Plaid Hat Games
I can tell already that, when playing Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn, I will hate going up against this week’s preview character Noah Redmoon. His unique ability is to lock his opponent out of one of his spells, making it completely unusable for a round. I hate playing against abilities like that. On the other hand, I love playing with them. Also, I like how all the characters we saw seem very different right from the start.
Life was tough back in the Bronze Age. Dangers were everywhere, and survival was far from guaranteed. But for maybe the first time in history, tribes were not necessarily led by the strongest member. With the advent of tools and weapons, the smartest and most resourceful had a chance, too. That’s what you hope to be in Epoch – Early Inventors, a Kickstarter project by Martyn F with input from archaeologists of the university of Leiden for historical accuracy. As one member of a Bronze Age tribe, your goal is not only to survive but to make important inventions like axes, fishing rods and pottery to help you and the tribe to survive better. You have to gather necessary resources, collect food to be able to work and be just slightly lucky to find inspiration for the inventions that help you the most.
Nukan Custom Works
By admission of the designer Hidden Heroes is not a finished game trying to cover production costs on Kickstarter but one that needs a few more coats of polish before production is an option. Right now, it is a three player arena battle – but I guess the fixed number of players may still change – where each of the adorable heroes plays very differently. And I don’t mean one does a thing when he rolls a one, another does something else on a six. I mean, one hero uses dice, another uses a deck of cards, and yet another has no random element at all and uses action points. Unlike most game projects on Kickstarter that basically amount to a preorder, I guess Hidden Heroes has a certain risk that you won’t get any return for your money, it is just one guy working on it as a hobby. But I hope some of you will find it worth the risk, because I like the idea of heroes that really do play very differently.
Assault on Doomrock has completely eluded me when it was on Indiegogo last year. Fortunately, it’s back now with a second edition and the first expansion Doompocalypse on Kickstarter. It’s a humorous yet tactical cooperative game where the players set out as a band of classic fantasy heroes to reach Doomrock. Well, more or less classic, each hero has a class straight out of D&D but also a trait that I don’t think was in the Player’s Handbook. So you’ll play as something like a Stinky Rogue, dealing damage to opponents with poisoned daggers and his garlic breath, but also hurting his party with his stench. You fight enemies with dice to activate your ability cards, and even without a game board positioning is important. The Doompocalypse expansion has two new hero classes, new enemies, new places to visit and all new tokens to be placed on the battlefield that heroes and monsters can interact with.
Fantasy Flight Games
Only four commands drive the action in Fantasy Flight’s Warhammer 40.000 strategy game Forbidden Stars. You gather resourced from planets you control, use those resources to deploy fresh units, take strategy cards to surprise your opponents with later and move your units across the board. That’s all it takes, use those four actions well and you’re sure to defeat your enemies. A second preview for this week goes into details about combat. Dice are rolled, but good use of your combat cards is what will make you win or lose a battle.
How you build the dungeon you’re trapped in is the object of this preview for the fourth edition of Drakon, in development by Fantasy Flight. The titular dragon has a thing for one way doors, no matter where you go you can never go back the same way. Some rooms you enter let you mess with your opponents, too. This is not going to be a popularity contest…
Energy from the sun won’t run out for another 5 billion years, give or take a few. So when you’re Terraforming Mars, Solar Power is a reliable source of energy. This card is much simpler than others we saw in FryxGames’s previews, it produces energy and awards a victory point. That doesn’t sound exciting, but unexciting cards that produce resources are usually the backbone of any operation.
Anniversaries are the perfect time to put an older game back on the shelf or, as the case may be, on Kickstarter. That’s what Queen Games is doing with their Shogun Bix Box, an anniversary edition of Dirk Henn’s strategy game. If you haven’t played it, Shogun is as close to a wargame as a euro style game gets, you command your troops in a fight over medieval Japan. But it doesn’t get too wargamey, your one type of troops is wooden cubes, battles are resolved by throwing all your troops in a tower like the one in Amerigo, and building up infrastructure in your provinces and feeding your peasants is at least as important as winning battles. This edition is called Shogun Big Box because it contains four expansions.
Mottainai could hardly be more different [from Glory to Rome] thematically. Instead of an empire, you’ll create souvenirs in a Buddhist temple. But the new game keeps the core mechanic from Glory to Rome, having different functions for every card.
For their third project on Kickstarter, RedImp have created a very interesting tactical game. Achaia is a family game, a game about your family in ancient Troy grasping for power. Power in Troy comes from having influence on various locations and that influence comes from dice. Don’t worry, it’s not a game you win by mere luck, more important is your skill in using various abilities to manipulate the dice, abilities from the locations themselves, influential characters of the city and intrigue cards you play from your hand. Those are all nice, but the less you use them the better for you, because after you pass you earn money for every turn the other players still take, and you need money to power many of the abilities.
The photo of the week, generously put in public domain by Joe DeSousa, is a beautiful shot of the torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine, Japan, one of the oldest holy places in Shintoism. Thank you for the photo, Joe!