Bombyx / Asmodee
Antoine Bauza and Corentin Lebrat’s incredibly cute bamboo and panda game Takenoko is about to be even cuter, pretty much literally. Takenoko Chibis adds a family for the base game’s panda, with a wife and a bunch of children. Together with the new pandas there will be new objective cards and landscape tiles for the gardeners – players – to integrate into their strategy.
Fantasy Flight Games
The Brunos (Bruno Faidutti and Bruno Cathala) have designed a bunch of game together, and now seems the time for all of them to come back. First we learned that Queen’s Necklace will be coming back, and now Fantasy Flight Games have announced a new edition of Mission: Red Planet, a forerunner of the many steampunk-themed games we get now. In your Victorian era spaceship, you’ll go to Mars to exploit its natural resources as your home on Earth is running out of coal to burn. This is also not a simple reprint, the new edition of Mission: Red Planet adds the moon Phobos as a new zone to land in, updated the components and is now playable with two to six players, instead of three to five like the older edition.
Nothing good ever has a harbinger. You get harbingers of doom, or harbingers of the apocalypse, but no one ever mentioned a harbinger of cake, for instance. So you should have a pretty good idea what to expect when you add the The Harbinger expansion to your Talisman games. This expansion brings not only one but four decks of doom cards, so you can pick if you rather die from undead or the apocalyptic transformation of the ground you walk on. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Harbinger himself walks the land, and if you find yourself in the same region as him you draw from his stack of adventure cards, and they are considerably less friendly than regular adventure cards. There’s demons in there, cursed items and cursed followers. Rounding off the box are three new heroes and two new scenarios, one of which has you fight the Four Horsemen.
Fish Wizard Press
The torrent of new deck-building games that came in the wake of Dominion has died down a little, and so I’m all the happier when a new game comes along with an interesting use of the mechanic. Gateway: Uprising, the first Kickstarter boardgame project by Fish Wizard Press, might be such a game. Each player leads a group of wizards against the dictator of the city of Gateway, who wants to abolish all magic but his own. They all start with a similar crew, but recruit new members during the game to fight against the dictator, against the beastly Drueggar invaders and against each other for control of the city’s districts that grant special abilities to their controllers. The districts to fight over add a layer of strategy beyond deck-building to the game, that’s what really getting me interested here. Pure deck-building games will probably not bring much innovation any more, but deck-building + X could.
One thing that doesn’t come to mind when thinking about Games Workshop games is cooperation. Usually, they focus on the opposite. But their latest boardgame Assassinorum: Execution Force is a coop game. Doesn’t mean it’s peaceful, though, because up to four Imperial assassins will have to fight their way through hordes of Chaos Cultists and even a few Chaos Marines that get in their way as they try to stop a Chaos Lord from completing his ritual. Tactical movement, combat and stealth are key. This being Games Workshop, there are a bunch of miniatures in the box, and they are comparable with Warhammer 40.000.
Colt Express may not be a deeply strategic game, but robbing a train with meeple bandits is a lot of fun. And with the still unnamed expansion, there’ll be even more fun, because on top of fighting inside the train and on top of it, you’ll be able to ride alongside on the new horses, extend the fight to a new train car and a stage coach and deal with prisoners and hostages. The expansion will be available in Essen. Also coming from Ludonaute is a new The Little Prince game by Antoine Bauza and Bruno Cathala, to go with the movie coming this summer. This is going to be a kid-friendly game with some tactical movement and card play.
Pandasaurus Games / IDW Games
The second expansion for city building card game Machi Koro is all about the one percent, or those that believe they are. With Millionaire’s Row, your little city can have vineyards and fancy French restaurants, but the new vacation mechanic may destroy your best laid plans. This expansion is already available in other languages, but in English it should be out in July from Pandasaurus Games.
Portal Games, known for their excellent strategic games, are trying their hands on a lighter game for a wider audience with Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot, a game for dice pirates. Each round, one player throws a big hand full of dice belonging to all players into the game box. Where they land and what they show determines how well everyone does in fighting other ships with their pirate ship. The loot, if they got any, can be used to upgrade ships, hire crew or buy favor with the Pirate King, the latter being what wins the game.
Given the title, it’s not a surprise that Julian Allain’s Titan Race, a game in development at Funforge, is a racing game. Players will ride their titanic creatures around a simple, round race track. Racing works with dice: you roll an handful of them each turn and pick one for your movement. If that die’s color matches your player color, you may use your special ability. On top of that, cards hand you weapons and other special effects to harass your opponents. Just like you’d expect from Funforge, the illustrations are absolutely gorgeous, you can see a lot of previews on their Facebook page. My personal favorite so far is Craken the pirate crab.
Another new game has just made an appearance on Funforge’s Facebook page, a project by Bruno Faidutti, Sergio Halaban and André Zatz. In their Warehouse 51 there’s some sort of clearance sale in the legendary storage facility where The Government takes all supernatural objects they can get their hands on, many artifacts will be auctioned to the players. That’s all we know for now, but I hope we’ll learn more about the game very soon.
Plaid Hat Games
Plaid Hat Games have given an in-depth explanation of their coming pseudo-CCG Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn. I call it a pseudo-CCG because it has mechanics comparable to CCGs like Magic: The Gatheting, but it’s not a collectible game. In this first preview, you can see for yourself that the turn structure is not so different. Even more interesting is this preview post looking at one of the Phoenixborn, a Lady that really loves her snakes.
In it’s original incarnation, BSG Express (for Battlestar Galactica, but faster than that game, taking only about an hour) is the most downloaded print-and-play game on BoardGameGeek. The title didn’t fly for a commercial release, the rights for Battlestar Galactica are taken, but a quick re-theme and a bit of streamlining later the same game can now be preordered from Stronghold Games as Dark Moon. In the new plot, some members of a mining expedition to Saturn’s moon Titan are infected with a mysterious virus that makes them paranoid and violent. There goal is to kill all uninfected expedition members. They, on the other hand, simply have to survive until the end of the game. At the start of the game, no one in Dark Moon knows who else is on their team, so lies and deceit are important tools.
Three parallel crowdfunding campaigns have started this week for giochix.it’s The Foreign King. The year is 1831 and Belgium has just won its independence from Holland. But they can’t be a kingdom without a king, and so they call a German king to take the throne and unite the people of Belgium and lead the country into the industrial age. The Foreign King is an area majority game with action selection. There are eight actions to pick, but what scores points is having the majority of the population in a region when the king visits there. But instead of placing people on the map, you might also place them in Congress. The player with the majority of congressmen may move them to a region just before it’s scored. And then there’s still factories to build. The game is smaller and quicker than most from giochix.it, it plays in under an hour and is described as medium heavy. (Crowdfunding on Kickstarter, giochistarter and Spieleschmiede)
The unusual perspective of the cathedral of Speyer shown in this week’s featured photo is thanks to Flickr user ptwo who generously shared it with a CC-BY license. Thank you!