Fantasy Flight Games
After Space Stations, there’s not so much more to say about Cosmic Encounter: Cosmic Storm, I guess. That’s why the latest preview post features some words from the expansion’s designer Jay Little and two new alien races. Let me tell you right away, the Dervish are banned from my games! Passing your hand of cards around the table is probably my most-hated game mechanic, but that’s just me.
The warfare part of Civilization: Wisdom and Warfare was the subject of the last preview, this time it’s about the wisdom. Wisdom comes in the shape of redesigned Governments with abilities that should make the choice for one harder and in the shape of the new Social Policies, up to three of which can be pursued by any civilization for more special abilities. Actually, it sounds like you may have to supply your own wisdom in picking the right cards.
Wizards of the Coast
The Dungeons & Dragons spin-off worker placement game Lords of Waterdeep will have its first expansion in August, and it will make the mouths of many D&D fans water: Scoundrels of Skullport adds two of the most famous and iconic locations in the Forgotten Realms to the game. Or just one of them, the two modules are independent from each other. Skullport, the realms biggest hive of scum and villany™ is already mentioned in the title. Dealing with the scoundrels there can be profitable, but it also gives you corruption which is bad for your score. The other module is the infamous dungeon of Undermountain, an area where experienced adventurers may risk their lives for even more gold – if they make it out again. Also included in Scoundrels of Skullport are all the materials for a sixth player.
Thunderstone: Numenera not only brings Thunderstone to a new setting, it also brings back Settings to the game. Wait, am I the only one who’s confused by that sentence? The Settings it brings back are scenario cards that change or add rules for the current game, depending on the setting chosen. See, for example, the Amber Monolith that activates every time someone levels a hero to level three.
There are many games about collecting immeasurable riches, but few of them make it a challenge to keep them in the end. That’s exactly what’s going on in Silvio Negri-Clementi’s The Mystery of the Templars: first you spend most of the game collecting riches, establishing trade routes, finding Christian relics and protecting all those with your trained knights. But the game only ends when the king of France starts persecuting the order, and the winner is the player who got away with most of his riches. The game is releasing this week in Italy and Germany (from Heidelberger), but French and English versions will be coming soon.
Card previews for Ascension: Darkness Unleashed have been going on for a while, and this newest Ascension box – it can be played on its own or with any of the other Ascensions – has some interesting stuff waiting. First of all, there is the new Transform mechanic that lets you upgrade cards with a Transform effect permanently when you meet their requirement. But other cards, like the Shardfinder Compass, are quite useful even without that trick.
Historical Games Factory
Sometimes, when reading about a new game, I get surprised by how many things I don’t know even about countries right around the corner. Like the Polish resistance against the Soviet occupation after WW2 by the so called Cursed Soldiers (yes, they are really called that). They are the subject of Adam Kwapi?ski and Michal Sie?ko’s The Outcast Heroes, a card game for up to four players that will be available in Essen this year. You command one of the underground organizations and send your soldiers on missions against the occupation. They must cooperate with other players’ soldiers to succeed, but The Outcast Heroes is not a cooperative game: one player will win by having participated in the most successful missions and meeting his Secret Goal that may even make him a traitor. I’m very much in love with the cover art already, too. It looks brutal.
Sierra Madre Games
Phil Eklund’s High Frontier is undoubtedly on the complex end of the gaming pool: an economic game about the conquest and colonization of the solar system, going outwards from low earth orbit. The expansion High Frontier Colonization – coming next month – will add a lot more to that, starting with more space: it expands the map out to the Oort Cloud. But it also adds new tech, stronger thrusters, more outposts per player and more. Colonization is compatible with both first and second ed. High Frontier and includes everything from the out-of-print High Frontier Expansion.
Now that the designers had the idea already, it’s so obvious that I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me: the wilderness survival game Wilderness does have some things in common with The Hunger Games. Surviving in the wilderness, finding food, not freezing to death – only your opponents aren’t actively trying to kill you. Up to now, that is, because in the Hunger Games scenario on Fryx Games’s website, killing each other is part of the game.
White Goblin Games
Åse and Henrik Berg, famous makers of the Rattus series of games, will have a new title available in Essen this year – and it’s still somewhat related to rats, I’m pretty sure there were a lof of them on 19th century cargo ships. Packet Row is all about those, your job is to gather cargo and ship it from New York to the world. The cards to do that are collected from four different locations, with the Harbour Master of the current round deciding in what order those locations come into play. Each player only gets no more than one card per round, no location has enough cards for all players and all other players choose before the Harbour Master. But once he picks a card, the round ends, so there is a lot of pressure on everyone to decide between picking early or going home empty-handed if they didn’t. A light(ish) game with tough decisions.
I know nothing about the game yet, but the illustration from Vikings makes me want to try it as soon as I can. By the few sentences of description coming with the Facebook album, it appears to be a dragon boat race with dice and cards. Does anyone know more already?
Cryptozoic is adding another game to their list of media franchises to build games for: Night Eternal is a True Blood card game. True Blood, just in the unlikely case you haven’t heard of it, is an HBO series about vampires, weres and others in the deep south of the U.S., based on the novel series by Charlaine Harris. The game deals with the power struggle between two vampire factions, the Monarchy and the Authority. Each round you pledge blood to either faction and then play cards to try and control one faction. Controlling a faction lets you empty its blood bank, and whoever has the most blood when the first player dies will win.
There are just three days to go on the Spieleschmiede funding campaign for Corné van Moorsel’s Mayday! Mayday! and it still needs a bit of money to complete. As an extra incentive to get those last few missing Euros, all Spieleschmiede backers will receive an expansion to play with nine or ten players, and Mayday! Mayday! is a game that makes me think “the more, the merrier”. To refresh your memory, Mayday! Mayday! is a hidden identity game where the players are the flight crew on a passenger plane where the pilot just died and you’re frantically trying to figure out who on the crew is loyal and who is a saboteur so you can put together an emergency crew and bring that bird down.
Lamu, Kenya, as shown in this week’s featured photo, is the “oldest and best-preserved” Swahili settlement in East Africa. The photo was taken by Flickr user Cessna 206 and shared as CC-BY. Thank you!