Meople News: Robinson on Mars


Designer Matt Hyra posted his Gen Con experiences with Hot Rod Creeps, his coming card-driven wacky racing game, and in the process revealed more details about the game and a pile of photos of games in progress. We now know that there is an actual track to race on, with Shark Tanks and Banana Peels to overcome. And what would a racing game be without a Jump somewhere in it? Boring, exactly, so of course there is a jump. Through a Ring of Fire!

Mind the Move

Resource management and the Loire valley are at the center of Emanuele Ornella’s Essen release La Loire. With cards and wooden pieces – meeple are not too much to hope for, are they? – players compete to be the richest, to build the most impressive palace or abbey and to have the most powerful people in their service.

Portal Publishing

Ignacy is talking about Winter, the newest expansion for his Neuroshima card game 51st State. This expansion not only comes with new cards but also with some changes to the rules that should iron out some kinks and imbalances in the game. The powerful leaders are no longer hidden in the deck but can now be found by sending a worker to the Frozen City, and resource production will be more dynamic to better suit your special needs in the early and late game.

Even more exciting to me is this preview video of Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island, the coop game to be released by Portal in Essen. If you can’t watch the video right now, here’s the brief synopsis: this first video in a series presents the main foci of actions in the game: you will explore the island and discover mysteries both good and bad, you will build your  camp and you will create tool from what Ignacy describes as a small tech tree – but it’s actually large enough to get you from making bricks to building a furnace from them that I’m pretty sure will enable some advanced metalworking. So not all that short.

If that’s not enough info yet, there’s also this update on the game’s website revealing that there will be six scenarios and four different characters from the shipwreck to play: the cook, the carpenter, the soldier and the explorer. What none of these reveal yet is how the game will solve the dominant player issue that plagues many coop games. I’m really curious to find out.


The visual teasers just keep coming, this week we see the starting deck of Fremde Federn.  The first four cards look a lot like my life right after school.

Alderac Entertainment / Monte Cook Games

This is a really exciting idea: the newest Thunderstone game abandons the classic fantasy setting for an absolutely not-classic science fiction one. Kinda. Thunderstone Numenera, a cooperation between Thunderstone makers Alderac and Monte Cook Games, who are currently running a Kickstarter campaign for the role-playing game Numenera, is set in a world that looks superficially medieval. But in fact, its setting is the far future, long after our civilization has fallen. And the next one, and a couple after that. And they all left their technological artifacts lying around, looking like potent magic to the new inhabitants of the world. That’s a setting that excites me – I might just have to check out the role-playing game as well.

Mars Needs Mechanics (Image by Nevermore Games)
Mars Needs Mechanics (Image by Nevermore Games)

Nevermore Games

We talked about Mars Needs Mechanics before a few months ago:

Mars needs Mechanics. You’ll all be engineers competing for a spot on the Royal Society of Space Exploration’s 1873 expedition to Mars. You must have read about it in the history books, that mission was a huge success. So maybe it wasn’t, but Mars needs Mechanics has the potential to be a huge success: a card game to build steampunk devices for a competition to become the Astronautical Engineer on a Mission to Mars. I’m totally into that, and very curious what they mean by “mechanics that emphasize timing to collect sets of components”. How do you get timing into set collection?

Now the Kickstarer campaign is live, including a trailer and a play-through video. Check it out.

Gryphon Games

Salmon, the bounciest fish on the planet. They travel hundreds of kilometers to their spawning pool, upriver, past bears and even up waterfalls. Have you ever wondered how they’re holding the cards without hands? Salmon Run (Jesse Catron)  is a combination of deck-building and racing game. Yep, someone came up with something entirely new to do with deck-building. You’re a salmon travelling up the river to spawn, and your moves come from a deck of cards. You have cards to swim left, right and forward, the same as doubles, and some control over the bears, eagles, rapids and currents on the board to mess with your opponents. That’s your deck. You build it by getting to the appropriate hexes of the river which allow you to add cards to your deck or remove them. It’s a clever interaction between the two parts of the game and as a result Salmon Run is not going to be a heavy game, but will definitely involve a strong element of planning together with a dash of luck. You ever wonder how salmon’s jump up a waterfall? They get kickstarted.

Kuznia Gier

I’m not entirely sure what Top-a-Top Plus, the stand-alone expansion for Agnieszka Migdalska’s party game Top-a-Top will contain, but as a good guess I’m going to say the rules will stay the same but there will be new cards. If you don’t know Top-a-Top, it’s a party game of quick reaction: one player flips a card and everyone has to perform the action associated with it. Fail and take all the cards from the table, get rid of all your cards and win. Easy to expand, and mixing the two will confuse players even more.

This week’s featured photo shows the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, specifically Banaue. The photo was taken by Jon Díez Supat and shared with a CC-BY-SA license.

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