Meople News: Rice with Tiny Dragons

Modiphius Entertainment

Kevin Wilson, designer of Arkham Horror and many other great games, has signed to develop a game for Modiphius Entertainment. I specifically mention Arkham Horror here, and not Kevin’s other games, because with the Modiphius game he will return to Lovecraft’s Mythos universe. Achtung! Cthulhu – The Secret War is a cooperative game set in an alternate World War II where summoning Great Old Ones and unleashing the powers of ancient relics are a part of warfare. The players, agents for the allied forces, must stop supernatural threats all over Europe, with very little help from the mundane forces.

Fantasy Flight Games

Fleet building in Star Wars: Armada is a lot more interesting than just picking a bunch of ships. Sure, you need a bunch of ships, or it’s not much an armada, but there are many other choices that go into your fleet. Besides capital ships and squadrons of smaller fighters, you can get a range of upgrades, including extra weaponry, more competent crew members and special abilities for your ships. You also pick a commander for your fleet – not much to pick in the basic game, there is only one per side – and a set of three objectives, one of which will be the objective of the game. That’s a whole lot of options, and we all know that expansions with more options are coming.

Fantasy Flight Games launched a new line of games that will make many gamers, especially in the US, quite happy. Euro Classics will bring back classic euro-style boardgames in new editions, and the honor of starting this product line goes to Reiner Knizia’s Tigris & Euphrates, first published in German in 1998 by Hans im Glück. The tile-laying game, rightly counted as one of Knizia’s best, puts up to four players in charge of their own civilization in ancient Mesopotamia. They grow those civilizations by placing tiles of four different types (agriculture, religion, trade and government), trying for balance between the four categories because the weakest one determines their final score. When two cities connect, conflict breaks out and some of the players’ leaders will have to be removed from the board, losing their claim to the city. The new Fantasy Flight edition will include materials for variants of the game as well.

This new edition by Fantasy Flight Games is not part of the Euro Classics. Drakon is a much more american-style game, and that doesn’t change with the new edition. Up to six heroes are trapped in dragon Drakon’s labyrinth, and only the first hero to bring her ten gold pieces can buy his freedom. Each room of the labyrinth holds rewards – gold and helpful bonuses – or dangers, like the magic harp that forces heroes to enter its room. Every turn, you either move your hero or place a new chamber in the labyrinth. And Drakon is lurking somewhere, too.

Spirits of the Rice Paddy (Image by APE Games)
Spirits of the Rice Paddy (Image by APE Games)

APE Games

The latest game by Philip duBarry (Revolution!, Courtier, …) will be published by APE Games, who are now running a Kickstarter campaign for it. Spirits of the Rice Paddy is a game about growing rice, using worker placement and an interesting card mechanic. The most challenging thing about growing rice is giving it enough water, and that’s exactly your problem in Spirits: the cards tell you when you get water, lower numbered cards go before higher numbered ones. But on the other hand, cards with higher numbers have more powerful abilities, making the decision which to play a bit harder. You’ll also have to deal with rocks in your paddies, pests and weeds before you can finally bring your rice home. Spirits of the Rice Paddy is a heavier game, strategically speaking, but without a huge tangle of complexity, and does look very, very promising.

Schmidt Spiele

Schmidt Spiele will soon have a new variant of Susan McKinley Ross’s 2011 Spiel des Jahres winner Qwirkle. Qwirkle Cards, played with cards instead of the original’s tiles, is not simply the same game with different components. Instead of placing cards in a grid, like the tiles in Qwirkle, they go into lines. Those lines can still have up to six cards, either with the same symbol and different colors or vice versa. To make things interesting, cards do not have to stay where they were played. On top of playing cards from the hand, players may move cards between lines at will. The only way to score is to create qwirkles, lines of six cards that can not be changed any more. The basic idea is a bit different from Qwirkle, but will likely appeal to the same audience and is much more mobile.

Gamelyn Games

Did you ever want to rule your own galaxy? Gamelyn Games makes it possible now. The bad news: your galaxy is tiny. The good news: it’s also epic. Tiny Epic Galaxies is currently Kickstarting, and it packs the the tiny box with epic fun. Rolling dice tells you what actions you can take for your galactic empire this turn – but luck shouldn’t be a major concern, you have many ways to change your roll or even use other players’ rolls instead. The dice let you build spaceships, fly around the universe, get in contact with other planets and exploit their resources. The order in which you take the actions the dice give you can make a big difference. The game may be tiny, but it gives you many decisions to make.

Bryggen, the old wharf of Bergen, Norway, is a wood built part of the city in the style common in northern Europe in the late middle ages. It’s been rebuild many times after fires, but always in the original form and materials. The beautiful photo of Bryggen was taken by Andrés Nieto Porras and shared with a CC-BY-SA license. Thank you, Andrés!

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