This picture is the first and, for now, only teaser for the next Smash Up expansion, coming next spring. No name, no nothing. But: Cyborg Monkeys! What will the other – presumably three – new factions be?
Fantasy Flight Games
This is a really cool idea to make the Descent Lieutenant Packs an actual expansion to the game and not just an expensive but ultimately useless extra miniature. The six Lieutenant Packs – one for each lieutenant from the campaign included in Descent: Journeys in the Dark – are built around the miniatures, but each pack also includes a deck of Plot Cards that let the Overlord summon that Lieutenant into other campaigns and enable other special effects built around that lieutenant. The Plot Cards for Goblin Lieutenant Splig, for instance, let you move your goblins faster sometimes, or feed all Wilderness monsters into massive versions of themselves, slower but harder to kill. The overlord pays for these special actions with threat tokens which then become available to the heroes to use for their own special effects. I wouldn’t drop the money just for extra miniatures, but with the Plot Cards the Lieutenant Packs really sound like fun.
The previews for three Fantasy Flight Games games are coming to an end this week as the games are released: the Cosmic Encounter expansion Cosmic Storm, the Civilization expansion Wisdom and Warfare and the Battlestar Galactica expansion Daybreak.
The coming release by Numbskull Games doesn’t sound like a game for numbskulls at all, actually. Tom Russell’s Prepotent is a game about race horse, but not only about racing them. Well, you do race them, and you also bet on them to make money. But that’s not all you do, you also breed your horses. You start the game with a mare and a stallion, and breed them with other player’s horses to produce a better race horse. You’ll have to decide when to breed for stallions that can participate in races and win money and when to breed for mares that can improve your breeding program. Matching the right horses to breed even seems to have some genetics involved that you have to consider. That sounds way more involved than most horse racing games.
California Gold is another new release from Numbskull, to be released next year. The game by Patrick Stevens has nothing all to do with the Gold Rush like the title might suggest. It’s a game about growing oranges. No, really, I’m serious. The game seems quite strategic from the description: you’ll collect cards representing orange ranches, build support buildings like schools and nurseries, advertise your produce and close contracts with railroad companies. All that while the weather and even politics are messing with your plans.
Czech Games Edition
Later this year there’ll be another expansion for Galaxy Truckers called Galaxy Truckers: Latest Models with four new ships to get in trouble with. All the ships are special and different in their own way. One is a torus, so the top and bottom of the ship board as well as the left and right side are connected. Another board has spaces to build multiple small ships that you may be able to connect if you’re lucky. These new ships are plain weird. Have fun with them.
Morgan Dontanville has posted a Designer Diary for his Asgard’s Chosen over at BoardGameGeek, and it offers a lot of insight into how the game will work and how it came to work like that. I highly recommend you read the whole thing, it’s worth it, but here are the basics. Asgard’s Chosen looks for the middle ground between deck-building games and card driven wargames. You’re building a deck, but you’re moving monsters and heroes around the map, too. The different terrain types play a role in battle as each creature is weak when fighting on its opposing terrain but gains special powers on its home turf. The Gods you’re trying to appease start out in your deck, and appeasing them removes them from it. You score points that way, but also lose powerful cards. And they also force you to weaken your deck or your board position, so the more you scored already, the more screwed you are.
Upper Deck Entertainment
For the 35th anniversary of the first Alien movie, Upper Deck Entertainment will release Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck-Building Game next year. This will be a stand-alone product, not an expansion to Marvel Legendary, but the two will be compatible. Wolverine fighting xenomorphs has suddenly become a possibility. Or Spider Man or the Fantastic Four, for that matter, both are getting their own Marvel Legendary expansions soon as well. (via ICv2)
As the last game of Friedemann Friese’s Friday Project where he only worked on a game design every friday for five years, this year we get Futterneid (Food Envy). This may be the first boardgame that actively makes you gain weight, the original intention was to play with and for real snack food, with scores based on the snack’s calories. You can still do that, but playing for snack tokens is now also an option. You may always take one piece more or less than the previous player from the supply on the table, or you may steal from other players. Your score is based on the snacks you snagged and on a secret favourite snack you pick before the game. It’s not the heavy game many Friese fans had hoped for, but his light games usually are fun as well, and I’m not going to complain about an excuse to buy more chocolate for game nights.
Gen X Games
The Essen release from Gen X Games this year is Seven Swords. I don’t know why, either, but samurai always come in sevens, and as the title tells you, designer Óscar Arévalo is not going to break with that tradition. The samurai are controlled by one player and tasked with defending the village that is the setting of the game. The other player attacks the village with his bandit armies and tries to burn down buildings and steal rice. The game is asymmetric, samurai and bandits use very different mechanics to play. To make the samurai player feel like he is really defending the village, he starts with all the victory points in the form of rice and houses, the bandit player tries to steal as many points as he can.
Keyflower was already a deep, involved game, but the expansion The Farmers will make it so much more intricate. On top of all the things to take care of in the base game, it will introduce farming for wheat and animals. While wheat is probably going to be just another resource, the animals are something new entirely: they have to be kept in fields between the roads of your village. Creating those fields thus becomes another thing to keep in mind when building your village. And did I mention there’ll be cowples, piggles and sheeples?
Looks like there won’t be a big expansion for Eclipse this year. But the game is not forgotten, at least there is Ship Pack One with new sets of amazing looking ships and some other material. But according to BoardGameGeek, all the new components will be replacements for current ones.
This very good-looking game will probably be able to scratch any itch for space strategy you might have – if you have a bit of patience, Burning Suns is scheduled for release in September 2014. But the Kickstarter campaign is running now, and it makes me very, very impatient. Burning Suns will come with about two metric tons of miniatures – okay, not quite, but more than 100 if my math is right – some of which incorporate dice to display their hit points. But the minis are only the very visible start, there’s also the game universe that is completely new every time you play, more than 300 empires to take control of (by assembling them from three different pieces), different leaders, agents and artifacts – which I have no idea what they’ll do yet – and more. There is a lot of variety in this one, and the description does sound like it will have a lot of depth as well.
Dice Hate Me Games
The funding period for Daniel Solis’s Belle of the Ball started today on Kickstarter. In this card game, you’re organizing a Victorian ball, and as the host it’s your responsibility that every guest has a good time. For that, you try to group them with other guests that share interests with them. You invite guests to your ball from the queue with a mechanic similar to Small World: you can take the first in line for free, or pick another one and hand out one of your very limited Regrets to all the ones you skipped. Mixing things up is the Belle herself, bringing special effects to everyone’s balls in the form of action cards, taken from another queue. I would call it light but strategic.
The featured photo of the week shows the skyline of Lahore, Pakistan with its world heritage fort in the sunset. The photo was taken by Manal Khan and shared with a CC-BY license. Thank you, Manal!