A game doesn’t have to be heavy to sound like great fun. Foxtrot Games’ second Kickstarter project Lanterns: The Harvest Festival falls in that category, a light game that sounds fun. You place tiles with different colors of floating lanterns in the lake, and then all players take lantern cards of the color that is facing them on the new tile. Sets of cards can be traded for points, so you not only want to get the cards you need, at the same time you don’t want to give the opponents the cards they need. It won’t fill an evening, but I can see myself enjoying it.
Small family-run German publisher Kronberger Spiele are running their first crowdfunding project on Spieleschmiede with Nord, a game about big, hairy northmen. The vikings – a total of 100 meeple, fortunately NOT hairy – can go on the board to collect resources or as fighters to take on enemy jarls (chieftains), both in the interest of victory points. Unlike most recent games, Nord will require you to ally with others to score big points, especially to fight the jarls, but will still only have one winner. Luck counts little in the north, you win Nord with strategy. I just wish they had the rules up on the Spieleschmiede page, then I could tell you more. Good news for non-German speakers: everything with text in Nord will be bilingual, German and English.
Gen X Games
Here’s a preview video for Gen X Games’ horror survival game The Possession. It doesn’t say anything about gameplay, but the components make it very clear that this will not be a game to play with your children. I don’t know what is more disturbing: that there are Amputated Member Cards, or that they include heads…
Fantasy Flight Games
Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars: Imperial Assault is a clone of their own fantasy dungeon crawl Descent: Journeys in the Dark into the Star Wars universe. As such, the movement and combat rules explained in this preview post will not show anything new to anyone who knows Descent. On the other hand, the AT-ST visible in the first picture is surprising. Look at the size of that thing! They’re gonna need a bigger box for sure.
Defending Earth against alien invaders is no easy job, and it certainly looks like XCOM: The Board Game will not make it easy for you. The latest preview post shows how to win or lose the game, and losing the game seems more likely. The players are defeated when two continents descend into panic, a state brought on by having UFOs circling over your head, or when their base is destroyed. With limited resources, you will rarely have a chance to defend your base and eliminate all UFOs at the same time. To win, on the other hand, first of all you mustn’t lose, and then you still have to complete missions until you reveal the final mission and complete that, too.
Having acquired the rights to publish the board game Age of Conan, Ares Games are not wasting any time showing off their plans for it. The expansion Adventures in Hyboria will do what many players always wanted and expand the role the famous barbarian plays in the game. His adventures will be included in the game in the form of Story Cards that can be played when Conan is in the right location and give you control of the barbarian if successful. His success, however, is not guaranteed. Just like in the novels, Conan will sometimes be gripped by melancholy, and depressed barbarians don’t fight well. Conan will now level up from warrior to mighty king, really bringing his story into your game. Some other elements like spies and prisoners of war round of the expansion, I think the whole package will make Conan fans happy. To give the new game the launch it deserves, Ares Games have launched a Kickstarter campaign that has reached double its goal in just one day.
Antoine Bauza has posted another art preview for Tokaido: Matsuri on his blog. It’s only six cards, but I still love the illustration style so much… I wonder when my collector’s edition will arrive.
The new French publisher Capsicum Games will be in Essen with two new games. The first, Fleet Commander, is a space battle game for two players, each controlling a fleet of seven ship in only 5×5 sectors of space. You give orders to your ships by rolling your choice of Command Dice and executing the results, but to counter the element of luck you can also save dice to use them in the next round. The second game, Speakeasy, is based on the Chinese game Lu Zhan Qi, which has similarities to Stratego. The identity of your pieces is hidden from your opponent, giving you opportunities to bluff your way through some conflicts while also challenging your memory to remember what your opponents pieces are after you revealed them once. Unlike Stratego or Lu Zhan Qi, you’re not commanding an army but a gang in the prohibition era US, out to find your opponent’s illegal place of alcohol consumption.
Another Essen release from Poland is Astro Jam, designed by Michal Kolos and Wojciech Rzadek and published by Trefl. In Astro Jam, teams of astronauts compete to repair their space station by transporting needed materials to the right place. This is done by playing sequences of action cards to move astronauts or neutral robots in a straight line, throw the needed items to another astronaut or, occasionally, displacing someone into space. You have to figure out an efficient route to transport items with the cards you have, but you also have to manage your cards and it can’t hurt to get into your opponents’ way, either. The basic idea reminds me a little of Ricochet Robots, but it’s more forgiving in some ways – you don’t need walls to stop – and harder in other – opponents standing in your way.
This week’s photo shows the Sanctuary of Isis – remember, she was an Egyptian goddess before some fundamentalists stole the name – at Philae, Egypt. It’s part of the same world heritage as the even more famous temple at Abu Simbel, and it looks very impressive at night. The photo was taken by Dennis Jarvis and shared with a CC-BY-SA license. Thank you, Dennis!