Hey everymeeple! I just wanted to let you know, this is the last week of the Meeple Summer Break, next week we’ll return to our regular awesome program of reviews and other things. And we have some preeeeeetty cool stuff waiting to be published. But for this week, here are the news.
Pandemic: In The Lab comes with rules for solo play that involve the CDC as a second not-quite-player. The CDC doesn’t get its own turn, it has one action on each of your turns, though. And it has its own hand of cards; not being able to hold enough cards was one of the biggest problems in solo Pandemic so far, that’s nicely fixed now. Even better though, the CDC can use its action to change your role, so even playing alone you can send the right person for the situation now. Not to make the game too easy, each role is only useable once per game, once you switch away from it, its gone. I actually see no reason why this variant shouldn’t work with regular Pandemic already, maybe I’ll give it a try.
An expansion for the original Gloom is coming soon! Finally there will be new ways to make your families miserable and then kill them off when they are depressed. If only they’d stay dead. Unquiet Dead introduces new modifier cards that turn their victim into one of the undead: a vampire, a mummy, or even the dreadful wereduck. Undead characters count as dead for scoring and ending the game, but they can still have cards played on them. Also new in Unquiet Dead are story cards, cards you can win for your family that will give you a bonus for as long as you can hold on to them.
Fantasy Flight Games
Once you get the space stations out of the way, the big new thing in Cosmic Encounter: Cosmic Storm is a host of new alien races. I’m honestly surprised sometimes how they can come up with more abilities that are not copies of existing ones, but they do.
More playable people are also coming for Descent: Journeys in the Dark with the Trollfens expansion. The two new classes, Stalker and Prophet, have powerful new options for the hero team: the Stalker can use his abilities to create traps and lure monsters into them, the Prophet can heal people and predict the future.
I’m sure the Star-Spawn of Cthulhu will make you immensely popular with your fellow Smash Up: The Obligatory Cthulhu Set players: pushing one of those Madness cards with a negative point value to their hand every turn, they will be so happy! Actually, that might finally give me a chance to win at that game… or not, probably the stars aren’t right for that yet.
Coming this year still – I’m hoping for an Essen release – is Quantum by Eric Zimmermann, a dice game of space exploration and conquest. Your mighty fleet to conquer the universe is a set of dice, their value determines what type of ship they are, from a quick but fragile scout to the mighty battlestation.Fortunately, it won’t just be roll and die-or-don’t, you will have ways to reconfigure your ships just the way you need them. Or at least almost the way you need them. By constructing new installations on your planet, you gain new abilities and ship types that will, with any luck, lead you to victory. Another game that tries balancing luck and strategy, I’m curious to see how right it gets it.
Cryptozoic / The Forking Path
It’s a risk you take with all Kickstarter projects: after they are funded they might just fail, with all the money gone but nothing to show for it. We all hope it doesn’t happen with projects we’re funding, but the backers of The Doom That Came To Atlantic City had to experience just that this week: the Monopoly looking game about Cthulhu and his buddies destroying the titular city was canceled. Publisher The Forking Path had used up all the money before any games were produced. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth among the games 1.246 backers, but then, in an unexpected and awesome move, Cryptozoic stepped in. They came to an agreement with Lee Moyer and Keith Baker, the games designers, where Cryptozoic would not only publish The Doom That Came To Atlantic City but also fulfill all the Kickstarter orders. I’m sure no one saw that coming, it’s a great surprise for the project’s backers.
Byzantio is an area control game by Alexander Boucharelis, Lefteris Iroglidis and Anestis Iroglidis that is currently being Kickstarted. As one of the contenders for the throne of the Byzantine Empire, you’re working to gain influence in some of the Empire’s cities – which ones is your own choice, for a change. At the start of the game you pick seven of the empires cities and how important each is to you, when the game ends you score points for the ones you control. In between, you choose between six available actions each round that move your Garrisons around to make that happen. A straightforward set of rules, but not a straightforward game to play.
It must be nice to be chosen by the gods. But if the description of Asgard’s Chosen on BoardGameGeek News is to be believed, you will actually have to work for the god’s favor. Asgard’s Chosen is a deck-building game with a board that you’re trying to conquer using creatures and items, but to win the game, you must appease the gods. Each god demands a different sacrifice, and you can be sure that sacrifice is the right word here: they might have you give up your holdings on the board, destroy cards, or, even worse, give them away to other players, among other things. It’s not easy, being Chosen. (via BGG News)
This week’s photo of the Blackheads’ House in Riga’s historic center was taken by Arian Zwegers and shared with a CC-BY license. The Blackheads, Wikipedia tells us, were a local association of unmarried merchants and other foreigners that started out as a quasi-military organization but developed more towards the mercantile life – there must be a boardgame in there somewhere!