Mark and Joan Wilkenson’s Mod X has little to do with Cryptozoic’s usual lineup – no fantasy, no wackyness, no illustrations, just an abstract game. Your goal is to place your pieces on the board in the shape of an X, a Plus or a simple diagonal line of five pieces. When you do, you replace the pieces involved with score markers and the game goes on, getting more and more cluttered every time someone scores. And you can play with four people, so clutter will come quick.
The publisher from Cologne will bring a new Wild West game to Essen this year: Desperados by Florian Racky. It’s a one player against the rest game where the one player represents the law while the others try to rob banks, trains and whore houses. Players move with movement cards, played simultaneously, across the West. When a round ends and the Outlaws in a bank, coach or other location outnumber the sheriffs, they rob the place. But the Marshall moves unseen for them and may arrest them before they arrive, spoiling their plans.
Fantasy Flight Games
The streets of Cadwallon are not getting any safer with Cadwallon: City of Thieves – The King of Ashes. Each gang has a new, powerful mercenary character they can use instead of one of their original gang members. But the Militia isn’t going to just let this slide, they also have new powers to make a gangsters life hard. But the greater changes have happened below ground, where an earthquake has opened the way into the catacombs. Every time a player finds a staircase on an exploration token, he may descend into one of the catacombs’ rooms, hoping to find riches beyond his dreams. Or he finds the Cyclops of Mid-Nor, that will likely put an end to his dreams.
Z-Man Games / Pearl Games
In Ginkgopolis, how do you grow the city? Why, I’m glad you asked. You can either play a card on its own to take a building tile from the supply, or you can play a card together with a tile to grow the city. The city grows in all directions: growing it outwards adds more building to the city – with what benefit remains to be seen – but grow it skywards to get more points. I can always see the benefit in that.
This Kickstarter project has a new idea for a game setting: you take the role of one of the great scientists from the beginning of the age of science, each with different strengths and weaknesses, and then you compete with each other doing research, networking with influential people and finally publishing their results. The interesting dilemma in The New Science is when to publish: publishing is the only way to gain points, but it also makes your knowledge available to the other players, giving them a chance to research later projects without doing the prerequisite work themselves.
Days of Wonder
A new map pack for Ticket to Ride is coming: Ticket to Ride – The Heart of Africa. The new map pack only includes one map, spanning the whole continent from the Mediterranean to Cape Town, but that’s not all: a new type of cards, the Terrain Cards, adds rules to double the value of routes you claim under certain conditions related to the color of the route. A new strategic option to score sounds, at least potentially, even more exciting than having another map in the pack.
In another visual preview for Fremde Federn – the English title is Copycat, by the way – Friedemann Friese managed to make me grin once more with the freshly revealed box cover. Yes, he can!
Here’s a new two-player abstract game from Asmadi that is in extremely short supply: only 100 copies are available from this print run, but if the game is successful more will likely be coming. In Equinox you play hexagonal tiles that have an effect on their neighbours – often flipping them – or even the whole game when they enter play with the goal of having most of them show your colour side at the end.
A new cycle of previews is starting. Scorched Flesh is another card with the new summon mechanic from Nightfall – Crimson Siege that could leave you with a whole bunch of ghouls at your disposal. The news about Thunderstone’s next expansion is even more interesting. Thunderstone: Root of Corruption will have a cooperative mode. Details are still in the dark, but the two heroes in the preview are already showing abilities to benefit other players. On the other face of the coin, some monsters are the opposite of cooperative, they are greedy buggers. Gnolls tend to make the top of that least.
In the newest Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island video preview Ignacy tells us about the most important thing in any game: choices. What choices do you make in Robinson Crusoe? Well, besides deciding what to do, you also have to decide whether you do it the safe way, spending both your actions on it, or risk failure and adventure, taking two actions in one turn. There is also the additional action from the turns event card that you may use or ignore at your own peril. Here’s what Ignacy has to say:
This sounds like tons of geeky fun. I hope some of you have played Kingdom of Loathing, the world’s greatest browser-based multiplayer stick figure online game. And definitely the funniest, too. Now, you can have the same surreal fun at your table at home because here comes Mr. Card Game. You can build your character with a deck of cards – yes, deck-building – and set out to be killed by monsters and other things. And all that doesn’t cost you one piece of meat, only boring regular dollars.
The banner photo this week shows the probably most famous World Natural Heritage site in the world, the Serengeti National Park of Tanzania. It was taken by Koen Muurling and shared with a CC-BY license. Thanks, Koen!