Hans im Glück
One of the most famous modern boardgames is making a comeback next month. Hans im Glück will release area-control game El Grande, Spiel des Jahres winner 1996, in a new El Grande Big Box anniversary edition that contains the original game and all expansions that were available for it: Grand Inquisitor & The Colonies, Intrigue & The King, Grandissimo, Player’s Edition and an all new Anniversary Expansion. If you’re missing this one milestone game in your collection, now’s a good time to get it.
Gryphon and Eagle Games
Between all those strategic games, I have a weak spot for quirky little card games with quirky names, like Seven7s by Jason Tagmire (Maximum Throwdown, …). Yes, the name is spelled like that, it’s not a typo. In Seven7s, players use famous sets of seven, like the Colors of the Rainbow or the Wonders of the World, to score points. Points are scored for the three cards left in each players’ hand at the end of the game, but cards played until then affect the scores. The seven Ages of Man, for instance, make the highest value cards worthless, while the Colors of the Rainbow boost the score for all cards of one color. Seven7s is quick and more than slightly chaotic, and you can now back it on Kickstarter.
Red Raven Games
Above and Below is the latest Kickstarter project by Ryan Laukat and Red Raven Games (Eight-Minute Empire, …). This newest project is a very interesting, not done before mashup of a town-building game with a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Above ground, you’re building a village and assigning jobs like resource gathering or building to your villagers who are all individuals with their own skills. Below, in the caves under your village, adventure waits. When you go there, one of your opponents will read a random paragraph from the included storybook, at the end of which you’ll have to make a decision and collect reward or punishment based on that decision. Sometimes, the decision depends on the skills of the explorers you brought. If you look at the example stories on the Kickstarter page, you’ll see a lot of creativity there. I’m sure I’m going to like this mix.
Mage Company’s fairy tale cooperative game 12 Realms keeps growing. The next expansion, 12 Realms: Bedtime Story, is not live on Kickstarter yet, but they are eager to receive feedback about it already and have asked us to share their Kickstarter preview page. We’re happy to oblige. There are no details yet what the new expansion will bring to the game, but until the campaign launches in April that will certainly change.
Pandemic Legacy is drawing closer, Z-Man Games have posted the box covers on their Facebook page. The two editions will be identical except for the box. Having different covers is more than just aesthetics in a game with the Legacy system, if you want to play with different groups you’ll also have an easy time telling the boxes apart. The “Season 1” makes me hopeful that this might me the start of a series. A series of Legacy games, imagine what fun we could have with that. I’ll want the red box, by the way. Which one do you prefer?
Seeing how successful Hanabi was and still is, it was only a matter of time before other games would appear where everyone can see your hand of cards except yourself. Z-Man Games’ Abracada…what? has a similar basic idea, but in a competitive game, so instead of communicating with the other players you will have to deduce your own hand from their actions, or rather from the actions they don’t take, because those are more likely to be with you. The mighty wizards dueling in Abracada…what? are very, very confused individuals who know the spells everyone else can cast, but not their own, and so they must guess and deduce their own spells and take damage if they try to cast one they don’t know. More powerful spells are more rare, so casting them has a higher risk, but they obviously pack a bigger punch.
Guillotine Games / Cool Mini Or Nor
I’m not easily dazzled by plastic miniatures, but games on Kickstarter by Cool Mini Or Not amaze me every time. The latest game there is Guillotine Games’ Blood Rage, a viking miniature game set just after Ragnarok, the end of the world. The time has come for desperate feats of bravery for any viking that still wants to secure a spot in Valhalla, and that’s what your clan sets out to do. With some warriors, a leader and a dragon boat, you can fight, pillage and quest your way to glory. What exactly you do and how you do it depends a lot on the cards you draft in each of the three ages. Those cards represent favor of the gods and may do anything from strengthening your warriors to giving you control of a legendary monster.
Cardboard Fortress Games
I wish RESISTOR_ didn’t have a title in all capitals and that underscore at the end, but in a game about two cold war supercomputers trying to hack each other, it is thematically appropriate. And the game sounds like a lot of quick, tactical fun, too. Double-sided cards show red and blue connections, and by flipping and manipulating them you have to create a connection of your color to the enemy computer to score. Do that four times and you win. It’s much less simple than it sounds, and the connection between your computers gets shorter, increasing your risk. RESISTOR_ is on Kickstarter.
Terra Nova Games
Far Space Foundry, a new Kickstarter project by Terra Nova Games, turns the players into transport tycoons in a far away space quadrant. Going back and forth between Space Foundries Alpha and Beta, you’ll load ores and hire pilots at one and produce consumer goods and upgrade your fleet at the other with a mix of a rondel mechanic and worker placement. The winner will be the player that best loads his shuttles and thus makes the biggest profit.
Rio Grande Games
Aliens attack in Xeno Invasion, the third Race for the Galaxy story arc. As a new arc, Xeno Invasion will be incompatible with previous expansion and work only with the base game. There will be new cards with Xeno tech and defenses against the Xeno, and there will be the new Invasion game mode. When playing Invasion, the Xenos attack relentlessly every turn and damage your planets, making them useless until you repair them with the new Repair action.
Terraforming Mars, FryxGames’ game about … you can guess the theme from the name. Going by the preview cards in looks like quite an interesting game. Look at this new card, you’ll actually build an ecosystem on the red planet.
And still, people find settings for boardgames that I haven’t come across before. In Sicilia, currently on Kickstarter, players compete to be the next ruler of Sicily. You see, Sicily was a melting pot of different nationalities, but no king or queen ever resided there, instead appointing a duke or baron to rule. The latest of those, Baron Beneamato, wants to make sure his people are governed well after his death and calls for a democratic election: the people of Sicily are to pick one of their own to rule them. And that’s how you, one of the candidates, come to travel all over the island collecting votes from the villages every way you can. (I have no idea if this is a historic setting or completely made up, and Google isn’t telling. Does anyone know if this really happened?)
Now this is a game I will always lose because of its theme. Tesla vs. Edison: War of the Currents is a strategy game about the conflict between inventors Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison and their main field of battle, the decision between direct and alternating current. Since everyone knows I’m a giant Tesla fanboy, predicting my moves in this game will be easier than usual. Anyway, up to five players will run one of the electric companies of the late 19th century, hire scientists with different talents to work for them, trade in stocks, advance their companies technology, complete projects throughout the US and engage in the infamous propaganda wars between early electric companies. Topsy, the elephant infamously killed to demonstrate the alleged dangers of alternating current, makes a sad appearance in the game. You can support Tesla vs. Edison through Kickstarter or, for the Italian edition, Giochistarter.
This week’s photo, taken by Steve Jurvetson, shows the incredible Victoria Falls from the Zimbabwe side. Thank you so much for sharing, Steve. (CC-BY)