Fantasy Flight Games
Fantasy Flight Games has a long list of new after this weekend. It seems they were keeping all their announcements for GenCon, and now the dam broke. Lets start with a new expansion for Descent: Journeys in the Dark. Heroes will wish they were back in the dark, damp dungeons they are used to, because they are so much friendlier than the Mists of Bilehall. This expansion is set in the swamps of Bilehall, home to new and horrific monsters and necromancers. But they are not the worst. Heroes won’t even be able to trust the ground beneath their feet, it might give way with any step and drop them into the brackish water. Likewise, walls may crumble and collapse on them. Mists of Bilehall is not an expansion to make the heroes happy, the declared design goal was to give the Overlord more power. Good for him, I guess, but being a hero just got a lot tougher.
Also receiving another expansion is Descent‘s offspring in the Star Wars universe Imperial Assault. Return to Hoth is very much a big box expansion, it comes with 37 new terrain tiles for your adventures on the ice moon, new miniatures, new heroes, new Stormtroopers, new everything. There’s a new campaign for those of you that enjoy the Descent-style fight of brave heroes against a much more powerful evil, and there are rules to play Skirmish games with up to four players.
Runebound was the first game in the fantasy world Terrinoth that later became the setting for games like Descent and Runewars. Runebound is a boardgame very close to a roleplaying game, up to four players each control one hero that travels the land to gain fame, or at least notoriety. In their adventures, those heroes become more powerful, gain new skills and acquire better equipment. Players will soon be able to return to these origins of Terrinoth with a new edition of Runebound. While this third edition will be similar to earlier Runebound editions in theory, Fantasy Flight calls it a reimagining of the original game and it’s going to be incompatible with the older games.
Another new and updated edition Fantasy Flight Games is working on is of 1981 hidden identity game Hoax. In Hoax, players want to cheat everyone else out of the competition for the inheritance of billionaire Hector Vargas. Each player has a hidden character card with a special ability, but he may claim to be someone else to use another ability, if his opponents don’t challenge him on that. Being caught in a lie prevents you from impersonating that character again for the rest of the round, but if your opponents falsely accuse you of lying you win the game immediately. Hoax is cutthroat like that. This new edition adds a seventh character – still only takes six players, though – and tunes the characters’ special abilities.
The last Fantasy Flight announcement for now is a cooperative adventure in the world of Warhammer. Up to four players explore dark dungeons in Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game. With only four action cards per hero, they have to fight their way through hordes of monsters. Cooperation will be the key to their success: you must guard your fellow adventurers when they are out of actions to guard themselves. Action cards are exhausted after use and only become ready again when a card effect tells you to ready them. Which of the four action cards does that is one of the differences between the four characters. That’s just one difference between the characters, they also have different special abilities you’ll have to make good use of in order to survive hordes of Goblins, Skaven, and worse.
Sometimes you just don’t feel like hunting werewolves. They are quite smelly and have no manners. You’re looking for a more cultured monster, like a vampire. With the new game in Bezier Games’s One Night series you’ll have that option. One Night Ultimate Vampire gives your village a little break from it’s werewolf troubles, only to replace them with something just as bad. The basics stay the same, each player receives a role tile and has only one chance to make her special ability count for her team when the companion smartphone app calls her role. But the roles are all new, not only vampires but many others as well, and they all cause more chaos in the village. And if one type of monster is not enough you can mix this game with One Night Ultimate Werewolf and have a battle royale of creatures of the night.
Catch Up Games / Iello
Coming this month still from Catch Up Games and Iello is the English edition of Sapiens, a neolithic tile laying game. To support and protect your tribe, you need two things: food and shelter. You find both by placing tiles on your player board, food from the plains and forest spaces in the center of the board and shelter in the caves along the edges. Each tile covers two spaces, and you may only place it if the scenery matches the surrounding tiles already on the board. Matching tiles that way also awards a bonus, depending on the scenery. All this happens on your own player board, you interact with the other players through the common tile pool everyone draws from or more directly by placing bears in their territory. That’s not a lot of interaction, but enough to mess up your day.
Things you thought you’d never see again: Nyet!, a trick-taking game by Stefan Dorra originally published in 1997 by German publisher Goldsieber, will be available again in October from Iello. It takes its name from the mechanism players use to determine trump and super-trump, the starting player and how many point each trick is worth: they take turns saying nyet (no) to one option, until there is only one left for each category. Then the starting player picks a partner for this round and they try to score many points together. Yes, it’s still a trick-taking game, but with a very cool interaction.
There is no better place for horror stories than an old-style psychiatric hospital. Watch any movie set in one, they are the worst place you can imagine. With Lobotomy, a cooperative game Titanforge Games are kickstarting, you get to experience all that horror yourself. Up to five players, in the roles of patients, must defeat the horned monstrosity that is the Chief Administrator. Or maybe he’s just a regular guy to everyone else, you’re not here because of your clear perception of reality. All the staff look like monsters to you, and who’s to say if you’re crazy or if you see more clearly than everyone else. Before you can defeat the Administrator, you make your way through multiple scenarios, gaining equipment and special powers that stem from your specific disorder as you go. Lobotomy is basically a dungeon crawl with a unique setting, lots of miniatures and the option to go lovecraftian with the From The Deep expansion.
Games creating their own genre are not only generally fun, they also get to name that genre. That’s why Space Cowboys’s T.I.M.E. Stories is a decksploration game: the goal of the game is to explore what cards are in the deck. The story behind is that the players are temporal agents working for the T.I.M.E. Agency. Their job is to protect the time stream so the world is not swallowed by a sudden paradox. The cases they must solve come in scenario boxes, one scenario is included in the base game, more will be available for purchase. Each scenario contains, at the very least, the Scenario Deck of puzzles to solve and obstacles to overcome. If the players can deal with all of them in the amount of time the scenario gives them, they win. If they run out of time, the Agency recalls them and inserts them into the time stream again at the start of the adventure: they get to try again, but with the knowledge they already gathered in their previous attempt. While players obviously want to beat the scenario, T.I.M.E. Stories is also a narrative game, players tell their agents’ stories in as much depth as they feel like during the game. All scenarios announced so far will be cooperative, but the press release mentions competitive scenarios as a possibility for the future. The one question I can’t answer at the moment is if you can play the same scenario again with the same players after you know its secrets, but I’ll try to get back to you on that.
This week’s photo shows the Magna Aula at the Ciudad Universitaria de Caracas, the university of Caracas, Venezuela. The photo was taken by Riccio Leon and kindly shared with a CC-BY license. Thank you, Riccio!