MAGE Company’s postapocalyptic game Raid & Trade by Charalampos Tsakiris and Malte Kühle is now on Kickstarter. We had a chance to try it in Essen, and this is what we had to say:
After the world is devastated by a nuclear war, a select few of the survivors live comfortably in their Golden City while the rest is stuck foraging outside. As one of the rest, you’re doing everything you can to gain citizenship. There are three ways to do that: complete tasks and collect materials to deliver in the city, build special items to become a specialist craftsmen, or be a person of exceptionally good character. I like that the game incorporates moral values, something that post-apocalyptic settings always comment on but that is hard to put in a boardgame. In Raid & Trade, you can not only win by being virtuous, if you become well known as a general bastard you won’t be able to forage for resources anymore because you’ll get shot on sight. On the other hand, evil is always tempting, shooting that one civilian might give you the items you need. Another great thing is player interaction. You can attack other players, with different benefits depending on your character, but you can also trade with them and buy not only their resources but also the items they craft, which can be quite useful to you.
The game also looked pretty good already, considering it was a prototype, and the photos on the project page look like it only got better. If all that sounds fun to you, why not go and have a look.
Red Raven Games
A new game by Ryan Laukat and Red Raven Games (Eight-Minute Empire) is going to be available next year. This time, you’re not building a globe-spanning empire but your own reputation as an archaeologist and businessman. In Artifacts, Inc., you start your own archaeological company in the 1920, recovering artifacts from all over the world and selling them to whichever museum pays best. Your brave adventurers are represented by dice that you place on cards in order to make them dig or negotiate with a museum. Selling artifacts can make you money, but you can concentrate instead on having majorities in museums or finding hidden treasure in sunken cities under the ocean. All those things are good for your reputation, and the best reputation wins.
IDW Games / Pandasaurus Games
Getting Japanese games translated for sale in the US and Europe is popular the last two years or so, and IDW Games wants a piece of that as well. With String Safari, they have caught a game with quirky mechanics by Hisashi Hayashi (Trains). As a zoologist, you are researching animals in the African savannah, but to do your research you have to capture them first. That you do with the Research String, a piece of string that you must place around the subjects of your research, and only animals inside the string can contribute to your current research goal.
Fantasy Flight Games
We already know some of the Rebel heroes of Star Wars: Imperial Assault. But what does the Empire field against them? The answer is almost obvious: Stormtroopers. Lots and lots of Stormtroopers. But unlike the ones in the movie, these guys can actually hit the broad side of a barn, and their squad training makes them even more dangerous when they come in packs. And to keep things interesting, Stormtroopers come in different flavors. For example, you get the E-Web Engineers with their heavy, tripod-mounted blasters. Due to their heavy weapon, they can’t move and attack on the same turn, but when they attack they can attack twice, unlike every other Imperial unit. But Stormtroopers aren’t everything, and the Empire has its own heroes: the Empire player can have Darth Vader himself on the field, complete with his signature move Force Choke.
For the first time, Stonemaier Games will publish a game not designed by their own Jamey Stegmaier and Alan Stone in 2015. They said they would only do that if they really love a game, and I can see why they decided to publish Between Two Cities (Matthew O’Malley, Ben Rosset), because just reading about it I want to try it, the concept sounds great. Each player will build not one but two cities, but both are shared with one of his neighbours. Every round, each player selects two tiles to place in his cities, and then discusses with both neighbours which tile should go to which city, and where. That alone is an interesting communication aspect, but it gets better: the tiles you use are drafted 7 Wonders style, whatever you don’t use goes to your neighbour, who you want to have a great tile to place in your shared city, but nothing good for his other city. And you can’t go playing favorites, either, your final score is the score of your less valuable city. Of course we can’t know until we try it, but this has potential to be great.
Z-Man Games are pushing their Pandemic games hard. We saw two new entirely new games from that line in Essen this year (Pandemic: The Cure and Pandemic: Contagion). Another new Pandemic game using the Legacy mechanic, making permanent changes to the game after each game has been announced. And now there will be a new expansion for the original Pandemic. State of Emergency by Matt Leacock (the original designer) and Tom Lehmann (designer of Race to the Galaxy and many more, also worked on Pandemic: On The Brink with Matt), will contain three very different expansion modules to make saving the world from diseases more challenging. The Hinterland Challenge has diseases crossing over from animals to humans – I have no idea what that could mean in terms of game mechanics. Emergency Events will mix up your game with random events – I’m guessing a miracle cure is not one of them. And the Superbug Challenge sounds downright nasty: a fifth disease is spreading, and there is no way to treat it. All you can do is produce a vaccine and try to stop the new disease from spreading, and to win you have to eradicate it completely. Breathing new life into Pandemic, that’s a thought that makes me happy.
The photo of the week, taken by Flickr user Bor-Neked and shared with a CC-BY license, shows the Tokaj region in Hungary, a historic wine region where viticulture is documented for the last thousand years and has shaped the whole area. It also has a breathtaking view. Thank you for sharing this photo!