a scoring system based on honor and resilience. I’m very, very curious to see those new rules in action already.
More visual teasering about Ginkgopolis on Pearl Games’ Facebook wall. I’d really like to know more about this game soon.
Archipelago by Christophe Boelinger looks like a very interesting new game coming to Essen. As an explorer commissioned by one of the European colonizing nations, you want to discover new lands, found colonies and, in a move completely contrary to the real age of colonization as I learned in school, coexist and cooperate peacefully with the natives you find for the common good. Exploiting the colony will actually lead to chaos uprising that make you lose the game. The rules and photos can be found at the game’s website.
Ystari’s release for Essen this year is Myrmes (see the cover here). Players take control of an ant colony and manage its fate over three years, taking care of the larvae, gathering food by hunting prey, gaining resources by creating ant trails with pheromones – it sounds very elaborate and gives you many, many options, and that sounds very good to me.
Pegasus Spiele / eggertspiele
Great news came in today for the first game from the Spieleschmiede, the boardgame crowdfunding platform by online shop spiele-offensive. The very first project Express 01 by eggertspiele is not only funded to almost three times the required amount, today eggertspiele’s exclusive partner Pegasus Spiele announced they will bring the game to brick and mortar stores. They also guarantee that the US map will be included even if the stretch goal is not reached. I don’t really see a problem hitting that goal with 8 days to go and less than 800€ missing, but it’s a really nice move by Pegasus.
Indie Boards and Cards
Don Eskridge’s The Resistance is coming back. Back to the past. The Resistance: Avalon takes the hidden identity mechanics of The Resistance and applies them to King Arthur’s court. It’s not all the same with different costumes, though, the forces of Good have Merlin on their side this time, with the knowledge of who is good and who is evil. Some other mechanics will have to change not to give Arthur’s side too much of an advantage, I’m curious what they will be. A bit more on the weird side: the news item on Boardgamegeek says the games can be combined: the Arthurian Revolution in search of the Space Grail? (via Boardgamegeek News)
Mage Company Games
When we reviewed Strike Dice some weeks ago we were wondering about the peculiar fantasy theme that just seemed to be lying next to the abstract dice game. With the new version and an expansion that will hit Kickstarter soon, the theme becomes much clearer: it’s an arena battle between nine powerful creatures who seek power over time itself, and the players take part in that battle. The expansion, Portkey of Chaos, includes rules to earn more cards per round by defeating said creatures, cutting the play time down to three rounds and eliminating one of our complaints.
Also to hit Kickstarter soon is 12 Realms, a cooperative game that was previously available as a print-and-play game. In 12 Realms, the evil overlords of a selection of fairy tales have banded together to subjugate all the fairy tale lands, and the players as the matching heroes have to stop them.
This week’s amazing banner photo shows the valley of Luxembourg City, below the old fort. Flickr user Misty shared the photo with a CC-BY license.