Days of Wonder
It’s only a small expansion, but it manages to make Small World bigger. Are you confused yet? Don’t be, it’s actually quite simple: you can now preorder Small World: 6 Player Board, an expansion for Small World and Small World Underground that contains a double-sided game board for six players. It also contains rules for team play and new Popular Places and Righteous Relics designed specifically for that rule set.
This is a Kickstarter project to pay attention to: a new edition of Fief in English, German and Spanish. We tried the French edition by Asyncron Games in Essen two years ago, and it’s a great game. You control the fate of a noble family on its way to glory in medieval France. Going to war over villages on the board, members of your family may become Dukes or Bishops of an area and even be elected King or Pope. Interestingly, the areas you need to control for secular and ecclesiastic titles are not identical, making each village important for more than one objective. In another twist, you can have one of your relatives marry into another player’s family, forging an alliance between your houses that lets you only win together with a higher combined score – unless a well-timed assassination ends the marriage early.
Real-time card game. I bet you hadn’t heard that term before. But that’s exactly what Hawken will be when it becomes available early this year. Based on the video game by the same name, in Hawken you control Mechs, giant war robots on two legs with enough firepower to scare Godzilla. Each round, players draw cards and play them on the table as quick as they can until one player grabs the – hopefully big and red – FIRE button. Then you figure out who is in range of your weapons and bring the pain. Or you played too many cards, have your Mech overheat and turn into a sitting duck for your opponent to beat on. To start with, there will be two different packages, each with two Mech decks, but if the game takes of I have no doubt whatsoever that there will be more.
Just because it started as a gag in a geeky movie does not mean that a game can’t be successful and receive expansions. Romance of the Nine Empires, a game of exactly that origin, proves that. Its first expansion is coming later this year. Romance of the Nine Empires: Arcane Fire will contain two entirely new faction decks and a selection of fresh cards to build your own decks with.
Fantasy Flight Games /CD Projekt RED
The Witcher, for those who haven’t heard the name, is a very succesful series of fantasy novels by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski that was adapted into a series of equally successful computer games. Now Fantasy Flight Games announced a board game titled The Witcher Adventure Game based on the novels where you solve quests and missions in the world of the Witcher, forced to work together with other players sometimes but ultimately seeking your own victory. And you can be pretty sure that it will be a great game as well, not just a mediocre one based on a popular license, because the game’s designer is Ignacy Trzewiczek (Robinson Crusoe, Prêt-à-Porter and more) who hasn’t produced anything yet that I would call mediocre.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Abacusspiele and of Michael Schacht’s game design career. In celebration of both, Abacusspiele will publish Han at the Nurnberg Game Fair, a special edition of Schacht’s China – which is itself a reimplementation of his award-winning Web of Power. All three games are area majority games where players place two different kinds of pieces with different scoring opportunities – light on the rules, but very tense to play. Han will contain two new game boards, one slightly more complex than the standard board and one that is playable in two players, impossible with the regular board. Going by name, both board were available as expansions for China, but Han will include them right out of the box.
The amazing play of colors you see at the top of this post is the sunset on Wadi Rum in Jordan, photographed by Lawrence Murray. The photo is with a CC-BY license. Thanks a lot, Lawrence!