Blue Orange will soon release an abstract two player game by Bruno Faidutti. The game titled Attila gives each player a set of pieces that move like chess knights, which they use to block the other player, rendering him unable to make a move. To prevent long stalemates, the game board will shrink bit by bit, forcing a decision at some point. Instead of the bland style often associated with abstract games, Blue Orange have decided to go with cartoon huns as pieces, matching the title. I like this light style, just because a game is abstract doesn’t mean it can’t have a fun exterior.
Sierra Madre Games
Prequels are popular for books and movies, so why not make them for games, too? Neanderthal by Phil Eklund is a prequel of sorts to his 2014 game Greenland ( review coming soon) that shares some mechanics with its older brother, but will challenge you in different ways. Controlling one of three early human species, you assign work to the men, women and elders of your tribe, trying to survive. At the start of the game, you will be without the tools that make survival easy, but in the course of the game you will reach the level of technology that marks the start of Greenland. If your people don’t die out first.
Kiqsuyapi, another game from the Little’n’Nice series of very small yet entertaining games is on Spieleschmiede looking for funding. Kiqsuyapi is, allegedly, a Hopi word meaning “the one who remembers”. The Internet doesn’t exactly confirm that, but according to Google it translates to “remember” or “don’t forget”, which is close enough and describes the game perfectly. Each round, one player will be the puzzle master. He reveals a number of cards showing Indians, lets the other players see them briefly, hides them again and then asks a question like “how many feathers were visible?” or “was the one in the middle in war paint?” The first player to answer correctly wins the round and gains a point.
ABACUSSPIELE will soon release Cacao, a tile placement game by Phil Walker-Harding. There are two different types of tiles, terrain tiles from a common supply and each players own worker tiles. On their turn, a player places one of each, and the workers on the worker tile go doing their job: places next to a cocoa tile, they harvest cocoa, that they can sell for gold at a market tile. From a well tile they bring home water and next to a temple they just hang around, hoping to be the largest crowd there at the end. The winner is decided by gold earned, water supply and majorities at the temples.
Ted Alspach’s city building game Suburbia will gain another expansion later this year. This time, you get to turn your city into a world famous travel destination, because Suburbia 5*
is all about tourism. Your city can be upgraded with landmarks, monuments and tourist traps that bring in money, but also set player order through the new reputation system. Besides 50 new tiles, Suburbia 5* will also contain material for a fifth player. And yes, the star is part of the official title, so get used to it.
The previously announced third part in Thomas Spitzer’s Coal trilogy, Haspelknecht, is not coming after all, at least not from Spielworxx. In a terse statement, the publisher wishes Spitzer “good luck with this game, and hopefully many more”, implying that the rights to the game remain with the author and it may pop up from another publisher. Neither side has commented on the reasons for this decision.
Tasty Minstrel Games
Orléans, last year’s Essen release by Reiner Stockhausen and German publisher dlp games, has been picked up by Tasty Minstrel Games who are currently running a Kickstarter campaign for Deluxe Orléans. Here’s what we previously had to say about the game:
This year’s Essen release by dlp games is, by their own opinion, their most complex game to date. Reiner Stockhausen’s Orléans is a game about the French city in the Loire valley, where players compete for points by means of construction, trade and science. Each action you can take in this game is tied to a type of person in your employ, so you’ll need craftsmen to build trading stations and produce tools, scholars to advance the sciences, knights to protect your traders on the river and so on. In all those options, many different ways to victory are possible and the game is described as very strategic – just the way I like it.
And that was before the game got a lot of praise at the Spiel 2014.
The next game in the Pandemic family, the previously announced Pandemic Legacy, now has a release date: Essen, meaning October. You’ll still be fighting diseases all over the world, but everything is not going to be alright after you cure them. Just like Risk Legacy, your actions affect all future games. Diseases evolve and will be harder to control next time. Characters change. Characters might die, but they may also become heroes. Needless to say, I’m very excited for this one.
With Traders of Osaka Susumu Kawasaki reimplements his own 2006 game Traders of Carthage, a set collection game where you try to transport your goods through the pirate infested Mediterranean. You use the same cards as goods to deliver, gold pieces to pay and urns to protect goods from pirates. When to use cards in which way is the important decision to win the game. Traders of Osaka will be available from Z-Man Games this summer.
Rio Grande Games
Rio Grande Games this week announced the 9th expansion to the father of all deck building games, Dominion. In Dominion: Adventures you will leave your cozy kingdom behind and go out into the world, hunting for treasure. You’ll encounter some old acquaintances along the way, like Duration Cards that have an effect in the future, not only on the current turn like all other cards. But you will encounter new things, too: Event Cards will “give you something to buy besides cards, including tokens that modify cards”. Mysterious and exciting.
Pegasus Spiele will release another game based on the German fantasy novel series Die Zwerge. Die Zwerge: Das Duell is a two-player game (if you hadn’t guessed from the “duel” part) with one player playing the dwarfs defending their homeland and the other as their enemies out to conquer them. Additionally, the box will contain new cards for the cooperative game Die Zwerge, letting players experience the events of the new, third novel.
Alderac / Fun t0 11
From a cooperation between Alderac and Fun to 11 springs Epic PvP: Fantasy. If you’re not into online game lingo, PvP stands for player vs. player, so lets just say this is not going to be a cooperative game. The game takes the basic idea of Alderac’s Smash Up and applies it to classic fantasy role-play: you take two decks of cards, one for your characters race, one for his class, shuffle them up and set out to bash skulls in. Or kneecaps, if you’re playing a dwarf. The main races and classes from classic D&D are present, so you can play a Dwarf Paladin, a Goblin Barbarian or, because you can mix everything, even a Goblin Paladin. Epic PvP: Fantasy will be on Kickstarter on January 21st, which I mention specifically because all backers will receive the Dark Elf race deck if the campaign reaches 250 backers in the first 24 hours.
Fantasy Flight Games
Elder Sign: Gates of Arkham brings the dice fight against Cthulhu ever closer to the classic Arkham Horror. The latest preview reveals that, just like in Arkham Horror, portals to other worlds can and will open in locations around the city, and brave investigators will have to jump through the portals into other worlds to fight the monsters on their own turf.
The King’s Abbey is a new Kickstarter project that takes you straight to the Middle Ages. There, you take control of an abbey, putting the monks to work in classic worker placement manner – not for manual labor of course, that’s what you have peasants for, but there are enough other jobs to do. Besides building up your abbey for better production and stronger defense against the Darkness – representing Raiders, Famines and all the other things that made the Middle Ages such a great time to live – you have to find enough resources to do so and participate in a Crusade or two for victory points.
Some game titles really leave no doubt about what you’re going to do in the game. Terraforming Mars, FryxGames’ 2015 project, is one of those, the title says it all. In the 25th century giant corporations, controlled by the players, have started terraforming Mars, and while they work together for the common goal, they still want to earn more recognition than the others, and so they compete for the most successful projects. More than 200 unique project cards help make Mars inhabitable while producing resources and giving other bonuses, but some of the best ones can only be used after temperature, oxygen or sea level on Mars have already reached a minimum level from other projects. I’m guessing Terraforming Mars will be another Essen release.
This weeks’ featured photo shows the Convent of the Order of Christ in Tomar, Portugal, which was originally a stronghold of the Knights Templar. Interesting side note: the Order of Christ is a direct successor of the Portuguese branch of the Knights Templar after they were disbanded. The things I learn while picking photos for the news. The picture was taken by Ines Saraiva and shared as CC-BY. Thank you, Ines!