Meople News: The Raptors of Atlantis

Z-Man Games

Apocalypse Chaos, a new cooperative game by Z-Man Games, certainly opens with a strong title. You just know this isn’t going to be a calm trip to the grocery store. The players will be on a ship (probably of the space variety) under attack by things. We don’t know what things, but they’re attacking, and you have to repel them. That’s all the details we have at the moment, but we’ll keep you posted.

Portal Games

The second expansion to Ignacy Trzewiczek’s Imperial Settlers brings the first new empire to the game. With the Imperial Settlers: Atlanteans, the game leaves behind its historic realism, but we’ll gladly leave that behind in return for another fun faction to play. The Atlanteans are intended to play very different from the four existing empires with their Technology Tokens, a new resource that transforms some of their faction cards in a powerful way. But they’ll need this boost, all their faction buildings sink at the end of the game and don’t even leave points behind. With Atlanteans, Imperial Settlers will be playable with five players, and the existing Empires get some new cards to interact with Atlantis, too.

Terraforming Mars (Image by FryxGames)
Terraforming Mars (Image by FryxGames)


Terraforming Mars is not an easy project. Just look at what is necessary to make it rain there, you need a lot of water first and then you have to spend a lot of money to keep the process going. On the upside, you make plants grow around your colony while also cooling of an opponent’s, not a good thing on Mars.


The Brunos (Cathala and Faidutti) are at it again, and this time with an all new game, not “merely” a new edition. Their new two player game Raptor will be published by Matagot and will put players into an … um … prehistoric recreation zone. I’m trying to avoid trademarked titles here. Anyway, one player controls Mama Raptor and her hatchlings, trying to escape into the forest and maybe eat some scientists on the way, the other player controls the scientists trying to prevent just that. Both players have cards with values from one to nine and pick one of them each turn. The player with the lower card goes first and may only use the cards special effect. The player with the higher value card also gets the difference in values as action points to move and attack with his team. Mechanically simple, but there’s a lot of tactical potential there.

Van Ryder Games

Once again the apocalypse has come and gone, and the players are among the survivors. In Salvation Road, your enemies are not the common zombies but the much more threatening hunger, disease and marauding survivors. Your goal is to reach the rumored town of Salvation, a place with resources and a high wall, and to get there you follow the road. Fuel and food are scarce and you’ll have to enter locations you’d rather avoid to keep your supplies up. The road is not your friend, many dangers lie ahead, and while some of the people in your little group are real heroes others are more obstacle than help. You still drag them along, though, because not leaving your people behind is what separates you from the marauders.

Plaid Hat Games

The previews for Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn by Plaid Hat Games continue. Today we’re seeing different types of cards and where and how you play them. If you have played CCGs or games with similar mechanics, the idea of units and spells will be familiar to you. What is new (as far as I know) is that each player avatar has different limits how many spells and units they can have in play, creating different play styles and different considerations when building decks. For added fun, multiple spells with the same name only take up one slot in the so-called Spellboard, but may increase in power with every additional card.

Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn (Image by Plaid Hat Games)
Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn (Image by Plaid Hat Games)

An unlikely fighter is this week’s character preview for Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn. Saria doesn’t look threatening to anyone, but she can keep up with most other Phoenixborn in magic and commanding units. And then she has those ravens that can really ruin your day.


Dutch publisher Cwali have put their first project on Kickstarter: Samara, a game with an intriguing new worker timetrack mechanic. It works like this: each available action – building, training, hiring a new worker… – has a price of two components. One is the number of workers required, that’s the up-down axis on the game board. The other is how much time it will take those workers, that’s the left right axis. The workers are placed on another board that is pushed alongside the main board. Workers that are pushed past the main board this way have completed their previous task and become available again. I’m very curious to try this now.

Treefrog Games

In Ships, his newest game, Martin Wallace takes us through the history of traveling the seas, all the way from simple galleys to steamships. Ships is a game about progress, players advance their ship technology as described, at the same time they grow their area of operations from just the Mediterranean Sea to spanning the whole globe. In this area, they while trade in different types of goods, but it’s also possible to build warships and take control of the cities you approach and profit from taxing them. Wallace says the rules for Ships are shorter than for his Automobile, but there are many things to take into account in this game. Even the goods you trade have a secondary function, instead of selling them for money you can discard them for a special effect depending on the type of goods.

Pegasus Spiele

Kickstarter is now open for projects from Germany, and Pegasus Spiele jumps at it to produce an English edition of their successful game The Dwarves. Based on the The Dwarves novels by Markus Heitz, the boardgame is a quest-based cooperative game for two to five dwarfs defending their homeland Girdlegard. Stop giggling, that’s what it’s called. But the English edition is only a side benefit, the real star of the campaign is the new Saga Expansion, available in German and English. It has new quest cards, new game boards and, and this is what makes it a great expansion in my eyes, Orc, Troll and Elf meeple to replace the plain cubes of the base game.


Valley of the Kings is a small deck-building game with some interesting mechanical peculiarities. Interesting enough to warrant a second part, not an expansion but a standalone game that you can mix with the original. There are no new rules in Valley of the Kings: Afterlife, but all new cards with new abilities. Designer Tom Cleaver wanted to remedy some minor flaws he perceived in the original game. Consequently there are now more cards to get cards back from the boneyard, the final resting place for cards that were sacrificed, and some cards to make the popular strategy of shrinking your deck to only five cards less popular.

The winners have been chosen! The new factions in Smash Up: It’s Your Fault will be Sharks, Superheroes, Greek Myth and Dragons. It’s sad that our favorite faction, Toys, didn’t make it, and neither did Hackers, but playing with those four will be fun, too. I think I’ll use the Sharks as the naval force to go with the Bear Cavalry.

Kyy Games

Pseudo-CCGs, games that use the mechanics of collectible card games but don’t require you to buy ridiculous amounts of booster packs to get the cards you want, are popular right now. And why not, I always liked games like Magic: The Gathering but didn’t want to spend the money. The latest game of this type to hit Kickstarter is Cabals: The Board Game. It’s based on the online game Cabals – which is a regular collectible game – and just like it is set in an alternate 1930s era where witches, wizards and other occultists want to control the world. What sets Cabals apart from other games of this kind is that it actually has a board on which your unit cards move and control space to collect resources that you need to play more cards. It sounds like a fun mix, and as far as I can tell it’s close to the digital version, so you could even try if you like it first.


Those friendly people at Cryptozoic, always worried that a poor news editor might not make his weekly word count and trying to help out. With a sequel to Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Duel at Mount Skullzfyre, I won’t have to worry about word counts for this week. The new game, which is not an expansion but a new game that can be mixed with the original, goes by the equally brief name Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Rumble at Castle Tentakill. It’s still the same, simple idea you may have seen on Tabletop: three cards from your hand make a spell which is hilariously over the top in damage effect and number of skulls depicted on the card, that spell is unleashed on your enemies, and whoever burns last wins. Rumble at Castle Tentakill doesn’t change anything about that, but as some new features your spells may now summon familiars to help you for a time, and you can collect blood points from maiming opponents to boost the power of your spells.

This week’s photo hardly needs an explanation, the Taj Mahal in Agra District, India, is one of the most famous buildings int he world. Less well known is the fact that this iconic shot only shows the center of the Taj Mahal complex, the mausoleum, but it is surrounded by more rarely photographed extensive gardens and outlying buildings of matching beauty. This photo was taken by Edoardo Giovanni Raimondi and shared with a CC-BY license. Thank you, Edoardo!

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