Spielworxx / Stonemaier Games
A German edition of Stonemaier Games dystopic worker placement game Euphoria: Build a better Dystopia is available through Spielworxx’ online shop. Shipping will start in November, but some copies will be available at Spielworxx’ booth in Essen.
Fantasy Flight Games
The second expansion to Fantasy Flight’s Cthulhu dice game Elder Sign will draw the game closer to its heavier cousin Arkham Horror. Players will not only leave the museum and walk the streets of Arkham, visiting locations familiar from Arkham Horror, they will also slip into other worlds through open Gates in these locations and be able to acquire Skill cards granting some permanent advantage, all very similar to the Arkham we know. But Gates of Arkham still remains an Elder Sign game at heart: you complete tasks by rolling the right symbols on the dice. But that is more dangerous than ever, because in the streets of Arkham you never know what you will have to do: cards in Arkham are only revealed when you enter a location, until then you don’t know what you will find.
As if awakening Great Old Ones wasn’t bad enough, Eldritch Horror: Mountains of Madness adds frostbite to the list of things you should worry about. This preview on the second Eldritch Horror expansion introduces you to the locations on the new Antarctica board. So, lets see: frostbite, Elder Things, Shoggoths and the Plateau of Leng, from where the unwary wanderer can end up literally anywhere and might see himself coming the other way, too. Good times!
At last, here’s more in depth information about The Witcher, explaining how you travel the land, why going too fast is dangerous business and how you improve your character. Interesting are the differences between the four characters. Not only do they each have a specific action, they each have their own development deck. This way, when advancing your character, you will find friends, spells and equipment that fit him or her and are likely something they can use in the Witcher books.
Ares Games / Fantasy Flight Games
Deals have been struck between Fantasy Flight Games, Ares Games and Conan Properties International in which Ares Games becomes the new publisher of the strategy board game Age of Conan. Fantasy Flight’s remaining stock of the game’s fist edition is also part of the deal, meaning that Age of Conan will be available from Ares pretty much immediately. They are also working on an expansion titled Adventures in Hyboria that will give the famous, titular barbarian a larger role in the game. Players will still not control him but command one of the four mightiest kingdoms of Hyboria, with Conan wandering the board following his own destiny, but with the expansion his impact should be much greater.
Triple Ace Games
Queen Victoria has decided to extend the British Empire to the moon. And immediately, daring adventurers and scientists from the Leagues of Adventure jump to the task in Triple Ace Games first board game on Kickstarter: Rocket Race. The setting is based on their own steampunk RPG Leagues of Adventure, but the game is card game that is light on the rules but has a very interesting auction mechanic where you buy parts for your rocket with time. You bid on rocket components with cogs, which are then placed on the component card. Each round, one cog is removed from the card and returned to the player, when the last cog is removed the piece is built. Since the highest bidder still wins, that means that whoever takes the most time to build the part will win it. But you also want to finish quickly, because only the first person to the moon will be rich and famous. The advanced rules make things a bit harder, now every component needs expertise in Electrics, Mechanics and Chemistry to build, and you have to decide in which specialty to progress.
Mac Gerdts and PD Verlag will have a new edition of the strategy game Antike in Essen that, because of rather extensive rule changes, they decided to title Antike II. It still uses Gerdts’ well known rondel for action selection, and it still allows up to six players to control their ancient civilization and conquer other players’ cities and burn their temples. The largest rules changes in Antike II simplify how you conquer cities and add neutral temples to the board, which can be destroyed for points without attacking another player. Add some smaller changes and two new maps on the double-sided game board, and I’d say the new title is justified.
One Night Ultimate Werewolf was Bezier Games’ very successful Kickstarter project to create a faster Werewolf game without the need for a moderator and without player elimination. That’s a whole bunch of good, in my opinion. One thing that has always been true about the Werewolf games is that they are easily expandable, and One Night is no exception. Well, actually the new Kickstarter project Daybreak is a stand-alone game, but it can be mixed with the original game, so it is a sort of expansion. Daybreak has twelve new roles that you can use on their ow or shuffle into One Night and cause even more chaos.
In light and chaotic games, Sushi Dice by Sit Down! is one to keep an eye on in Essen this year. Each round, two of the up to six players face each other in a duel, rolling dice as quickly as they can to roll the fish they need to pick one of the three available Sushi Platters and win the round. But they have to watch their opponent’s dice as well, when he rolls a YUCK they can force him to reroll all the dice he wanted to keep. The YUCK also keeps players not participating in the duel engaged, when both players have one of those at the same time, then everyone else can cut their duel short with neither of them gaining points. Light, quick and chaotic.
In this week’s newsletter, IELLO have revealed the games they will have in Essen this year. Some of those are no surprise to anyone. Richard Garfield’s sequel to his monster brawl game King of Tokyo, King of New York, was certain to be there, and the real-time, cooperative zombie game Zombie 15′ was already demoed last year. There’ll be a giant version of the zombie game with buildings and landscapes at their booth again that is a lot of fun to try, by the way.The other games are less expected.
It starts with Guardians’ Chronicles (IELLO & The Red Joker), a game about a team of super heroes who invade the base of villain Doctor Skarov, avoid his traps, defeat his minion and thwart whatever is his plan this week. Or not, because Skarov is the one player playing against the rest, so this game might not end like a Saturday morning cartoon.
Next we have Tales & Games: The Hare and the Tortoise (IELLO & Purple Brain Creations), a betting game about the two animals’ famous race – joined by sheep, fox and wolf to spice things up – where each animal follows slightly different movement rules when its cards are played.
The fables and fairy tales continue with Eat Me If You Can! (also IELLO & Purple Brain Creations) – which is not starring Leonardo DiCaprio, but should be – another light game where players as Red Riding Hood, Mother Pig or a Little Piggy decide if they want to rest or set a wolf trap. After they decide, the wolf player decided who to try and eat. If that player is sleeping, he’s gobbled up and the wolf scores points, but if that player set a trap he takes points from the wolf. All sleeping players that have not been eaten score a point as well, then the game continues with a new player as the wolf.
In Night of the Grand Octopus (IELLO & Superlude), multiple occult groups compete to be the first to raise their sleeping octopus god without being eaten by rival groups’ monsters. Sometimes, when the stars are really, really right, so many cultists converge on one location that they have to negotiate who gets to hold their ritual first.
Kobayakawa (IELLO & Superlude) is a minimalist bluffing game with only 15 cards and a handful of chips per player. Each player holds one card, and on their turn they may discard it and draw a new one, or discard the open center card and replace it. When the round is over, the player with the highest card in hand wins, but the player with the lowest card gets to add the center card’s value.
And finally, there’s a game that won’t be available yet, but that you can check out in Essen before giving money to the coming Kickstarter campaign. World of Yo-Ho (Volumique & IELLO) is yet another attempt at bringing boardgames together with mobile apps, but in a way that hasn’t been done before: you install an app on your phone, place it on the board and it becomes your game piece. Turn your phone into a pirate ship and take it into battle against sea monsters and other phones… um… ships. Now that does sound fun and I’ll do my best to try it in Essen. Arrrrrr, I’m a-sink meself an iPhone me hearties!