Meople News: Jolly Trolls

Spielworxx / ADC Blackfire

Matthias Cramer’s next game Kraftwagen (that’s German for automobile) can be preordered from Spielworxx now. The game is set in the late 1800s / early 1900s when the automobile matured from a crazy invention into a mass market product. The first Grand Prix races feature in the game, but it’s not all about the races. You also have manage your research into better engines and bodies and, occasionally, sell cars.

Mighty Box Games/ Mr. B Games

When I hear about posthumanism, usually it doesn’t sound like this. In Mighty Box’s first Kickstarter project Posthuman, the last surviving humans are struggling to survive against their mutated offspring. The mutants are everywhere, but rumor has it there is a human fortress, somewhere in the wilderness. The human players are on their way there, but wilderness and mutants are standing in their way. With every wound suffered from a mutant attack, there is an increasing risk to mutate yourself. Having thus changed teams, a mutants new goal is simple: kill all humans.

Spieleschmiede / Artana

Players wanting to take part in the war of the currents can now back Tesla vs. Edison: War of Currents on Spieleschmiede, too. There was some confusion about what is happening there and who is running this project, especially regarding the question why surplus funding from Spieleschmiede is not applied to Kickstarter stretch goals. The gist seems to be: Spieleoffensive, the owners of Spieleschmiede, are running this campaign themselves to fund a German translation of the game. They’re buying games from Artana, adding German materials to the boxes and sending them on to their backers. An unusual construct, but it gets you a German translation.

Soulfall (Image by Small Box Games)
Soulfall (Image by Small Box Games)

Small Box Games

You better hurry if you want in on John Clowdus’s latest game Soulfall, the Kickstarter campaign is only 10 days long. Players in Soulfall lead a nomad tribe through the barren landscape of Soulfall. They are the survivors of a cataclysm that would have destroyed the world if not for the intervention of the mysterious Lords, beings with godlike powers that prevented the total destruction. The Lords are a key element of the game. The Lord currently running the world – the top of the Lord Card discard pile – changes the rules in some way, and by devoting yourself to one of the Lords you can gain powerful special effects to help your tribe. Beyond that, Soulfall is also an outstandingly beautiful game, with an art style you probably haven’t seen in a game before.

Fantasy Flight Games

Fantasy Flight Games have announced a new edition of another classic board game: Cave Troll. Has anyone else noticed that all the classics thus resurrected involve dungeons and monsters? Anyway, Cave Troll seems to be more a strategy game than a dungeon crawl. You are sending heroes into a cave to plunder gold, that much is still true. But you’re also sending in monsters to keep the other players from doing the same. And you can’t just pick up the gold and run out, either. You have to have the most heroes in a room when a scoring happens to profit from the gold there, and when a scoring happens depends on the cards you play. So, definitely not yet another dungeon crawler.

I’m not sure what to call this post by Fantasy Flight Games. It’s not technically a preview, the game it is about was first published in 1997. But it’s a post leading up to Fantasy Flight’s first edition of it, so it should be called a preview. Never mind what to call it, if you have never played Reiner Knizia’s Tigris & Euphrates but are interested in this new edition, then this preview explains how wars and revolts work to take control over a city away from your opponents.

Rio Grande Games

There will be – finally, some will say – a new edition of Michael Schacht’s Mogul, an auction game that was previously only available from Schacht’s own Spiele aus Timbuktu and in a Japanese edition by Game Field. And when I say available, what I really mean is unavailable, since the Spiele as Timbuktu edition was limited to 2000 copies back in 2002. Thematically, Mogul is a game about trains. Players buy stock in five train companies by a clever auction mechanic where a player that passes takes all the money bid since the last player passed. Keeping and selling stock generates income that you can spend on building depots on the game board that will be worth more points at the end of the game the more depots the player has on the same network.

Garp Hill Games

The title Raiders of the North Sea pretty much tells you what the game is about. It’s about vikings, and they raid. But raiding is not just getting on a dragon boat, visiting the neighbors and taking their stuff. There are planning and preparations to take care of. A crew must be assembled, provisions provided, and a raid target selected. Raiders uses a new variant of the worker placement mechanic: each turn, you place your single worker on an empty location and take the associated action, then you pick up a different worker and take that location’s action. This means that you will have different combinations to pick from every round, and that other players can deny you certain combinations by making sure that both locations are full or empty. That sounds interesting, and the art by Mihajlo Dimitrievski on display on the Kickstarter page makes me more interested in the project.

Specter Ops: Shadow of Babel (Image by Plaid Hat Games)
Specter Ops: Shadow of Babel (Image by Plaid Hat Games)

Plaid Hat Games

After last week’s preview of the Hunters in Specter Ops: Shadow of Babel, this week it’s the Agents turn. To have a chance against the Hunters, the Agents have their own powerful bag of tricks. That bag of tricks is different for every Agent, and which one you play or oppose will change the whole game for you. There’s Cobra, a specialist in ambush tactics the Hunters won’t want to get closed to. Orangutan is the strongest Agent in a direct confrontation, he can take more punches than any other Agent and stun all opponents around him. And then there’s Spider, hiding in the shadows and stunning Hunters from afar.

Now there’s also agent number four, Blue Jay, who has yet another approach to things. She can complete mission objectives from one step further away than other agents. That has a big impact on where she could be at the end of the turn, she’ll be much harder to catch than your average agent, even before she uses her Holo Decoy.

Petersen Games

Orcs Must Die! is a rather popular video game by Robot Entertainment where two teams of heroes try to invade each others fortress with their minions and defend their own fortress against invasion with traps. Of course, heroes can also enter the battle themselves and use their special abilities, different for every hero, to turn the tides. Petersen Games has acquired the rights to create Orcs Must Die! – The Boardgame! and are currently running a Kickstarter for it. With one copy of the game, you won’t fight against other players but take up to three friends into battle against hordes of monsters. If you get both box sets, Order and The Unchained, then two teams of up to four people can fight it out against each other. Getting both boxes is a bit pricy, but you get a bunch of miniatures in each box for your money.

Ares Games

Ares Games will be very nautical this year with two new games presented at the GAMA trade fair. The first, Jolly Roger, is also the first ever card game by Ares Games. As the crew of a pirate ship, players must work together to attack and plunder other ships. But pirates are not a naturally cooperative bunch, and with every decision the captain makes, other players may mutiny and take control from him. A successful mutiny requires the same cards used in battle, so it’s doubtful if everyone is really doing their best in those attacks, of if some people are holding cards back. The richest pirate wins the game, but gold is only safe once it’s buried on a treasure island, until then anything could happen to it. Jolly Roger is a game by Frederic Moyersoen, designer of Saboteur.

Odyssey – Wrath of Poseidon is a larger game and the newest game by Leo Colovini, famous as one designer of Inkognito. All but one players are navigators on Greek ships sailing home after the siege on Sparta. The remaining player is Poseidon, God of the Sea, and doesn’t want anyone to get home alive and throws storms and monsters at their ships. The game is played on two boards, one for Poseidon and one for the other players. Only Poseidon’s board has the real position of the other player’s ships. On their own board, they can only mark their best guess where they are right now, and the longer the game goes the more guesswork there is to it.

The photo of the week, taken by Adam Baker and shared with a CC-BY license, shows the Palace of Diocletian in Split, Croatia. Thank you for the beautiful photo, Adam.