Fantasy Flight Games
The focus of Star Wars: Armada is capital ship combat, but it’s not a Star Destroyers only event, smaller ships like X-Wings and TIE Fighters are also invited. The small ships only show up in squadrons, and they are still much less impressive than their larger cousins. But they have their advantages, too: the capital ships only have limited defenses against them, the most effective way to defend against enemy squadrons is to deploy squadrons of your own. Squadrons can also contain heroes like Luke Skywalker, giving the whole squadron special abilities and bolstering its defense as well. Heroes are annoyingly hard to kill.
The latest preview for XCOM: The Board Game offers an in-depth view of the aliens’ different invasion plans and the importance of paying your bills. Finances are the Commander’s responsibility, and his job is a frustrating one. He must make sure that the players don’t go over budget, but he has absolutely no authority to enforce that. All he can do is reason with the others to spend less money, because for every credit the team goes over budget the panic level rises on the continent that already has the most panic. To spend money effectively, it’s important to recognize what the aliens are up to. That’s where their different invasion plans come in. The aliens might focus on a ground offensive, or they might attack with their UFOs, or follow another plan, but they do always follow a plan they won’t change halfway through the game. Identify that plan, use your funding accordingly, and you might just save the world.
Life is going to be unpredictable, cold, and, at potentially, very short in Eldritch Horror: Mountains of Madness. Ithaqua, the second new Great Old One, comes from the north and brings cold and hunger with it. People in affected develop a hunger for everything, including and especially other people, creating quite a mess for the Investigators to deal with. On the other hand, with occult horror rising in the north, there is a chance to enter the realm of Hyperborea, for the first time in centuries. But even without the “new” Old Ones, things will not be the same again: the new Prelude cards modify the game setup and may add anything from dead Investigators with useful equipment to horrible incentives to visit Antarctica.
With the Gates of Arkham expansion, Elder Sign takes leave from the “Night at the Museum with Cthulhu” plot and opens up the city of Arkham. New adventures take you to various location around the city you might be familiar with from Arkham Horror: Velma’s Dinner, the Arkham Asylum, the Unnameable, all those places where you died or went insane before. The adventures are not different from regular Elder Sign adventures once you get there, but you won’t know for sure what to expect until you do: the new cards enter the game face down, with an effect that is active immediately, but you only get an indication how tough the task there will be, details are only revealed when you enter. So you might not want to enter the Unnameable with its red (very hard) task and find out what’s in the basement, but unless you do all Investigators will keep losing sanity. There are no easy choice here.
The currently kickstarting new expansion to fairyland coop game 12 Realms is much smaller than its predecessor, Ancestors Legacy, but Ghost Town changes the rules of fairyland. The hero starting in the Wild West corner of the world is trapped there to start with, he cannot leave and no one else can enter. Making matters worse, invaders he defeats are not removed from the board, they remain as ghosts and must be defeated again. The other players must find the Marshall’s items to free the trapped hero before he is overwhelmed by the ghosts.
With their newest Kickstarter project, Funforge are jumping on the zombie train. Not a literal train though, although that would be cool, too. ZNA is set in Boston in the year 2025, when the city has been enveloped by a mysterious and murderous chemical fog that turns people into violent zombies. Your goal in this cooperative game is, unsurprisingly for a game of survival horror, to survive. Up to four players have to make sure their heroes don’t die, and complete scenario objectives on top of that, by searching for equipment, killing zombies and using chemical weapons to combat the Fog directly. The price is definitely on the high side, but looking at the amazingly detailed miniatures does justify the price. With stretch goals, a companion app to ZNA will be unlocked and gain features, from simple setup help through augmented reality zombie scanning up to a campaign editor to design your own multi-mission zombie story. The goal of $600.000 to unlock the app in the first place sounds ambitious, but ZNA has crossed the $100.000 line in just two days, so chances are good that the app will be made.