Fantasy Flight Games
If you have been following Fantasy Flight’s Runebound previews, then you already know the land you must defend against monsters, and to an extend how to do it. But the real fun in adventure boardgames is seeing your character grow, and this latest preview explains how that will work. Instead of the classic way, gaining levels, Runebound is all about Skills. You gain special abilities by playing Skill cards from your hand. Playing them requires trophies that you gain from killing monsters and completing quests. You also need to have enough points in the related Attribute – Body, Mind or Spirit – to play a skill, and to increase your Attribute scores you use other skills. You see how that works. Like in pretty much any adventure game, the other way to make your character more powerful is to have the right gear, and Runebound doesn’t disappoint there. In the Free Cities around the board you can buy all kinds of equipment as well as goods to sell somewhere else. You probably won’t be able to win with the peaceful merchant life alone, though.
The latest preview for Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game explains in detail the structure of a turn. For anyone who has played cooperative games before, the rough outline is familiar: first the heroes act, then the game fights back. The game fighting back, in this case, involves three steps. First, the monsters at your current location attack and players have to take turns to pick one they take the damage from. Monsters follow different, simple tactics given on their cards in their attacks. After the monsters, the location card inflicts its own (usually negative) effect on the players. Then, finally, the peril track advances and may trigger yet more unpleasant things specific to the quest the heroes are on. In most quests, when that track reaches the end, the players lose the game. That’s a lot of bad stuff happening, players will have to learn to play together well to stand a chance.
The new edition of Fantasy Flight’s Fury of Dracula is approaching. While many know the game already, the preview posts are still a great help to everyone who doesn’t to figure out if the game is for them. This time, the preview explains movement rules, and like everything in Fury of Dracula it works very different for the master vampire and for his pursuers. The vampire hunters use tickets to move on the board, with their location always visible to everyone. A ticket is not tied to any route in particular, it just says how far the hunter may move. In contrast, Dracula uses location cards to move. This way, he can leave a trail of places he has visited and leave surprises for the hunters there, should they find where he was. That’s not so easy because most of Dracula’s movements are hidden from the other players, he only has to reveal himself under certain circumstances. However, if his machinations in a city remain undiscovered for too long, they grow more dangerous after a few rounds.
What’s Your Game?
What’s Your Game? have opened preorders for their Essen release Signorie, a game set in renaissance Italy. As the head of a noble house, it’s each players job to lead their house to glory. An important role in that falls to the children of the house. For their sons, players choose a career in the military, church or politics and send them on diplomatic missions, with daughters they want to strengthen their position through strategic marriages. To do all that, players pick dice from a common pool that is rolled each round. A die’s color tells you what action it can take, it’s number how much of a discount you get paying for that action. That would make high numbers very attractive, but a bonus is awarded to players who manage to keep the sum of their dice below 13. Since you pick from a shared pool, you can guess how often that will work.
Nippon, the other What’s Your Game? Essen release is a game about Japan, to no one’s surprise given the title. More precisely, it’s set in Japan’s Meiji period when big industrial and financial conglomerates, the zaibatsu, emerged and had enormous influence on Japan’s economy and politics. Players in Nippon run these zaibatsu and decide which industries to invest in to advance their influence and have the most control over Japan in this economic game.
Queen Games are now doing what makers of books and movies have discovered for themselves a while ago: prequels. Alessandro Zucchini’s Liguria, to be released in Essen this year, will be a prequel to Queen Games’s award winning Fresco. There, you paint frescoes on cathedral ceilings. In Liguria you transport and trade the paint used for those frescoes. As a very specialized merchant you bring the pigments to your home town’s market so that the local cathedral may have the most beautiful art.
Also coming to Essen from Queen Games is Schatzjäger / Treasure Hunter, a new drafting game by Richard Garfield. The players draft a hand of nine heroes that they then send out to find treasure. There are only two treasures every round, one for the strongest party and one for the quickest, but even when you know you can’t get a treasure you have to play a hero if you can. And don’t think those treasures are safe once you have them, goblins are out to take them from you and only guard dogs can keep them away.
And still Essen releases, there will be expansions for both of Queen Games Escape real time dice games Escape: The Curse of the Temple and Escape: Zombie City. The expansion for the former is titled Traps and introduces two new expansion modules. Trap Chambers hold players who enter them until they roll the right combination of symbols, Time Chambers give you a chance to earn some extra time if you can solve them quick enough. The Zombie City expansion The Survivor Chronicles also has two modules. The first is titled Tasks and sounds like it will be similar to Trap Chambers for The Curse of the Temple, the second, Characters, will give the players different characters with special abilities to help them escape.
The first Kickstarter project by French publisher Serious Poulp is doing something seriously new with boardgames: The 7th Continent adapts the idea of a Choose Your Own Adventure book to a boardgame. You remember those books, right? The ones that go “to attack the orc go to page 17, to make him breakfast go to 87.”In The 7th Continent you’ll make some of the same decisions while, at the same time, building a map of the mysterious seventh continent. Your quest there is to rid yourself of a curse. And that quest will be neither easy nor quick, because another new thing in The 7th Continent is that you’re not supposed to finish the game in one session. According to Serious Poulp one game can take more than 1.000 minutes, and to make that possible without tying up your living room table for weeks there will be an easy and quick way to save your game and continue another time. All this makes me very, very curious.
It’s never been a secret that I’m a big fan of Carl Chudyk’s Innovation, a card game with unique mechanics and very intense player interaction. The one bad thing you could always say about it was that it looked drab. Well, not anymore with the 3rd edition on Kickstarter. The cards are still, by necessity, utilitarian, but the new design is nevertheless a lot shinier. That’s not all, though. At a higher backer level you can have Innovation Deluxe, which includes the two expansions Echoes of the Past and Figures in the Sand plus the two new expansions Cities of Destiny and Artifacts of History. I can’t find details what the two new expansions will add to the game, but I almost don’t care because it’s more Innovation!
New on German crowdfunding site Spieleschmiede is the German edition of Tunhell, a clever card game by PixieGames. Commanding a company of dwarfs, each player tries to take the most treasure from the three mines. Different dwarfs have different jobs to do: Warrior dwarfs fight monsters and keep other players’ dwarfs out of the mines. Diggers dig up cards from the mines and sometimes find treasure. Scouts discover what a digger might find before they start digging, just in case there are monsters waiting. Finally, Blasters scare all Warriors away from one of the mines. You hire your dwarfs from a common recruitment area, so other players have an idea what dwarfs you currently employ. Not a heavy game, but tactical and fun.
This week’s featured photo shows the stalactites in Jasovská Cave, a cave in the Slovak part of the Caves of Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst World Heritage Site. The photo was taken by Flickr user Traveltipy and shared with a CC-BY license. Thank you for sharing!