Meople News: Once upon a Coffee

Atlas Games

You know you’re doing your online boardgame show right when game publishers create expansions with you in it – like the TableTop expansion for Gloom. It may only have ten cards, but two of them are Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day. That’s so awesome, I can’t decide if it’s more awesome for Wil and Felicia or more awesome for Gloom – seems everyone is getting a pretty sweet deal there. It’s just a shame that those will be impossible to get here in Germany. The reason to make this expansion now, if you hadn’t heard about it before, is the coming TableTop day on March 30th, when the TableTop crew wants to bring the world together to play.

An expansion for the story-telling game Once Upon a Time is on its way, as well. It’s called Enchanting Tales and will not bring any new rules but add new cards with a more magical theme. In Once Upon a Time, players use cards to spin a common story, trying to use all the story cards from their hand first and bend the story towards their ending card. It’s a lot of fun, and more cards can only add to that. Here’s a little art preview to guess what stories will happen.

Fantasy Flight Games

Planet Steam (Image by Fantasy Flight Games)
Planet Steam (Image by Fantasy Flight Games)

After a long series of previews, the rulebook for Relic, the game where Talisman meets Warhammer 40.000, is now online.

Another game that’s been around in Germany for a few years is coming to Fantasy Flight Games: Planet Steam by Heinz-Georg Thiemann, published here by LudoArt and Heidelberger. The name gives away the setting, even if it sounds unlikely at first: it’s steampunk in space! In this economic auction game you use the power of steam to produce resources and make money on a distant planet. The German editions are pretty good-looking, but the FFG one won’t have to hide behind them with components like the ones to the right.

Queen Games

Coming this month – or maybe it’s already out – is Via Appia, a game about constructing the most famous road of the Roman Empire. Superficially, it’s an action selection game where you take your income in money and stone, make stone into new pieces for the road and travel along the road to earn victory points. In an interesting twist, designer Michael Feldkötter adds a bit of luck and some more dexterity to this base mechanics. When you visit the Stone Yard to turn your stones into pieces for the road, you actually push the wooden stone tokens into the Stone Yard area and receive your reward based on the stones that fall out on the other side.

On Kickstarter, Queen Games gives you the chance to complete your Dirk Henn collection: Speculation (originally Spekulation) was originally published by db-Spiele in 1992 in a small and handmade production run. You can imagine those are hard to find. But now you can have the all new and shiny copy with some rules polish applied by an older and more experienced Dirk Henn. It’s a game of stock speculation with a noticeable element of luck and definitely on the light side of the spectrum. My only criticism would be that one of the companies to profit from is Colonia Beer – Cologne doesn’t have beer, Cologne has Kölsch, which has been described as the only successful attempt to water down water. Sorry, I had to say that, even with the risk of getting every single reader from Cologne mad at me.

Moonster Games

Koryo is a quick, small card game by Gary Kim planned for release this fall. In a steampunky setting, players play cards from nine influential families to score points at end of the game, but also to make use of the families’ special powers available to the player controlling that family. A game will last only ten minutes or so, then you shuffle and go again.

Dice Hate Me Games

The latest newsletter gave some teasers what games to expect this year. First there is Viva Java: The Coffee Game: The Dice Game which may officially be shortened to Viva Java Dice. Just like the successful Viva Java from last year, you’ll still be blending the tastiest caffeinated hot beverage with beans from around the world. Only now the dice come into it and add a push-your-luck component, researching coffee grants you various abilities to manipulate the dice and there will be a mysterious cooperative dice rolling mechanic. Makes my mouth water already, and not only because it’s coffee.

In Belle of the Ball you forget about the coffee and go for the champagne instead: you’re hosting a carnival ball, Victorian style, and you hope to make it the celebration of the year. Which guests may come inside must be carefully selected so they fit with the others and everyone may have a good time, but you can’t send them all away, either. You can read all about Belle of the Ball and get deep and detailed insight into its development and game development in general on designer Daniel Solis’ blog.

To complete the trilogy of drinks, the third game announced is all about the beer. Brew Crafters by Ben Rosset is a worker placement game where your goal is to make the best beer in the city, from the best ingredients, in the best brewery, with the best people working for you. Even from the short description, it sounds like this will be a game with many, many screws to fiddle with in order to optimize your strategy. All three projects will be on Kickstarter at some point in 2013.

Toy Vault

The first game in the announced series of Firefly themed games implements one of the most obvious ideas: a cooperative game where the players, in the roles of characters from the show, have to deal with a series of events based on situations from the show. If they run out of Credits or Honor before they deal with enough events, they lose. If they make it to the end, they obviously win. The title is, at least for now, Firefly: Out to the Black.

This week’s featured photo shows the sunset over Lake Baikal, Buryatia, Russian Federation. It’s one of the world’s largest lakes, holding 20% of the global freshwater reserves, and also a favourite holiday spot for evolutionary biologists because it’s a mostly isolated ecosystem. The photo was taken by Sergey Gabdurakhmanov and shared with a CC-BY license. Thanks a lot, Sergey!

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