Fantasy Flight Games
Star Wars is full of hostile environments, but the worst of them is probably Hoth, the icy world from The Empire Strikes Back. That’s where the new Imperial Assault expansion Return to Hoth takes you, and the new units the Empire player will command will only make everything more hostile. Of course there will be new Stormtroopers and killer droids, but those are standard equipment. For some real fun, you can send Wampas into battle. And they work even better with the new Natural Warfare agenda cards that are all focused on sending wild beasts into the fray. Another new deck of agenda cards and two new decks of Imperial Class card give you everything to crush those pesky Rebels under your well-polished heel.
Fantasy Flight has Star Wars games in a number of different scales: Imperial Assault has squad level ground combat, X-Wing has space battles between small spacecraft and Armada between capital ships. Soon, you’ll be able to go even larger with Star Wars: Rebellion, a game about the galactic rebellion spanning, well, the galaxy. Matching the movies, the conflict in this game is very asymmetric. The Imperials command large numbers of troops and keep the galaxy in terror to stay in power. The Rebellion have to pick their battles more carefully, but they can may be able to lead the galaxy into all-out open rebellion against the empire. With more than 150 plastic miniatures plus assorted characters to lead your troop, the size of the box will do justice to the scale of the conflict.
You know the old puzzle about the farmer who wants to bring a wolf, a goat and a cabbage across the river, but can only fit one in his boat at a time? If he leaves the wolf with the goat, the goat is dinner, and if he leaves the goat with the cabbage, the cabbage is gone. If you know that one, you’re basically ready to play Ravenous River, a coming, small card game by Alderac. Instead of a cabbage you now get a lion, a bull and some other assorted fauna, and you have two boats. If a round ends with prey and predator in the same area, then someone gets eaten and the player who secretly owned the prey this round gets unhappy. Ravenous River is a game of bluffing, deduction and hidden identity for a quick, fun time.
Also coming from Alderac, but only in spring, is the new Richard Garfield game Greedy Greedy Goblins. It’s also a light game, but gives you the pleasure of blowing up your opponents. Playing at the same time, players look at mining tiles from a common pool and distribute it in a number of caves. Each player also has three goblin chips to claim caves for himself. If the tiles in that cave are treasure, they are worth points. If there is a little dynamite in that cave the treasures are worth more, but if there is too much dynamite you blow yourself up and lose points. With everyone spreading those tiles around, you can imagine how much fun you can have baiting an opponent into your cave full of dynamite.
Small Box Games
True to their name Small Box Games have a compact card drafting game on Kickstarter. In KEEP player pass hands of cards around the table and pick a card to add to their Cloister each time before they pass on the rest. Cards are either Items, worth a fixed amount of coins at the end of the game, or Characters worth more points if their condition is met. Characters can also be discarded as action cards, but then they won’t give you any points. It’s a very focused game, but you’ll make an important decision every few seconds.