Greater than Games
Many games let you invade and settle some remote island, assimilate the natives and drive out the nature spirits. Okay, driving out the nature spirits is not that common. But Greater than Games’s Spirit Island turns that concept around: in this one you are the nature spirits that have to repel the invaders. Their towns and cities destroy the environment, and with it your powers. Before that happens, up to four spirits have to do their best to drive them off, using fear, destruction and a little help from the island’s native people. The coop game is now on Kickstarter.
Alderac / Artipia Games
Here’s another preview for Alderac and Artipia Games’s Dice City. The Great Wall not only offers a lot of protection on it’s own, it also increases the protection value of every other card in the same row.
Fantasy Flight Games
We don’t usually mention Fantasy Flight’s living card games much because, frankly, to report on all the expansions we’d need another magazine dealing only with them. But it’s a special occasion when one of those games comes to an end. With nine large expansions and seven cycles of smaller card packs Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game was a very successful line of products over the last seven years, but Fantasy Flight have announced that after The Mark of Madness, expansion number ten, the series will end, and with it their organized tournaments. There’s not much left to say but thank you and congratulations to the team working on Call of Cthulhu.
Even if you aren’t at all into video games you have probably heard of Portal. The first person puzzle game about a nameless test subject who must test the portal gun and try to get away from a crazy AI was all over the Internet for years, especially the most famous quote “The cake is a lie”. Well, you’ll all be happy to hear that was blatant misinformation. The cake is real and ready for you to find it now with Cryptozoic’s Portal: The Uncooperative Cake Acquisition Game. Each player controls a whole team of test subjects with portal guns hunting for cake while around them the laboratory slowly disintegrates, and if some of your opponents drop away with it, then that’s just fine, isn’t it? The things we do for cake.
We’ve talked about GMT Games latest non-wargame Mr. President already, a solo game where you get a chance to do everything better that you criticize the president of the US for. Shouldn’t be hard, right? Well, I can’t say anything yet how hard it will be to win, but this preview post talking about setup and components gives you an idea how very complex it’s going to be. There are tons of moving parts and random elements in the setup, from the issues the public is most interested in to your friends and enemies in congress and the age of your fictional president – if he or she is too old, death in office might happen and I guess that means you lose the game. I’m getting more and more curious about Mr. President. And the best part is: it’s a solo game, I don’t have to beg anyone to play a really long, complex game.
Small publisher Mücke Spiele, specialized on publishing games from design contests at spielmaterial.de, have a new game coming out for the Essen fair: Manhattan TraffIQ, the first published game by Dirk Arning. It’s a tile laying and majority game. By laying tiles the players create a city map on which they then place taxis and buses. The cars go on intersections and count for majorities on both streets. All cars on those street that don’t belong to the player with the majority are then removed. The player with the most cars on the map when the game ends is the winner. As usual for Mücke Spiele releases, it’s not a long or complex game, but the majority system on the grid while the map is still growing sounds very dynamic and fun. Two expansions, Empire State Building and Broadway, will be available with the game and more are in development.
Apparently, the news about Lookout Spiele’s Essen releases made it to Facebook, Google+ and Twitter but mysteriously disappeared from the news post here on our page. Sorry for that, but here they are now.
Lookout Games will be in Essen with three new games. The first, 1844/1854 is a train game using revised 18xx rules, with two scenarios in Switzerland and Austria.
Speaking of Austria, that is also the setting of the second new game Grand Austria Hotel. In this game, players want to build their little café in Vienna into a big, famous hotel. To get there, you buy food and drink, prepare the rooms, hire staff and more. How often each of these actions is available per round is determined by a dice roll at the start of the round. On top of that, you have to get guests into your hotel to make it work, and if you get the right ones they bring valuable bonus action. With 1-2 hours playing time, this is Lookout’s big release for this year.
Finally, there is Hengist, a small two player game by Uwe Rosenberg. After the Romans left England, the brothers Hengist and Horsa were hired to defend it against Scots and Picts. When they were no longer happy with their payment, they decided to take what they deserve from the villages, towns and monasteries. But they are not really into working together at this point, it’s more of a first come, first loot arrangement. Players control their raiding groups with cards and try to get to the biggest treasures, but the roads to get there are partially hidden and what you think is the shortest way may end as a long detour. The brother taking more loot by the end of the game wins.
When we first presented Bardagi by Gamia Games a few weeks ago, we didn’t realize the game wasn’t released yet and would be financed through Kickstarter. Now we know, and the Kickstarter project is alive. Here’s what we had to say about Bardagi: The Claim for Gold:
Bardagi, a game by young Scandinavian publisher Gamia Games, is about vikings discovering new lands. When resources run low near their home, they set out to discover the Landia island group where players compete to collect the most resources before the game ends. Mechanically, it’s a card-driven area management game. You use the cards to command your berserker, priest, merchant and dragon boat while you upgrade all of them in your village.
Another game we have previously mentioned is now on Kickstarter: Argo by French game design legends Bruno Faidutti and Serge Laget. Each player controls a team of astronauts that have just awoken from hibernation on space station Argo, which is not where they went to sleep. No sooner are they awake than the station’s computer orders them into the escape pods because there is a slight alien infestation problem. And that’s still not the last of the problems. There are also not enough seats in the escape pods for everyone. And so the astronauts must rush through the station trying to take the valuable spots. They have to cooperate to a certain extend to not be killed by the aliens, but in the end it’s every team for themselves. Flatlined Games made an unusual decision for Kickstarter projects lately and will not produce custom miniatures, going with paper stand-ups instead. The benefit for you is that 30€ gets you a copy already, compared to 60+€ you regularly have to shell out for games with plastic minis.
Ergo Ludo Editions / Stronghold Games / Schwerkraft Verlag
The first expansion for civilization game The Golden Ages will include all the components for a fifth player. But that’s far from all you get with The Golden Ages: Cults and Cultures, there will also be more of basically everything: more civilizations, more future technologies, and more wonders. The expansion will also include the all new Culture cards to advance culture and religion for your civilization, giving you more varied ways to victory. The English edition is currently on preorder from Stronghold Games, the German edition (Goldene Zeitalter: Kulte & Kulturen) from Schwerkraft Verlag. If anyone has a link to the Italian edition by Ergo Ludo, it’d be great if you could share with us.
Termites, a new game by Fréderic Moyersoen, sits on the border between wargames and boardgames, if you’re into that distinction. On the one hand, it is a game where you move units on a hex board, attack enemy units and try to capture the base. On the other hand, however, it’s much lighter and quicker than your typical wargame and the units you control are insects. Termites, to be exact. There are four different types of termites to take to the battlefield: workers, soldiers, flyers and spitters. Each of the four Mounds gets a different number of each, so they’ll require different strategies as well. Termites will premiere at the Essen fair.
The photo of the week shows the ruins on Kunta Kinteh Island (formerly James Island) in the Gambia River, Gambia. The island was an important port for the transatlantic slave trade and what remains of it is now a World Heritage site in memory of this dark history. The photo was taken by Niels Elgaard Larsen and shared with a CC-BY-SA license. Thank you for sharing, Niels!