Meople News: Tragedy, Confusion and Undeath

Fantasy Flight Games

A lot has been written about the new races joining Warhammer: Diskwars with the two coming expansions Hammer and Hold and Legions of Darkness. But the existing races also bolster their ranks with new units, and this week’s preview presents some of them.

The next expansion to Blood Bowl Team Manager was announced a while ago, now we’re starting to see previews for Foul Play. The three new teams come from the deep, ugly end of Chaos, and they are so unfair that Foul Play had to introduce fouling rules to accommodate them. It doesn’t even matter if you’re up against Goblins, Chaos Dwarves or the champions of chaos disease god Nurgle, it’s virtually guaranteed that you’re not going to enjoy it.

Z-Man Games

Japan is now officially the country where small and quirky board games come from. Z-Man Games has discovered Tragedy Looper by designer BakaFire and will release it in the US this year, and quirky might be an understatement for this game, it’s entering weird territory: one to three players are stuck in a time loop, at the end of which at least one of them will meet a terrible fate. They have to deduce the logic of the loop and figure out by playing cards on the characters which actions lead to what sticky ends, with the ultimate goal to escape the loop. One more player is the scriptwriter who engineered the rules for the loop. He wins if the other players don’t make it out of the loop.

Treefrog Games

Mythotopia, the conflict-oriented fantasy deck-building game coming from Martin Wallace and Treefrog Games, is on top of my watch list already. Anything that takes elements of A Few Acres of Snow and makes it playable for up to four players should be. The art preview Wallace posted last week (while our news feeds were down) reinforces that initial impression, this is a game I will keep an eye on.

The Game Crafter

Print-on-demand game publisher The Game Crafter are running a Kickstarter campaign for three especially successful games to reach an even wider audience. Backing the campaign, you can choose any single game or combination of games. The first one, and my personal highlight, is The Captain is Dead. You’re the crew of a stereotypical TV spaceship, your Captain is dead, your Jump Core is offline, systems are failing and hostile aliens are attacking you. In short, it’s ten minutes before the end of the episode. Your job as the crew is to work together to keep everyone alive, the ship in one piece and the Jump Core back online to escape. But just because this is my highlight doesn’t mean the other games don’t sound good. Scarborough Fair is a trading game on the spice market and Turbulence is a tile-laying game where all players try to get their planes to the landing strip through twisting approach corridors shared between the players. Each of these games look like a good investment.

Sirlin Games

David Sirlin’s Yomi has been around for a while, it’s not exactly a new release at this point. But its new edition is currently on Kickstarter, with the all new EX Powerup expansion with ridiculously overpowered new cards. If you haven’t heard of Yomi yet, it’s a card game that brings brawler video games like Street Fighter to your tabletop, minus the dexterity but with all the strategy of “what will my opponent do next?” You can block, punch or throw your opponent, with a rock-paper-scissor mechanic which move is good against what, and with special attacks thrown in that are different for each of the character decks. You now also have the option to fight 2vs2 or 2vs1 with one player playing the overpowered, oversized Dragon. As someone that always liked Street Fighter but never won a game, I thoroughly approve.

Tasty Minstrel Games

Port cities are always centers of commerce, but have you ever wondered how they got there? Having a place for ships to dock is nice and all, but how do you go from there to a thriving economic center? That’s what Tasty Minstrel Games are exploring with Scott Almes’ Harbour, currently on Kickstarter. The players are not only trading goods in the harbor, they are also developing the town with building cards as they do so. There are way more of those cards than you need in one game, and all buildings are unique in what you can do with them, so the same strategy is unlikely to work twice. Harbour has a simple but effective market mechanic that keeps changing the prices of your goods, so timing is important, and each building can only be used by one player at a time, introducing some conflict. It’s a quick game with about 30 minutes play time, but it sounds like a very fun thirty minutes.

Cranio Creations

Cranio Creations has announced two new games for this year’s Spiel in Essen. The first is Soqquadro, a party game that wants to get you away from the gaming table. Players roll dice simultaneously, and based on their roll can play cards or run around the house in search for an item matching the conditions on the cards – and that’s the real house you are playing in apparently, not a house printed on the game board. I’m really not sure how I feel about that. Oh, did I mention that soqquadro is Italian for confusion or mess?

The second new game is a more conventional design. In Adventure Bazar your job as a merchant is to sell essential dragon-slaying equipment to heroes on their way to the dragon’s cave. But these heroes are economy class, so they buy their equipment from the cheapest supplier. Sounds like there will be some guesswork and bluffing involved in setting those prices. Also, you’re working together with the dragon in a deal where you get the money and he gets fresh, crunchy heroes, but I’m unsure for now how much that will affect the actual game. (via BGG News)

Historical Games Factory

First to Fight, sounds a lot like a wargame, so I was a bit reluctant to cover it because, as you know, we try to avoid wargames. But despite it’s World War II setting and the game focusing on famous Polish soldiers, it is not so much a wargame as it is a historic boardgame set during World War II. After the German invasion of Poland, many Polish soldiers left their occupied country and fought the Nazis on other fronts, lending valuable support all over Europe. In this game, you train and deploy those soldiers to all the fronts of the war against Germany where they can join missions to defeat the Reich and earn you points. But soldiers don’t belong to a player, any player can order them around and send them on missions. The fight for you, the players, will be less against the Wehrmacht and more against your fellow commanders who all want the glory for themselves …

Queen Games

Two years ago, Queen Games ran a very successful Kickstarter campaign for Kristian Amundsen Østby’s Escape: The Curse of the Temple. The real-time dice-rolling game was popular, mostly because it combined chaotic real-time action with mechanics light enough to play as a family game. It’s thus no big surprise that Escape is back on Kickstarter, with the all new Escape: Zombie City. The basic game mechanics are unchanged, everyone is still rolling their dice as fast as they can to discover new tiles – city streets instead if cursed temple this time – pick up supplies and, and that part is new, fight zombies. Escape: Zombie City has the undead walking around the city, and occasionally you will have to dispatch some of them before they can get to your base of operations. After you collected enough supplies, you still have to make your way out of the city with your van. It may have the same mechanics, but Escape: Zombie City sounds different enough from it’s predecessor that it feels like a new game, not merely a new theme.

This week’s featured photo, kindly shared by International Rivers with a CC-BY-NC-SA license, may not look as impressive as the architectonic wonders we mostly pick from the UNESCO World Heritage list, but it may actually be more impressive than all of those. Lake Turkana in Kenya is the largest desert lake in the world and home to about 250.000 indigenous species in the middle of a hostile landscape. If that’s not impressive, then I don’t know what is. Despite its size and importance Lake Turkana is threatened by a contruction project. See the photo page for details.