If you heard a loud squee sound just now, that was my inner fanboy trying to get out: after Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, Martin Wallace is now making one of Neil Gaiman’s stories into a boardgame. A Study in Emerald has an improbable setting, a Lovecraft Mythos / Sherlock Holmes crossover where the Old Ones, instead of sleeping late and hitting the snooze button repeatedly, have been ruling the world for hundreds of years. Your goal in the game is either to topple them from power or keep them there, depending on your hidden role. To do that, you bid your influence and build your deck, an interesting combination of mechanics. And although there is only one winner in the end, you still have to make sure your the other players on your side do well enough because the winner is the most successful player from the winning side – having most total points doesn’t help when your side is defeated. After many players were disappointed that Ankh-Morpork was a light and random game, A Study in Emerald promises to be a deeper playing experience.
It was a matter of time until someone would bring these two things together: real-time play in cooperative games and the dreaded Traitor mechanic. In Anthony Rubbo’s Space Sheep! both gets combined with a bizarre setting: a space-faring sheep civilization makes contact with a new species only known as Wolf, which is out to eradicate sheep kind. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, and you don’t get a choice, is to travel through the network of hyperspace gates and rescue sheep everywhere. And your crew of up to eight sheep my contain a wolf in sheep’s uniform. Eight people in a real time game – this is madness!
Fantasy Flight Games
I didn’t expect this, to be honest, another expansion for Battlestar Galactica. And Daybreak packs a ton of new stuff: new characters and new challenges are pretty much mandatory, of course, but there will be more, packaged in three optional rule sets to mix and match. These include the sewage treatment ship Demetrius in its search for Earth with a new game board, Cylon Leaders with different Motivations to work against you or maybe even with you, and the Mutineer replaces the Sympathizer in the Loyalty deck. More information is more than likely coming soon.
Life in Gearworld: The Borderlands is going to be tough. The machines have stopped working, the only cheap way to transport anything is by horse and every resource spent building a steamboat is not spent building Skyworks to please the Skypeople and win the game.
Much easier to live in Terrinoth, then, the setting of Descent and its expansions. At least in Descent: Labyrinth of Ruin you only have to worry about killing monsters and keeping your allies alive, things the new heroes really excel in.
A little preview for Trains, the train-building deck-building game originally from Japan: the Station Crew card is what we in Germany would call an egg-laying wooly milkpig. Well, we’d obviously say that in German, but who here understands eierlegende Wollmilchsau? It means: one thing that does everything, in this case: draw a card, gain a resource or lose a rubble card. That’s pretty versatile.
Ares Games / Gremlin Project
The time to fight for Earth has come. Or at least the time to buy your ticket to fight for earth, because the Kickstarter campaign for Galaxy Defenders is on. Galaxy Defenders is a cooperative, tactical miniature game in which up to five players as Earth’s elite fighters defend the planet from the alien invasion. The game includes different scenarios, a campaign mode to play them all and a whole lot of plastic minis.
Successful games get expansions, there’s nothing new or secret there. A game doesn’t get much more successful than winning the Spiel des Jahres award. And so I’m not at all surprised that with Crossroads there is now another expansion for Donald X. Vaccarino’s Kingdom Builder. And not at all upset, either, because adding new locations and new task cards to the already very variable game gives it even more replayability. And now there’ll be boats and wagons, too!