Hello and welcome to the Meeple Summer vacation. Don’t worry, it’s not as bas as it sounds. The news will keep going, but for the next two weeks there will be no reviews. After that, we’ll be back with more of the greatest new boardgames, and whatever else in gaming we can put in words. Have a good time all, enjoy the sun!
Fantasy Flight Games
The big new thing that Cosmic Storm, the next expansion for Cosmic Encounter, adds to the game are Space Stations. And a bunch of new, bizarre alien species. But mainly Space Stations. When playing with them, each player adds one or two of them to his Home Worlds and profits from their special powers. The Big Space Laser™, for instance, adds 10 to your attack score if you have no allies. The Alien Outpost gives you the Power of another alien species in addition to your own. A new game variant even allows you to capture enemy space stations and win the game when you collected five of them.
Kalle Krenzer’s Blood Bound is hidden identity game where two vampire clans go to war. With the vampire craze of the last years, I’m actually getting somewhat tired of the theme, but at least nothing in the preview says that the Blood Bound vampires might sparkle. Theme aside, though, Blood Bound looks like a quick and fun game: you start out with no information except your own affiliation and special power. When it’s your turn you may attack another player who then suffers a wound and must reveal one bit of information about himself, either his clan or his role in the clan. The fun is, as usual in this game, not in stabbing the other players but in deceiving them about who you are and make them stab each other, until the leader of one clan is killed.
Lui-même / Asmodee
The French edition of The Werewolves of Miller’s Hollow: Characters has already been available since last year. The English edition, however, is to be available starting August 30th, and the German edition is also coming soon, or so they say. The name states pretty clearly that this expansion will introduce new characters to the lycantrophe-plagued village, including powerful forces like an Angel and the Cavalry, but also less obvious characters like the Actor, who can take the role of another villager.
Cheaty Mages is, as we mentioned before, one game in Alderac’s line of Japanese games translated to English and published in the US. The Big in Japan games had a great start last year with Love Letter by Seiji Kanai, the same designer who returns now with Cheaty Mages, a game with a slightly different setting. The full rules are available on the game page, but here is the quick version: a group of mages, notoriously untrustworthy individuals, have been betting heavily on a monster fight tournament. But you can never trust mages, they are now using their prepared spells to influence the outcome in their favour. But even as a mage, it’s not that easy to make a Goblin kill a Dragon – there are other mages interfering, and the Judge is also not a complete idiot and will intervene when too much magic is being tossed around. Quick, fun, wacky, good.
Historical Games Factory
This is really happy news for our German-speaking audience and slightly less happy news for everyone else because the campaign for Theomachie on Spieleschmiede will only give sponsors a German editon of the game, an English edition is not currently available – although I wouldn’t be surprised if that were to change soon. Theomachie is a card game by Polish designers Tomasz Bylina, Adam Kwapi?ski and Jakub Wasilewski. Each player takes the role of a god from different ancient cultures, struggling against other gods. The game is describes as deck-building with a Poker-like bidding mechanic where card abilities can affect the bidding process. And if that doesn’t bring a winner, you can start a war of the gods.
Have you been wondering what the expansion In The Lab will change about good, old Pandemic? Because I have, and the answer is, as it turns out, quite a lot. The way you find the cure to one of the diseases changes completely. Gone are the days of discarding five cards of the right colour, with In The Lab you have to juggle disease samples – cubes you removed from the board – through a number of petri dishes before you can create a cure from them. I really can’t say from just reading about it what that will do to the game. It sounds like the Player Cards are going to be much less valuable with this change, but on the other hand the risk of running out of disease cubes will be much higher. All I know for sure is that I’m itching to try it.
Catan / Kosmos / Mayfair Games
We were pretty sure it was coming, and here it is: an expansion to play Settlers of Catan: Explorers & Pirates with up to six players, coming this fall.
The show must go on! If you made a game titled The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Deck-building Game then you pretty much have to make The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Deck-building Game as well, don’t you? You also have to pick shorter names for your games, but that’s besides the point. TLotR: TTTDbG will be available very soon and be playable on its own, but you’ll also be able to combine it with TLotR:TFotRDbG and, eventually, TLotR:TRotKDbG for a really epic adventure in deck-building. Provided you don’t announce in full what you are going to play, because after saying all three titles, the first players will be tipsy already. Your big goal in this game is to protect the walls of Helm’s Deep against Saruman and his armies, because if the walls fall, you’re in deep trouble.
Still some work to be done on Bruxelles 1893 before the game is finished, but the board is pretty already! Your goal in this worker placement game will be to erect an Art Nouveau style building, prettier, bigger and more impressive than your competitors. More information should be available soon.
Funding on Kickstarter has started today for CarmaRace by Luca Caltabiano, a racing game that probably isn’t going to make you any friends. To get across the finish line first, any means is fine for you – traveling by car, train or plane, but also pushing little, old ladies in front of your competition. But karma is a b****, expect the victims to pay you back in kind. The game is card driven, with vehicles as well as good and bad karma all on cards, but your meeple – yes, there are meeple – moving across the board, hopefully towards their destination.
The photo of the week is one of those that almost don’t need an introduction, this is one of the most recognized mountains in the world: Fujisan (or Mount Fuji) in Japan. The photo was taken by Federica Intoria and shared as CC-BY-SA. Thanks a lot, Federica.