Real-time strategy game is not something I usually associate with boardgames, but it’s the description Witty Editions use for their Spieleschmiede project Chronos Conquest. However, there is nothing in common with real-time strategy video games like StarCraft or Age of Empires. The real-time in Chronos Conquest refers to the hourglasses that make the game run on a 30 second beat: every 30 seconds is one turn. You use your hourglasses to fight over cards, some of which award victory points, other give you special actions. Conflicts over who gets the cards are resolved either by negotiation or by whoever has the longer breath.
Seventh Hero is a new game in Alderac’s Big in Japan line of games. The goal in this game by Kuro is to assemble a group of six heroes, but the only way to get more heroes is to accept cards from your neighbour. If they pass you a hero you don’t have yet, that’s great for you, but if you accept a hero already in your group then both cards are discarded. Like the other games in the Big in Japan line, Seventh Hero sounds quick and simple, but could be great fun as a quick filler.
A Weird West classic is coming back! Deadlands: Doomtown was a collectible card game back at the dawn of time – released in 1998 – set in the dark and most definitely weird Wild West setting of Deadlands. That game is now coming back as Doomtown: Reloaded, no longer a CCG but now an Expandable Card Game, designed to have many small expansions but no random booster packs. Similar to Fantasy Flight’s Living Card Games. The object in Doomtown: Reloaded is to rebuild the small town of Gomorra after a cataclysmic event, and while your at it to get it under control by your faction: the law-abiding (and enforcing) Law Dogs, their opposition the Sloane Gang, the Morgan Cattle Company that is only out for profit or the circus of the Fourth Ring. That last one is creepy, I must say.
Numbskull Games have started the campaign for their next game on Kickstarter. Prepotent is a game about horse racing, but for a change your not only racing them, or betting on them, but doing both and, on top of that, breed your own race horses. Horse breeding works by selecting traits from both parents and deciding whether you want to breed a stallion that can win races, or a mare that will pass on its good genes to the next generation. It’s a new and unique take on horse racing games.
Another new game by Numbskull to come later this year, Bull Moose, will deal with the 1912 U.S. presidential election, what might be the only four-way election the U.S. have had yet. Play will be card driven and geographic, which probably means that you play for the actual states on a map. I’m just not sure yet how four parties translates to 3-5 players, but I’m sure there’s a good explanation.
Giant Monster Games
The first game by Giant Monster Games on Kickstarter is a light wargame set in a distant future where mankind is long gone. The only thing we left behind is an army of robots that, without their masters, had to create their own organization structure. That’s how they became Kingdom Bots. The game specifically wants to cut down the time per turn so all players stay engaged at all times. The mechanic of choice are Command Cards, they force you to pick your actions for the round before the round starts and thus limit the options you have to consider on your turn. They also look very nice, with cartoon style robot illustrations. I just hope some of that art still ends up on the gameboard, that’s the only piece that could still look better than in the Kickstarter photo.
Kanban: Automotive Revolution is a Stronghold Games game planned for this year that has nothing to do with Space Cadets – as far as we know, at least. Instead, players are production line managers in a Japanese automobile factory where there job is to make the line run smoothly and produce maximum output with as little waste as possible. The factory manager is a game driven NPC whose decisions will have a strong influence on your game, which is stressful enough because you’re trying to make two different “clocks” – the production cycle and the work week – run in sync to produce the best cars you can. The theme sounds dry, but designer Vital Lacerda made an engaging game about Carbon Emission Trading with CO2, making automobile production fun should be a walk in the park for him.
Fantasy Flight Games
Fantasy Flight Games are expanding their line of Warhammer 40.000-themed games with Warhammer 40.000: Conquest, a Living Card Game set in the distant, grimdark future. The first box will already allow you to take command of seven different factions, including Space Marines, Ork, Tau and Eldar but missing Necron and Tyranid for now – I’m sure an expansion will fix that – and go to conquer the Traxis sector. You clash with your opponent over one planet at a time, but can send your troops anywhere in the sector in preparation of conflict. Every faction has a mighty Commander that personally joins the bloodshed, but you better watch that guy because his death makes you lose the game.
APEX Theropod Deck-Building Game is a Kickstarter project by Herschel Hoffmeyer that brings deck-building to a completely new setting. Each player represents a species of dinosaur apex predators, including fan favorites like Tyrannosaurus Rex and the Utahraptor, in its struggle for survival. From a starting deck with juveniles and hatchlings, your dinosaurs have to hunt prey which is used to buy new cards for your deck, meaning new giant terror lizards or Evolution Cards, because your species can evolve in APEX. Evolving or just buying bigger cards, you have to do something to protect yourself because the prey cards will soon make way for boss cards, giant dinosaurs that even an apex predator will have trouble killing. The game system sounds well thought out, and the card art is nothing short of amazing.
In this year’s Spielworxx release La Granja, players build a farm on Mallorca from cards. This (German) preview post discusses how exactly those cards are going to be used: they all end up around your farm board, but depending on where you play them, they have a different function. Cards to the left of your farm board are fields to grow grain, grapes or olives. To the right, the same card becomes an expansion to your estate. To the top and bottom go market carts and helpers which are both limited to three spots. All cards can go in any position and have different functions printed on the four sides of the card. Sounds like a very good mechanic to me, it emphasizes what you do with the cards over how lucky you are drawing them.
Steve Jackson Games / Fireside Games
In what might be a stroke of Pure Genius™, Steve Jackson Games and Fireside Games have teamed up to mix two of their most popular games into something new and exciting. Muchnkin Panic takes the cooperative play of Castle Panic and mixes it with the egoistical take-that (and hopefully the RPG nerd humor) of Munchkin. In the resulting game, Munchkin monsters attack the castle and players must still cooperate to defend it, but in the end, only the player who took the most loot will win. A Munchkin game with forced cooperation and some substance will do great things for the card game series that, lets face it, gets a bit repetitive after a while. And maybe they even let you use your existing Munchkin cards…
Steve Jackson Games / Alderac Entertainment
Merging Munchkin with other games seems to be the next trend at Steve Jackson Games’. Next to the cooperation with Fireside Games, they are also working with Alderac Entertainment to create a Munchkin-themed Love Letter titled Munchkin Loot Letter. Just in case all that romance wasn’t for you. Mechanically, it will at least be very similar to Love Letter, possibly even with the same card effects, but it’s now all about the gold.
IDW Games / Pandasaurus Games
Some things just never die. Like X-Files, the TV series was a long time ago and it’s still one of the most popular ever. So you might say it’s late, but I think it’s still the right time for the The X-Files Boardgame. The game will focus on the first three seasons of the series and pit one player in the role of the Smoking Man and his conspiracy against Scully, Mulder and up to three of their FBI colleagues. The game is designed by Kevin Wilson (Arkham Horror, Descent, etc.) who will certainly be able to make a great game of it. Lets hope he can stick to the 60-90 minutes timeframe, because shorter games are not his strongest point.
After teasing us with images and a short story those last few weeks Fryx Games have revealed their next game to be Fleets – The Pleiad Conflict. While the goal in this game about space colonization in the far away Pleiad cluster is to occupy star systems, the means to do that are more diplomacy than military might. Diplomatic actions in the Pleiad Council are where you do you main work, and only after that do your ships start shooting each other . Every system where you got rid of the opposition – one way or the other – scores points and produces resources for you.
Bézier Games announced two new games for this year. Subdivision will continue the Suburbia series, so expect to be putting down tiles to create a neighbourhood with everything from residences to industry and scoring points for laying them out well. The second game, Castles of Mad King Ludwig, lets you build castles instead, room by room. Rooms are sold by the Master Builder and buyers put them into their castle, connecting them to other rooms. Making all doors from a room actually lead somewhere awards a bonus, and in the end you score points for catering to the king’s ever-changing tastes.