Fantasy Flight Games
The preview posts of the last weeks told us all the basics about Fantasy Flight’s new Warhammer 40.000 board game Forbidden Stars. With this week’s post, we start to see details about the four factions in the conflict with a close look at the Ultramarines. The space marine army represents humanity in this fight, and they are determined to do it well, looking at the troops they bring. Scouts, Space Marines and Land Raiders (tanks) are standard equipment, but they also bring powerful Battle Barges to bomb their enemies from orbit and even the colossal Warlord Titan, a walking machine of lasery death. But the most dangerous thing they bring may be their Drop Pods that let marines from anywhere join the battle when needed. Eldar and Orcs better bring some good stuff to stand against this army. Update: The Orcs do bring some good stuff to the party, in their own preview we see that they are not only fearsome warriors, they also grow their army faster than anyone else. And they always have reinforcements.
Twin Shadows, the expansion for Fantasy Flight’s Imperial Assault, brings everything you would want to see in an expansion for a Descent style game. That includes two new heroes to include in your campaign and your skirmish games. Number one is Biv Bodrhik, a fighter that you wouldn’t want to stand against. If he wants to expend the strain, he can attack many times in one round and use his weapons to make those attacks even more devastating. Saska Teft, the second hero, is an engineer and tinkerer. She produces device tokens for herself and other heroes around her. Depending on the class cards she has in play, all heroes can use device tokens for special effects like a shield or faster movement. A neat way to implement a classic buff class in a not-exactly-fantasy setting.
A long, long time ago, we first talked about a game called Immortal by Game-o-Gami. Sometimes, developing a game until it’s ready to go on Kickstarter takes a bit longer than expected, but here it is now. Immortal is a card game in which gods and legends from four pantheons (Norse, Greek, Japanese and Native American) fight against each other for control of the board. They are represented by cards with different combat strength values in every direction, so a card that is threatening to one side may easily be flanked, making spatial awareness important. Many cards have special abilities to take into consideration as well. With the directional differences of the cards, it is important to keep the modular game board in mind, too, because setting it up in the way that best suits your faction will go a long way to protect your weak spots.
Alderac & Steve Jackson Games
If you were, like me, thinking that Smash Up: Munchkin would be a set of four new factions like every other Smash Up expansion before, then you’re in for a pleasant surprise, because it goes beyond that in crossing the two games. Smash Up: Munchkin adds two new types of cards to Smash Up: monsters and treasures, just like you know them from Munchkin. Monsters are neutral minions that sit on a base and fight against the players’ minions, they raise the base’s breakpoint making it harder to capture. But when you defeat a monster, either by destroying it or by capturing the base, you draw treasure cards to your hand that you can use as a regular action card. Needless to say that both monsters and treasures will include some of Munchkin‘s all time favorites, like the Boots of Running Really Fast. In another preview it turns out that not only Munchkin bases can have monsters – which would be pretty boring in some games. There’ll be many ways to put monsters on the table, the Mages’ Mass Summoning is just one of them. And yet another preview gives us the Orcs. I just saw one of their cards, and I already hate the thieving buggers.
I love the choice of the first preview card for Alderac’s coming game Game of Crowns. The Diplomat is worth one victory point for every card you own from another player at the end of the game and makes it quite clear what is important in this game: making deals and alliances whenever they profit you.
Flatlined Games will finally publish a game design by Bruno Faidutti and Serge Laget that has been around for years, had almost been published by Fantasy Flight at some point, but never really saw the light of day. But later this year we’ll finally get to play Argo, a science fiction tile laying game where players’ teams of astronauts try to escape from a space station, if need be by feeding other astronauts to the aliens or pushing them into malfunctioning teleporters. You can find details on Bruno’s blog, where he also gives some interesting insight how the details of a game depend on its publisher.
With their new Kickstarter campaign, Aviary Games want to publish Interregnum, a game with elements of deck-building and worker placement. The old king has died without children, and as one of his cousins you must convince the regent that rules in his place for now that you are the best choice to be the new king. For now you only rule your own fiefdom with only the bare necessities – like serfs – to make it work. To convince the regent, you have to manage your fiefdom better than your two to four cousins, with different directions to develop it. You could go for military and attack your competitors, earn your wealth through trade or produce more resources than everyone else and buy royal obligations like titles and bonuses. By the description, Interregnum has more direct player interaction than similar games, with the options to trade, attack and steal resources from other players.
eggertspiele / Pegasus Spiele / Stronghold Games
We’ve been waiting eagerly to find out what eggertspiele’s heavy game Essen release would be this year, and now we know it’s Porta Nigra, a new design by the successful duo Michael Kiesling and Wolfgang Kramer (Tikal, The Palaces of Carrara, …). In their newest game, the players are roman builders working on the famous black gate of Trier. Each player controls a master builder that moves around the board and buys resources and builds the gate in the area he currently occupies. The master builder can move further than he normally would if you really need to take an action somewhere else, but such movement is expensive and should be considered carefully. What actions players can take on their turn, and how many of them, is determined by their own deck of action cards. Over the approximately two hours of the game, they will build an architectonic monument of stackable plastic pieces on the board. A US edition of Porta Nigra has already been announced by Stronghold Games.
Also from eggertspiele and Pegasus Spiele, we’ll see an expansion for the world’s first eight player stackable camel race, last year’s Spiel des Jahres Camel Up. First of all, Camel Up: Supercup raises the number of players to ten. But that’s not all it does, there are also some new things to influence the race, like the photographer that will pay the player well for the chance to photograph a great moment in the race, or the coconuts that can drive a slow camel forward.
REBEL.pl / Lion Games
If you’ve been wondering if the English edition of Adam Kwapinski’s fantasy card battle game Heroes is something you should preorder, here’s a detailed video explanation of the game to help you decide.
To their and our great regret, Treefrog Games have announced that they no longer have the license to produce their Discworld games Discworld: Ankh-Morpork and The Witches, nor the planned third game in the Discworld series. I don’t know enough to comment, but I sincerely hope this is not the first step to squeeze the most money out of author Terry Pratchett’s estate.
Even on Mars, some real estate is more valuable than others, and the deep canyons of Noctis Labyrinthus are very valuable terrain indeed when you’re Terraforming Mars. And finally, after a lot of cards, we also get a good look at the game board where all the action happens, complete with scales for environmental parameters and different bonuses to compete for.
CoolMiniOrNot’s Zombicide games have been among the most popular – and the best looking – zombie survival games ever since the base game appeared on Kickstarter. Now they’re adding a new twist to the genre by setting the zombie apocalypse in the middle ages. Instead of chainsaws and shotguns, your outnumbered survivors will wield pitchforks and spells against the undead hordes in Zombicide: Black Plague. Right now the Kickstarter project has already collected more than $1.000.000, if it keeps going like that it will easily take the crown of all time most successful boardgame on Kickstarter.
Tasty Minstrel Games
The story of Seth Jaffee’s deck-building game Eminent Domain goes on with two new games in one Kickstarter project. The first, Eminent Domain: Exotica is an expansion where space has grown short in the universe and players wanting to expand their space empire will have to settle on asteroids and so-called exotic planets. The second game in the project is a stand-alone game by Philip duBarry set in the Eminent Domain universe. In Battlecruisers, every player commands a capital ship, all on their way to complete the same mission. Each game uses a small selection of cards from a much larger pool, but all players use identical sets to command their ships. Players select one card per round at the same time, and being the only player with a card yields a different effect from playing the same card as another player. A number of card sets to play with are suggested in the manual, but building your own or random selection works as well, so you’ll get many different scenarios out of the game.
The fight for fairyland continues in Mage Company’s latest expansion for their cooperative game 12 Realms. Like other expansions before, Bedtime Story will let you enter four new realms of fairyland, each with their own story and their own obstacles to overcome. You will have to fight an actual god with unlimited power in Tang Dynasty, not an easy task but well rewarded with some of his power if you win. Atlantis is sinking and the flood affects all realms in the game. Clockwork Shire and Horrorville both have their own problems, too. It wouldn’t be a proper 12 Realms expansion if there weren’t new hero miniatures to join the fight as well. They include famous names like Van Helsing and Pinocchio, but also lesser known characters like the Wild Boar Monk and the Walrus Gladiator. 12 Realms: Bedtime Story is currently on Kickstarter.
Finally, a game that I can enjoy while at the same time being horribly, atrociously bad at it. Minion Games’s Cosmic Kaboom (on Kickstarter) is a dexterity game where you flip your spaceship disc through the galaxy to collect energy cubes in different colors. Once you have four colors of energy, you may toss the space bomb onto the board and destroy planets for points. Mixing things up are a variety of advancement cards that give different special abilities to their owner.
With Beyond Baker Street Z-Man Games will release a Hanabi-style cooperative card game where players hold their cards the wrong way around, seeing the faces of everyone else’s cards but only the backs of their own. But the theme is thicker here, the players are investigators trying to piece together a crime from the clues in their hands. The game includes different cases to solve and on each and every one of them you’ll compete with Sherlock Holmes to see who solves it first. Now that’s what I call tough competition.
Dark Dealings, a new Kickstarter project by Nevermore Games, is not the first game where the players have to defend their dark dungeon against invading heroes. But it does let you defend your dungeon in a much quicker game than most, just about 20 minutes until all the heroes are defeated or you are evicted from your tunnels, and looks pretty, too. Players select the heroes they’ll have to defeat through a drafting mechanic. Taking tougher heroes here obviously makes them harder to defeat, but it also gives you earlier access to the available defenses, and better tools always help. When your dungeon is decked out, you go through your heroes and try to defeat them one after the other. The last dark lord standing wins the game.
This week’s featured photo was taken by Khalid Albaih and kindly shared with a CC-BY license. It shows the ruins of Anjar, a city founded by Caliph Walid I in the early eight century in today’s Lebanon.