Any game nominated for one of the Spiel des Jahres awards deserves an expansion, and Orléans is not going to be an exception. Like most expansions now, Orléans: Invasion has different expansion modules for every taste.The titular Invasion module, created by Inka and Markud Brand (Village,…), turns the whole game upside down and turns it into a cooperative game where players must work together to defend the city against invaders, on top of each players personal goal. The Prosperity module, also by the Brands, introduces new buildings and carpenters. Original Orléans designer Reiner Stockhausen contributes a two-player scenario called Duel where the players compete to finish their four tasks as quickly as they can. On top of that, Invasion will include three solo scenarios. The expansion will be available at the Essen fair and you can preorder through the dlp Games website.
Richard Breese (Keyflower,…) will bring his new game Inhabit the Earth to Essen. The game, explained in detail in this post on BoardGameGeek, is a very elaborate racing game where players have to get their animals to the end of the six continent boards. But instead of running blindly, like most racing games would have you do, preparation is important in Inhabit the Earth and you want your menagerie to breed, multiply, and adapt to their environment to reach the finish line. Animals also have special abilities, some to use during the race, others to score extra points, even making it possible to win without running anywhere if used well. Like Breese’s other games, Inhabit the Earth sounds like you’ll have to balance many things to win.
Cool Mini Or Not
When it says Cool Mini Or Not on a Kickstarter project, you already know there will be amazing miniatures involved in the game they’re making. But I don’t remember any other project, not even one of theirs, where the miniatures looked as terrifying as in The Others: 7 Sins. It’s a game about the personifications of the seven sins bringing about hell on Earth. One player takes control of one of the sins and is opposed by the remaining players as heroes trying to stop him. To do that, they have to complete tasks around the city of Haven depending on the scenario picked for this game. The scenarios seem to be independent from the sins, so you have 49 combinations of those, and then you can still build the city in different ways. That’s a lot of variety there. As always from Cool Mini Or Not, don’t expect to get this cheap, but the box contents do justify the price.
We’ve been waiting for Feuerland Spiele to announce a new release for the Essen fair, and while this one doesn’t specifically say Haus der Sonne by Florian Racky will be available there, the timing makes me pretty sure that it will be. Haus der Sonne (House of the Sun) is the translation of Haleakala, the name of a Hawaiian volcano where demigod Maui caught the sun. The two players want to erect their statues around a volcano in a way that they won’t be destroyed again by lava. There will be two variants of the rules, one that has an element of luck and one that doesn’t. With only 40 minutes playing time, Haus der Sonne is much shorter than Feuerland Spiele’s games from the last two years, Terra Mystica and Fields of Arle, but the announcement promises a lot of depths with relatively simple rules.
Beyond that, Feuerland Spiele announced today that Uwe Rosenberg’s new game Ein Fest für Odin (A Feast for Odin) will not be done in time for the Essen fair this year and release has been pushed to 2016. For those of you going to Essen, a prototype will be available to try the game. Also at the Feuerland Spiele booth you’ll be able to pick up a mini expansion for Terra Mystica.
It’s time to talk some more about the latest offspring of the 7 Wonders series: 7 Wonders: Duel. As you can tell from the name it’s a game for two players and to make that work the game is quite different from traditional 7 Wonders. Starting with the biggest difference, the drafting mechanic is gone, replaced by a display of cards on the table from where the players take cards in turn. Some of those cards are covered by others and can only be taken once those are gone, so your pick still has a lot of influence on what your opponent may do. Also, both players have four Wonders now, not only one. But only seven of them can be build in total, so one player will come up short. The game is still played in three ages, but there are two sudden death win conditions: one is to push the Military Strength marker all the way to your opponent’s capital, conquering it, the other is to collect all six different Science symbols. Only when neither of those conditions is met during the game do the victory points count. Other parts of 7 Wonders: Duel will immediately seem familiar to everyone who knows the base game, the different types of cards are still the same, for instance, and paying for your cards works the same, too. It’s sounds like a great mix of old and new, and to play in two players it sounds much better than the two-player variant of the otherwise excellent 7 Wonders.
Cheapass Games have started an open beta phase where all players can download the rules and try the game for a very interesting abstract strategy game: Tak, a game described by Patrick Rothfuss in his book The Wise Man’s Fear. It’s a variation on the classic objective “connect two sides of the board with your stones”, but far from a simple game. Pieces can be played either flat, allowing other pieces to be stacked on top, or upright, denying that option. Towers of stacked pieces can be moved as one, dropping one stone on each space they cross. That movement is blocked by upright pieces, unless you get there with your Capstone that can knock them flat. Sounds a tad confusing when summed up like this, but the rules are actually pretty clear. If the test is to everyone’s liking Tak will be published through Kickstarter early next year.
Cornwall, new from Schmidt Spiele, is a game where you place meeples in different landscapes to score points for them when they are completed. That sounds a lot like Carcassone on the other side of the Channel, but Cornwall has more to offer than that. The most obvious difference is that the tiles are not squares but “triangles” of three hexagons. When placing your one tile per turn, you have to expand at least one existing landscape, if you expand more than one you gain a coin. You need the coins to retrieve your meeples from the pub where they go in good Cornish tradition after their landscape is scored. Your meeples have different values when it comes to finding out who scores points for a landscape, and while most landscapes are only worth points for the strongest player there some award points to the second, too. Cornwall can’t deny its relation to Carcassone, but it is different in many ways and seems more complex in the rules.
The photo of the week, taken by Rod Waddington, show the Fallen Stele of Aksum, a mighty empire of the ancient world in today’s Ethiopia. The Fallen Stele, before it fell, was 30 meters high, weighed more than 500 tons and was the largest single piece of rock quarried in the whole ancient world. Can anyone tell me how they stood that thing up? I can imagine the transport, and that’s impressive already, but how did they put it upright? (Photo license: CC-BY-SA)